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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 143

§143. The Compound Sentence.

A compound sentence (§140d) is formed by the juxtaposition of a subject[1] (which always precedes, see c) and

(a) An independent noun-clause, which (a) refers to the principal subject by means of a pronoun, e.g. Nahum 1:3 יְהֹוָה בְּסוּפָה דַרְכּוֹ‎ the Lord—in the storm is his way; 2 Samuel 23:6, Psalms 18:31, Psalms 104:17, Psalms 125:2, Ecclesiastes 2:14; cf. also Genesis 34:23, where the predicate is an interrogative clause.—A personal pronoun is somewhat frequently used as the principal subject, e.g. Isaiah 59:21 וַֽאֲנִי זֹאת בְּרִיתִי אֹתָם‎ and as for me, this is my covenant with them, &c.; Genesis 9:9, Genesis 17:4, Isaiah 1:7, 1 Chronicles 28:2;[2] with an interrogative noun-clause, Genesis 37:30, Job 21:4, Job 38:19:—or (β) is without a retrospective suffix (in which case naturally the connexion between the subject and predicate is much looser), e.g. 1 Samuel 20:23 and as touching the matter which, &c.... behold the Lord is between thee and me for ever; Proverbs 27:2. (b) An independent verbal-clause: (a) with a retrospective suffix,[3] e.g. Genesis 9:6 (cf. §116w); 17:15 as for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai; 26:15, 28:13, 34:8, Exodus 30:37, Exodus 32:1, 1 Samuel 2:10, 2 Kings 10:29, Isaiah 9:1, Isaiah 11:10, Ezekiel 33:2, Hosea 9:11, Psalms 11:4, Psalms 46:5, Psalms 65:4, Psalms 74:17, Daniel 1:17; with a pronoun as the principal subject, Genesis 24:27; (β) without a retrospective suffix, Isaiah 19:17 every one that mentions it (Judah) to it (Egypt), it (Egypt) is afraid.

Rem. 1. In all the above examples prominence is given to the principal subject (by its mere separation from the context by means of a greater disjunctive, as a casus pendens[4]) in a manner which would be quite impossible in a simple noun or verbal-clause (e.g. Nahum 1:3 if it were דֶּ֫רֶךְ יְהֹוָה בְּסוּפָה‎); cf. the French c’est moi qu’on a accusé. But the statement or question contained in the clause which forms the predicate also receives greater weight. For the same purpose other members of the sentence also are sometimes placed at the beginning and resumed again by a following suffix; thus the object, Genesis 13:15, Genesis 21:13, Genesis 35:12, Genesis 47:21 (with the Samaritan and LXX read perhaps הֶֹֽעֱבִיד‎); 1 Samuel 25:29; a specification of place, Genesis 2:17, 2 Kings 22:18, &c.; a substantive with לְ‎, 1 Samuel 9:20, 2 Samuel 6:23; cf. the examples in §135a.—In Numbers 15:29 a dative is co-ordinated with the casus pendens, i.e. there is a transition to a different construction.

2. To compound sentences belong also the numerous examples already treated in the account of the tenses, where the predicate of a casus pendens is introduced by the wāw apodosis. The isolation and prominence of the principal subject is in this case still more marked than in the instances treated above; on the casus pendens with a following imperfect consecutive (e.g. Jeremiah 6:19, Jeremiah 33:24), cf. §111h; with a following perfect consecutive (e.g. Exodus 4:21, Exodus 12:44, Numbers 23:3, 1 Samuel 25:27, 2 Samuel 14:10, Isaiah 9:4, Isaiah 56:6 f.), §112t and mm; on the participle as casus pendens, §112oo and §116w.—In Job 15:17 wāw apodosis follows with the cohortative; in Job 23:12, Psalms 115:7, the imperfect is separated by לֹא‎ from the wāw apodosis; in Job 4:6 as for thy hope, it is the integrity of thy ways, 36:26, Ecclesiastes 5:6, an incomplete noun-clause is appended by wāw apodosis. On wāw apodosis after disconnected specifications of time, cf. §112oo at the end, and Genesis 40:9, 2 Samuel 15:34 וְעַתָּה וַֽאֲנִי עַבְדֶּ֫ךָ‎ and now (so far as the present is concerned) I will be thy servant, Numbers 12:12, Jeremiah 4:1 (me thou needest not fear).

3. Sometimes a substantive introduced by לְ‎ (in respect to; cf. §119u) serves the same purpose as the casus pendens beginning the sentence, as Numbers 18:8 (unless the לְ‎ here serves to introduce the object, according to §117n); Isaiah 32:1 (where, however, וְשָׂרִים‎ should most probably be read); Ecclesiastes 9:4, 1 Chronicles 7:1, 1 Chronicles 24:20 ff., 2 Chronicles 7:21. On the other hand, Psalms 16:3, Psalms 17:4, Psalms 32:6, Psalms 89:19, Psalms 119:91, are very doubtful. The suggestion of P. Haupt (Johns Hopkins University Circulars, xiii. no. 114; Baltimore, 1894) also deserves attention, that in passages like Ecclesiastes 9:4, and in לְכֹל‎ Genesis 9:10, Genesis 23:10, Exodus 27:3, 19, Ezekiel 44:9, &c., לְ‎ is not the preposition, but an emphasizing particle, answering to the Arab. lă, surely; Assyrian ; with בֹּל‎ it is equivalent to in short. Cf. also לְ־לְ‎ sive—sive, et—et, Joshua 17:16, Ezra 1:11, Assyrian .

  1. In Genesis 31:40 a verbal-clause (הָיִ֫יתִי‎ I was) occurs instead of the subject, and is then explained by another verbal-clause.
  2. In 1 Chronicles 28:2 (cf. also 22:7 אֲנִי הָיָה עִם־לְבָבִי‎) אֲנִי‎ might also be taken as strengthening the pronominal suffix which follows (equivalent to I myself had it in my mind), as e.g. Ezekiel 33:17 whereas their own way is not equal; cf. §135f.
  3. Cf. the Mêšaʿ inscription, l. 31, and Ḥoronain, therein dwelt, &c.
  4. But this term must not (any more than that formerly used ‘the subject preceding absolutely’) be misunderstood to mean that the principal subject is, as it were, floating in the air, and that the whole sentence results in an anacoluthon. On the contrary, to the Semitic mind, such sentences appear quite as correctly formed as ordinary noun- and verbal-clauses.
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