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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 146

§146. Construction of Compound Subjects.

1. When the subject is composed of a nomen regens (in the construct state) with a following genitive, the predicate sometimes agrees in gender and number not with the nomen regens, but with the genitive, when this represents the principal idea of the compound subject.[1] Thus 1 Samuel 2:4 קֶ֫שֶׁת גִּבֹּרִים הַתִּים‎ the bow of the mighty men is broken, as if it were the mighty men with their bow are broken; Exodus 26:12, Leviticus 13:9, 1 Kings 1:41 (but the text is clearly very corrupt), 17:16, Isaiah 2:11, Isaiah 21:17, Zechariah 8:10, Job 15:20, Job 21:21, Job 29:10, Job 32:7 (רֹב שָׁנִים‎ equivalent to many years); 38:21; with the predicate preceding, 2 Samuel 10:9, unless it is to be explained according to §145k.

Rem. 1. The cases in which קוֹל‎ (voice, sound) with a following genitive stands at the beginning of a sentence, apparently in this construction, are really of a different kind. The קוֹל‎ is there to be taken as an exclamation, and the supposed predicate as in apposition to the genitive, e.g. Genesis 4:10 the voice of thy brother’s blood, which crieth (prop. as one crying)...!=hark! thy brother’s blood is crying, &c.; Isaiah 13:4, Isaiah 66:6. In Isaiah 52:8 an independent verbal-clause follows the exclamation the voice of thy watchmen!; in Jeremiah 10:22 and Song of Solomon 2:8 an independent noun-clause; in Isaiah 40:3 קוֹל קֹרֵא‎ the voice of one that crieth! i.e. hark! there is one crying is followed immediately by direct speech; in Micah 6:9 קוֹל‎ hark! may be used disconnectedly (cf. the almost adverbial use of קוֹל‎ in §144m) and יְהֹוָה‎ be taken as the subject to יִקְרָא‎.

2. When the substantive כֹּל‎ (כָּל־‎) entirety is used in connexion with a genitive as subject of the sentence, the predicate usually agrees in gender and number with the genitive, since כֹּל‎ is equivalent in sense to an attribute (whole, all) of the genitive; hence, e.g. with the predicate preceding, Genesis 5:5 וַיִּֽהְיוּ כָּל־יְמֵי אָדָם‎ and all the days of Adam were, &c. (in 5:23, 9:29, וַיְהִי‎; but the Samaritan reads ויהיו‎ here also); Exodus 15:20; with the predicate following, Psalms 150:6, &c. Exceptions are, e.g. Leviticus 17:14 (but cf. §145l), Joshua 8:25, Isaiah 64:10, Proverbs 16:2, Nahum 3:7. On the other hand, in such cases as Exodus 12:16 the agreement of the predicate with כָּל־‎ is explained from the stress laid upon the latter, כָּל־מְלָאכָה לֹא‎ being equivalent to the whole of work (is forbidden).

2. When the subject of the sentence consists of several nouns connected by wāw copulative, usually

(a) The predicate following is put in the plural, e.g. Genesis 8:22 seed time and harvest, and cold and heat... shall not cease (לֹא יִשְׁבֹּ֫תוּ‎); after subjects of different genders it is in the masculine (as the prior gender, cf. §132d), e.g. Genesis 18:11 אַבְרָהָם וְשָׂרָה זְקֵנִים‎ Abraham and Sarah were old; Deuteronomy 28:32, 1 Kings 1:21.

Rem. Rare exceptions are Proverbs 27:9 שֶׁ֫מֶן וּקְטֹ֫רֶת יְשַׂמַּח־לֵב‎ ointment and perfume rejoice the heart, where the predicate agrees in gender with the masculine שֶׁ֫מֶן‎ (as in Isaiah 51:3 with שָׂשׂוֹן‎); on the other hand, in Exodus 21:4 (where הָֽאִשָּׁה וִֽילָדֶ֫יהָ‎ are the subjects) it agrees with הָֽאִשָּׁה‎ as being the principal person; in the compound sentence, Isaiah 9:4, it agrees with the feminine subject immediately preceding.[2]

(b) The predicate preceding two or more subjects may likewise be used in the plural (Genesis 40:1, Job 3:5, &c.); not infrequently, however, it agrees in gender and number with the first, as being the subject nearest to it. Thus the predicate is put in the singular masculine before several masculines singular in Genesis 9:23, Genesis 11:29, Genesis 21:32, Genesis 24:50, Genesis 34:20, Judges 14:5; before a masculine and a feminine singular, e.g. Genesis 3:8, Genesis 24:55 then said (וַיּאֹ֫מֶר‎) her brother and her mother; 33:7; before a masculine singular and a plural, e.g. Genesis 7:7 וַיָּבֹא נֹחַ וּבָנָיו‎ and Noah went in, and his sons, &c.; Genesis 8:18 (where feminines plural also follow); 44:14, Exodus 15:1, 2 Samuel 5:21; before collectives feminine and masculine, 2 Samuel 12:2.

Similarly, the feminine singular occurs before several feminines singular, e.g. Genesis 31:14 וַתַּ֫עַן רָחֵל וְלֵאָה‎ then answered Rachel and Leah; before a feminine singular and a feminine plural, e.g. Genesis 24:61; before a feminine singular and a masculine singular, Numbers 12:1 וַתְּדַבֵּר מִרְיָם וְאַֽהֲרוֹן‎ then spake Miriam and Aaron; Judges 5:1; before a feminine singular and a masculine plural, e.g. Genesis 33:7 (cf., on the other hand, Psalms 75:4 נְמֹגִים אֶ֫רֶץ וְכָל־יֽשְׁבֶ֫יהָ‎ dissolved are the earth and all the inhabitants thereof). The plural feminine occurs before a plural feminine and a plural masculine in Amos 8:13.—In Jeremiah 44:25 for אַתֶּם וּנְשֵׁיכֶם‎ read אַתֶּם הַנָּשִׁים‎ with the LXX, and cf. verse 19.

(c) When other predicates follow after the subjects have been mentioned, they are necessarily put in the plural; cf. Genesis 21:32, Genesis 24:61, Genesis 31:14, Genesis 33:7, &c., and §145s.
§147. Incomplete Sentences.

1. Sentences are called incomplete, in which either the subject or the predicate or beth must in some way be supplied from the context.[3] Besides the instances enumerated in §116s (omission of the personal pronoun when subject of a participial clause) and the periphrases for negative attributes §152u, this description includes certain (noun-) clauses introduced by הִנֵּה‎ (see b below), and also a number of exclamations of the most varied kinds (see c below).

Rem. Incomplete sentences are very common in Chronicles, but are mostly due to the bad condition of the text; cf. Driver, Introd.6, p. 537, no. 27. Thus in 2 Chronicles 11:22b restore חָשַׁב‎, with the LXX, before לְהַמְלִיכוֹ‎; in 35:21 add בָּ֫אתִי‎, with the LXX, after הַיּוֹם‎ and read פְּרָת‎ for בֵּית‎; in 2 Chronicles 19:6 and 28:21 the pronoun הוּא‎ is wanted as subject, and in 30:9 the predicate יִֽהְיוּ‎; cf. also the unusual expressions in 1 Chronicles 9:33 (Ezra 3:3), 1 Chronicles 15:13 (ye were not present?), 2 Chronicles 15:3, 2 Chronicles 16:10, 12 (bis), 18:3.

2. The demonstrative particle הֵן‎, הִנֵּה‎ en, ecce may be used either absolutely (as a kind of interjection, cf. §105b) before complete noun-or verbal-clauses, e.g. Genesis 28:15 וְהִנֵּה אָֽנֹכִי עִמָּךְ‎ and, behold! I am with thee; 37:7, 48:21, Exodus 3:13, Exodus 34:10, or may take the pronoun, which would be the natural subject of a noun-clause, in the form of a suffix, see §100o. Whether these suffixes are to be regarded as in the accusative has been shown to be doubtful in §100p. However, in the case of הִנֵּה‎ the analogy of the corresponding Arabic demonstrative particle ’inna (followed by an accusative of the noun) is significant.[4] If הִנֵּה‎ with a suffix and a following adjective or participle (see the examples in §116p and q) forms a noun-clause, the subject proper, to which הִנֵּה‎ with the suffix refers, must, strictly speaking, be supplied again before the predicate.[5] Sometimes, however, the pronoun referring to the subject is wanting, and the simple הִנֵּה‎ takes the place of the

  1. Sometimes, however, the attraction of the predicate to the genitive may be merely due to juxtaposition.
  2. Similarly with a mixed object, Genesis 33:2 he put... Leah and her children אַֽחֲרֹנִים‎ after; אַֽחֲרֹנִים‎ agrees with the masculine immediately preceding.
  3. This does not apply to such cases as Genesis 33:8, where an infinitive with לְ‎ appears alone in answer to a question, the substance of the question being presupposed as a main clause; cf. also Genesis 26:7, where הִיא‎ must again be supplied after אִשְׁתִּי‎.
  4. On the same analogy any substantive following הִנֵּה‎ would have to be regarded as originally a virtual accusative. Since, however, Hebrew does not possess case-terminations (as the Arabic does, and uses the accusative necessarily after ’inna), it is very doubtful whether, and how far, substantives following הִנֵּה‎ were felt to be accusatives.
  5. That these are real noun-clauses and that the participle (e.g. מֵת‎ in הִנְּךָ מֵת‎ Genesis 20:8) cannot be taken as a second accusative (as it were ecce te moriturum), is also shown by the analogy of Arabic, where after ’inna with an accusative the predicate is expressly in the nominative.
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