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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 147

§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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] Sometimes, however, the pronoun referring to the subject is wanting, and the simple הִנֵּה‎ takes the place of the subject and copula (as Gn 189 הִנֵּה בָאֹ֫הֶל‎ behold she is in the tent; 42:28), or there is no indication whatever of the predicate, so that the sentence is limited to הִנֵּה‎ with the suffix, as in the frequent use of הִנֵּ֫נִי‎, הִנֶּ֫נִּי‎ here am I, in answer to an address. Elsewhere a substantive follows הִנֵּה‎ (or הֵן‎ Genesis 11:6, Job 31:35), and הִנֵּה‎ then includes the meaning of a demonstrative pronoun and the copula, e.g. Genesis 22:7 הִנֵּה הָאֵשׁ וְהָֽעֵצִים‎ here is the fire and the wood, &c.; 12:19 behold thou hast thy wife! Exodus 24:8; with reference to the past, e.g. Amos 7:1 וְהִנֵּה לֶ֫קֶשׁ וג׳‎ and lo, it was the latter growth, &c. By a very pregnant construction the simple הִנֵּה‎ is used as the equivalent of a sentence in Job 9:19, lo, here am I!

3. Examples of exclamations (threatening, complaining, triumphing, especially warlike or seditious) in which, owing to the excitement of the speaker, some indispensable member of the sentence is suppressed, are—(a) with suppression of the predicate (which has frequently to be supplied in the form of a jussive), e.g. Judges 7:20 a sword for the Lord and for Gideon! (verse 18 without חֶ֫רֶב‎); 2 Samuel 20:1 and 2 Chronicles 10:16 (cf. also 1 Kings 22:36) every man to his tents, O Israel! (i.e. let every man go to or remain in his tent); without אִישׁ‎ 1 Kings 12:16; moreover, Isaiah 1:28, Isaiah 13:4 (on the exclamatory קוֹל‎ equivalent to hark! cf. §146b); 28:10, 29:16 (הַפְכְּכֶם‎ O your perversity! i.e. how great it is!); Jeremiah 49:16 (if תִּפְלַצְתְּךָ‎ be equivalent to terror be upon thee!); Joel 4:14, Malachi 1:13 (הִנֵּה מַתְּלָאָה‎ behold what a weariness!); Job 22:29; perhaps also Genesis 49:4 פַּ֫חַז כַּמַּ֫יִם‎ a bubbling over as water (sc. happened), unless it is better to supply a subject אַתָּה‎ (thou wast).—(b) With suppression of the subject, Judges 4:20, cf. §152k; Job 15:23 אַיֵּה‎ where sc. is bread?—(c) With suppression of both subject and predicate, Judges 7:18 (see above); 1 Kings 12:16 (see above); 2 Kings 9:27 גַּם אֹתוֹ‎ him also! explained immediately afterwards by הַכֻּהוּ‎ smite him! Hosea 5:8 after thee, Benjamin! sc. is the enemy (differently in Judges 5:14); Psalms 6:4, Psalms 90:13, Habakkuk 2:6 עַד־מָתַי‎; Psalms 74:9 עַד־מָה‎.—On וָלֹא‎ and if not (unless וְלוּ‎ is to be read), 2 Samuel 13:26, 2 Kings 5:17, see § 158 dd.

Rem. 1. To the class of incomplete sentences naturally belong exclamations introduced by interjections אֲהָהּ‎, אוֹי‎, הוֹי‎, הַס‎;[4] cf. § 105. After the first two the object of the threat or imprecation follows regularly with לְ‎ (cf. vae tibi) or אֶל־‎ or עַל־‎, e.g. אוֹי לָ֫נוּ‎ woe unto us! 1 Samuel 4:8, Isaiah 6:5; cf. also אֲהָהּ לַיּוֹם‎ alas for the day! Joel 1:15; on the other hand, the object of commiseration (after הוֹי‎) follows mostly in the vocative, or rather in the accusative of exclamation (cf. vae te in Plautus); so in lamentation for the dead, הוֹי אָחִי‎ alas, my brother! 1 Kings 13:30, Jeremiah 22:18; הוֹי גּוֹי חֹטֵא‎ ah, sinful nation! Isaiah 1:4, Isaiah 5:811182022 (ah! they that...).— For הַס‎ cf. Habakkuk 2:20, Zephaniah 1:7, Zechariah 2:17.

2. Finally, instances of noun-clauses shortened in an unusual manner may perhaps occur in יְדֵיהֶם‎ and רַגְלֵיהֶם‎ Psalms 115:7, for יָדַ֫יִם לָהֶם‎ they have hands, &c.; cf. verses 5 and 6 פֶּֽה־לָהֶם‎, &c. Perhaps also וּפִֽילַגְשׁוֹ‎ Genesis 22:24, and וְחָלְיוֹ‎ Ecclesiastes 5:16 are to be regarded in the same way, but hardly נְבִֽיאֲכֶם‎ Numbers 12:6; cf. §128d above.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. We do not consider here the cases in which these interjections (e.g. הַם‎ Judges 3:19, Amos 6:10) stand quite disconnectedly (so always אָח‎ and הֶאָח‎).
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