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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 154

§154. Sentences connected by Wāw.

Wāw copulativum[1] (וְ‎) serves to connect two or more sentences, or single words (on its various vocalization, cf. §104d–g). Its use, however, is by no means restricted merely to joining sentences which are actually co-ordinate. Frequently the language employs merely the simple connexion by Wāw, even to introduce an antithesis (Genesis 17:21, Genesis 19:19, Leviticus 2:12, Job 6:25, and very frequently in circumstantial noun-clauses), or when one of the two clauses is not co-ordinated, but subordinated to the other. On the use of וְ‎ to introduce circumstantial clauses, cf. especially §141e and §142d; introducing causal clauses, §158a; comparative clauses, §161a; final clauses, §165a; consecutive clauses, §166a. On wāw apodosis, cf. §143d, and the sections there cited; on the use of Wāw in numerical sayings, cf. §134s.

Rem. Sometimes wāw copulativum joins a sentence apparently to what immediately precedes, but in reality to a sentence which is suppressed and which must, therefore, be supplied from the context. So especially וְ‎ with imperatives to express inferences, e.g. 1 Kings 2:22 וְשַֽׁאֲלִי‎ ask now rather; Ezekiel 18:32 for I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth..., וָהָשִׁיבוּ‎ wherefore turn yourselves. Also at the beginning of a speech in loose connexion with an act or speech of another person, e.g. Exodus 2:20, 2 Samuel 18:11, 2 Samuel 24:3, 2 Kings 4:14, 41, 7:13, 2 Chronicles 25:9; cf. also Joshua 7:7 (וְלוּ‎), Psalms 2:10, Psalms 4:4, Isaiah 8:7. Sometimes the suppression of the protasis is due to passionate excitement or haste, which does not allow time for full expression; this is especially illustrated by Numbers 12:14, Numbers 20:3 (וְלוּ‎), 1 Samuel 10:12, 1 Samuel 15:14, 1 Samuel 22:14, 1 Samuel 28:16, 2 Samuel 18:12, 2 Samuel 24:3, 1 Kings 2:22 (וָלָ֫מָּה‎), 2 Kings 1:10, 2 Kings 7:19 (cf. verse 2); Isaiah 3:14, Zechariah 2:10, Psalms 2:6 (at the same time a circumstantial clause whereas I=and yet I have, &c.); cf. also a new clause beginning with the formula of wishing וּמִי‎ Numbers 11:29, Judges 9:29; on the disconnected use of וָלֹא‎ and וָיֵשׁ‎ cf. § 159 dd.

  1. For further particulars of the use of wāw copulativum, see Gesenius’ Thesaurus, i. 393 ff. On its use in the co-ordination of similar tenses and moods (e.g. five imperfects consecutive in Genesis 25:34, five perfects with וְגַם‎) as well as of dissimilar tenses and moods, the remarks made in the treatment of the tenses will suffice. With regard to the connexion of single nouns by וְ‎ (which strictly speaking is always really a contraction of so many clauses into a single sentence) the following observations may be made:—

    (a) Contrary to English usage, which in lengthy enumerations uses the and to connect only the last member of the series, in Hebrew polysyndeton is customary, as in Genesis 12:16 wāw copulativum six times, 24:35 seven times, 15:19 ff. nine times, and in Joshua 7:24 ten times. Sometimes, however, only the last two words are joined (so in a series of three members, Genesis 5:32, Genesis 10:1, Genesis 11:26, Genesis 13:2, Genesis 14:1, Genesis 30:39, &c.; the last three out of a series of four, Jeremiah 2:26); less frequently only the first two, Psalms 45:9; cf. §132d. The formula תְּמוֹל שִׁלְשׁוֹם‎ yesterday (and) the day before yesterday, Exodus 5:8, &c., is always without the copula. On the other hand, the constructio asyndetos in a series of verbs is used as a rhetorical expedient to produce a hurried and so an impassioned description; e.g. Judges 5:27 at her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay; Exodus 15:9, Deuteronomy 32:15, 1 Samuel 15:6, Jeremiah 4:7, Amos 5:21, Psalms 10:10, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 45:5, Job 20:19, Job 28:4, Job 29:8, Song of Solomon 2:11, Song of Solomon 5:6, &c.

    (b) Frequently wāw copulativum is also explanatory (like isque, et—quidem, and the German und zwar, English to wit), and is then called wāw explicativum, e.g. Genesis 4:4 and (i.e. namely) of the fat thereof (unless it is simply copulative); Exodus 24:12, Exodus 25:12 (to wit two); 27:14, 28:23, Judges 17:3 (in וּמַסֵּכָה‎; here as often elsewhere, to introduce an explanatory gloss, cf. Isaiah 17:8, Ezekiel 3:15, and especially P. Haupt, SBOT. Isaiah, p. 90, l. 21 ff.), 1 Samuel 17:34 and that too with the bear; 2 Samuel 13:20, Isaiah 57:11, Jeremiah 17:10, Amos 3:11, Amos 4:10, Ze 9:9, Proverbs 3:12, Nehemiah 8:13, 2 Chronicles 23:10 (but in 1 Samuel 28:3 the וּ‎ before בְּעִירוֹ‎ is to be omitted with the LXX); cf. also such combinations as וְעַד‎מִן‎ from... and even to..., Genesis 13:3, Genesis 14:23, Genesis 19:4, 11, &c.—In 1 Samuel 6:11 (see Driver on the passage), 2 Samuel 1:23, &c., ו‎ is equivalent to yea, and; in Isaiah 32:7 even.

    וְ‎ is used to express emphasis (=and especially), e.g. in Genesis 3:16 וְהֵֽרֹנֵךְ‎; Isaiah 2:1, Psalms 18:1, perhaps also in Job 10:17 yea, a whole host; 2 Chronicles 16:14.—An undoubted example of what is called wāw concomitantiae occurs in Job 41:12 a seething pot וְאַגְמֹן‎ with burning rushes; cf. Exodus 10:10 (with your little ones), 12:8, Leviticus 1:12, Isaiah 42:5. In Arabic this wāw concom. is followed by the accusative.

    וְ-וְ‎ is used in the sense of bothand in Psalms 76:7, Daniel 1:3, Daniel 8:13. On וְ-וְ‎ as meaning sivesive, cf. §162b.

    (c) See the Lexicon on adverbs used in a copulative sense, such as גַּם‎ also, moreover, summing up a number, e.g. גַּם־שְׁנַ֫יִם‎ both together, Genesis 27:45, Proverbs 17:15; גַּם־כֹּל‎ all together; as an intensive and, e.g. Genesis 30:8, Genesis 37:7, 1 Samuel 30:8; cf. also such examples as 1 Samuel 24:12 see, yea see! גַּם-גַּם‎ or גַּם-וְגַם‎ Genesis 24:44=bothand; גַּם‎ occurs three times in Genesis 24:25 and 32:20; also אַף‎, which is generally still more intensive, in the sense of also, in addition to this, even, and belongs rather to poetry, and to the later language; frequently also equivalent to a mere and, but sometimes adversative but now, Psalms 44:10, &c.; and אַף-אַף‎ (also three times), equivalent to both—and; cf. וְאַף גַּם‎ and even, Leviticus 26:44; אַף־כִּי‎ prop. add to this also that, equivalent to not to mention, according to the context either quanto magis or quanto minus.
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