Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, April 13th, 2024
the Second Week after Easter
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 156

§156. Circumstantial Clauses.

1. The statement of the particular circumstances under which a subject appears as performing some action, or under which an action (or an occurrence) is accomplished, is made especially (apart from relative clauses, see § 155) by means of noun-clauses connected by Wāw with a following subject (see further on this kind of circumstantial clause in §141e), and by verbal-clauses (see §142d). Very frequently, however, such statements of the particular circumstances are subordinated to the main clause by being simply attached, without Wāw, either as noun-clauses, sometimes extremely short (see c), or as verbal-clauses (see d–g).

Rem. Among relative clauses of this kind the commonest are the various noun-clauses, which are most closely subordinated to a preceding substantive without אֲשֶׁר‎, e.g. Genesis 16:12; also statements of weight, Genesis 24:22; of name, Job 1:1 (also introduced by וּשְׁמוֹ‎ Genesis 24:29, 1 Samuel 1:1, &c., or וּשְׁמָהּ‎ Genesis 16:1, Genesis 22:24, &c.); of a condition of body, Judges 1:7, and others.—Noun-clauses which begin with wāw and the predicate have a somewhat more independent character than those introduced by wāw and the subject[1] (Genesis 19:1, &c.). The former, however, are also to be regarded as circumstantial clauses, in so far as they describe a state which is simultaneous with the principal action; thus Isaiah 3:7 I will not be an healer, וּבְבֵיתִי אֵין לֶ֫חֶם‎ while in my house is neither bread nor clothing; Isaiah 6:6 (Amos 7:7); 2 Samuel 13:18, 2 Samuel 16:1. Cf. also the instances in §152l of וְאֵין‎ followed by a participle, as וְאֵין מַצִּיל‎, &c.

2. Characteristic examples of circumstantial noun-clauses are Genesis 12:8 and pitched his tent בֵּֽית־אֵל מִיָם וְהָעַי מִקֶּ֫דֶם‎ with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; Numbers 22:24, 2 Samuel 18:14 through the heart of Absalom, עוֹדֶנּ֫וּ חַי‎ while he was yet alive; Jeremiah 30:6, Ezekiel 9:2 (cf. Song of Solomon 3:8), Nahum 3:8, Zechariah 14:5, 2 Chronicles 23:10; with the predicate preceding, e.g. 1 Samuel 26:13, Psalms 32:8.—In Genesis 41:29 a noun-clause serves to announce a state in the future.—We may also include here certain set phrases, as פָּנִים אֶל־פָּנִים‎ face to face (prop. while face was turned towards face), Genesis 32:31, Exodus 33:11, Deuteronomy 34:10, &c.;[2] so also to cast oneself down, אַפַּ֫יִם אָֽרְצָה‎ the face being turned to the earth, Genesis 19:1, &c. (for אָֽרְצָה‎ we find אֶ֫רֶץ‎ in 1 Kings 1:31, Isaiah 49:23).[3]—Cf. finally the formula אֵם עַל־בָּנִים‎ mother with children, Genesis 32:12; cf. Hosea 10:14 and §119aa note 2.

Rem. On circumlocutions of this kind to express negative attributes by means of short noun-clauses (complete or incomplete), cf. §152u.

3. As circumstantial verbal-clauses,[4] we find (1) sometimes affirmative clauses (see below), but far more frequently (2) negative clauses (see f), and among these (3) a certain number of expressions which may be regarded simply as equivalent to negative adverbial ideas (see g).

Examples of (1) Isaiah 5:11 b woe unto them, that tarry late in the evening, יַ֫יִן יַדְלִיקֵם‎ while wine inflames them; Isaiah 1:5, Isaiah 10:24, Isaiah 30:31, Jeremiah 7:26, Jeremiah 20:15, Psalms 4:3, Psalms 5:12, Psalms 21:13, Psalms 62:5. The circumstantial verbal-clause is used to particularize an action which has before been expressed generally, in Genesis 44:12, Genesis 48:14=crossing his hands; Deuteronomy 2:27, Judges 6:19; antithetically, 1 Kings 13:18 כִּחֵשׁ לוֹ‎ wherewith however he lied unto him. The verbal-clause seems to assign a reason in Psalms 7:7 מִשְׁפָּט צִוִּ֫יתָ‎ since thou hast commanded judgement; a consequence in Psalms 103:5.[5]

Rem. On the cases in which an imperfect in the sense of a final clause is subordinated to a verb of motion (generally קוּם‎), see §120c.

Of (2), subordinate verbal-clauses with לֹא‎ (in English usually rendered by without and the gerund, if the subject be the same as in the principal clause), e.g. Leviticus 1:17 לֹא יַבְדִּיל‎ without dividing it asunder; Job 31:34; לֹא‎ with the perfect is so used in Genesis 44:4, Exodus 34:28, 1 Samuel 30:2, Job 20:26 (without its being blown upon it). With a different subject, equivalent to a consecutive clause in English, Isaiah 27:9 לֹֽא־יָקֻ֫מוּ‎ so that they shall rise up no more.—Moreover, verbal-clauses in the same sense (without doing, &c.) are frequently connected by וְלֹא‎; cf. 1 Samuel 20:2, Job 24:22, Job 42:3; in a concessive sense, Isaiah 33:1, Psalms 44:18.

Of (3), cf. לֹא יֵדַע‎ (prop. he knows it not) unawares, Psalms 35:8, Proverbs 5:6 לֹא יַחְמֹל‎ unsparingly, Isaiah 30:14 (after an infinitive absolute); Habakkuk 1:17, Job 6:10 (but וְלֹא יַחְמֹל‎ Job 16:13, Job 27:22; see f at the end); לֹא כִחֵ֑דוּ‎ (prop. they hide not) openly, Isaiah 3:9 (but Job 15:18 וְלֹא כִחֲדוּ‎); בְּלִי חָשָׂ֑ךְ‎ (prop. he restrains not) unceasingly, Isaiah 14:6; בַּל־יִמּוֹט‎ Job 41:15 (Psalms 93:1 בַּל־תִּמִּוֹט‎) and לֹא יִמּוֹט‎ Isaiah 40:20 (without tottering) immovably; cf. also לֹא אֶמְעָ֑ד‎ without wavering, Psalms 26:1.

  1. In Deuteronomy 32:31 this form of sequence appears to be selected for another purpose, and indeed our enemies are judges thereof, with wāw emphatic; to take it as a circumstantial clause is too artificial.
  2. The expression הִתְרָאָה פָנִים‎ to look one another in the face (i.e. to contend in combat) 2 Kings 14:8, 11, 2 Chronicles 25:17, 21, is probably only a shortened form for הִתְרָאָה פָנִים אֶל־פָּנִים‎.
  3. That (אֶ֫רֶץ) אָֽרְצָה‎ is really to be regarded as a virtual predicate to אַפַּ֫יִם‎, and not אַפַּ֫יִם‎ as a casus instrumenti, is seen from Isaiah 49:23, where אַפַּ֫יִם אֶ֫רֶץ‎ precedes the verb.
  4. Some examples of these have been already discussed in another connexion above, §120a–c.
  5. In Genesis 21:14 the circumstantial verbal-clause שָׂם עַל־שִׁכְמָהּ‎ is only due to a harmonizing transposition; read וְאֶת־הַיֶּ֫לֶד שׂ׳ ע׳ שׁ׳‎. According to the source used in cap. 21 Ishmael was still a young child; according to 17:25 he was about 16 or 17 years old.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile