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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 157

§157. Object-Clauses (Oratio Obliqua).

Clauses which depend on a transitive verb, especially on what are called verba cordis, i.e. verbs denoting any mental act, such as to see, to hear, to know, to perceive, to believe, to remember, to forget, to say, to think, &c., may be subordinated to the governing verb without the help of a conjunction by simple juxtaposition (§120a), or they may be co-ordinated with it either with or without wāw copulative (§120d–h). As a rule, however, the objective clause is introduced by the conjunction כִּי‎ that, less frequently by אֲשֶׁר‎ that.[1]


(a) Object-clauses without a conjunction. Besides the passages mentioned in § 120 (especially under e) there are a number of examples, in which a clause depending on a verbum dicendi or sentiendi (the oratio obliqua of the Latin and English Grammar) is added in the form of an independent noun-clause or verbal-clause; e.g. Genesis 12:13 אִמְרִי־נָא אֲחֹ֫תִי אָ֑תְּ‎ say, I pray thee, thou art my sister; Psalms 10:13, Job 25:3a.14, Nehemiah 6:6; Zechariah 8:23 (after שָׁמַע‎); Psalms 9:21 (after יָדַע‎); verbal-clauses, e.g. Psalms 50:21 thou thoughtest הֱיֽוֹת־אְהְיֶה כָמ֫וֹךָ‎ I was surely like thyself [but read הָיוֹ‎ for הֱיוֹת‎]; Genesis 41:15, Judges 9:48 what ye have seen me do; Isaiah 48:8, Hosea 7:2.

(b) Object-clauses introduced by כִּי‎, e.g. Genesis 6:5 וַיַּרְא יְהֹוָה כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָֽאָדָם‎ and the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great, &c.—Direct narration also is very frequently introduced by כִּי‎ (analogous to the ὅτι recitativum; frequently, indeed, with the secondary idea of a particle of asseveration, as in Genesis 26:9, Genesis 27:20), e.g. Genesis 21:30, Genesis 22:16 f., 26:22, 29:32, 37:35, Joshua 2:24, &c., even when the direct narration is not expressly indicated, Genesis 4:25, Genesis 32:31, Genesis 41:51 f., Exodus 18:4.—On the expression of a second object by means of a clause introduced by כִּי‎, see §117h.[2]

(c) Object-clauses introduced by אֲשֶׁר‎, e.g. Esther 3:4 כִּֽי־הִגִּיד לָהֶם אֲשֶׁר־הוּא יְהוּדִי‎ for he had told them that he was a Jew; 1 Samuel 18:15, Ezekiel 20:26, Ecclesiastes 8:12,[3] even before direct narration, 1 Samuel 15:20, 2 Samuel 1:4. Somewhat frequently אֲשְׁר‎ is preceded by the nota accusativi אֶת־‎ (equivalent to the circumstance, the fact, that), e.g. Joshua 2:10, 1 Samuel 24:11, 19, 2 Samuel 11:20, Isaiah 38:3, but in Genesis 30:29, Deuteronomy 29:15 equivalent to the way in which.

  1. On these clauses with כִּי‎ and אֲשֶׁר‎ and generally on clauses which we should render as subordinate, cf. P. Dörwald ‘Zur hebr. Syntax’ in Neue Jahrbb. für Philol. und Pädag. 1890, p. 115 ff.
  2. Instead of a complete objective clause we sometimes find a kind of accusative and infinitive construction, especially after נָתַן‎ (prop. to give up) in the sense of to allow, e.g. Numbers 21:23 וְלֹֽא־נָתַן סִיחֹן אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבֹר בִּגְבֻלוֹ‎ and Sihon did not suffer Israel to pass through his border; 20:21; followed by an infinitive with לְ‎, e.g. Genesis 20:6, Genesis 31:7, Exodus 3:19.—Cf. also the analogous examples in Deuteronomy 28:56 (after נִסָּה‎ to venture; see §113d); Judges 11:20 (afterהָֽאֱמִין‎ to trust); 1 Kings 19:4 (after שָׁאַל‎ to request).
  3. In Jeremiah 28:9 a subject-clause is thus introduced by אֲשֶׁר‎ instead of the usual כִּי‎.
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