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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 158

§158. Causal Clauses.

A complete clause, assigning the reason for statements, demands, threats, &c., sometimes follows with the simple wāw copulative, e.g. Psalms 60:13 give us help against the adversary, and (for) vain is the help of man; Genesis 6:17 (וַֽאֲנִי‎), 22:12, Exodus 23:9, Job 22:12, perhaps also Psalms 7:10; or even without Wāw, e.g. Genesis 17:14. As a rule, however, special conjunctions in various combinations are used to introduce causal clauses.

The most common causal conjunctions are יַ֫עַן כִּי‎ Isaiah 3:16, &c., and יַ֫עַן אֲשֶׁר‎ because, prop. on account of the fact that; both, however, may also be shortened to the simple יַ֫עַן‎ Numbers 20:12, &c., or to כִּי‎ because, Genesis 3:14, 17, &c., or to אֲשֶׁר‎ Genesis 30:18, Genesis 31:49, Genesis 34:13, 27, 1 Samuel 15:15, 1 Samuel 20:42, 1 Samuel 26:16, 23, 1 Kings 3:19, 1 Kings 8:33, Hosea 14:4, Zechariah 1:15; also בַּֽאֲשֶׁר‎ Genesis 39:9, 23. On the other hand, the simple יָ֫עַן‎ is sometimes repeated for emphasis, יָ֫עַן וּבְיַ֫עַן‎ (something like the German sintemal und alldieweil) Leviticus 26:43, Ezekiel 13:10 (without וּ‎ 36:3); also עַל־אֲשֶׁר‎ 2 Samuel 3:30, and עַל־כִּי‎[1] Deuteronomy 31:17, Judges 3:12, Malachi 2:14 on the ground that; עַל־דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר‎ because of the circumstance that, Deuteronomy 23:5; עַל־כָּל־אֹדוֹת אֲשֶׁר‎ for this very cause that, Jeremiah 3:8. But just as the simple יַ֫עַן‎ is used for יַ֫עַן אֲשֶׁר‎, so also the simple עַל־‎ with the perfect stands for עַל־אֲשֶׁר‎ Psalms 119:136, Ezra 3:11; cf. עַל־בְּלִי‎ Genesis 31:20 and מִבְּלִי‎ Deuteronomy 28:55 both with the perfect, equivalent to because... not.—Cf. further עֵ֫קֶב אֲשֶׁר‎ Genesis 22:18, Genesis 26:5, 2 Samuel 12:6, all with the perfect, and עֵ֫קֶב כִּי‎ (2 Samuel 12:10 with the perfect; Amos 4:12 with the imperfect) prop. in return for the fact that; similarly again the simple עֵ֫קֶב‎ Numbers 14:24 with the perfect, and Deuteronomy 7:12, Deuteronomy 8:20 with the imperfect; finally, מֵֽאֲשֶׁר‎ Isaiah 43:4 arising from the fact that,= because; תַּ֫חַת אֲשֶׁר‎ 1 Samuel 26:21, &c., and תַּ֫חַת כִּי‎ Deuteronomy 4:37, Proverbs 1:29 for the reason that.

Rem. 1. The preposition עַל־‎ (because of, on account of) with the infinitive (§114e) is frequently used as the equivalent of a full causal clause; cf. e.g. Amos 1:3, 6, 13, 2:1, 6. Such a construction with the infinitive may, however, according to §114r, be continued by means of a finite verb, in which case עַל־‎ governs the verb as a conjunction; e.g. Amos 1:9 עַל־הַסְגִּירָם... וְלֹא זָֽכְרוּ‎ because they delivered up... and remembered not, &c.; 1:11, 2:4; without Wāw, Isaiah 30:14.

2. The choice of tense is regulated by the general principles stated in § 106 ff., viz. the perfect (cf. especially §106f) refers to causes already brought fully into effect, the imperfect to those which may contingently arise; cf. e.g. Deuteronomy 7:12, Deuteronomy 8:20, 1 Kings 8:33, where the imperfect leaves the possibility still open that the persons addressed will perhaps escape the threatened punishments by avoiding disobedience.—Cf. further, §111h on the imperfect consecutive, and §112nn on the perfect consecutive in the apodosis to causal clauses.

  1. Also כִּֽי־עַל־כֵּן‎ prop. for therefore, Genesis 18:5, Genesis 19:8, Genesis 33:10, Genesis 38:26, Numbers 10:31, Numbers 14:43, 2 Samuel 18:20 Qe, and אֲשֶׁר עַל־כֵּן‎ Job 34:27, always mean for as much as.
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