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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 161

§161. Comparative Clauses.

1. A comparison between two facts is sometimes established by simply uniting them with wāw copulative, especially in gnomic poetry, when facts of a moral nature are compared with those of the physical world, e.g. Job 5:7 man is born unto trouble, and the sons of flame fly upward, i.e. as the sparks by nature fly upward, so man, &c.; Job 12:11 (in an interrogative form; in 34:3 the same comparison as a statement); 14:11 f., Proverbs 17:3, Proverbs 25:3, Proverbs 26:3, 9, 14, 27:21, &c.[1] Even without the connecting וְ‎ Job 24:19 drought and heat consume the snow waters, שְׁאוֹל חָטָ֫אוּ‎ so doth Sheol those who have sinned (cf. §155n); cf. Jeremiah 17:11.

2. The conjunction כַּֽאֲשֶׁר‎ (cf. §155g; the simple אֲשֶׁר‎ occurs in the same sense in Exodus 10:6, Exodus 14:13, Exodus 34:18) as, quemadmodum, is used as a comparative conjunction (Obadiah 1:15), frequently with כֵּן‎ so, corresponding to it in the apodosis, Isaiah 31:4, Isaiah 52:14 f.. Sometimes, however, כֵּן‎ (so also) occurs even after independent statements, Isaiah 55:9, Jeremiah 3:20.—Exact coincidence of two facts is expressed in Ecclesiastes 5:15 by כָּל־עֻמַּת שָׁ·‎[2] in all points as.

Rem. On the use of כְּ‍‎ as, with single nouns or pronouns to introduce comparisons, cf. 118 s; on the alleged use of כְּ‍‎ as a conjunction (equivalent to כַּֽאֲשֶׁר‎), cf. §155g.—It is to be further remarked that כְּ‍‎כְּ‍‎ when used in correspondence with one another, as—so (e.g. Leviticus 7:7, Judges 8:18, Isaiah 24:2, Hosea 4:9; also so—as, Genesis 18:25, Genesis 44:18, Deuteronomy 1:17, 1 Kings 22:4; in Joshua 14:11, 1 Samuel 30:24 וּךְ‎ךְּ‎; Psalms 127:4 and often, כֵּן‎כְּ‍‎, cf. Joel 2:4), are not to be regarded as conjunctions, but as virtual substantives with a following genitive; כָּכֶם כַּגֵּר יִֽהְיֶה‎ Numbers 15:15 properly means the like of you shall be the like of the stranger, i.e. your duty shall be (also) the stranger’s duty; cf. Leviticus 24:22.

  1. On this wāw adaequationis, and in general on these proverbial comparisons, see Delitzsch, Das Salomonische Spruchbuch, p. 9 f. Moreover, instead of entire clauses, the nouns alone (without predicates) are frequently grouped together, e.g. Proverbs 25:25, Proverbs 26:21, Proverbs 27:21 (called by Delitzsch, the ‘emblematic Mashal’). The expressions נֶחְשַׁב עִם‎ prop. to be counted with some one, Psalms 88:5, and נִטְשַׁל עִם‎ to be likened with some one, Psalms 28:1, Psalms 143:7, also arise from the idea of comparison implied in grouping things together. On this use of עִם‎ cf. Job 9:26, where with is equivalent to like.
  2. In spite of its form this particle has originally nothing to do with כֹּל‎, כָּל־‎ all. The expression is compounded of כְּ‍‎ and לְעֻמַּת‎, like the Aramaic כָּל־קֳבֵל‎ for כְּלָֽקֳבֵל‎; cf. M. Lambert, REJ. xxx. 47.
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