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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 54

§54. Hithpaʿēl.

1. The Hithpaʿēl[1] is connected with Piʿēl, being formed by prefixing to the Piʿēl-stem (qaṭṭēl, qaṭṭal) the syllable הִתְ‎ (Western Aramaic אִתְ‎, but in Biblical Aramaic הִתְ‎; Syr. ’et[2] ). Like the preformative (הִנְ‍) נ‍‎ of Niphʿal, הִתְ‎ has also a reflexive force.

2. The ת‎ of the prefix in this conjugation, as also in Hothpaʿal (see h), Hithpôēl, Hithpa‛lēl and Hithpalpel (§ 55), under certain circumstances, suffers the following changes:

(a) When the stem begins with one of the harder sibilants ס‎, צ‍‎, or ש‎, the ת‎ and the sibilant change places (cf. on this metathesis, §19n), and at the same time the ת‎ after a צ‍‎ becomes the corresponding emphatic ט‎: thus הִשְׁתַּמֵּר‎ to take heed to oneself, for הִתְשַׁמֵּר‎; הִסְתַּבֵּל‎ to become burdensome, for הִתְסַבֵּל‎; הִצְטַדֵּק‎ to justify oneself, from צָדַק‎. The only exception is in Jeremiah 49:3, וְהִתְשׁוֹטַ֫טְנָה‎, to avoid the cacophony of three successive t-sounds.

(b) When the stem begins with a d- or t-sound (ד‎, ט‎, ת‎), the ת‎ of the preformative is assimilated to it (§19d), e.g. מִדַּבֵּר‎ speaking, conversing; הִדַּכָּא‎ to be crushed, הִטַּהֵר‎ to purify oneself, הִטַּמֵּא‎ to defile oneself, הִתַּמֵּם‎ to act uprightly. (An exception occurs in Judges 19:22.) The assimilation of the ת‎ occurs also with נ‍‎ and כ‍‎, e.g. הִנַּבֵּא‎ to prophesy, as well as הִתְנַבֵּא‎ (cf. Numbers 24:7, Ezekiel 5:13, Daniel 11:14); תִּכַּוֹנֵן‎ Numbers 21:27 (cf. Isaiah 54:14, Psalms 59:5); תִּכַּסֶּה‎ Proverbs 26:26; with שׁ‎ Ecclesiastes 7:16 with ר‎ Isaiah 33:10.

Rem. Metathesis would likewise be expected, as in the cases under b, when ת‎ and ז‎ come together, as well as a change of ת‎ to ד‎. Instead of this, in the only instance of the kind (הִזַּכּוּ‎ Isaiah 1:16) the ת‎ is assimilated to the ז‎, —unless indeed הִזַּ֫כּוּ‎, imperative Niphʿal of זכך‎, is intended.

3. As in form, so also in meaning, Hithpaʿēl is primarily (a) reflexive of Piēl, e.g. הִתְאַזֵּר‎ to gird oneself, הִתְקַדֵּשׁ‎ to sanctify oneself. Although in these examples the intensive meaning is not distinctly marked, it is so in other cases, e.g. הִתְנַקֵּם‎ to how oneself revengeful (Niph. simply to take revenge), and in the numerous instances where the Hithpaʿēl expresses to make oneself that which is predicated by the stem, to conduct oneself as such, to show oneself, to imagine oneself, to affect to be of a certain character. E.g. הִתְנַּדֵּל‎ to make oneself great, to act proudly; הִתְחַכֵּם‎ to show oneself wise, crafty; הִתְחַלָּה‎ to pretend to be ill; הִתְעַשֵּׁר‎ to make, i.e. to feign oneself rich; הִשְׂתָּרֵר‎ Numbers 16:13, to make oneself a prince; הִתְנַבֵּא‎ 1 Samuel 18:10, to act in an excited manner like a prophet, to rave. The meaning of Hithpaʿēl sometimes coincides with that of Qal, both forms being in use together, e.g. אָבַל‎ to mourn, in Qal only in poetic style, in Hithpaʿēl in prose. On the accusative after Hithpaʿēl (regarded as a transitive verb), see §117w.

(b) It expresses reciprocal action, like Niphʿal, §51d, e.g. הִתְרָאָה‎ to look upon one another, Genesis 42:1; cf. Psalms 41:8; —but

(c) It more often indicates an action less directly affecting the subject, and describes it as performed with regard to or for oneself, in one’s own special interest (cf. Niphʿal, §51e). Hithpaʿēl in such cases readily takes an accusative, e.g. הִתְפָּרֵק‎ Exodus 32:3 and הִתְנַצֵּל‎ Exodus 33:6 to tear off from oneself; הִתְפַּשֵּׁט‎ exuit sibi (vestem), הִתְפַּתַּח‎ solvit sibi (vincula); הִצְטַיֵּד‎ Joshua 9:12, to take (something) as one’s provision; without an accusative, הִתְהַלֵּךְ‎ to walk about for oneself (ambulare); הִתְפַּלֵּל‎ sibi intercedere (see Delitzsch on Isaiah 1:15); הִתְחַקָּה‎ to draw a line for oneself, Job Isaiah 13:27; on Isaiah 14:2, see § 57, note.

(d) Only seldom is it passive, e.g. הִיא תִתְהַלָּֽל‎ Proverbs 31:30 she shall be praised; הִשְׁתַּכַּח‎ to be forgotten, Ecclesiastes 8:10, where the reflexive sense (to bring oneself into oblivion) has altogether disappeared. Cf. Niphʿal, §51f.

The passive form Hothpaʿal is found only in the few following examples: הֻטַּמָּא‎ to be defiled, Deuteronomy 24:4; infinitive הֻכַּבֵּס‎ to be washed, Leviticus 13:5556; הֻדַּ֫שְׁנָה‎ (for הֻתְדַּשְׁנָה‎, the נָה‎ being treated as if it were the afformative of the fem. plur.) it is made fat, Isaiah 34:6. On הָתְפָּֽקְדוּ‎, see l.

Denominatives with a reflexive meaning are הִתְיַהֵד‎ to embrace Judaism, from (יְהוּדָה) יְהוּד‎ Judah; הִצְטַיֵּד‎ to provision oneself for a journey, from צֵידָה‎ provision for a journey (see §72m).

Rem. 1. As in Piʿēl, so in Hithpaʿēl, the perfect very frequently (in stems ending in ג‎, ק‎, מ‍‎, פ‎) has retained the original Pathaḥ in the final syllable (while in the ordinary form it is attenuated, as in Piʿēl, to ĭ and then lengthened to ē), e.g. הִתְאַנַּף‎ Deuteronomy 4:21, &c.; cf. 2 Chronicles 13:7, 2 Chronicles 15:8; with וְ‎ consecutive Isaiah 8:21; so also in the imperfect and imperative, e.g. תִּתְחַכַּם‎ Ecclesiastes 7:16; cf. Deuteronomy 9:818, 1 Samuel 3:10, 2 Samuel 10:12, 1 Kings 11:9, Isaiah 55:2, Isaiah 58:14, Isaiah 64:11, Psalms 55:2; הִתְחַזַּק‎ 1 Kings 20:22, Psalms 37:4, Esther 5:10; וָאֶֽתְאַפַּק‎ 1 Samuel 13:12.—In Leviticus 11:44, Leviticus 20:7 and Ezekiel 38:23, ĭ takes the place of ă in the final syllable of the stem before שׁ‎ (cf. §44d), and in the last passage before ל‎. In the perfect, imperfect (with the exception of Ecclesiastes 7:16), and imperative of Hithpaʿēl (as well as of Hithpô‛ēl, Hithpa‛lēl, Hithpalpēl, § 55) the original ă always returns in pause as Qameṣ, e.g. הִתְאַזָּרָ֑‎ Psalms 93:1; יִתְאַבָּל‎ Ezekiel 7:27; יִתְהַלָּךְ‎ Job 18:8; יִתְלַכָּֽדוּ‎ Job 38:30; הִתְקַדָּ֑שׁוּ‎ Joshua 3:5; cf. Job 33:5 and §74b.—The ā also appears before the fuller ending וּן‎ in the plural of the imperfect (cf. §47m) in Psalms 12:9, Jb 9:6, 16:10.—Like the Piʿēl תְּקַטַּ֫לְנָה‎ (§52n), forms occur in Hithpaʿēl like תִּתְהַלַּ֫כְנָה‎ Zechariah 6:7; cf. Amos 8:13, and so in Hithpoʿēl, Jeremiah 49:3, Amos 9:13; with ē only in Lamentations 4:1.—In the Aramaic manner an infinitive Hithpaʿēl הִתְחַבְּרוּת‎ occurs in Daniel 11:23 (cf. the Hiphʿîl inf. הַשְׁמָעוּת‎ in Ezekiel 24:26).

2. As instances of the reflexive הִתְקַטֵּל‎ (connected with Piʿēl) a few reflexive forms of the verb פָּקַד‎ (to examine) are also probably to be reckoned. Instead of a Pathaḥ in a sharpened syllable after the first radical, these take Qameṣ in an open syllable, e.g. הִתְפָּֽקְדוּ‎ Judges 20:1517, imperfect יִתְפָּקֵד‎ Judges 20:15, Judges 21:9. The corresponding passive form הָתְפָּֽקְדוּ‎ also occurs four times, Numbers 1:47, Numbers 2:33, Numbers 26:62, 1 Kings 20:27. According to others, these forms are rather reflexives of Qal, in the sense of to present oneself for review, to be reviewed, like the Aramaic ʾIthpeʿēl (Western Aramaic אִתְקְטֵל‎, Syr. אֶתְקְטֵל‎) and the Ethiopic taqatela, Arab. ʾiqtatala, the last with the t always placed after the first radical (cf. above, b); but they are more correctly explained, with König, as Hithpaʿēl forms, the doubling of the ק‎ being abnormally omitted.—Such a reflexive of Qal, with the ת‎ transposed, occurs in הלתחם‎ (on the analogy of O.T. Hebrew to be pronounced הִלְתַּחֵם‎) in the inscription of the Moabite king Mêšaʿ, with the meaning of the O.T. Niphʿal נִלְחַם‎ to fight, to wage war: see the inscription, lines 11, 15, 19, and 32; in the first two places in the imperfect with wāw consecutive וָֽאֶלְתַּחֵם‎; in line 19 in the infinitive with suffix, בְּהִלְתַּֽחֲמֹה בִי‎ in his fighting against me.

  1. A. Stein, Der Stamm des Hithpael im Hebr. pt. 1, Schwerin, 1893, gives alphabetical statistics of the 1151 forms.
  2. So also in Hebrew אֶתְחַבַּר‎ 2 Chronicles 20:35; cf. Psalms 76:6 (אֶשְׁתּוֹלְלוּ‎).
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