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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 59

§59. The Perfect with Pronominal Suffixes.

1. The endings (afformatives) of the perfect occasionally vary somewhat from the ordinary form, when connected with pronominal suffixes; viz.:—

(a) In the 3rd sing. fem. the original feminine ending ־ַת‎ or ־ָת‎ is used for ־ָה‎.

(b) In the 2nd sing. masc. besides תָּ‎ we find תּ‎, to which the connecting vowel is directly attached, but the only clear instances of this are with ־ַ֫ נִי‎.[1]

(c) In the 2nd sing. fem. תִּי‎, the original form of תְּ‎, appears; cf. אַתִּי‎, קָטַ֫לְתִּי‎, §32f; §44g. This form can be distinguished from the 1st pers. only by the context.

(d) 2nd plur. masc. תּוּ‎ for תֶּם‎. The only examples are Numbers 20:5, Numbers 21:5, Zechariah 7:5. The fem. קְטַלְתֶּן‎ never occurs with suffixes; probably it had the same form as the masculine.

We exhibit first the forms of the perfect Hiphʿîl, as used in connexion with suffixes, since here no further changes take place in the stem itself, except as regards the tone (see c).

Singular. Plural.
3. m. הִקְמִיל‎ 3. c. הִקְטִילוּ‎
3. f. הִקְמִילַת‎
2. m. הִקְטַלְתָּ‎, הִקְטַלְתּ‎ 2. m. הִקְטַלְתּוּ‎
2. f. הִקְטַלְתִּי‎, הִקְטַלְתּ‎
1. c. הִקְטַלְתִּי‎ 1. c. הִקְטַלְנוּ‎

The beginner should first practise connecting the suffixes with these Hiphʿîl forms and then go on to unite them to the Perfect Qal (see d).

2. The addition of the suffix generally causes the tone to be thrown forward towards the end of the word, since it would otherwise fall, in some cases, on the ante-penultima; with the heavy suffixes (see e) the tone is even transferred to the suffix itself. Considerations of tone, especially in the Perfect Qal, occasion certain vowel changes: (a) the Qameṣ of the first syllable, no longer standing before the tone, always becomes vocal Še; (b) the original Pathaḥ of the second syllable, which in the 3rd sing. fem. and 3rd plur. had become Še, reappears before the suffix, and, in an open syllable before the tone, is lengthened to Qameṣ; similarly original ĭ (as in the 3rd sing. masc. without a suffix) is lengthened to ē, e.g. אֲהֵב֫וּךָ‎ 1 Samuel 18:22, Proverbs 19:7.

The forms of the perfect of Qal consequently appear as follows:—

Singular. Plural.
3. m. קְטָל‎ 3. c. קְטָלוּ‎
3. f. קְטָלַת‎ (קְטָלָת‎, see g)
2. m. קְטַלְתָּ‎ (קְטַלְתּ‎, see h) 2. m. קְטַלְתּוּ‎
2. f. קְטַלְתִּי‎ (קְטַלְתּ‎, see h)
1. c. קְטַלְתִּי‎ 1. c. קְטַלְנוּ‎

The connexion of these forms with all the suffixes is shown in Paradigm C. It will be seen there also, how the Ṣere in the Perfect Piʿēl changes sometimes into Seghôl, and sometimes into vocal Še.

Rem. 1. The suffixes of the 2nd and 3rd pers. plur. כֶם‎ and הֶם‎, since they end in a consonant and also always have the tone, are distinguished as heavy suffixes (suffixa gravia) from the rest, which are called light suffixes. Compare the connexion of these (and of the corresponding feminine forms כֶן‎ and הֶן‎) with the noun, § 91. With a perfect כֶם‎ alone occurs, Psalms 118:26. The form קְטַל‎ which is usually given as the connective form of the 3rd sing. masc. before כֶם‎ and כֶן‎ is only formed by analogy, and is without example in the O.T.

2. In the 3rd sing. masc. קְטָלָ֫הוּ‎ (especially in verbs ל״ה‎; in the strong verb only in Jeremiah 20:15 in Piʿēl) is mostly contracted to קְטָלוֹ‎, according to §23k; likewise in the 2nd sing. masc. קְטַלְתָּ֫הוּ‎ to קְטַלְתּוֹ‎.—As a suffix of the 1st sing. ־ָ֫ נִי‎ occurs several times with the 3rd sing. masc. perf. Qal of verbs ל״ה‎, not only in pause (as עָנָ֫נִי‎ Psalms 118:5; קָּנָ֫נִי‎ Proverbs 8:22 with Deḥi), but even with a conjunctive accent, as הֹרָ֫נִי‎ Job 30:19; עָנָ֫נִי‎ 1 Samuel 28:15 (where, however, the reading עָנַ֫נִי‎ is also found). With a sharpened נ‍‎: דָּנַ֫נִּי‎ Genesis 30:6, יִסְרַ֫נִּי‎ Psalms 118:18.

3. The 3rd sing. fem. קְטָלַת‎ (=קָֽטְלָה‎) has the twofold peculiarity that (a) the ending ath always takes the tone,[2] and consequently is joined to those suffixes which form a syllable of themselves (נִי‎, ךָ‎, הוּ‎, הָ‎, נוּ‎), without a connecting vowel, contrary to the general rule, §58f; (b) before the other suffixes the connecting vowel is indeed employed, but the tone is drawn back to the penultima, so that they are pronounced with shortened vowels, viz. ־֫ ־ֶךְ‎, ־֫ ־ַם‎, e.g. אֲהֵבָ֫תֶךְ‎ she loves thee, Ruth 4:15, cf. Isaiah 47:10; גְּנָבָ֫תַם‎ she has stolen them, Genesis 31:32; שְׂרָפָּ֫תַם‎ it burns them, Isaiah 47:14, Joshua 2:6, Hosea 2:14, Psalms 48:7. For ־ַ֫ תְנִי‎, ־ַ֫ תְךָ‎ &c., in pause ־ָֽ תְנִי‎ is found, Jeremiah 8:21, Psalms 69:10, and ־ָֽ תְךָ‎ Song of Solomon 8:5; and also without the pause for the sake of the assonance חִבְּלָֽתְךָ‎, she was in travail with thee, ibid. The form קְטָלַ֫תּוּ‎ (e.g. Ruth 4:15) has arisen, through the loss of the ה‎ and the consequent sharpening of the ת‎ (as in ־ֶ֫ נּוּ‎ and ־ֶ֫ נָּה‎ for ־ֶ֫ נְהוּ‎ and ־ֶ֫ נְהָ‎, cf. §58i), from the form קְטָלַ֫תְהוּ‎, which is also found even in pause (אֲהֵבַֽתְהוּ‎ 1 Samuel 18:28; elsewhere it takes in pause the form סְמָכָֽתְהוּ‎ Isaiah 59:16); so קְטָלַ֫תָּה‎ from קֵטָלַ֫תְהָ‎; cf. 1 Samuel 1:6, Isaiah 34:17, Jeremiah 49:24, Ruth 3:6; in pause Ezekiel 14:15, always, on the authority of Qimḥi, without Mappîq in the ה‎, which is consequently always a more vowel-letter.

4. In the 2nd sing. masc. the form קְטַלְתָּ‎ is mostly used, and the suffixes have, therefore, no connecting vowel, e.g. זְנַחְתָּ֫נוּ פְרַצְתָּ֑נוּ‎ thou hast cast us off, thou hast broken us down, Psalms 60:3; but with the suff. of the 1st sing. the form קְטַלְתַּ֫נִי‎ is used, e.g. חֲקַרְתַּ֫נִי‎ Psalms 139:1; in pause, however, with Qameṣ, e.g. עֲזַבְתָּ֑נִי‎ Psalms 22:2; Judges 1:15 (with Zaqeph qaṭon); but cf. also צְרַפְתָּ֫נִי‎ Psalms 17:3 with Merekha.—In the 2nd sing. fem. ־תִּי‎— is also written defectively, רִמִּיתִ֫נִי‎ 1 Samuel 19:17, Judges 11:35, Jeremiah 15:10, Song of Solomon 4:9. Occasionally the suffix is appended to the ordinary form ־ְתּ‎, viz. הִשְׁבַּעְתָּ֫נוּ‎ thou (fem.) dost adjure us, Song of Solomon 5:9, Joshua 2:1720; cf. Jeremiah 2:27, and, quite abnormally, with Ṣere הוֹרַדְתֵּ֫נוּ‎ thou (fem.) didst let us down, Joshua 2:18, where הוֹרַדְתִּ֫נוּ‎ would be expected. In Isaiah 8:11 וְיִסְּרֵ֫נִי‎ is probably intended as an imperfect.

5. In verbs middle ē, the ē remains even before suffixes (see above, c), e.g. אֲהֵֽבְךָ֫‎ Deuteronomy 15:16, אֲהֵבַ֫תְהוּ‎ 1 Samuel 18:28, cf. 1 Samuel 18:22; יְרֵא֫וּהוּ‎ Job 37:24. From a verb middle ō there occurs יְכָלְתִּיו‎ I have prevailed against him, Psalms 13:5, from יָכֹל‎ with ŏ instead of ō in a syllable which has lost the tone (§44e).

  1. On the ă as an original element of the verbal form, see §58f, note.
  2. חִבְּלָֽתְךָ֣‎ Song of Solomon 8:5 is an exception. כֶם‎ would probably even here have the tone (see e); but no example of the kind occurs in the O.T. In Isaiah 51:2 the imperfect is used instead of the perfect with a suffix.
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