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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 74

§74. Verbs ל״א‎, e.g. מָצָא‎ to find. Paradigm O.

The א‎ in these verbs, as in verbs פ״א‎, is treated in some cases as a consonant, i.e. as a guttural, in others as having no consonantal value (as a quiescent or vowel letter), viz.:

1. In those forms which terminate with the א‎, the final syllable always has the regular vowels, if long, e.g. מֹצֵא‎, מִצֵּא‎, מָצוּא‎, הִמְצִיא‎, i.e. the א‎ simply quiesces in the long vowel, without the latter suffering any change whatever. It is just possible that after the altogether heterogeneous vowel û the א‎ may originally have preserved a certain consonantal value. On the other band, if the final א‎ quiesces in a preceding ă (as in the perfect, imperfect, and imperative Qal, in the perfect Niphʿal, and in Puʿal and Hophʿal) this ă is necessarily lengthened to ā, by §27g, as standing in an open syllable; e.g. מָצָא‎, יִמְצָא‎, &c.

The imperfect and imperative Qal invariably have ā in the final syllable, on the analogy of verbs tertiae gutturalis; cf., however, §76e.—In the imperfect Hithpaʿēl ā occurs in the final syllable not only (according to §54k) in the principal pause (Numbers 31:23), or immediately before it (Job 10:16), or with the lesser disjunctives (Leviticus 21:14, Numbers 19:1320), but even out of pause with Merekha, Numbers 6:7, and even before Maqqeph in Numbers 19:12.

2. When א‎ stands at the end of a syllable before an afformative beginning with a consonant (ת‎, נ‍‎), it likewise quiesces with the preceding vowel; thus in the perfect Qal (and Hophʿal, see below) quiescing with ă it regularly becomes Qumeṣ (מָצָ֫אתָ‎ for מָצַ֫אְתָּ‎, &c.); but in the perfect of all the other active and reflexive conjugations, so far as they occur, it is preceded by S̥̥ere (נִמְצֵ֫אתָ‎, &c.), and in the imperative and imperfect by Seghôl, מְצֶ֫אנָה‎, תִּמְצֶאנָה‎.

(a) The Seghôl of these forms of the imperfect and imperative might be considered as a modification, and at the same time a lengthening of an original ă (see §8a). In the same way the ē of the perfect forms in Piʿēl, Hithpaʿēl, and Hiphʿîl might be traced to an original ĭ (as in other cases the ē and î in the final syllable of the 3rd sing. muse. perfect of these conjugations), although this ĭ may have only been attenuated from an original ă. According to another, and probably the correct explanation, however, both the Ṣere and the Seghôl are due to the analogy of verbs ל״ה‎ (§75f) in consequence of the close relation between the two classes, cf. §75nn.—No form of this kind occurs in Puʿal; in the perfect Hophʿal only the 2nd masc. sing. הֻבָ֫אתָה‎ Ezekiel 40:4, lengthened according to rule.

(b) Before suffixes attached by a connecting vowel (e.g. יִקְרָאֵ֫נִי‎) the א‎ retains its consonantal value; so before ךָ‎ and בֶם‎, e.g. אֶמְצָֽאֲךָ‎ Song of Solomon 8:1; הִבָּרַֽאֲךָ‎ Ezekiel 28:13 (cf. §65h), not אֶמְצָאךָ‎, &c., since these suffixes, by §58f, are likewise attached to the verb-form by a connecting vowel in the form of Šewâ mobile.—As infinitive Qal with suffix notice מַחְאֲךָ‎ Ezekiel 25:6; participle with suffix בֹּדַֽאֲךָ‎ Isaiah 43:1; infinitive Piʿēl בְּטַמַּֽאֲכֶם‎.—The doubly anomalous form יִקְרְאוֹ‎ Jeremiah 23:6 (for יִקְרָאֵ֫הוּ‎ or יִקְרָאֶ֫נּוּ‎) is perhaps a forma mixta combining the readings יִקְרָאוֹ‎ and יִקְרְאוּ‎. 3. When א‎ begins a syllable (consequently before afformatives which consist of or begin with a vowel, as well as before suffixes) it is necessarily a firm consonant, and the form then follows the analogy of the strong verb, e.g. מָֽצְאָה‎ māṣeʿā, מָֽצְאוּ‎, &c. (in pause מָצָ֫אָה‎, מָצָ֫אוּ‎).


1. Verbs middle e, like מָלֵא‎ to be full, retain the Ṣere also in the other persons of the perfect, e.g. מָלֵ֫אתִי‎ (מְלָאוֹ‎ Esther 7:5 has ־ָ‎ owing to its transitive use; for יְרָאתֶם‎ Joshua 4:24 read with Ewald יִרְאָתָם‎). Instead of מָֽצְאָה‎ the form קָרָאת‎ she names, on the analogy of the ל״ה‎-forms noticed in §75m, occurs in Isaiah 7:14 (from קָֽרְאַת‎, cf. §44f), and with a different meaning (it befalls) in Deuteronomy 31:29, Jeremiah 44:23, in both places before א‎, and hence, probably, to avoid a hiatus (on the other hand, וְחָטָאת‎ Exodus 5:16, could only be the and sing. masc.; the text which is evidently corrupt should probably be emended to וְחָטָאתָ לְעַמֶּ֫ךָ‎ with the LXX); in Niphʿal נִפְלָאת‎ Psalms 118:23; in Hophʿal הֻבָאת‎ Genesis 33:11.—The 2nd fem. sing. is written קָרָאתְ‎ by Baer, Genesis 16:11, &c., according to early MSS.

2. The infin. Qal occurs sometimes on the analogy of verbs ל״ה‎ (גְּלוֹת‎, &c., see §75nn) in the feminine form; so always מְלֹאת‎ to fill (as distinguished from מְלֹא‎ fullness), Leviticus 8:33, Leviticus 12:46, Leviticus 25:30, Jeremiah 29:10, Ezekiel 5:2, also written מְלֹאות‎ Jeremiah 25:12, Job 20:22, &c., and מְלוֹאת‎ Esther 1:5. Cf. further, קְרֹאת‎ Judges 8:1; שְׂנֹאת‎ Proverbs 8:13; before suffixes, Ezekiel 33:12, and likewise in Niph. Zechariah 13:4; also in Piʿēl לְמַלֹּאת‎ Exodus 31:5, Exodus 35:33, or לְמַלּאוֹת‎ Daniel 9:2, &c. Kethîbh; with suffix 2 Samuel 21:2.—On the (aramaïzing) infinitives מַשָּׁא‎ and מַשְׂאוֹת‎, see §45e; on לִקְרַאת‎ obviam, §19k.—בְּמֹצַֽאֲכֶם‎ when ye find, Genesis 32:20, stands, according to §93q, for מָצְאֲכֶם‎. The tone of the lengthened imperative רְפָאָ֫ה‎ Psalms 41:5 as Mileraʿ (before נַפְשִׁי‎) is to be explained on rhythmical grounds; cf. the analogous cases in §72s.—The and fem. plur. imperative in Ruth 1:9 has, according to Qimḥi, the form מְצֵ֫אןָ‎ and in verse 20 קְרֵ֫אןָ‎; on the other hand, the Mantua edition and Ginsburg, on good authority, read מְצֶאןָ‎, קְרֶאןָ‎.

3. The participle fem. is commonly contracted, e.g. מֹצְאת‎ (for מֹצֶ֫אֶת‎) 2 Samuel 18:22, cf. Esther 2:15; so Niphʿal נִפְלְאה‎ Deuteronomy 30:11, Zechariah 5:7 (but נִשָּׂאָת‎ Isaiah 30:25), and Hophʿal, Genesis 38:25; less frequent forms are מֽוֹצְאֵת‎ Song of Solomon 8:10; נֽשְֹׁאֵת‎ 1 Kings 10:22 (cf. §76b, שְׂאֵת‎ beside לָשֵׂאת‎ as infinitive construct from נָשָׂא‎) and without א‎ (see k) יוֹצְת‎ (from יָצָא‎) Deuteronomy 28:57. In the forms חֹטִאים‎ sinning, 1 Samuel 14:33, cf. Psalms 99:6; בֹּדָאם‎ feigning them, Nehemiah 6:8, the א‎ is elided, and is only retained orthographically (§23c) after the retraction of its vowel; see the analogous cases in §75oo.—On the plur. masc. ptcp. Niph. cf. §93oo.

4. Frequently an א‎ which is quiescent is omitted in writing (§23f): (a) in the middle of the word, e.g. בָּ֫נוּ‎ 1 Samuel 25:8; מָצָ֫תִי‎ Numbers 11:11, cf. Job 1:21; צָמֵ֫תִי‎ Judges 4:19, cf. Job 32:18. In the imperfect תִּשֶּׂ֫נָה‎ Jeremiah 9:17, Zechariah 5:9, Ruth 1:14 (but the same form occurs with Yôdh pleonastic after the manner of verbs ל״ה‎ in Ezekiel 23:49, according to the common reading; cf. §76b and Jeremiah 50:20); in Piʿēl אַחַטֶּ֫נָּה‎ (after elision of the א‎, cf. §75oo ) Genesis 31:39; and also in Niphʿal נִטְמֵתֶם‎ Leviticus 11:43; cf. Joshua 2:16. (b) at the end of the word; וַיָּבוֹ‎ 1 Kings 12:12 Kethîbh; Hiphʿîl הֶֽחֱטִי‎ 2 Kings 13:6, cf. Isaiah 53:10 (הֶֽחֱלִי‎ for הֶֽחֱלִיא‎ perfect Hiphʿîl of חָלָה‎ formed after the manner of verbs ל״א‎); in the imperfect Hiphʿîl יַשִּׁי‎ Psalms 55:16 Kethîbh; יָנִי‎ Psalms 141:5; אָבִי‎ 1 Kings 21:19, Micah 1:15; in the infinitive, Jeremiah 32:35; in the participle, 2 Samuel 5:2, 1 Kings 21:21, Jeremiah 19:15, Jeremiah 39:16, all in Kethîbh (מֵבִי‎, always before א‎, hence perhaps only a scribal error).

5. In the jussive, imperfect consecutive, and imperative Hiphʿîl a number of cases occur with î in the final syllable; cf. יַשִּׁא‎ Isaiah 36:14 (in the parallel passages 2 Kings 18:29, 2 Chronicles 32:15 יִשִּׁיא‎); וַיָּבִיא‎ Nehemiah 8:2 (before ע‎); וַיַּֽחֲטִא‎ 2 Kings 21:11 (cf. 1 Kings 16:2, 1 Kings 21:22); וַתַּתְבִּא‎ 2 Kings 6:29; וַיּוֹצִא‎ Deuteronomy 4:20, 2 Kings 11:12, Psalms 78:16, Psalms 105:43; imperative הָבִיא‎ Jeremiah 17:18; הוֹצִיא‎ Isaiah 43:8 (in both cases before ע‎). If the tradition be correct (which at least in the defectively written forms appears very doubtful) the retention of the î is to be attributed to the open syllable; while in the closed syllable of the 3rd sing. masc. and fem., and the 2nd sing. masc. after ו‎ consecutive, the î is always reduced to ē. In the examples before ע‎ considerations of euphony may also have had some influence (cf. §75hh).—In Ezekiel 40:3, Baer reads with the Western school וַיָּבֵיא‎, while the Orientals read in the Kethîbh ויבוא‎, and in the Qe וַיָּבֵא‎.

On the transition of verbs ל״א‎ to forms of ל״ה‎ see §75nn.

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