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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 85

§85. Nouns with Preformatives and Afformatives.

These include nouns which are directly derived from verbal forms having preformatives (Hiphʿîl, Hophʿal, Hithpaʿēl, Niphʿal, &c.), as well as those which are formed with other preformatives (א‎, י‎, מ‍‎, נ‍‎, ת‎), and finally those which are formed with afformatives. The quadriliterals and quinqueliterals also are taken in connexion with these formations, inasmuch as they arise almost always by the addition or insertion of one or two consonants to the triliteral stem.

X. Nouns with Preformatives.

45. Nouns with א‎ prefixed. Cf. the substantives with א‎ prosthetic (§19m), such as אֶזְרוֹעַ‎ arm (Jeremiah 32:21, Job 31:22; elsewhere always זְרוֹעַ‎); אֶצְבַּע‎ a finger, אַרְבֶּה‎ a locust, אֶגְרוֹף‎ fist (others mattock, or clod), אַשְׁמוּרָה‎ or אַשְׁמֹ֫רֶת‎ a watch. In these examples the א‎ is a ‘euphonic’ prefix (Barth, ibid., § 150 b); in other cases it is ‘essential’; cf. especially the adjectives, אַכְזָב‎ deceitful, אַכְזָר‎ cruel, אֵיתָן‎ perennial (for ʾaitan) [=the Arab. ‘elative’, used for expressing the compar. and superl. degrees]. The fem. אַזְכָּרָה‎ fragrant part[1] (of the meal-offering) is a nomen verbale of Hiphʿîl, answering to the Aramaic infinitive of the causal stem (’Aph‛ēl), hence with suff. אַזְכָּֽרָתָהּ‎ Leviticus 2:2, &c.

46. Nouns with ה‎ prefixed. Besides the ordinary infinitives of Hiphʿîl הַקְטֵל‎ and הַקְטִיל‎, of Niphʿal הִקָּטֵל‎, הִקָּטֹל‎ (for hinq.), and of the conjugations formed with the prefix הִתְ‎, this class also includes some rare nomina verbalia derived from Hiphʿîl (cf. §72z), viz. הַכָּרָה‎ appearance (from נָכַר‎), Isaiah 3:9; הֲנָפָה‎ a swinging (from נוּף‎), [Isaiah 30:28; הֲנָחָה‎ a rest-giving, Esther 2:18]; הַצָּלָה‎ deliverance (from נָצַל‎), [Esther 4:14 an Aram. form: cf. הֲזָדָה‎ Daniel 5:20]; perhaps also הֵיכָל‎ palace, from haikăl, unless it is borrowed from the Assyrian; see the Lexicon. Cf. also הַנְזָקָה‎ Ezra 4:22.

47. Nouns with י‎ prefixed, as יִצְהָר‎ oil, יַלְקוּט‎ wallet, יַנְשׁוּף‎ owl(?); from verbs ע״וּ‎, e.g. יְקוּם‎ a living thing, יתוּר‎ a range; from a verb ע״י‎, יָרִיב‎ an adversary. Of a different character are the many proper names which have simply adopted the imperfect form, as יַֽעֲקֹב‎, יִצְחָק‎, &c.

48. Nouns with מ‍‎ prefixed. This preformative Mêm, which is no doubt connected with מִי‎ who, and מָה‎ what (see § 37 and §52c), appears in a very large number of nouns, and serves to express the most varied modifications of the idea of the stem: (1) מ‍‎ subjective, when preformative of the participles Piʿēl, Hiphʿîl, Hithpaʿēl, and other active conjugations. (2) מ‍‎ objective, when preformative of the participles Puʿal, Hophʿal, and other passive conjugations, as well as of numerous nouns. (3) מ‍‎ instrumental, as in מַפְתֵּחַ‎ a key, &c. (4) מ‍‎ local, as in מִדְבָּר‎ a drive for cattle, &c.

As regards the formation of these nouns, it is to be remarked that the preformative מ‍‎ was originally in most cases followed by a short ă. This ă, however, in a closed syllable is frequently attenuated to ĭ; in an open syllable before the tone it is lengthened to ā (so also the ĭ, attenuated from ă, is lengthened to ē), and in מָגֵן‎ shield (with suff. מָֽגִנִּי‎) it even becomes unchangeable â. But in an open syllable which does not stand before the tone, the a necessarily becomes Še.

The following forms are especially to be noticed: (a) ground-form măqṭăl, in Hebrew מַקְטָל‎,[2] e.g. מַֽאֲכָל‎ food; fem. מַמְלָכָה‎ kingdom, מַֽאֲכֶ֫לֶת‎ a knife, מְלָאכָה‎ (for מַלְאָכָה‎ by §23c) business; from a verb פ״ן‎, מַתָּן‎ a gift; from verbs פ״ו‎, מוֹצָא‎ a going forth, מוֹשָׁב‎ a seat; from verbs פ״ו‎, מֵיטָב‎ the best (from maiṭăb); with י‎ (or ו‎) assimilated, מַצָּע‎ a bed; from verbs ע״ע‎, מָסָךְ‎ a screen, and with the shortening of the ă under the preformative, מֶ֫מֶר‎ bitterness (from מְמַר‎ developed to a segholate), fem. מְשַׁמָּה‎ desolation; from a verb ע״וּ‎, probably of this class is מָקוֹם‎ place, the ă lengthened to ā and obscured to ô (Arabic măqâm); from verbs ל״ה‎, מַרְאֶה‎ appearance, מַ֫עַן‎ (for מַֽעֲנֶה‎) prop. intention, only in לְמַ֫עַן‎ on account of, in order that.

(b) Ground-form miqṭăl (the usual form of the infin. Qal in Aramaic), Hebr. מִקְטָל‎, e.g. מִדְבָּר‎ (in Jeremiah 2:31 also, where Baer requires הֲמִדְבַּר‎, read with ed. Mant., Ginsburg, &c. הֲמִדְבָּר‎) a cattle-drive, fem. מִלְחָמָהּ‎ war, מֶרְכָּבָה‎ a chariot (with Seghôl instead of ĭ, but in constr. st. מִרְכֶּ֫בֶת‎ Genesis 41:43; cf. מֶרְחָק‎ distance), מִשְׁמֶ֫רֶת‎ a watch; from verbs ע״ע‎, e.g. מֵסַב‎ surroundings (from mĭ-săb; ĭ in the open syllable being lengthened to ē; but cf. also מַשַּׁק‎ Isaiah 33:4 as constr. state from שׁקק‎ with sharpening of the first radical; cf. §67g); from verbs ל״ה‎, מִקְנֶה‎ a possession, fem. מִקְנָה‎. (c) Ground-form măqṭĭl, Hebr. מַקְטֵל‎, e.g. מַשְׁעֵן‎ a support (fem. מַשְׁעֵנָה‎), מַסְגֵּר‎ a smith, מַֽעֲשֵׂר‎ a tithe; fem. מַכְשֵׁלָה‎ a ruin; from a verb פ״ן‎, מַגֵּפָה‎ an overthrow, מַצֵּבָה‎ a pillar; from verbs ע״ע‎, מָגֵן‎ a shield; fem. מְגִלָּה‎ a roll (from גָּלַל‎), מְאֵרָה‎ a curse (for me’irrā from אָרַר‎); from a verb פ״ו‎, מוֹקֵשׁ‎ a snare (from măwqĭš).

(d) Ground-form mĭqṭĭl, Hebr. מִקְטֵל‎, e.g. מִסְפֵּד‎ mourning, מִוְבֵּחַ‎ an altar (place of sacrifice); from a verb ע״ע‎, e.g. מֵסֵב‎ (מֵסַב‎?) consessus; (e) ground-from măqṭŭl, Hebr. מַקְטֹל‎; fem. מַֽאֲכֹ֫לֶת‎ food, מַשְׂכֹּ֫רֶת‎ wages; from a verb ע״ע‎, fem. מְסֻכָּה‎ a covering (from סָכַךְ‎). Also from ע״ע‎, according to the Masora, מָעוֹז‎ a refuge, with suffixes מָֽעֻוִּי‎ and מָֽעוּזִּי‎, plur. מָֽעֻזִּים‎, but, very probably, most if not all of these forms are to be referred to the stem עוּז‎ to flee for safety, and therefore should be written מְעוֹזִי‎, &c. The form מָעֹז‎, if derived from the stem עזז‎, would mean stronghold.—Cf. also מֹ֫רֶךְ‎ faintness, developed to a segholate, probably from מְרֹךְ‎, for mărōkh from רָכַךְ‎, like מְתֹם‎ soundness of body, from תָּמַם‎.

With a long vowel in the second syllable: (f) ground-form maqṭâl, with â always obscured to ô, e.g. מַחְסוֹר‎ want, מַלְקוֹחַ‎ booty; from verbs ע״וּ‎, e.g. מָגוֹר‎ fear, fem. מְגוֹרָה‎ and מְגוּרָה‎ (with the ô depressed to û in a toneless syllable; cf. §27n), מְהוּמָה‎, &c., Isaiah 22:5. (g) Ground-form mĭqṭâl, in Hebr. again מִקְטוֹל‎, e.g. מִסְתּוֹר‎ a covert, מִכְשׁוֹל‎ a stumbling-block (cf. above under i, măkhšēlā); fem. מִכְמֹ֫רֶת‎ a fishing-net; (h) the ground-forms maqṭîl, miqṭîl (cf. מֵקִים‎) are found only in participles Hiphʿîl; the fem. מַבְלִיגִית‎, cheerfulness, is a denominative formed from a participle Hiphʿîl; (i) ground-form măqṭûl, as מַלְבּוּשׁ‎ a garment.

Rem. On מ‍‎ as preformative of the participles of all the conjugations except Qal and Niphʿal, cf. §52c. Many of these participles have become substantives, as מְזַמֶּ֫רֶת‎ snuffers, מַשְׁחִית‎ destroyer, destruction.

49. Nouns with נ‍‎ prefixed. Besides the participles Niphʿal (ground-form năqṭăl, still retained e.g. in נוֹלָד‎ for năwlād, but commonly attenuated to nıqṭăl, Hebr. נִקְטָל‎) and the infinitive Niphʿal of the form נִקְטֹל‎, the prefix נ‍‎ is found in נַפְתּוּלִים‎ wrestlings, Genesis 30:8, which is also to be referred to Niphʿal, and נָזִיד‎ boiled pottage (stem זיד‎).

50. With שׁ‎ prefixed, e.g. שַׁלְהֶ֫בֶת‎ a flame. On this Šaph‛ēl formation, cf. §55i.

51. Nouns with ת‎ prefixed. Examples of this formation are numerous, especially from weak stems, for the purpose of strengthening them phonetically (see Barth, ibid., p. 283), and notably from verbs פ״ו‎ and ע״וּ‎. They may be classified as follows:—(a) the ground-form tăqṭăl in תַּחְמָס‎ ostrich (?); from verbs פ״ו‎, תּוֹשָׁב‎ a settler; fem. תּוֹחֶ֫לֶת‎ expectation, תּוֹכַ֫חַת‎ (from the Hiphʿîl הוֹכִיתַ‎) correction; from a verb פ״י‎, תֵּימָן‎ the south; from verbs פ״ו‎ and ל״ה‎, תּוֹדָה‎ thanksgiving, and תּוֹרָה‎ law, both from Hiphʿîl; from a verb פ״ו‎ and ל״א‎, תּֽוֹצָאוֹת‎ issues; probably belonging to this class, from verbs ע״ע‎, תֶּ֫בֶל‎ confusion, and תֶּ֫מֶס‎ a melting away (developed from תְּבַל‎ and תְּמַס‎, from בָּלַל‎ and מָסַס‎).

(b) Tĭqṭăl, e.g. fem. תִּפְאָרָה‎ and תִּפְאֶ֫רֶת‎ glory; from a verb ל״ה‎, e.g. תִּקְוָה‎ hope; (c) tăqṭĭl, e.g. תַּשְׁבֵּץ‎ chequer work; fem. תַּרְדֵּמָה‎ deep sleep (probably from the Niphʿal נִרְדַּם‎); from a verb פ״ו‎, תּֽוֹכֵחָה‎ correction (from the Hiphʿîl-stem, like the constr. st. plur. תּֽוֹלְדוֹת‎ generations); from verbs ע״ע‎, תְּהִלָּה‎ praise, תְּפִלָּה‎ prayer (from the Piʿēl of the stems הָלַל‎ and פָּלַל‎). With a long vowel in the second syllable: (d) tĭqṭâl, as תְּהוֹם‎ the ocean, the deep (for tĭhâm; in Assyrian the fem. tiâmtu, constr. st. tiâmat, is the usual word for sea), unless it is to be derived with Delitzsch, Prolegomena, p. 113, from the stem תהם‎; (e) tâqṭîl (in Arabic the usual form of the infinitive of conjugation II. which corresponds to the Hebrew Piʿēl), e.g. from a verb ל״ה‎, fem. תַּכְלִית‎ completeness; תַּרְבִּית‎ increase, usury, with a parallel form מַרְבִּית‎; in a passive sense, תַּלְמִיד‎ a disciple; (f) תַּקְטוּל‎, e.g. תַּפּוּחַ‎ an apple (for tănpûa); very frequently used to form abstracts, e.g. תַּגְמוּל‎ a benefit (also גְּמוּל‎); from verbs ע״וּ‎, תְּבוּסָה‎ a treading down, תְּנוּפָה‎ a waving (like תְּרוּמָה‎ a lifting up, from the Hiphʿîl stem), תְּשׁוּקָה‎ a longing, &c.; very frequently also as an abstract plural, e.g. תַּהְפֻּכוֹת‎ perverseness, תַּחְבֻּלוֹת‎ guidance, תַּמְרוּרִים‎ bitterness, תַּנְחוּמִים‎ and תַּנְחוּמוֹת‎ consolation; from a verb ע״וּ‎, תְּאֻנִים‎ toil.

XI. Nouns with Afformatives.

52. Nouns with ל‎ affixed. Perhaps חַשְׁמַל‎ amber(?), and probably בַּרְזֶל‎ iron, כַּרְמֶל‎ garden-land (Seghôl in both cases is probably a modification of the original ă in the tone-syllable), גִּבְעֹל‎ bloom, cf. §30q.—According to Prätorius, ZDMG. 1903, p. 530 ff., al is an affix of endearment in the proper names מִיכַל‎, חֲמוּטַל‎ (little lizard?) אֲבִיגַל‎ (also אֲבִיגַ֫יִל‎).

53. Nouns with ם‎ affixed. With an original ăm as afformative, אוּלָם‎ vestibule (although the ā in the sing. remains unchangeable), plur. אֻֽלַמִּים‎; but in כִּנָּם‎ a swarm of gnats, the ם‎ is radical. With original afformative ŭm, עֵירֹם‎ (also עֵרֹם‎) naked (from עור‎), plur. עֵיֽרֻמִּים‎ Genesis 3:7, parallel form עָרוֹם‎, plur. עֲרוּמִּים‎ Genesis 2:25.—To this class also belong the adverbs in ām and ōm, mentioned in §100g, and many proper names, as גֵּֽרְשֹׁם‎, also גֵּֽרְשׁוֹם‎, and גֵּֽרְשׁוֹן‎ (patronymic גֵּֽרְשֻׁנִּי‎), מִלְכֹּם‎, עַמְרָם‎, &c.; but for פִּדְיוֹם‎ ransom (?), Numbers 3:49, probably פְּדוּיִם‎ is to be read.

54. Nouns with ן‎ affixed. The ן‎ is added by means of a simple helping vowel in כְּנַ֫עֵן‎ Canaan, and צִפֹּ֫רֶן‎ a finger nail; more frequently the addition is made by means of a tone-bearing ă, which in Hebrew is modified to Seghôl (as גַּרְזֶן‎ axe) or lengthened to ā (but cf. also אֲחֹֽרַנִּית‎ and קְדֹֽרַנִּית‎); e.g. קִנְיָן‎ a possession, שֻׁלְחָן‎ a table, קָרְבָּן‎ an offering. From an original â being changed into an obscure ô we may probably explain such forms as דְּאָבוֹן‎ a pining away; דָּֽרְבוֹן‎ (also דָּֽרְבָן‎) a goad; רְעָבוֹן‎ hunger; from verbs ל״ה‎, גָּאוֹן‎ pride, הָמוֹן‎ noise, תָזוֹן‎ a vision; שִׁרְיוֹן‎ a coat of mail; from a verb פ״ן‎, מַשָּׁאוֹן‎ guile (the only instance with both מ‍‎ preformative and ôn afformative)[3]; very frequently from the simple stem with an unorganic sharpening of the second radical, e.g. זִכָּרוֹן‎ memorial, כִּלָּיוֹן‎ destruction (constr. st. זִכְרוֹן‎ and כִּלְיוֹן‎), &c.; cf. also הֵֽרָיוֹן‎ pregnancy (for הִרָּ׳‎) and §93uu; קִֽיקָלוֹן‎ shame, for קִלְקָלוֹן‎. Proper names occur with the termination ûn, as יְשֻׁרוּן‎, §86g, and others. Rem. A large number of proper names now ending in ־ֹה‎ or ־וֹ‎ used to be classed as nouns originally formed with the affix ־וֹן‎. The subsequent rejection of the final Nûn seemed to be confirmed by the form מְגִדּוֹן‎, once used (Zechariah 12:11) for מְגִדּוֹ‎ (and conversely in Proverbs 27:20 Kethîbh אֲבַדֹּה‎, Qe אֲבַדּוֹ‎ for אֲבַדּוֹן‎ destruction), also by the fact that for שְׁלֹמֹה‎ the LXX give the form Σολωμών or Σαλωμών, and especially that in patronymics and tribal names (§86h) a Nûn appears before the termination î, as גִּֽילֹנִי‎ Gilonite from גִּלֹה‎ and שִֽׁילֹנִי‎ from שִׁילֹה‎ (modern name Sailûn). Wetzstein, however (in Delitzsch’s Commentary on Job, 1st ed., p. 599), explained the Nûn in מְגִדּוֹן‎ as a secondary addition to the common old-Palestinian termination ô (יְרִיחוֹ‎, עַכּוֹ‎, רִמּוֹנוֹ‎, &c.), and Barth (Nominalbildung, §224b) has since shown the unsoundness of the prevailing view on other grounds: the rejection of the Nûn would be much more likely to occur in the numerous appellatives in ôn than in proper names, and גִּֽילֹנִי‎ and שִֽׁילֹנִי‎ are due to the necessity of avoiding, for euphonic reasons, such forms as gîlô-î, šîlô-î, &c.; cf. also שֵֽׁלָנִי‎ from שֵׁלָה‎.

On the afformatives ־ִי‎, ־ַי‎, וּת‎, ־ִית‎, see below, §86h–l.

XII. Quadriliterals and Quinqueliterals.

55. גַּלְמוּד‎ barren, חַלָּמִישׁ‎ a flint, and the fem זַלְעָפָה‎ heat, &c., have probably arisen from the insertion of a ל‎; חַרְגֹּל‎ a locust, קַרְדֹּם‎ an axe, סַרְעַפָּה‎ a branch, Ezekiel 31:5 (verses 6, 8 סְעַפָּה‎), שַׂרְעַפִּים‎ (also שְׂעִפִּים‎) anxious thoughts, שַׁרְבִּיט‎ sceptre, from insertion of a ר‎, which is common in Aramaic. Cf., moreover, חֶרְמֵשׁ‎ a sickle, סְמָדַר‎ vine-blossom; with an initial ע‎, עֲטַלֵּף‎ a bat, עַכָּבִישׁ‎ a spider, עַכְבָּר‎ a mouse, עַקְרָב‎ a scorpion,[4] &c.—Quinqueliteral, צְפַרְדֵּעַ‎ a frog.

  1. Or perhaps more correctly with Jacob, ZAW. 1897, p. 79, ‘declaration,’ i.e. the part of the meal-offering which ‘announces the sacrifice and its object’.
  2. In מַֽמְתַֿקִּים‎ Song of Solomon 5:16, Nehemiah 8:10, the first syllable is artificially opened to avoid the cacophony; on the ă of the second syllable cf. §93ee.
  3. The plurals נִצָנִים‎ flowers, Song of Solomon 2:12, and קִמְּשׂנִים‎ thorns appear to be formed directly from the singulars נֵץ‎ (cf. נִצָה‎) and קִמּוֹשׂ‎ with the insertion of ân (which in קמ׳‎ is obscured to ôn). See Nöldeke, Mand. Gr., p. 169, Rem. 3; similarly, according to Hoffmann, ‘Einige phöniz. Inschriften,’ p. 15 ({{{title}}}, xxxvi), עִזְּבוֹנִים‎ wares, Ezekiel 27:1416 from עֶ֫זֶב‎=עֶ֫צֶן‎.
  4. Derenbourg (REJ., 1883, p. 165) infers from the above examples and a comparison of the Arabic ‛uṣfûr, sparrow (from ṣafara, to chirp), that ע‎ was especially employed to form quadriliteral names of animals.
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