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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 95

§95. Paradigms of Feminine Nouns.

In accordance with the general formative laws, stated in §92bk, the following cases have chiefly to be considered in the flexion of feminines also: (1) a tone-lengthened vowel on the removal of the tone reverts to its original shortness (thus the ā of the termination ־ָה‎ becomes again ā in the construct st. ־ַת‎). On the other hand, even an originally short vowel is retained as (a long) pretonic vowel before the endings ־ָה‎ and וֹת‎ in the abs. st., e.g. צְדָקָה‎; (2) without the tone or foretone an originally short vowel almost always becomes Še; on the other hand, before a vowel which had thus become Šewâ the ă in the first syllable which had hitherto also been reduced to Še returns, although usually attenuated to ĭ, e.g. צִדְקַת‎ from ṣădhăqăth; (3) in the plural of the feminines of segholate forms before the termination of וֹת‎ or ־ִים‎, and in formations of the latter kind also before the light suffixes, a pretonic Qameṣ reappears, while the short vowel of the first syllable becomes Še. This short vowel, however, returns in the construct st. plur., whether ending in וֹת‎ or ־ֵי‎; in formations of the latter kind also before the grave suffixes.

The following Paradigms (with the exception of I, d) deal only with such of the forms treated in § 94 as incur some vowel changes or other. All forms with unchangeable vowels follow the analogy of Paradigm I, d.

a. b. c. d. e.
Sing. absolute
(queen) (kidney) (reproach) (waste) (statute) (mistress)
Sing. construct
Sing. with light suff.
Sing. with grave suff.
Plur. absolute
Plur. construct
Plur. with suff.
Dual absolute
(a double piece of embroidery)
a. b. c. a. b.
Sing. absolute צְרָקָה‎ זְעָקָה‎ שָׁנָה‎ יוֹנֶ֫קֶת‎ גֻּלְגֹּ֫לֶת‎
(righteousness) (outcry) (year) (sprout) (skull)
Sing. construct צִדְקַת‎ זַֽעֲקַת‎ שְׁנַת‎ יוֹנֶ֫קֶת‎ גֻּלְגֹּ֫לֶת‎
Sing. with light suff. צִדְקָתִי‎ זַֽעֲקָתִי‎ שְׁנָתִי‎ יֽוֹנַקְתִּי‎ גֻּלְגָּלְתִּי‎
Sing. with grave suff. צִדְקַתְכֶם‎ זַֽעֲקַתְכֶם‎ שְׁנַתְכֶם‎ יֽוֹנַקְתְּכֶם‎ גֻּלְגָּלְתְּכֶם‎
Plur. absolute צְרָקוֹת‎ [2]שָׁנוֹת‎ [יֽוֹנְקוֹת‎]
Plur. construct צִדְקוֹת‎ שְׁנוֹת‎ יֽוֹנְקוֹת‎ גֻּלְגְּלוֹת‎
Plur. with suff. צִדְקוֹתַי‎ שְׁנוֹתַי‎ יֽוֹנְקוֹתַי‎ גֻּלְגְּלוֹתַי‎
Dual absolute [נְחֻשְׁתַּ֫יִם‎] שְׂפָתַ֫יִם‎
(fetters of brass) (lips)
Dual construct שִׂפְתֵי‎

1. Paradigm I: feminines of segholate forms. (a) The locative of this class has the form גִּבְעָ֫תָה‎ towards Gibeah (masc. גֶּ֫בַע‎). In some cases, especially with an initial guttural, there is no moans of deciding whether the form in question is to be referred to a qăṭl or a qĭṭl base, e.g. חֶזְקָה‎ strength (cf. חֶרְפָּה‎ under b). A dual of this form occurs in שִׁבְעָתַ֫יִם‎ seven times (cf. שֶׁ֫בַע‎ seven, fem.). Analogous to masculine forms like דְּבַשׁ‎ (§93s) is הֲדַסָּה‎ myrtle.—From masculines of the form פְּרִי‎ (ל״ה‎, cf. §93I, k) arise feminines sometimes like גַּֽאֲוָה‎, שַׁלְוָה‎, אַלְיָה‎ (see above, §94b), sometimes like בְּכִית‎ (§94f); occasionally the final ת‎ is retained before the plural ending, as if it belonged to the stem (cf. §87k), e.g. חֲנִיתוֹת‎ spears. Forms like גְּדִיָּה‎ (cf. אֳנִיָּה‎, a qŭṭl form) are derived directly from the masculine forms גְּדִי‎ kid, אֳנִי‎, a fleet.—(b) From a stem ע״ן‎, חִטָּה‎ wheat (for חִנְטָה‎), plur. חִטִּים‎.—(c) From עָרְלָה‎ foreskin, the plur. absol. is עֲרָלוֹת‎ (cf. פְּעָלִים‎, § 93, Paradigm I, f), constr. עָרְלוֹת‎.—(d) Example of a feminine segholate form from a stem ע״ע‎ (ground-form qŭṭl, like חַיָּה‎ of the form qăṭl,, זִטָּה‎ of the form qĭṭl), with ŏ for ŭ, חָגָּא‎ terror, Isaiah 19:17 (Aramaic orthography for חָגָּה‎).

(e) To the list of segholate forms with ת‎ fem. belong also the infinitives of verbs פ״ו‎ and פ״ן‎, which have rejected the weak consonant at the beginning, as שֶ֫בֶת‎ (from יָשַׁב‎), דַּ֫עַת‎ (from יָדַע‎), גֶּ֫שֶׁת‎ (from נָגַשׁ‎), as well as קַ֫חַת‎ (from לָקַח‎); cf. §69m and §66b and g. The infinitives of verbs פ״ו‎ are, however, also found in the form דֵּעָה‎, לֵדָה‎, צֵאָה‎, and of the same origin also are עֵדָה‎ congregation (from יָעַד‎), עֵצָה‎ counsel (from יָעַץ‎), שֵׁנָה‎ sleep (from יָשֵׁן‎), constr. עֲדַת‎, שְׁנַת‎, while in the constr. forms זֵעַת‎ sweat, Genesis 3:19 (from יָזַע‎ to flow), and צֵאַת‎ excrement, Ezekiel 4:12, the Ṣere has remained firm.

From a stem ע״וּ‎ (cf. בּוֹשׁ‎ to be ashamed) is בּ֫שֶׁת‎ shame, with suffix בָּשְׁתִּי‎. From a stem ל״ה‎ (דָּלָה‎, cf., however, Barth, ZDMG. 1887, p. 607, who assumes a stem ידל‎) the masculine דַּל‎ appears to have been formed after the rejection of the final Yôdh, and afterwards the feminine דֶּ֫לֶת‎ door; but in the plural דְּלָתוֹת‎, constr. דַּלְתוֹת‎, the ת‎ of the termination is retained (see above, d, חֲנִיתוֹת‎). In a similar way רְפָתִים‎ stalls, Habakkuk 3:17, has arisen, if it is from the stem רפה‎, and שֹׁקֶת‎ trough (from שָׁקָה‎), of which the masc. must have been שֹׁק‎ = שֳׁקִי‎; on the other hand, the plur. constr. שִֽׁקֲתוֹת‎ Genesis 30:38 (again retaining the feminine ת‎ as an apparent radical) can only be an abnormal formation from the singular שֹׁ֫קֶת‎, not from a kindred form שֶׁ֫קֶת‎ or שֵׁ֫קֶת‎.

2. Paradigm II: ground-form qăṭălăt, &c., cf. §94c, Paradigm II, a and b. Analogous to the masculine forms like קָטָן‎, plur. קְטַנִּים‎, we find קְטַנָּה‎ parva, &c.—The constr. forms, like צִדְקַת‎ (ṣidheqăth), are distinguished by the vocal Še (§10d) from the segholate forms, like כִּבְשַּׂת‎ (kibh-săth). Consequently the constr. st. בִּרְכַּה‎ Genesis 28:4, &c. (from בְּרָכָה‎ blessing), and חֶרְדַּת‎ 1 Samuel 14:15, &c. (from חֲרָדָה‎ a trembling), are abnormal.—Under the influence of a guttural (see Paradigm b) the original ă is retained in the first syllable in the constr. st. (cf. also אֲדָמָה‎ earth, אַדְמַת‎); in other cases it is modified to Seghôl, e.g. עֲגָלָה‎ wagon, עֶגְלָתוֹ‎. Frequently from an absol. st. in ־ָה‎ the constr. is formed with the termination ת‎, e.g. עֲטָרָה‎ crown, constr. עֲטֶ֫רֶת‎ (from עֲטַרְתְּ‎); along with עֲצָרָה‎ assembly, עֲצֶ֫רֶת‎ is found usually, even in the absol. st.; יְבֶ֫מֶת‎ (from יָבָם‎ levir) before suffixes is pointed as in יְבִמְתִּי‎, and thus entirely agrees with גְּבֶ֫רֶת‎ (Paradigm I e). From a stem (אָמַן) ל״ן‎ is formed אֱמֶת‎ truth (from ʾaɨmant, and this no doubt for an original ʾămint, §69c) before suffixes אֲמִתִּי‎, &c.

From the masc. form קָטֵל‎ (qăṭĭl) are formed, according to rule, גְּדֵרָה‎ wall, נְבֵלָה‎ corpse, constr. נִבְלַת‎; בְּהֵמָה‎ cattle, constr. בֶּֽהֱמַת‎ (for בַּֽהֲמַת‎), with suffix בְּהֶמְתְּךָ‎ Leviticus 19:19. More frequently, however, the ē of the second syllable is retained before the termination ath of the constr. st.; thus from נְבֵלָה‎ once נְבֵֽלָתִי‎ Isaiah 26:19, and always בְּרֵכַת‎ pool, גְּזֵלַת‎ prey, טְמֵאַת‎ unclean, מְלֵֽאֲתִי‎ full, Isaiah 1:21 (with Ḥireq compaginis, see §90l), מְרֵֽרָתִי‎ Job 16:13; שְׁאֵֽלָתִי‎ 1 Samuel 1:27, &c. (with elision of the א‎, שֵֽׁלָתֵךְ‎ 1 Samuel 1:17), also שֶֽׁאֱלָתִי‎ Job 6:8. Cf. the analogous forms of the constr. st. מַגֵּפַת‎ plague, תַּרְדֵּמַת‎ deep sleep, from מַגֵּפָה‎, תַּרְדֵּמָה‎.

As dual we find יַרְכָתַ֫יִם‎ sides (cf. יַרְכָתוֹ‎ Genesis 49:13, from the obsolete יְרֵכָה‎, feminine of יָרֵךְ‎); the constr. st. יַרְכְּתֵי‎ is perhaps to be referred to a segholate form (יַרְכָּה‎, cf. יֶ֫רֶךְ‎ as constr. st. of יָרֵךְ‎), unless the closed syllable be due to the analogy of בִּרְכַּת‎ and חֶרְדַּת‎ (see g).

In the forms with simple ת‎ feminine the ground-form qăṭĭlt is developed (§69c) to qeṭalt, and this again regularly to קְטֶ֫לֶת‎. Thus the feminine of הָבֵר‎ companion is חֲבֶ֫רֶת‎ (with suffix חֲבֶרְתָּהּ‎ Malachi 2:14, cf. שְׁכֶנְתָּהּ‎ Exodus 3:22), of גָּדֵר‎ fem. גְּדֶ֫רֶת‎ besides גְּדֵרָה‎.—Of ע״וּ‎ stems the segholate forms נַ֫חַת‎ rest and שַׁ֫חַת‎ pit (from נוּחַ‎, שׁוּחַ‎) belong to this class; Böttcher (Gram. i. 411) rightly distinguished the latter from שַׁ֫חַת‎ corruption (stem שָׁחַת‎); in the same way also נַ֫חַת‎ rest is distinct from נַ֫חַת‎ a lighting down (stem נָחַת‎).

The feminines of the form qăṭĭl from stems ע״וּ‎, as מֵתָה‎ mortua, עֵדָה‎ fem. witness (from מוּת‎, עוּד‎), have likewise an unchangeable vowel in the first syllable. Cf., on the other hand, the forms from פ״י‎ stems mentioned above, under e, such as שֵׁנָה‎ sleep, constr. st. שְׁנַת‎ ; moreover, חֵמָה‎ anger, constr. st. חֲמַת‎ (but חֵ֫מֶת‎ a leathern bottle, in pause חֶ֑מֶת‎ [so Baer, Ginsb., but Kittel חֵ׳‎] Genesis 21:15, constr. st. חֵ֫מַת מַ֫יִם‎ Genesis 21:14, perhaps from a stem חמת‎).

The feminines of the form qăṭŭl, like עֲמֻקָּה‎ (masc. עָמֹק‎), maintain the original ŭ by sharpening the following consonant (cf. §93kk); on the other hand, by appending the fem. ת‎, segholate forms arise like נְח֫שֶׁת‎, before suff. נְחֻשְׁתָּם‎, &c. Dual נְהֻשְׁתַּ֫יִם‎ (see Paradigm II a); but cf. נְחָשְׁתִּי‎ Lamentations 3:7.

A few (aramaising) feminines from ל״ה‎ stems (Paradigm II, c) are found with the ending ăth;, due to the rejection of the final Wāw or Yôdh and contraction of the preceding ă with the ă of the termination ăth; thus מְנָת‎ portion (for mănăyăth or mănăwăth), קְצָת‎ end (also קָצֶה‎ and קָצָה‎), plur. מְנָיוֹת‎ (constr. st. Nehemiah 12:47, Nehemiah 13:10) and מְנָאוֹת‎ (Nehemiah 12:44); קְצָוֹת‎ Exodus 38:5; cf. Exodus 37:8 and Exodus 39:4 Keth.; on נֵּֽאָיֹת‎ valleys, see §93v.—אוֹת‎ sign (stem אוה‎) is obscured from אָת‎, and this is contracted from ʾâyăth = ʾăwăyăth; plur. אֹתוֹת‎, with the double feminine ending; cf. above, f, and §87k.—The retention of the ā in the first syllable in אָֽלָתִי‎, &c, Genesis 24:41, &c., is abnormal.

3. Paradigm III, cf. the various forms in §94d and f–h. The dual הֽוֹמֹתַ֫יִם‎ two walls, Isaiah 22:11, &c., taken directly from the plur. חוֹמוֹת‎, for חֽוֹמָתַ֫יִם‎, is abnormal (cf. §87s, and the proper name גְּדֵֽרֹתַיִם‎ Joshua 15:36).—Among the forms resembling participles Qal of verbs ע״וּ‎, such as זָרָה‎ (masc. זָר‎ from zâĭr, hence with unchangeable â), must be reckoned also בָּמָה‎ high place (from בּוּם‎), which has for its constr. st. plur. the pleonastic form בָּֽמוֹתֵי‎, or written defectively בָּֽמֹתֵי‎ (see §87s); for this the Masora everywhere requires בָּֽמֳתֵי‎, which is to be read bāmothê (not bŏmothê), with an anomalous shortening of the ô to ־ֳ‎; but with suffixes בָּֽמוֹתַי‎, &c.

In a wider sense the feminines of the form קַטָּל‎ (§84be) belong to this class, in so far as they shorten the â of the second syllable before the termination ת‎, e.g. דַּלֶּ֫קֶת‎ inflammation (from dallăqt), with suff. צַדֶּקְתֵּךְ‎ Ezekiel 16:52; טַבַּ֫עַת‎ signet; also fem. of the forms קִטַּל‎ and קִטֵּל‎ (§84bc and d), as אִוֶּ֫לֶת‎ folly (for ʾiwwălt), and of all the forms which have a changeable vowel in the second syllable, and are formed with the prefix מ‍‎ (§85g–k), e.g. מַמְלָכָה‎ kingdom, constr. always מַמְלֶ֫כֶת‎; מַזְמֵרָה‎ (not used in the sing.) pruning-hook, plur. מַזְמֵרוֹת‎; מַשְׂכֹּ֫רֶת‎; reward, with suff. מַשְׂכֻּרְתִּי‎; cf. also the examples given in §85g and p, like מוֹלֶ֫דֶת‎ birth (but from ל״א‎, מֽוֹצָאָה‎ outgoing), תּוֹלֶ֫דֶת‎ generation, תּֽוֹעֵבָה‎ abomination, constr. תּֽוֹעֲבַת‎, &c.

Sometimes the plural of these forms is to be traced to a secondary form, e.g. אִגֶּ֫רֶת‎ a letter, plur. אִגְּרוֹת‎ (as if from אִגְּרָה‎); also יֽוֹנְקוֹת‎, which is merely formed on the analogy of the other plur. fem. of participles Qal, is to be referred to a sing. יוֹנְקָה‎. Cf., moreover, מַֽחֲרֶ֫שֶׁת‎ ploughshare, plur. מַֽחֲרֵשׁוֹת‎ (as if from מַֽהֲרֵשָׁה‎)[3]; on the other hand, כֹּֽתָרוֹת‎ capitals (of columns), and תּֽוֹכָחוֹת‎ reproofs, are the regular plurals of כֹּתֶ֫רֶת‎ and תּוֹכַ֫חַת‎. In כֻּתּ֫נֶת‎ coat the original ŭ of the first syllable is maintained by the sharpening of the following consonant (cf. Arab. qŭṭŭn), with suff. כֻּתָּנְתִּי‎, the constr. st., however, is כְּתֹ֫נֶת‎ (as also in the absol. st. in Exodus 28:39); plur. כֻּתֳּנוֹת‎, constr. כָּתְנוֹת‎.—The form גֻּלְגֹּ֫לֶת‎ given in Paradigm III, b is a Pŭlpŭl-form of the stem גָּלַל‎, cf. קָדְקֹד‎, §84bp.

4. To the fourth class, for which no Paradigm is required, belong all the numerous forms which in classical Hebrew have unchangeable vowels throughout, the originally short vowel of the first syllable having become Še, owing to the tone being thrown forward. Of the forms mentioned in §§84 and 85 those from ע״ע‎ stems especially belong to this class, as מְגִלָּה‎ scroll, תְּהִלָּה‎ praise, תְּפִלָּה‎ prayer (§85i and q), as well as the feminine of the participle Hiphʿîl of verbs ע״וּ‎, e.g. מְאִירָה‎ enlightening (from מֵאִיר‎), and generally the feminines of ע״וּ‎ stems which are compounded with the preformative מ‍‎, as מְנוּחָה‎ rest (from מָנוֹחַ‎), see §85l; from ל״ה‎ stems perhaps also תְּעָלָה‎ conduit (constr. st. תְּעָלַת‎ Isaiah 7:3, &c.) and תְּלָאָה‎ travail. Thus all these forms coincide externally with those which already, in the masculine form, have unchangeable vowels throughout (see the list of them in §93ww).

5. The feminine ending ־ִית‎ (apart from ל״ה‎-forms like בְּכִית‎, §94f) arises from the addition of the feminine ת‎ to the ending ־ִי‎, which is employed to form adjectives, &c., see §86d, h, and k. The ending וּת‎, mentioned there, is attached, in segholate forms, sometimes to the ground-form, as עַשְׁתּוּת‎ Job 12:5 (v.l. עַשְׁתּוֹת‎), sometimes to forms with a loosely-closed syllable, as מַלְכוּת‎ kingdom; from ל״ה‎ stems we find forms sometimes like שְׁבוּת‎ captivity (according to others from the stem שׁוּב‎, like לְזוּת‎ perverseness from לוּז‎), sometimes like בָּכוּת‎ weeping, גָּלוּת‎ exile, חָזוּת‎ vision; the latter retain the ā of the first syllable even in the constr. st. and before suffixes. From a qăṭĭl-form is formed כְּבֵדוּת‎ heaviness; from a qăṭîl-form פְּקִדוּת‎, &c.

In the plural of these forms different methods of treatment may be distinguished. In some cases the whole ending וּת‎ is retained, as if belonging to the stem (cf. above, f), e.g. אַלְמְנוּתַ֫יִךְ‎ from אַלְמָנוּת‎, in others this ending is resolved, as in מַלְכֻיּוֹת‎ Daniel 8:22 (no doubt for mălekhuwwôth), and עֵֽדְוֺת‎ ʿēdhewōth, from עֵדוּת‎ testimony, but only with suffixes, עֵֽדְוֺתֶ֫יךָ‎ Psalms 119:14, &c.; עֵֽדְוֺתָיו‎ 1 Kings 2:3, &c.

  1. Only in Psalms 69:10, contrary to rule, with a firmly closed syllable, cf. §93m.
  2. On שָׁנוֹת‎ as a less frequent (poetic) form for שָׁנִים‎ see §87n.
  3. עַשְׁתֹּ֫רֶת‎ Astarte (plur. עַשְׁתָּרוֹת‎), which was formerly included among these examples, is most probably due to an intentional alteration of the original עַשְׁתֶּ֫רֶת‎, like מֹ֫לֶךְ‎ Leviticus 18:21, &c. (for מֶ֫לֶךְ‎), with the vowels of בּ֫שֶׁת‎ shame, the latter word being substituted in reading for the name of the goddess.
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