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Old Testament Hebrew Lexical Dictionary
Strong's #04310 - מִי
1) who?, whose?, whom?, would that, whoever, whosoever
Jeff Benner, Ancient Hebrew Research Center Used by permission of the author.
מִי pers. pron.
(1) interrog, τίς; who? of persons, like מָה of things. (As to its correlatives הִי, הִיא, דִּי, כִּי see p. 391, A. In the cognate languages the Ethiopic only has ሚ፡ mi, but for what? when the question relates to things. Aramean and Arabic ܡܰܢ, مَنْ and أَىُّ.) Genesis 24:65, מִי הָאִישׁ הַלָּזֶה “who (is) that man?” Ruth 3:9, מִי אַתְּ “who (art) thou?” also when the question relates to many (Arab. مَنُونْ). Genesis 33:5, מִי אֵלֶּה “who (are) these?” Isaiah 60:8 in which sense there is said more explicitly, מִי וָמִי. Exodus 10:6, מִי וָמִי הַהֹלְכִים “who (are) those who go?” (compare Ethiop. መኑ፡ ወመኑ አንትሙ፡ who are you? Lud. Lex., page 80). It is rarely applied to things, but so that there be in them the notion of a person or persons. Genesis 33:8, מִי לְךָ כָּל־הַמַּחֲנֶה הַזֶּה “who (what) are all those companies with thee?” Judges 9:28, מִי שְׁכֶם כִּי נַעַבְדֶּנּוּ “who (are) the Shechemites that we should serve them?” 13:17, מִי שְׁמֶךָ; 1 Samuel 18:18, מִי אָנֹכִי וּמִי חַיַּי. Micah 1:5, מִי־פֶשַׁע יַעֲקֹב מִי בָּמוֹת יְהוּדָה … i.e. “who (is) the author of the transgression of Jacob … who (are) the authors of the high places of Judah?” Song of Solomon 3:6.
It is put in the genitive, as בַּת מִי whose daughter? Genesis 24:23, 47 Genesis 24:47; 1 Samuel 12:3, 17:55 Jeremiah 44:28 and with prefixes denoting the other cases, לְמִי to whom? Genesis 32:18, 38:25 to whom? (plur.) Exodus 32:24 on account of whom? Jonah 1:8 אֶת־מִי whom? 1 Samuel 12:3, 28:11 מִמִּי Ezekiel 32:19 בְּמִי 1 Kings 20:14 עַל־מִי, etc. For the Latin quis eorum? is used מִי בָהֶם Isaiah 48:14 followed by מִן Judges 21:8, מִי אֶחָד מִשִּׂבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל “what one of the tribes of Israel?” Specially observe
(a) it is also used in an oblique question after a verb of knowing, Genesis 43:22; Psalms 39:7 of seeing, 1 Samuel 14:17 of pointing out, 1 Kings 1:20.
(b) An interrogation is intensified by the phrases מִי זֶה, מִי הוּא, מִי הוּא זֶה, see הוּא, זֶה.
(c) A question is often so asked that a negative reply is expected, and the interrogative sentence almost assumes a negative power; Numbers 23:10, מִי מָנָה עֲפַר הָאָרֶץ “who has counted the dust of the earth?” i.e. no one has counted; Isaiah 53:1, מִי הֶאֱמִין “who hath believed?” i.e. no one has believed, few have believed; Isaiah 51:19. Also followed by a fut. Job 9:12, מִי יאֹמַר “who shall say,” or “who may say,” wer möchte, dürfte fagen? (compare τίς ἄν, followed by an opt.), for no one will say. Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 8:4.; 2 Samuel 16:10. Followed by a part. in the phrase מִי יוֹדֵעַ who knoweth? for no one knoweth, Psalms 90:11; Ecclesiastes 2:19 (on the contrary מִי לֹא יָדַע Job 12:9); used for the Lat. nescio an, fortasse (compare יָדַע No. 5, letter a), also unexpectedly (see ibid. No. 6). Also followed by a noun it is used extenuatively, and contemptuously, Judges 9:28, מִי אֲבִימֶלֶךְ “who (is) Abimelech that we should serve him?” Exodus 3:11, מִי אָנֹכִי כִּי אֵלֵךְ אֶל־פַּרְעֹה “who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh?” for, I am not such a one as can go to Pharaoh.
(d) Followed by a fut. it is also often expressive of a wish; 2 Samuel 15:4, מִי יְשִׂמֵנִי שֹׁפֵט “who will set me as judge?” i.e. O that I were made judge! Isaiah 27:4, מִי יִתְּנֵנִי “who will give to me?” i.e. O that I had! Judges 9:29 Ps. 53:7 Job 29:2. Hence מִי יִתֵּן is a customary phrase in wishing; see נָתַן.
(2) Indefinite, whoever, whosoever; Exodus 24:14, מִי־בַעַל דְּבָרִים יִגַּשׁ אֲלֵיהֶם “whoever has a cause let him go to them;” Judges 7:3, מִי יָרֵא וְהָרֵד יָשֹׁב “who-ever is fearful and afraid, let him return;” Proverbs 9:4; Ecclesiastes 5:9; Isaiah 54:15 In Gr. and Lat. it maybe suitably rendered εἴ τις, si quis, if any one; 2 Samuel 18:12, שִׁמְרוּ מִי בַּנַּעַר “take care of the young men every one (of you).” Followed by אֲשֶׁר Exodus 32:33, מִי אֲשֶׁר חָטָא “whoever sinneth;” 2 Samuel 20:11 comp. Syr. ܡܰܢ ܕ.
Some regard מִי adv. to be put for how? in what way? like מָה B, 3. But in all the examples the common signification should be retained; Amos 7:2,, מִי יָקוּם יַעֲקֹב “who shall Jacob stand?” a brief expression for, who is Jacob that he should be able to stand? Compare the phrases under No. 1, letter d; Isaiah 51:19, מִי אֲנַחֲמֵךְ for the more full, מִי אָנֹכִי כִּי אֲנַחֲמֵךְ; Ruth 3:16.
Proper names beginning with מִי, as מִיכָאֵל, מִיכָה, מִיכָיָה etc., see below in their places.
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