Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/66. Verbs Primae Radicalis Nûn (פ״ן)

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II. The Weak Verb.[1]
§66. Verbs Primae Radicalis Nûn (פ״ן), e.g. נָגַשׁ to approach.
Brockelmann, Semit. Sprachwiss., p. 138 ff.; Grundriss, p. 595 ff.

66a The weakness of initial נ‍ consists chiefly in its suffering aphaeresis in the infinitive construct and imperative in some of these verbs (cf. §19h). On the other hand, the assimilation of the נ‍ (see below) cannot properly be regarded as weakness, since the triliteral character of the stem is still preserved by the strengthening of the second consonant. The special points to be noticed are—

66b 1. The aphaeresis of the Nûn (a) in the infinitive construct. This occurs only (though not necessarily) in those verbs which have a in the second syllable of the imperfect. Thus from the stem נגשׁ, imperfect יִגַּשׁ, infinitive properly גַּשׁ, but always lengthened by the feminine termination ת to the segholate form גֶּ֫שֶׁת[2]; with suffix גִּשְׁתּוֹ Gn 333; with the concurrence of a guttural נָגַע to touch, imperfect יִגַּע, infinitive גַּ֫עַת[3] (also נְגֹעַ, see below); נָטַע to plant, infinitive טַ֫עַת (also נְטֹעַ, see below); on the verb נָתַן to give, see especially h and i. On the other hand, aphaeresis does not take place in verbs which have ō in the imperfect, e.g. נָפַל to fall, imperfect יִפֹּל, infinitive נְפֹל, with suffix נָפְלוֹ, also נִפְלוֹ; לִנְדֹּר Nu 62, &c.; cf., moreover, לִנְגֹּעַ Gn 206, &c., וּנְגֹעַ Ex 1912 (even לִנְגּוֹעַ Jb 67; cf. Jer 110); with suffix בְּנָגְעוֹ Lv 1523. Also לִנְטֹעַ Is 5116 (but לָטַ֫עַת Ec 32); נְשׂא Is 114, 183; with suffix בְּנָשְׂאִי ψ 282 (elsewhere שְׂאֵת, cf. §74i and §76b), לִנְשָׁק־ 2 S 209.

66c (b) In the imperative. Here the Nûn is always dropped in verbs with a in the imperfect, e.g. נגשׁ, imperative גַּשׁ (more frequently with paragogic ā, גְּשָׁה; before Maqqeph also גֶּשׁ־ Gn 199), plur. גְּשׁוּ, &c. Parallel with these there are the curious forms with ō, גּ֫שִֽׁי Ru 214 (with retarding Metheg in the second syllable, and also nasog ʾaḥor, according to §29e, before הֲלֹם) and גּ֫שׁוּ Jos 39 (before ה֫נָּה), 1 S 1438 (before הֲלֹם) and 2 Ch 2931; in all these cases without the pause. With Nûn retained, as if in a strong verb, נְהַג drive, 2 K 424 (imperfect יִנְהַג, without assimilation of the Nûn), וְנִטְעוּ 2 K 1929, Is 3730, Jer 295,28; cf. also the verbs ל״ה, which are at the same time פ״ן; נְהֵה Ez 3218, נְחֵה Ex 3234, נְטֵה Ex 81, &c.; the verb ל״א, נְשָׂא ψ 1012 (usually שָׂא); cf. §76b. But, as in the infinitive, the aphaeresis never takes place in verbs which have ō in the imperfect, e.g. נְצֹר, נְתֹץ, &c. 66d 2. When, through the addition of a preformative, Nûn stands at the end of a syllable, it is readily assimilated to the second radical (§19c); thus in the imperfect Qal,[4] e.g. יִפֹּל for yinpōl, he will fall; יִגַּ֫שׁ for yingaš; יִתֵּן for yintēn, he will give (on this single example of an imperfect with original i in the second syllable, cf. h)[5]; also in the perfect Niphʿal נִגַּשׁ for ningaš; throughout Hiphʿîl (הִגִּישׁ, &c.) and Hophʿal (which in these verbs always has Qibbuṣ, in a sharpened syllable, cf. §9n) הֻגַּשׁ.

The other forms are all quite regular, e.g. the perfect, infinitive absolute and participle Qal, all Piʿēl, Puʿal, &c.

In Paradigm H, only those conjugations are given which differ from the regular form.

66e The characteristic of these verbs in all forms with a preformative is Dageš following it in the second radical. Such forms, however, are also found in certain verbs פ״י (§71), and even in verbs ע״ע (§67). The infinitive גֶּ֫שֶׁת and the imperative גַּשׁ, also גֶשׁ־ (Gn 199) and תֵּן, resemble the corresponding forms of verbs פ״ו (§69).—On יִקַּח, קַח, and קַ֫חַת, from לָקַח to take, see g.—In יִקּוֹם (imperfect Niphʿal of קוּם), and in similar forms of verbs ע״וּ (§72), the full writing of the ô indicates, as a rule, that they are not to be regarded as imperfects Qal of נָקַם, &c.—Also אֶסַּק (ψ 1398) is not to be derived from נסק, but stands for אֶסְלַק (with a sharpening of the ס as compensation for the loss of the ל), from סָלַק to ascend, see §19f, and Kautzsch, Gramm. des Bibl.-Aram., § 44. Similarly the Hiphʿil-forms הִשִּׂיקוּ Ez 399, יַשִּׂיק Is 4415, and the Niphʿal נִשְּׂקָה ψ 7821 are most probably from a stem שֹלק, not נשֹק.

66f Rem. 1. The instances are comparatively few in which the forms retain their Nûn before a firm consonant, e.g. נָטַר, imperfect יִנְטֹר Jer 35 (elsewhere יִטֹּר); also from נָצַר the pausal form is always יִנְצֹ֫רוּ (without the pause יִצְּרוּ Pr 2028); similarly in Is 291, 583, ψ 618, 683 (where, however, תִּנָּדֵף is intended), 1402,5, Pr 211, Jb 4024, the retention of the Nûn is always connected with the pause. In Niphʿal this never occurs (except in the irregular inf. כְּהִנְדֹּף ψ 683, cf. §51k), in Hiphʿîl and Hophʿal very seldom; e.g. לְהַנְתִּיךְ Ez 2220, תָנְתְּקוּ Ju 2031; for לַנְפִּל Nu 522 read לִנְפֹּל, according to §53q. On the other hand, the Nûn is regularly retained in all verbs, of which the second radical is a guttural, e.g. יִנְחַל he will possess, although there are rare cases like יֵחַת (also יִנְחַת) he will descend, Jer 2113 (even תֵּ֫חַת Pr 1710; without apparent reason accented as Milʿēl), plur. יֵחַ֫תּוּ Jb 2113 (cf. §20i; the Masora, however, probably regards יֵחַת and יֵחַ֫תּוּ as imperfect Niphʿal from חָתַת); Niphʿal נִחַם for נִנְחַם he has grieved.

66g 2. The ל of לָקַח to take is treated like the Nûn of verbs פ״ן (§19d). Hence imperfect Qal יִקַּח, cohortative (§20m) אֶקְחָה, imperative קַח, in pause and before suffixes קָח (on קָֽחֶם־נָא Gn 489, see §61g), paragogic form קְחָת; קְחִי, &c. (but cf. also לְקַח Ex 291, Ez 3716, Pr 2016, לִקְחִי 1 K 1711, perhaps a mistake for לָהּ קְחִי, cf. LXX and Lucian); infinitive construct קַ֫חַת (once קְחַת 2 K 129, cf. §93h); with לְ, לָקַ֫חַת; with suffix קַחְתִּי; Hophʿal (cf., however, §53u) imperfect יֻקַּח; Niphʿal, however, is always נִלְקַח.—The meaningless form קָח Ez 175 is a mistake; for the equally meaningless קָחָם Ho 113 read וָֽאֶקָּחֵם.

66h 3. The verb נָתַן to give, mentioned above in d, is the only example of a verb פ״ן with imperfect in ē (יִתֵּן for yintēn; נִתַּן־[6] only in Ju 165, elsewhere before Maqqeph יִתֶּן־, &c.), and a corresponding imperative תֵּן or (very frequently) תְּנָה (but in ψ 82 the very strange reading תְּנָה is no doubt simply meant by the Masora to suggest נָֽתְנָה); before Maqqeph תֶּן־, fem. תְּנִי, &c. Moreover, this very common verb has the peculiarity that its final Nûn, as a weak nasal, is also assimilated; נָתַ֫תִּי for nāthántī, נָתַ֫תָּ or, very frequently, נָתַ֫תָּה, with a kind of orthographic compensation for the assimilated Nûn (cf. §44g); Niphʿal perfect נִתַּתֶּם Lv 2625, Ezr 97.

66i In the infinitive construct Qal the ground-form tint is not lengthened to tèneth (as גֶּ֫שֶׁת from נָגַשׁ), but contracted to titt, which is then correctly lengthened to תֵּת, with the omission of Dageš forte in the final consonant, see §20l; but with suffixes תִּתִּי, תִּתּוֹ, &c.; before Maqqeph with the prefix לְ = לָֽתֶת־, e.g. Ex 521, and even when closely connected by other means, e.g. Gn 157. However, the strong formation of the infinitive construct also occurs in נְתֹן Nu 2021 and נְתָן־ Gn 389; cf. §69m, note 2. On the other hand, for לְתִתֵּן 1 K 619 read either לְתִתּוֹ or simply לָתֵת, just as the Qe, 1 K 1714, requires תֵּת for תתן.

66k In other stems, the נ‍ is retained as the third radical, e.g. שָׁכַ֫נְתָּ, זָקַ֫נְתִּי cf. §19c and §44o. On the entirely anomalous aphaeresis of the Nûn with a strong vowel in תַּ֫תָּה (for נָתַ֫תָּ) 2 S 2241, cf. §19i.—On the passive imperfect יֻתַּן, cf. §53u.

  1. Cf. the summary, §41.
  2. The law allowing the addition of the feminine termination to the unlengthened form, instead of a lengthening of the vowel, is suitably called by Barth ‘the law of compensation’ (Nominalbildung, p. xiii).
  3. Critical annotation: In the printed book גַּעַ֫ת‎, but גַּ֫עַת is definitely correct.—A. E. A.
  4. Cf. Mayer Lambert, ‘Le futur qal des verbes פ״ו, פ״ן, פ״א’, in the REJ. xxvii, 136 ff.
  5. An imperfect in a (יִגַּשׁ) is given in the Paradigm, simply because it is the actual form in use in this verb.
  6. P. Haupt on Ju 165 in his Bible, compares the form of the Assyrian imperfect iddan or ittan (besides inádin, inámdin) from nadânu = נתן. But could this one passage be the only trace left in Hebrew of an imperf. in a from נתן?