[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; with suffix גִּשְׁתּוֹ Gn 333; with the concurrence of a guttural נָגַע to touch, imperfect יִגַּע, infinitive גַּ֫עַת (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.
- Cf. the summary, §41.
- 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).
- Critical annotation: In the printed book גַּעַ֫ת, but גַּ֫עַת is definitely correct.—A. E. A.