Page:Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (1910 Kautzsch-Cowley edition).djvu/430
[126i] (i) On the other hand, the article is always omitted when a person or thing is to be represented as indefinite (or indefinable) or as yet unknown; consequently also before the predicate, since this is from its nature always a general term, under which the subject is included, e.g. Gn 297 עוֹד הַיּוֹם גָּדוֹל as yet the day is great, i.e. it is yet high day; 33:13, 40:18, 41:26, Is 663.
[126k] Rem. 1. As exceptions to the above rule it is usual to regard those examples in which a determinate adjective or participle (equivalent to a relative clause) is used apparently as a predicate, e.g. Gn 211 הוּא הַסֹּבֵב it is the compassing, i.e. that is it which compasseth; 42:6, 45:12, Ex 927, Dt 321, 818, 117, 1 S 416, Is 1427, Mal 32 (cf. in Greek, e.g. St. Mat. 10:20, where Winer, Gram. des neutest. Sprachidioms, § 58, 2, Rem., explains οἱ λαλοῦντες as a predicate with the article). In reality, however, these supposed predicates are rather subjects (acc. to §116q), and the only peculiarity of these cases is that the subject is not included under a general idea, but is equated with the predicate.
[126l] 3. The use of the article to determine the class is more extensive in Hebrew than in most other languages. In this case the article indicates universally known, closely circumscribed, and therefore well defined classes of persons or things. The special cases to be considered are—
[126m] (a) The employment of general names as collectives in the singular, to denote the sum total of individuals belonging to the class (which may, however, be done just as well by the plural); e.g. the righteous, the wicked man, Ec 317; the woman, i.e. the female sex, 7:26; הָֽאֹיֵב the enemy, i.e. the enemies (?) ψ 97; הָֽאֹרֵב the liers in wait, i.e. the liers in wait; הֶֽחָלוּץ the armed man, i.e. soldiers; הַֽמְאַסֵּף the rearguard; הַמַּשְׁחִית the spoiler, 1 S 1317; so also (as in English) with names of animals, when something is asserted of them, which applies to the whole species, e.g. 2 S 1710 as the courage of הָֽאַרְיֵה the lion. Especially also with gentilic names, e.g. the Canaanite, Gn 137 (cf.15:19 f.); so in English the Russian, the Turk, &c., in Attic writers ὁ Ἀθηναῖος, ὁ Συρακόσιος, &c.
[126n] (b) Names of materials known everywhere, the elements and other words denoting classes, even though only a part and not the whole of them is considered, in which case in other languages, as e.g. in English, the article is usually omitted (cf., however, our to fall into the water, into the fire, &c.), e.g. Gn 132 and Abram was very rich בַּמִּקְנֶה בַּבֶּסֶף וּבַוָּהָב in cattle, in silver and in gold; Jos 119 and he burnt their chariots בָּאֵשׁ with fire; cf. Gn 614, 4142 (unless this means, the chain necessarily belonging to the official dress); Ex 23, 314 (35:32), Is 122, &c, and בַּשָּׁמֶן with oil very commonly in the sacrificial laws, Ex 292,
- But in Ex 1223 המ׳ is either to be explained as the destroyer (now mentioned for the first time) according to q, or a particular angel is meant whose regular function it was to inflict punishments. Others again take המ׳ even in Ex 1223 impersonally = destruction.
- In nearly all the above examples the presence of the article is only indicated by the vowel of the prefix (בַּ, כַּ, לַ) and might therefore be merely due to the masoretic punctuation. There is, however, no reason to doubt the correctness of the tradition. The same is true of the examples under n and o.