Ju 1018. A still further weakening of the indefinite use of מָה is the combination מַה־שֶּׁ· that which, Ec 19, 315 (just like the Syriac מָא דְ); cf. Est 81, and בַּל... מָה Pr 913, לֹא... מָה Neh 212, nothing whatever.—On מְא֫וּמָה quicquam, anything at all (usually with a negative), and as an adverb in any way, 1 S 213, see the Lexicon.
[138a] Relative clauses are most frequently (but not necessarily; cf. §155b) introduced by the indeclinable אֲשֶׁר (see § 36). This is not, however, a relative pronoun in the Greek, Latin, or English sense, nor is it a mere nota relationis, but an original demonstrative pronoun [as though iste, istius, &c.]. Hence it is used—
(1) In immediate dependence on the substantival idea to be defined, and virtually in the same case as it (hence belonging syntactically to the main clause); e.g. Gn 247... יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר לְקָחַ֫נִי... הוּא יִשְׁלַח the Lord, iste, he took me... he shall send, &c. (= who took me); Gn 22 and God finished מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה his work, istud, he had made (it). Such qualifying clauses may be called dependent relative clauses.
[138b] Rem. 1. In the above examples אֲשֶׁר in Gn 247 is virtually in the nominative, in Gn 22 in the accusative. A further distinction between the examples is that in Gn 247 the main idea (יהוה), to which אֲשֶׁר is added in apposition, is only resumed in the qualifying clause by the subject (he) inherent in
- The etymology of the word is still a matter of dispute. Against the identification of אֲשֶׁר, as an original substantive, with the Arabic ‛at̄ar, trace, Aram. אֲתַר place, trace, Nöldeke urges (ZDMG. xl. 738) that the expression trace of... could hardly have developed into the relative conjunction, while the meaning of place has been evolved only in Aramaic, where the word is never used as a relative. According to others, אֲשֶׁר is really a compound of several pronominal roots; cf. Sperling, Die Nota relationis im Hebräischen, Leipzig, 1876, and König, Lehrgeb., ii. 323 ff., who follows Ewald and Böttcher in referring it to an original אֲשַׁל. According to Hommel (ZDMG. xxxii. 708 ff.) אֲשֶׁר is an original substantive, to be distinguished from שֶׁ· and שַׁ· (an original pronominal stem), but used in Hebrew as a nota relationis, or (as זֶה and זוּ are also sometimes used, see below, g and h) simply for the relative pronoun. Baumann (op. cit., p. 44) sees in the Assyrian ša, Phoenician, Punic, and Hebrew שֶׁ, the ground-forms, of which the Phoenician and Punic אש (see above, § 36 note) and the Hebrew אֲשֶׁר are developments.
- E.g. like Luther’s use of so, in die fremden Götter, so unter euch sind, Gn 352.
- This is the necessary conclusion both from the analogy of the Arabic ʾallad-i, which is clearly a demonstrative (like the Hebr. הַלָּז, הַלָּזֶה), and from the use of זֶה and זוּ as relatives.