that which is stated about him;’ (b) ‘in order not to be a mere appendage to a subject which consists of several words,’ e.g. 2 K 2019; (c) in interrogative sentences (with a substantival or adjectival predicate or one compounded with a preposition), e.g. 1 S 164; finally (d) in a relative clause, when the predicate is adverbial or compounded with a preposition, as a rule closely united (by Maqqeph) with אֲשֶׁר, e.g. Gn 211 אֲשֶׁר־שָׁם; 1:29 f. אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ.
[142a] 1. By §140f there is an essential distinction between verbal-clauses, according as the subject stands before or after the verb. In the verbal-clause proper the principal emphasis rests upon the action which proceeds from (or is experienced by) the subject, and accordingly the verb naturally precedes (necessarily so when it is in the perf. consec. or imperf. consec.). Nevertheless, the subject does sometimes precede even in the verbal-clause proper, in the continuation of the narrative, e.g. Gn 719, 1 S 181, 2 S 1912; especially so if there is special emphasis upon it, e.g. Gn 313 (it is not I who am to blame, but) the serpent beguiled me, cf. Gn 25, &c. In the great majority of instances, however, the position of the subject at the beginning of a verbal-clause is to be explained from the fact that the clause is not intended to introduce a new fact carrying on the narrative, but rather to describe a state. Verbal-clauses of this kind approximate closely in character to noun-clauses, and not infrequently (viz. when the verbal form might just as well be read as a participle) it is doubtful whether the writer did not in fact intend a noun-clause.
[142b] The particular state represented in the verb may consist—
(a) Of an act completed long before, to which reference is made only because it is necessary for understanding the sequel of the principal action. If the predicate be a perfect (as it almost always is in these cases), it is generally to be rendered in English by a pluperfect; cf. the examples discussed above in §106f (1 S 283, &c.); also Gn 68 (not Noah found grace); 16:1, 18:17, 20:4, 24:1, 39:1 (and Joseph in the meanwhile had been brought down to Egypt); 41:10, Ju 116, 1 S 915, 1427, 2521, 1 K 11, &c.—In a wider sense this applies also to such verbal-clauses as Gn 26 (see further, §112e), since when they serve to represent an action continuing for a long period in the past, and thus to some extent a state.
[142c] (b) Of a fact, contemporaneous with the principal events or continuing as the result of them. To the former class belong all those instances in which the predicate is combined with הָיָה (provided that הָיָה has not, as in Gn 12, 31, &c., been weakened to a mere copula, in which case the precedence of the subject is fully explained from the character of the clause as a noun-clause; cf. §141i, and the examples of הָיָה, &c., with a participle, §116r); as an example of the second class, cf. e.g. Gn 1312 אַבְרָם יָשַׁב בְּאֶֽרֶץ־כְּנָ֑עַן וגו׳ Abraham accordingly continued to dwell in the land of Canaan, but Lot dwelt, &c.
- This of course applies also to the cases, in which the subject consists of a strongly emphasized personal pronoun, e.g. Gn 3213 אַתָּה thou thyself; 33:3 הוּא he himself.