Page:Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (1910 Kautzsch-Cowley edition).djvu/483

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§144. Peculiarities in the Representation of the Subject (especially in the Verbal-clause).

 [144a1. According to § 40 ff. most forms of the finite verb include a specification of the subject in the form of personal afformatives (in the imperfect also in the form of preformatives). Not infrequently, however, masculine forms are used in referring to feminines, e.g. וִֽידַעְתֶּם Ez 2349; עֲשִׂיתֶם Ru 18; in the imperfect, Jo 222, Ct 27; in the imperative, Am 41, Zc 137 (for other examples, see §110k). On emphasizing the pronominal subject by the addition of the separate pronoun, see §135a and b.

On the masculine as prior gender, cf. §122g; on similar anomalies in the use of the personal pronoun, §135o, in the connexion between substantive and adjective, §132d, between subject and predicate, §145p, t, u.

 [144b2. The third person singular is often used impersonally, especially in the masculine, e.g. וַֽיְהִי and it came to pass, וְהָיָה and it shall come to pass; חָרָה followed by לוֹ, &c., it became hot to him, i.e. he became angry, Gn 46, &c.; וַיֵּ֫צֶר לוֹ lit. and it became strait to him, he was distressed, Gn 328;[1] also in the feminine, e.g. 1 S 306 (Ju 109) וַתֵּ֫צֶר לְדָוִד Ju 1139, Jer 731, Ez 1225, Jb 1532 (unless תְּמֽוּרָתוֹ in verse 31 be the subject); cf. also the impersonal passives, Is 16 (רֻכְּכָה), 29:6 (תִּפָּקֵד). Somewhat different are the instances in which the 3rd singular feminine occurs as the predicate of a feminine subject which is not mentioned, but is before the mind of the speaker, e.g. Is 77, 1424, Jer 107, Jb 45, 1815 (in 2 K 247 כָּל־אֲשֶׁר is used in this way with a feminine predicate, and in Jer 195 אֲשֶׁר alone); different, too, are the instances in which the 3rd singular masculine refers to an act just mentioned, e.g. Gn 1711 וְהָיָה and this (the circumcision) shall be a token of a covenant, &c.

 [144c]  Rem. The expressions for natural phenomena may be either in the 3rd sing. masculine or feminine, e.g. אוֹר it becomes light, 1 S 2910 (but with an explicit subject, Gn 443); וַיֵּאוֹר and it became light; so also יַחְשִׁךְ it grows dark, Jer 1316; but וְחָֽשְׁכָה Mi 36; תָּעֻ֫פָה though there be darkness, Jb 1117; תַּמְטִיר it rains, Am 47 (where, however, the context requires the reading אַמְטִיר); ψ 503 נִשְׂעֲרָה it is tempestuous.

  1. In Arabic and Ethiopic the masculine is commonly used in this case, in Syriac the feminine.—The forms חַם hot, טוֹב good, well, מַר bitter, צַר narrow, רַע evil (frequently joined by לִי, לוֹ, &c.), which many regard as impersonal, are no doubt to be regarded in most cases not as forms of the 3rd pers. sing. perf., but, with Hupfeld on ψ 187, as adjectives.