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Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/118. The Looser Subordination of the Accusative to the Verb

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§118. The Looser Subordination of the Accusative to the Verb.

118a 1. The various forms of the looser subordination of a noun to the verb are distinguished from the different kinds of the accusative of the object (§ 117) by their specifying not the persons or things directly affected by the action, but some more immediate circumstance under which an action or an event takes place. Of such circumstances the most common are those of place, time, measure, cause, and finally the manner of performing the action. These nearer definitions are, as a rule, placed after the verb; they may, however, also precede it.

118b Rem. That the cases thus loosely subordinated to the verb are to be regarded as accusatives is seen first from the fact that in certain instances the nota accusativi (את) is prefixed; secondly from the fact that in one form of the casus loci a termination (־ָה) is employed, in which (according to §90c) the old accusatival ending is preserved; and finally from the consistency with which classical Arabic puts these nearer definitions in the accusative (which may be recognized by its form) even under circumstances in which one would be rather inclined to expect a nominative in apposition.

118c The relation subsisting between the circumstantial accusative and the accusative of the object is especially apparent when the former (as e.g. in a statement of the goal after a verb of motion) is immediately connected with its verb. But even the more loosely connected circumstantial definitions are certainly to be regarded as originally objects of a governing word habitually omitted, only that the consciousness of this closer government was at length lost, and the accusative more and more acquired an independent value as a casus adverbialis.

118d 2. The accusative serves to define more precisely the place (accus. loci), either (a) in answer to the question whither? after verbs of motion,[1] or (b) in answer to the question where? after verbs of being, dwelling, resting, &c. (but also after transitive verbs, see the examples), or finally (c) to define more precisely the extent in space, in answer to the question how far? how high? how much?, &c.

118e Instead of the simple accusative, the locative (see above, §90c) [2] is frequently found in the cases mentioned under f (sometimes also in those under g) or the preposition אֶל־,[3] especially before persons as the aim of the movement, or בְּ, usually, to express being at a place.

118f Examples of (a): נֵצֵא הַשָּׂדֶה let us go out into the field, 1 S 2011; cf. Gn 273, 314, Jb 297; לָלֶ֫כֶת תַּרְשִׁישׁ to go to Tarshish, 2 Ch 2036; cf. Gn 1011, 139, 2427, 2623, 3121, Ex 49, 1710, Ju 126, 2 K 1119, Na 18 (?), ψ 1342; with לָקַח Nu 2314; with נָתַן Jos 624; with the accus. loci emphatically preceding (cf. Driver on 1 S 58), 1 K 226, Is 2312, Jer 210, 206, 325; with בּוֹא (in the sense of aggredi, equivalent to עַל־ בּוֹא, cf. §117a, note 2) the personal aim also is poetically added in the accusative, Ez 3211, 3811, Pr 1024, 2822, Jb 1521, 2022; but in the last passage it is better taken as an accusative of the object (cf. the German einen ankommen, überkommen). See also Nu 1036 (where שׁוּב can hardly be transitive); Ju 1129, 1 S 1320 (where, however, אֶל־ has probably fallen out after ישראל; so Strack).—Finally, cf. also the use of אֲשֶׁר for אֲשֶׁר ... שָׁ֫מָּה whither, Nu 1327.—The accus. loci occurs after a passive, e.g. Gn 1215.

118g Examples of (b): Gn 3811 remain a widow בֵּית אָבִיךְ in thy father’s house; cf. Gn 2423, 1 S 1715, 2 S 232, Is 36, Hos 125, Mi 610, 2 Ch 3320; פֶּ֫תַח הָאֹ֫הֶל in the tent door, Gn 181, 10, 19:11, and frequently. As observed by Driver on 1 S 229, accusatives of this kind are almost without exception (but cf. 1 K 832, Is 162, 287, 2 Ch 3320) connected with a noun in the genitive. In all the above examples, however, the accusative may have been preferred to the natural construction with בְּ (which is not rare even with בֵּית and פֶ֫תַח) for euphonic reasons, in order to avoid the combination of such sounds as בְּב׳ and בְּפ׳; cf., moreover, Gn 214, 416, Ex 185, Lv 68 (הַמִּזְבֵּחַ instead of the usual הַמִּזְבֵּ֫חָה Ex 2913, &c.); Dt 12, 19,[4] 2 S 1726, 1 K 78, Pr 83, 914. On Is 130 see §116i; on יָּשַׁב, with the accus. loci, see §117bb. On the other hand, in Dt 63, according to the LXX, a verb of giving has dropped out before אֶ֫רֶץ.

118h Examples of (c): Gn 720 fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; Gn 3123, 4140 רַק הַכִּסֵּא אֶגְדַּל מִמֶּ֫ךָּ only in the throne will I be greater than thou; Dt 119 we went (through) all that great and terrible wilderness; cf. Jb 293. Of the same kind also are such cases as Ex 1616 (according to the number of your persons, for which elsewhere לְמִסְפַּר־ is used); 1 S 64 (with the accus. preceding); 6:18, 2 S 2120, Jb 15.—A statement of weight is put in the accusative in 2 S 1426.

118i 3. The accusative is employed to determine more precisely the time (accus. temporis), (a) in answer to the question when? e.g. הַיּוֹם the day, i.e. on the day (in question), at that time, but also on this day, i.e. to-day, or finally by day, equivalent to יוֹמָם, like עֶ֫רֶב at evening, לַ֫יְלָה noctu, בֹּ֫קֶר in the morning, early, ψ 54, &c., צָֽהֳרַ֫יִם at noonday, ψ 916; יוֹם אֶחָד on one and the same day, Gn 2745; שֵׁנָא in sleep, ψ 1272; תְּחִלַּת קְצִיר שְׂעֹרִים (Qe בִּתְ׳) at the beginning of barley harvest, 2 S 219; in stating a date, Gn 1110, 144 in the thirteenth year.

118k (b) In answer to the question how long? e.g. Gn 314, &c., כָּל־יְמֵי חַיֶּ֫יךָ all the days of thy life; 7:4 forty days and forty nights; 7:24, 14:4, 15:13, 21:34, 29:18, Ex 209 (for six days); 23:15, 31:17; עֽוֹלָמִים for ever, 1 K 813; also with the accusative made determinate, Ex 137 אֵת שִׁבְעַת הַיָּמִים throughout the seven days in question, mentioned immediately before; cf. Ju 1417, Dt 925.

118l 4. The accusative is sometimes used of abstract ideas to state the reason (accus. causae), e.g. Is 725 thou shalt not come thither יִרְאַת שָׁמִיר for fear of briers.

118m 5. Finally the accusative is used very variously (as an accus. adverbialis in the narrower sense), in order to describe more precisely the manner in which an action or state takes place. In English such accusatives are mostly rendered by in, with, as, in the form or manner of ..., according to, in relation to, with regard to. For more convenient classification we may distinguish them as—

118n (a) Adjectives expressing state, placed after the verb to describe more accurately some bodily or other external condition, e.g. Is 202 walking עָרוֹם וְיָחֵף naked and barefoot; cf. verse 3, 8:21, Gn 152, 3318 (שָׁלֵם), Ju 84, Mi 18, ψ 1075 (but in 15:2 תָּמִים is rather a substantive directly dependent on הוֹלֵךְ = he that walketh in uprightness; cf. §117r, note); Jb 3028. After an accusative, e.g. Dt 1518; to specify some mental state, e.g. Gn 3735 (אָבֵל).—Before the verb (and then with a certain emphasis), Am 216, Jb 121, Ec 514; Lv 2020, Jb 1925, 2719, 3126 (unless יָקָר be a substantive); Ru 121 (מְלֵאָה parallel with the adverb רֵיקָם). In Mi 27 the text is clearly corrupt.

118o Those examples are especially instructive in which the adjective expressing a state, although referring to several, is nevertheless used in the singular, e.g. Jb 2410 עָרוֹם הִלְּכוּ naked, i.e. in the condition of one naked, they go about; cf. verse 7 and 12:17. In Is 204 the singular occurs after a plural object, and in Is 475 the masc. after the 2nd sing. fem. imperative, which clearly proves that the term expressing the state is not conceived as being in apposition, but as an indeclinable adverb.

118p (b) Participles, again either after the verb, Nu 1627, Jer 227, 432, ψ 73, Jb 245, Ct 28, or before it, Gn 4911, Is 5719, Ez 3635, ψ 562, 9214, Pr 2014; cf. also the substantival use of the participles Niphʿal נֽוֹרָאוֹת in a fearful manner (ψ 13914) and נִפְלָאוֹת in a wonderful manner, Jb 375, Dn 824.—Also participles in connexion with genitives, as מִתְהַלֵּךְ Gn 38 (cf. also בָּאָה 1 K 146), are to be regarded as expressing a state and not as being in apposition, since in the latter case they would have to take the article.—In 2 S 1320, 1 K 77 and Hb 210 the explicative Wāw (equivalent to and that too) is also prefixed to the participle. In ψ 694 for מְיַחֵל read מִיַּחֵל.—On 1 K 118, 2 K 106, 192, Hag 14, cf. the note on §131h.

118q (c) Substantives[5] in the most varied relations: thus, as describing an external state, e.g. Mi 23 וְלֹא תֵֽלְכוּ רוֹמָה neither shall ye walk haughtily (as opposed to שְׁחוֹחַ Is 6014); Lv 69 (accus. before the verb=as unleavened cakes), Dt 29, 411, Ju 521, Is 572, Pr 710, Jb 3126, La 19; as stating the position of a disease, 1 K 1523 he was diseased אֶת־רַגְלָיו in his feet (2 Ch 1612 בְּרַגְלָיו), analogous to the cases discussed in §117ll and §121d (d); as describing a spiritual, mental, or moral state, e.g. Nu 3214, Jos 92 (פֶּה אֶחָד with one accord, 1 K 2213; cf. Ex 243, Zp 39), 1 S 1532, 2 S 233, Is 413 (unless שָׁלוֹם is adjectival, and the passage is to be explained as in n); Jer 317, Ho 1215, 145, ψ 563, 582, 753, Pr 319, Jb 169, La 19; Lv 1916, &c., in the expression הָלַךְ רָכִיל to go up and down as a tale-bearer; also בֶּ֫טַח unawares, Gn 3425, Ez 309; מֵֽישָׁרִים uprightly, ψ 582, 753 (in both places before the verb); as stating the age, e.g. 1 S 233 (if the text be right) יָמ֫וּתוּ אֲנָשִׁים they shall die as men, i.e. in the prime of life; cf. 1 S 218 (נַ֫עַר), Is 6520, and Gn 1516; as specifying a number more accurately, Dt 427, 1 S 1317, 2 K 52, Jer 318 [in Jer 1319 שְׁלוֹמִים wholly (?) is corrupt; read גָּלוּת שְׁלֵמָה with LXX for הָגְלָת שׁ׳]; as stating the consequence of the action, Lv 1518, &c.

118r The description of the external or internal state may follow, in poetry, in the form of a comparison with some well-known class, e.g. Is 218 וַיִּקְרָא אַרְיֵה and he cried as a lion; cf. ψ 2214, Is 2218 (כַּדּוּר like a ball); Is 2422, Zc 28, ψ 111 (unless צִפּוֹר be vocative); 58:9 b (unless the force of the preceding כְּ‍ is carried on, as in ψ 904); ψ 14412, Jb 245 (פְּרָאִים, before the verb); 41:7 shut up together as with a close seal.[6]

118s 6. To the expressions describing a state belong finally those nouns which are introduced by the comparative particle כְּ‍,[7] since the כְּ‍ is to be regarded as originally a substantive[8] in the sense of amount, kind (instar), standing in the accusative (so that כְּ‍ is equivalent to as a kind of, after the manner of, according to), while the following noun represents a genitive governed by the כְּ‍. From this, which is the proper meaning of the כְּ‍, may be explained its power of representing a great many pregnant relations, which in English can only be rendered by the help of prepositions.[9] Thus the comparison may refer to—

118t (a) The place, e.g. Is. 517 כְּדָבְרָם after the manner of, i.e. as in their pasture; 23:15 as (it is said) in the song of the harlot; 28:21, 29:7 כּֽחֲלוֹם as in a dream.

118u (b) The time, especially in the combination כְּיוֹם after the manner of the day, equivalent to as in the day, Is 93, Ho 25; כִּימֵי as in the days of ..., Is 519, Ho 217, 99, 1210, Am 911; cf. moreover, Lv 2213, Ju 2039, Is 176, Jb 514, 292, and the expressions בְּיוֹם בְּיוֹם as day by day=as in the former days, 1 S 1810; כְּפַ֫עַם בְּפַ֫עַם as at other times, 1 S 310, &c.; כְּשָׁנָה בְשָׁנָה as in former years, 2 K 174; cf. §123c. Of a different character is the use of כְּ‍ as a simple particle of time, e.g. Gn 1810 כָּעֵת חַיָּה at this time (not about the time), when it lives again, i.e. at the end of a year; כָּעֵת מָחָר to-morrow at this time; cf. Is 235, and the frequent connexion of כְּ‍ with the infinitive construct to express a definite time (in the sense of a pluperfect), Gn 1214, 2734, Ex 929, &c.

118v (c) The person, e.g. Gn 3431 should he deal with our sister as with a harlot?

118w (d) The thing, e.g. Is 1014, ψ 337, Jb 285 כְּמוֹ־אֵשׁ as a fire, i.e. as it were by fire (cf. Is 125 כַּבֹּר as with lye); Jb 2923 כַּמָּטָר as for the rain (they waited for me); Jb 3814 (as in a garment); 38:30 כְּאֶבֶן as to stone (the waters are solidified in freezing).

118x Rem. According to the earlier grammarians, כְּ‍ is sometimes used pleonastically, i.e. not to indicate a similarity (as in Lv 1435 as it were, i.e. something like), but simply to introduce the predicate (Kaph veritatis), e.g. Neh 72 for he was כְּאִישׁ אֱמֶת a faithful man; cf. 1 S 203 כְּפֶשַׂע, La 120 כַּמָּ֫וֶת. Such a pleonasm is of course out of the question. At the most a Kaph veritatis can only be admitted in the sense that the comparison is sometimes introduced by כְּ‍ with a certain emphasis (equivalent to in every respect like); thus כְּאִישׁ אֱמֶת in Neh 72 means simply of the nature of a faithful man, i.e. as only a faithful man can be; cf. Nu 111, Is 17, 136, Ho 44, 510, Ob 111, Jb 2414, 277, La 120, 24; also כִּמְעַט in such passages as ψ 10512 yea, very few; but e.g. in Is 19 only just, a very small...

  1. So commonly in Sanskrit; in Greek only poetically, e.g. Iliad i. 317 κνίση δ᾽ οὐρανὸν ἷκεν: in Latin, e.g. rus ire, Romam proficisci.
  2. Hence e.g. in 1 S 926 the Masora requires הַגָּ֫גָה instead of the Keth. הַגָּג.
  3. So in Ju 1918 for אֶת־בֵּית י׳ the better reading is אֶל־בּ׳.
  4. In ψ 212 דֶּ֫רֶךְ is not to be taken as an accus. loci (on the way), but as an accus. of respect (with regard to the way); see below, m.
  5. Cf. above, §100c, on certain substantives which have completely become adverbs; and §113h and k on the adverbial use of the infinitive absolute.
  6. It is, as a matter of fact, permissible to speak of the above examples as comparatio decurtata, but it must not be assumed that the comparative particle כְּ‍, which is otherwise regularly prefixed (see s), has actually dropped out.
  7. On the use of כְּ‍ as a prefix, cf. §102c.
  8. Schwabe (כְּ‍ nach seinem Wesen und Gebrauch im alttestam. Kanon gewürdigt, Halle, 1883) contests this explanation (which is defended especially by Fleischer and is certainly indisputable). He, with Gesenius and Ewald, places כְּ‍ as a preposition on the same footing as בְּ and לְ, and believes it to be probably connected with the stem כּוּן as well as with כִּי and כֵּן. The above view of כְּ‍ as a substantive of course does not imply that the language as we have it is still in every case conscious of the substantival meaning.—On כְּ‍ in numerical statements, in the sense of about, nearly, see the Lexicon.
  9. It would be altogether unsuitable here also (see above, note 2 on r) to assume a loss of the preposition. Such examples as Is 126 (כְּבָרִֽאשֹׁנָה and כְּבַתְּחִלָּה), Lv 2637 (כְּמִפְּנֵי) are to be explained from the fact that here the preposition and substantive had already become simply one word before the כְּ‍ was prefixed. We find also כְּעַל Is 5918, 637, ψ 11914, and 2 Ch 3219; cf. Driver on 1 S 1414 (כְּבַֽחֲצִי), where the text is wholly corrupt.