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Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/130. Wider Use of the Construct State

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§130. Wider Use of the Construct State.

130a The construct state, which, according to §89a, primarily represents only the immediate government by one substantive of the following word (or combination of words), is frequently employed in rapid narrative as a connecting form, even apart from the genitive relation; so especially—

(1) Before prepositions,[1] particularly in elevated (prophetic or poetic) style, especially when the nomen regens is a participle. Thus before בְּ, שִׂמְחַת בַּקָּצִיר the joy in the harvest, Is 92, 2 S 121, ψ 1368f.; in participles, Is 511, 91, 198, ψ 847, and especially often when בְּ with a suffix follows the participle, e.g. ψ 212 כָּל־חוֹסֵי בוֹ; cf. Na 17, Jer 816 (ψ 241); ψ 649 (unless רֹאֶה should be read); 98:7.[2]—Before לְ, Ho 96 (but read probably מַתֲמַדֵּי כַסְפָּם); ψ 585 (before לָמוֹ); Pr 249, Jb 182, La 218 (before לָךְ); 1 Ch 655, 2328; in participles, Ez 3811, Jb 245; before לְ with an infinitive, Is 5610, and again before לְ with a suffix, Gn 2421, Is 3018, 643;[3]—before אֶל־, Is 1419, Ez 2117; —before אֶת־ (with), Is 86; —before מִן, Gn 322, Is 289 (a participle); Jer 2323, Ez 132, Ho 75; —before עַל־, Ju 510; —before בִּלְתִּי, Is 146; —before the nota accus. את, Jer 3322; —before a locative (which in such cases also serves as a genitive), Ex 2713, Jer 115.

130b (2) Before wāw; copulative, e.g. Ez 2610; but חָכְמַת Is 336, גִּילַת 35:2, and שְׁכֻרַת 51:21 may be cases of an intentional reversion to the old feminine ending ath, in order to avoid the hiatus (וָ)־ָה וְ.

130c (3) When it governs the (originally demonstrative) pronoun אֲשֶׁר; so especially in the combination מְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר, Gn 3920, 403, the place where (prop. of that in which) Joseph was bound; cf. §138g; or בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר Lv 424, 33, 2 S 1521, 1 K 2119, Jer 2212, Ez 2135, Ho 21. We should expect הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר, בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר, as in Gn 3513, &c., at the place which..., cf. § 138; but אֲשֶׁר is treated as a nomen rectum instead of as an attribute. Cf. also מִיּוֹם א׳ followed by a perfect in 1 S 298, and יְמֵי א׳ Lv 1346, Nu 918.[4]

130d (4) When it governs independent sentences (cf. § 155), which virtually stand to the construct state (as nomen regens) in a sort of genitive relation, e.g. Ex 413 בְּיַד־תְּשְׁלָח prop. by the hand of him whom thou wilt send; Nu 233 דְּבַר מַה־יַּרְאֵ֫נִי the matter of that which he shall show me, i.e. whatever he shall; Is 291 קִרְיַת חָנָה דָוִד the city where David encamped; Jer 4836, ψ 163 (if the text be right), 65:5 (Pr 832), ψ 816, Jb 1821 the place of him that knoweth not God; Jb 2916, La 114 (if the text be right) into the hands of those against whom I cannot stand.[5] In Gn 394 (כָּל־יֶשׁ־לוֹ) the כָּל־ takes after it a noun-clause, and in Ex 94, still more boldly, a subst. with לְ.—Very often a time-determination governs the following sentence in this way; thus אַֽחֲרֵי followed by a perfect, Lv 2548, 1 S 59; בְּיוֹם ψ 1023 (before a noun-clause), Ex 628, Nu 31, Dt 415, 2 S 221, ψ 181, 5917, 1383 (in every case before a following perfect), ψ 5610 (before an imperfect); מִיּוֹם followed by the perfect, Jer 362; כָּל־יְמֵי Lv 1446, 1 S 2515, Jb 292 (כִּימֵי as in the days when...[6]; cf. כִּימוֹת and שְׁנוֹת before a perfect, ψ 9015); בְּעֵת before a perfect, Jer 615 (cf. 49:8, 50:31); before an imperfect, Jb 617; תְּחִלַּת before a perfect Ho 12.

130e (5) Connected with a following word in apposition; certainly so in such cases as בְּתוּלַת בַּת־צִיּוֹן the virgin, the daughter of Zion, Is 3722; cf. 23:12, Jer 1417; also 1 S 287 אֵ֫שֶׁת בַּֽעֲלַת־אוֹב a woman, possessor of a soothsaying spirit; cf. Dt 2111.—Gn 1410, Ju 1922 (but read probably אֲנָשִׁים with Moore, as in Dt 1314, Ju 2013, 1 K 2110); 2 K 106, 1713 Qe; Jer 469, ψ 3516 (?), 78:9, Jb 2017 b (unless נַֽהֲרֵי or נַֽהֲלֵי be a gloss).

130f Rem. Some of the above passages may also be explained by supposing that there exists a real genitive relation towards the preceding construct state, which has been, as it were, provisionally left in suspenso, in consequence of the insertion of some interrupting word, e.g. Is 3722, &c.; Jb 2017 a. Elsewhere (Dt 3319, ψ 6834) the nomen regens probably governs the following construct state directly.[7] 130g (6) The numeral אַחַד one for אֶחָד in close connexion, and even with small disjunctives, e.g. Gn 322, 4822, 1 S 93, 2 S 1722, Is 2712, Zc 117.

The character of these passages shows that the numeral here cannot be in the construct state, but is merely a rhythmical shortening of the usual (tone-lengthened) form.

  1. Cf. König, ‘Die Ueberwucherung des St.-constr.-Gebrauchs im Semit.,’ ZDMG. 53, 521 ff.
  2. In Ju 811 the article is even used before a construct state followed by בְּ, in order to determine the whole combination שְׁכוּנֵי בָֽאֳהָלִים tent-dwellers, taken as one word; cf., however, the remarks in §127f–i on similar grammatical solecisms.
  3. These are to be distinguished from the cases where לְ follows a construct state, which in conjunction with מִן (and the following לְ) has become a sort of preposition or adverb of place; thus, we have מִבֵּית־לְ Ex 2633 (for which in Ez 127 merely בֵּית לְ) meaning simply within; מִימִין לְ (2 K 2313, Ez 103) on the right hand (i.e. south) of; מִצְּפוֹן לְ (Jos 811, 13, &c., Ju 29) on the north of; cf. also Jos 1521 and לִפְנֵי מִן Neh 134.
  4. In Dt 235 the construct state governs a sentence introduced by the conjunction אֲשֶׁר (עַל־דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר by reason of the fact that, i.e. because); so also in 1 S 313.
  5. Probably Gn 2214 is also to be so explained (contrary to the accents), and certainly (contrary to the very unnatural division of the verses) 2 Ch 3018, which should read on thus: יְהֹוָה הַמּוֹב יְכַפֵּר בְּעַד כָּל־לְבָבוֹ הֵכִין the good Lord pardon every one that setteth his heart to seek God. [See Wickes’ Accontuation of the Twenty-one Prose Books of the Old Testament, p. 140.]
  6. Cf. Na 29 מִימֵי הִיא, usually explained to mean from the days that she hath been, but the text is evidently very corrupt.
  7. So also Is 2816 a corner stone of the preciousness (יִקְרַת is a substantive not an adjective) of a fixed foundation, i.e. a precious corner stone of surest foundation.—In 2 S 2019 the text is wholly corrupt; in ψ 119128 read כָּל־פִּקּוּדֶ֫יךָ.