Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/135. The Personal Pronoun

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Wilhelm Gesenius, edited and enlarged by Emil Kautzsch600604Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar — The Personal Pronoun1909Arthur Ernest Cowley

III. Syntax of the Pronoun.

§135. The Personal Pronoun.

a 1. The separate pronouns,—apart from their employment as the subject in noun-clauses (cf. § 141 a) and the idiom mentioned under d–h, —are used, according to § 32 b, as a rule, only to give express emphasis to the subject; e.g. Gn 165, 2 S 2417 אָֽנֹכִי i.e. I myself, so also אֲנִי 2 S 1228, 1715 (after the verb), Ez 3415, ψ 26;[1] but 1 S 1018, 2 S 127, Is 4512 אָֽנֹכִי I and none else; cf. also אֲנִי אֲנִי I, I! Ho 514, &c.; אַתָּה Gn 1515, Ju 1518, 1 S 1756 (as in 20:8, 22:18, Ex 1819, Dt 524, Ju 821, after the imperative); 1 K 217; אַתֶּם Gn 97, Ex 2019 (after the verb, Ju 1512); fem. Gn 316; הוּא 1 S 2218; הִיא Gn 320, Ju 143; הֵ֫מָּה Jer 55.—Sometimes, however, the separate pronoun appears to be placed before the verb more on rhythmical grounds, i.e. in order to give the statement a fuller sound than that of the bare verbal form (cf. the similar use of the infinitive absolute, § 113 o). Thus Gn 1423, ψ 1392, and most clearly in such passages as Gn 2124, 4730, Ex 824, Ju 618, 119, 1 S 1220, 2 S 313, 216, 1 K 218 (in solemn promises). The same explanation applies to אֲנִי at the beginning of sentences, e.g. Gn 2445, Ho 53, 1011, 1211, ψ 3911, 826, Jb 53.[2]

b Rem. 1. Different from this is the pleonastic addition of the separate pronoun immediately after the verb (according to Delitzsch on Ct 55 perhaps a trace of popular language), e.g. 1 S 2322(?), Ct 55, and (like other indications of the very late origin of the book) very frequently in Ecclesiastes, e.g. 1:16, 2:1, 11, 15, 3:17f. and thirteen other places; in Aramaic, Dn 516.

c 2. Substantival subjects also are somewhat frequently resumed, and thus expressly emphasized, by the insertion of the corresponding separate pronoun of the 3rd person before the predicate is stated, e.g. Gn 312 the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she (הִיא) gave me, &c.; 14:24 (הֵם); 15:4, 24:7, &c.; but הוּא in Is 714 after the predicate and subject is equivalent to he himself.[3]

d 2. Not infrequently the separate pronoun serves to give strong emphasis to a suffix of the same person which precedes (or sometimes even to one which follows), whether the suffix be attached to a verb (as accusative) or to a noun or preposition (as genitive). In English such an emphasis on the pronoun can generally be rendered only by laying greater stress upon it, or sometimes by repeating it; cf., on the contrary, the French mon livre à moi. The separate pronoun in such instances is not to be regarded as casus obliquus (accusative or genitive), but as the subject of an independent sentence, the predicate of which must in each case be supplied according to the context.

e Examples of emphasis:—

(a) On a verbal suffix by means of אֲנִי (אָ֫נִי) Gn 2734 בָּֽרֲכֵ֫נִי גַם־אָ֫נִי bless me, even me also (prop. bless me, I also would be blessed); Zc 75; cf. also Ez 63, 3411, 20 הִנְנִי אָ֫נִי; by אַתָּה (אָ֫תָּה) Pr 2219 (but the text is most probably corrupt).—The separate pronoun precedes in Gn 2427 (אָֽנֹכִי); 49:8 (אַתָּה, not Judah, thou art he whom, but Judah thee, thee thy brethren shall praise!), and Ec 215 גַּם אֲנִי.

f (b) On a noun-suffix with a substantive, by means of אֲנִי 2 S 191, Pr 2315; by אָ֑תָּה 1 K 2119 אֶת־דָּֽמְךָ גַּס־אָ֑תָּה thy blood, even thine; by הוּא 2 S 175, Jer 277, Mi 73; by אֲנַ֫חְנוּ 1 S 2042, after שְׁנֵ֫ינוּ, but without special stress; Neh 52 (?); by אַתֶּם Nu 1432; by הֵם ψ 3811 (without special stress), הֵ֫מָּה ψ 97.—The separate pronoun precedes in Jb 214 (אָֽנֹכִי); Gn 4016, Is 4512, 1 Ch 282 (אֲנִי); Zc 911 (אַתְּ); Jos 239 (אַתֶּם); Ez 3317 (הֵ֫מָּה).—In ψ 8948, where אֲנִי might be taken as strengthening חלד (equivalent in sense to חֶלְדִּי), we should read אֲדֹנָי for אֲנִי, as in verse 51.

g (c) On a suffix united with a preposition, 1 S 2524 בִּי אֲנִי upon me, upon me; 1 K 126 לִי... אֲנִי; 2 Ch 3521 לֹֹא־עָלֶ֫יךָ אַתָּה not against thee; 1 S 1923 עָלָיו גַּם הוּא upon him also; Dt 53 כִּי אִתָּנוּ אֲנַ֫חְנוּ but with us, even us; Hag 14 לָכֶם אַתֶּם for you yourselves; Jer 2514 בָּם גַּם־הֵ֫מָּה.—The separate pronoun precedes in 1 S 1223 אָֽנֹכִי... לִי; 1 K 120 אַתָּה... עָלֶ֫יךָ; Mi 51 אַתָּה... מִמְּךָ, and 2 Ch 2810 אַתֶּם עִמָּכֶם.

h The same principle also explains Gn 426 לְשֵׁת גַּם־הוּא to Seth, to him also (not גַּם־לוֹ); cf. 10:21, and Ex 3534, Nu 422. i 3. The oblique cases of the personal pronouns expressed by means of a preposition (or the nots accus. את) with a suffix may be used either in a demonstrative or reflexive sense,[4] as לוֹ to him, but also to himself, e.g. Ju 316 and Ehud made לוֹ for himself a sword, cf. Gn 3317; so also לָהֶם sibi, Is 39; אֵלָיו unto him, and Gn 89 unto himself; אִתּוֹ with him, and Gn 223 with himself; עִמָּהּ with her, and 1 S 124 with herself; also apparently as a pleonastic dativus ethicus (see § 119 s), Jb 1211, 131.

k Rarely, and only when marked emphasis is intended, is the accusative of the reflexive pronoun represented by the nota accusativi את with a suffix (this being ordinarily expressed by the reflexive conjugations Niphʿal and Hithpaʿēl[5]); thus, אֹתָם se ipsos, Ex 519, Jer 719 in sharp antithesis to הַֽאֹתִי; Ez 342, 8, 10. Cf. § 57 at the end, together with note 2.

l Rem. There is a similar emphasis in Is 4926 on בְּשָׂרָם and דָּמָם in the sense of their own flesh, their own blood. On the sometimes demonstrative, sometimes reflexive meaning of noun-suffixes of the 3rd person singular and plural, cf. § 91, p and q. For other circumlocutions to express the idea of self, see § 139 f.

m 4. The possessive pronouns are, according to § 33 c, expressed by the suffixes of the noun (in the genitive),[6] which may represent either a subjective genitive, or (like the genitives proper, § 128 h) an objective genitive, e.g. חֲמָסִי the wrong done against me, Gn 165, Jer 5135; cf. Gn 92, 1821, 2713 (2 S 1612 Keth.); Gn 3023, 3921 (cf. Ex 321, &c.); 50:4, Ex 2020, 2135, Ju 49, 1312 (מַֽעֲשֵׂ֫הוּ the treatment of him); Is 567, Jer 97, Na 319, Pr 127, 2422, Jb 2029, 2314, 346. Cf. also such pregnant expressions as ψ 203 יִשְׁלַח עֶזְרְךָ he will send thy help (help for thee), i.e. he will send thee help; Gn 3018, 3921, Ex 29, Is 126 (and I will restore judges for thee); Ez 3715.

When several substantives are co-ordinated, the pronominal suffix must be attached to each singly, e.g. Gn 366 and Esau took אֶת־נָשָׁיו וְאֶת־בָּנָיו וְאֶת־ בְּנֹתָיו his wives and his sons and his daughters, &c.; 38:18, &c. In 2 S 235 the text is hardly correct. n 5. When the genitive, following a construct state, is used periphrastically to express the idea of a material or attribute (§ 128 o and p), the pronominal suffix, which properly belongs to the compound idea (represented by the nomen regens and genitive), is, like the article (§ 127), attached to the second substantive (the genitive), e.g. הַר־קָדְשִׁי prop. the hill of my holiness, i.e. my holy hill, ψ 26, &c.; עִיר קָדְשְׁךָ thy holy city, Dn 924; אֱלִילֵי כַסְפּוֹ his idols of silver, Is 220, 3022, 317;[7] cf. Dt 141, Is 93, 284, 4111, Ez 91f., ψ 4110, 1501, Jb 187 צַֽעֲדֵי אוֹנוֹ his steps of strength; 38:6; after an adjective as nomen regens, Is 133 (Zp 311) עַלִּיזֵי גַֽאֲוָתִי my proudly exulting ones.—On the same analogy is the use of e.g. כְּלֵי מִלְחַמְתּוֹ Dt 141 his weapons of war [cf. Is 4112]; Is 567 בֵּית תְּפִלָּתִי my house of prayer, although the genitive here does not convey the idea of an attribute.

o Rem. 1. Through a weakening in the distinction of gender, which is noticeable elsewhere (cf. § 110 k, 144 a, 145 p, t, u) and which probably passed from the colloquial language[8] into that of literature, masculine suffixes (especially in the plural) are not infrequently used to refer to feminine substantives; thus a noun-suffix in the singular, Ex 116, 2519, Ju 1134;[9] in the plural, Gn 319, 3216, 4123, Ex 121, 217, Nu 277 (but the feminine suffix twice immediately after, and so the Samaritan also in verse 7); 36:6 (Samaritan אֲבִיהֶן, but also בְּעֵֽינֵיהֶם); Ju 1924, 2122, 1 S 67, 10b (בְּנֵיהֶם); 9:20, Is 316, Ez 2345 ff. (alternating with הֶן); Am 41 f. (but afterwards a feminine suffix); Jb 114, 393 (חֶבְלֵיהֶם in parallelism with יַלְדֵיהֶן); 42:15, Ct 42, 66, Ru 18 ff. (along with feminine suffixes); Dn 15, 89. Verbal suffixes in the singular, Ex 2225; in the plural, Ju 163, Pr 621, Jb 115. But Gn 2615, 18, 33:13, Ex 217, 1 S 610 a are to be explained according to § 60 h. On הֵ֫מָּה as feminine, see § 32 n. On the use of the masculine in general as the prior gender, see § 122 g.

p 2. The suffix of the 3rd person singular feminine (as also the separate pronoun הִיא Nu 1441, Jos 1013, Ju 144) sometimes refers in a general sense to the verbal idea contained in a preceding sentence (corresponding to our it); thus the verbal suffix, Gn 156, Nu 2319, 1 S 112, 1 K 1112, Is 308, Am 810; cf. Gn 2414 (בָּהּ thereby), 42:36, 47:26, Ex 1011 (אֹתָהּ that), Is 477. Elsewhere the suffix of the 3rd singular feminine refers to the plurals of things, e.g. 2 K 33 [but see Kittel; so 13:2, 6, 11; 10:26, but LXX מַצִּבַת], Jer 3623, Jb 620 (if the text is correct), 39:15 (read תֵּחָמֵם in v. 14), and to the plurals of names of animals, Is 357, Ezr 115. Conversely, plural suffixes refer to collective singulars, e.g. in Gn 1513, Nu 163, 1 S 28, Zp 27 [but read עַל הַיָּם]; and to a verbal idea contained in the preceding clause, in Ez 3318, Jb 2221 (בָּהֶם thereby), Ez 1826, 3319 (עֲלֵיהֶם on that account, thereby).[10] But the suffix in נְתָנוֹ Dt 2110 refers to the collective idea contained in אֹֽיְבָ֫יךָ; in Jon 13 עִמָּהֶם refers to the sailors included in sense under the term אֳנִיָּה. In Jos 24 read וַתִּצְפְּנֵם; in Is 306 (מֵהֶם), 38:16, ψ 195 (בָּהֶם) the text is most probably corrupt.

q 3. In a few examples the force of the noun-suffix or possessive pronoun has become so weak that the language appears to be almost entirely unconscious of it. Thus in אֲדֹנָי my Lord, usually explained as being from the pluralis maiestatis אֲדֹנִים (§ 124 i) with the suffix of the 1st singular (always with Qameṣ to distinguish it from אֲדֹנַי my lords, Gn 192; but see note below), used exclusively of God, not only in addressing him (Gn 152, 183, ψ 3523), but ultimately (see, however, the note below), without any regard to the pronoun, as equivalent to the Lord.[11] On אֲדֹנָי as a Qerê perpetuum of the Masoretes for יהוה see § 17 c and § 102 m.

r A similar loss of vitality in the suffix is generally assumed in יַחְדָּו prop. in his unitedness, i.e. he &c. together, e.g. כָּל־הָעָם יַחְדָּו Ex 198; then, without regard to the suffix, even after the 1st person אֲנַ֫חְנוּ יַחְדָּו 1 K 318 in reference to two women; Is 411, Jb 932, Neh 62, 7; after the 2nd person, Is 4520, &c. But the supposed pronominal suffix is perhaps rather to be explained, with Brockelmann, ZA. xiv. 344 f., as an old adverbial ending, which survives in the Arabic adverbs in u and in Assyrian.—Cf. further כֻּלָּם prop. their entirety, but also after the 2nd person equivalent to all together, 1 K 2228, Mi 12 (hear, ye peoples, all of you; cf. § 144 p), and even before the 2nd person, Jb 1710 (in 1 S 64 read לָכֶם with the LXX).—On the redundant suffix in הָֽעֶרְכְּךָ Lv 2723, cf. § 127 i.

  1. Also הוּא, הִיא he himself, she herself (of persons and things), e.g. Is 714 אֲדֹנָי הוּא the Lord himself; Est 91 הַיְּהוּדִים הֵ֫מָּה the Jews themselves. In the sense of the same (ὁ αὐτός) or (one and) the same, הוּא is used in Is 414, 4310, 13, 46:4, 48:12 (always אֲנִי הוּא), ψ 10228 (אַתָּה הוּא), and probably also Jb 319.—The position of הֵ֫מָּה, as an accusative of the object, before a perfect in 1 Ch 922, can at most be explained on the analogy of Aramaic (Ezr 512).
  2. As early as the Mêšaʿ inscription (line 21 ff.) אנך frequently stands at the beginning of a new sentence after the dividing stroke.
  3. Analogous to this is the resumption of a noun dependent on a preposition, by means of a pronominal suffix united with the same preposition, e.g. Gn 217, 2 S 622, 2 K 2218, or of an object by means of the nota accusativi את with suffix, e.g. 1 S 159 (where וְנִמְאֶ֫סֶת is certainly to be read), Is 813.
  4. As in Luther’s Bible jm (ihm), jr (ihr) for sich, and in our version him, her for himself, herself.
  5. Niphʿal according to § 51 e (like Hithpaʿēl according to § 54 f) may also include the dative of the reflexive pronoun.
  6. Like the substantival genitive, according to § 129 h, the possessive pronoun may also be paraphrased by a relative clause, e.g. Ru 221 הַנְּעָרִים אֲשֶׁר לִי the young men, which are to me, i.e. my young men; so especially, when the substantive, which should take a genitive suffix, is already followed by a genitive, e.g. 1 S 1740. In this case, however, the suffix also is sometimes attached pleonastically, e.g. Ct 16 כַּרְמִי שֶׁלִּי my vineyard, which belongs to me. Cf. Ct 37, and the analogous pleonasms in 2 S 222 (but see ψ 182) and ψ 272.
  7. On the other hand, more explicitly in prose, Gn 442 אֶת־גְּבִיעִי גְבִיעַ הַכֶּ֫כֶף my cup, the silver cup.
  8. According to Diehl (see the title at the head of § 91 a), who adduces numerous instances on pp. 44 ff., 54 ff., 67 f., many of these cases may be set down to corruption of the traditional text, while the sudden (and sometimes repeated) change of gender in suffixes is mainly due to the influence exercised on the copyists by the Mishnic and popular Aramaic dialects, neither of which recognizes such distinctions. Such influence, however, is insufficient to explain the large number of instances of this weakening, occurring even in the earlier documents.
  9. The Masora reckons six instances of מִמֶּ֫נּוּ, where מִמֶּ֫נָּה would be expected (Ju 1134, where, however, the text is most probably corrupt), Ex 2515 (?), Lv 68, 718, 279, Jos 17; almost all these passages can, however, be easily explained in other ways.
  10. In 2 K 710 for שֹׁעֵר (the LXX had שַׁ֫עַר) read שֹֽׁעֲרֵי.
  11. Cf. the same weakening of the force of the possessive pronoun in רַבִּי prop. my master, from the second century A.D. onwards the master; so also in Syriac מרי my lord, and ultimately as a title the lord; in Italian Madonna, French Madame, Notre Dame, Monsieur, Monseigneur, &c. It can, however, hardly be doubted that the regular distinction between אֲדֹנָי as a holy name, and אֲדֹנִי as an ordinary appellative is merely due to the practice of the later Rabbis. G. H. Dalman, Der Gottesname Adonaj und seine Geschichte (Berlin, 1889), in an exhaustive discussion, shows that apart from the book of Daniel and the eight critically doubtful passages, in which אדני is used by God himself, there is nowhere any necessity to regard the suffix as entirely meaningless, since אדני is always used either in an address to or (like אֲדֹנִי, which also is never a mere phrase or title) in reverent language about God—as the Lord of the speaker—like the Assyrian bēli-ia, my lord. Against any original distinction between אֲדֹנָי and אֲדֹנִי it may be urged especially that when unconnected with suffixes the singular אָדוֹן is always used of God, and not the pluralis maiestatis presupposed by אֲדֹנָי.