Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/91. The Noun with Pronominal Suffixes

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§91. The Noun with Pronominal Suffixes.

W. Diehl, Das Pronomen pers. suffixum 2 u. 3 pers. plur. des Hebr., Giessen, 1895; A. Ungnad, ‘Das Nomen mit Suffixen im Semit.,’ Vienna Oriental Journal, xx, p. 167 ff.

91a With regard to the connexion of the noun with pronominal suffixes, which then stand in a genitive relation (§33c) and are, therefore, necessarily appended to the construct state of the noun, we shall first consider, as in the verb (§ 57 ff.), the forms of the suffixes themselves, and then the various changes in the form of the noun to which they are attached. The nouns are also tabulated in the Paradigms of the flexion of the noun in § 92 ff. Cf. also Paradigm A in the Appendix. We are here primarily concerned with the different forms of the suffixes when added to the singular, plural, and dual.

91b 1. The Suffixes of the singular are—

With nouns ending in a—

Vowel. Consonant.
Sing. 1. c. my. י ־ִי
2. m. thy. ךָ ־ְךָ (pause ־ֶ֫ ךָ
f. ךְ ־ֵךְ
3. m. his. הוּ, ו וֹ (הּׄ), ־ֵ֫ וּ
f. her. הָ ־ָהּ, ־ֶ֫ הָ
Plur. 1. c. נוּ ־ֵ֫ נוּ our.
2. m. נֶם ־ְכֶם your.
f. כֶן ־ְכֶן
3. m. הֶם ־ָם eorum.
מוֹ (poet. ־ָ֫ מוֹ)
f. הֶן (הֵן) ־ָן earum.

91c Rem. 1. There is less variety of forms in these than in the verbal suffixes; the particular forms are used as follows:—

(a) Those without a connecting vowel (on the derivation of these ‘connecting vowels’ from original stem-vowels, see note on §58f) are generally joined to nouns of a peculiar form (see § 96), the constr. st. of which ends in a vowel, as אָבִ֫יךָ, אָבִ֫יהוּ and אָבִיו, אָבִ֫יהָ, אָבִ֫ינוּ, אֲבִיכֶם, אֲבִיכֶן, אֲבִיהֶם, אֲבִיהֶן, sometimes also to segholate forms ending in î from ל״ה stems (see §93x, y), e.g. פְּרִיהֶם the fruit of them, Am 914 (also פִּרְיָם Is 3730, &c.), פּרִיהֶן Jer 2928 (also פִּרְיָן verse 5); cf., moreover, חֶלְבְּהֶן Lv 816,25 and similar examples with הֶן (Is 317 הֵן) Gn 2128, Ez 1317, 1653.[1] Also in Gn 121, 44, Ez 1012, Nah 28, &c., the Keth. perhaps intends the singular, לְמִֽינְהֶם, &c., but the Masora requires the plural with defective ê.

91d (b) The forms with connecting vowels (§58f) are joined to nouns ending in a consonant. The connecting vowel is regularly a in the 3rd sing. fem. ־ָהּ (for aha) and 3rd plur. ־ָם, ־ָ֫ מוֹ, ־ָן, also in the 3rd sing. masc. (הֹ) וֹ, since the ô is contracted from a[h]û, and in the pausal form of the 2nd masc. ־ֶ֫ ךָ (a modification of original ־ַ֫ ךָ).

The forms with ē in the above-mentioned persons are common only with nouns in ־ֶה (from stems ל״ה), constr. st. ־ֵה (cf. §89f), e.g. שָׂדֵ֫הוּ (from sadaihû) his field; עָלֶ֫הָ its leaf, Is 130; מַרְאֶ֫הָ the appearance thereof, Lv 134 (from mar’aihā; on the Seghôl see k); but שָׂדָהּ her field. The orthographic retention of the י, e.g. מַֽעֲשֶׂ֫יךָ, מַֽעֲשָׂיו, gives to many forms the appearance of plurals; see the instances in §93ss.

Apart from these ל״ה forms the connecting vowel ē in the 3rd pers. occurs only in isolated cases; אוֹרֵ֫הוּ his light, Jb 253; לְמִינֵ֫הוּ after its kind, Gn 112,25 [+ 12 times]; Na 113; in Ju 1924 read פִּֽילַגְשׁוֹ as in vv. 2, 25. On the other hand ־ֵךְ in the 2nd sing. fem. and ־ֵ֫ נוּ in the 1st plur. are by far the more common forms, while ־ָךְ, ־ָ֫ נוּ are of rare occurrence; see e.—Instead of ־ְךָ (־ְכָה in Gn 1019, Ex 1316, Jer 2925, &c., cf. בְּכָה, לְכָה §103g), ־ְכֶם, ־ְכֶן (with Šewâ mobile), if the last consonant of the noun is a guttural, the forms are ־ֲךָ, ־ֲכֶם, ־ֲכֶן, e.g. רֽוּחֲךָ thy spirit, בֹּרַֽאֲךָ thy creator, Is 431, רֵיֽעֲכֶם your friend, Jb 627 (on such cases as בְּחֶוֹכְכֶם Hag 25, see §10g).—With Nun energicum (cf. §58i, and on עוֹנֶ֑ךָּ Jb 51, &c., cf. §61h) דֶַיּ֑ךָּ occurs in Pr 2516, in principal pause.

2. Rare or incorrect forms are—

91e Sing. 1st pers. ־ֵ֫ נִי in בְּשׁוּבֵ֫נִי Ez 477 (certainly only a scribal error, caused by וַיְשִׁבֵ֫נִי in verse 6). 2nd pers. m. in pause ־ֶ֫ כָה, e.g. כַּפֶּֽכָה (thy hand), ψ1395, cf. Pr 2410; once חֹנָ֑ךְ ψ536 (cf. the analogous cases in the verbal suffix §75ll); fem. ־ֵיךְ Ez 512 (in 1653 also for שְׁבִיתַ֫יִךְ probably שְׁבִיתֵיךְ is intended), ־ֵ֫ כִי Jer 1115, ψ1033, 11619, 1359 (corresponding to the Aramaic suffix of the 2nd fem. sing.; on the wholly abnormal ־ֵ֫ כֵה Na 214, cf. l), לֵכִי Keth. 2 K 42, Ct 213. Also ־ָ֫ ךְ Is 221, Ez 2328, 254.

3rd pers. ־ֹה (cf. §7c), e.g. אָֽהֳלֹה Gn 921, 128, 133, 3521 (always with Qe אָֽהֳלוֹ); נֻחֹה Nu 1036; לֵחֹה Dt 347; בֻּלֹּה Jer 207, Na 21 Qe; קִצֹּה 2 K 1923 Keth., for which קִצּוֹ is read in Is 3724; עִירֹה and סוּתֹה Gn 4911, cf. Ex 2226 (Qe עִירוֹ, סוּתוֹ); סֻבֹּה ψ109, 275 Keth.; הֲמוֹנֹה Ez 3118, &c., Keth.; תְּבוּאָתֹה Ez 4818 [altogether fourteen times in the Pentateuch, and some forty times in other books: see Driver, Samuel, p. xxxv, and on 2 S 29, 211].

3rd fem. ־ָה for ־ָהּ (with the softening of the Mappiq, cf. §23k, and the analogous cases in §58g) occurs repeatedly before Beghadhkephath and other soft consonants, Ex 918 (before וְ, if the text is right), Lv 134 (before ל), Nu 1528,31, 1 S 19 (unless אָכְלָה, the infin. with fem. termination, is intended; שָׁתֹה follows), Ez 1644, 246 (before ב), 1 S 2020, 2 K 86, Pr 1228 (before א), Na 39 (before וּ), ψ4814 (before פ), Ez 4710, Jb 3122 twice (before ת), Is 212, Jer 2017 (before ה), Nu 3242, Am 111 (before ן), Lv 62 (before ע); even in pause, Lv 124 a and 5 b; Is 2317, Pr 2122, also with Zaqeph, Is 456, Jer 66 (probably), 4419; on הָשַּׁמָּה Lv 2634, &c., see §67y. Cf. also ־ָא Ez 365.—Sometimes the Masora appears (but this is very doubtful) to regard the ־ָהּ with feminines as a shortening of ־ָתָהּ, e.g. נִצָּהּ Gn 4010 for נִצָּ֫תָהּ, פִּנָּהּ Pr 78 for פִּנָּ֫תָהּ; also ־ָם for ־ָחָם in כִּתְבוּנָם Ho 132, and עָרְמָם Jb 513. The examples, however, are for the most part uncertain, e.g. in Is 284 the reading is simply to be emended to בִּכּוּרָה, and in Zc 42 to גֻּלָּה, Jb 119 to מִדָּה, Neh 514 to פֶּחָה. [See also, after prepositions, §103g.]

91f Plur. 1st pers. ־ָ֫ נוּ, in pause קִימָ֫נוּ Jb 2220 (where, however, קָמֵ֫נוּ is certainly to be read); cf. Ru 32 [Is 4710, cf. §61c, h], and so always כֻּלָּ֫נוּ all of us, Gn 4211, &c [cf. בָּנוּ, לָנוּ, אִתָּנוּ, עִמָּנוּ].

2nd pers. fem. כֶ֫נָה Ez 2348,49.

3rd pers. masc. ־ָ֫ מוֹ ψ1710 (on מוֹ in פִּ֫ימוֹ in the same verse, and in ψ587 see .l); ־ָ֑ הַם 2 S 236, according to Sievers probably to call attention to the reading כלהם. fem. ־ָ֫ הְנָה 1 K 737, Ez 1653 (in pause); ־ֶ֫ נָה Gn 4121; ־ֶ֫ נָּה Gn 3041; ־ָ֫ נָה Ru 119; elsewhere generally in pause (Gn 2129, 4236, Jer 87, Pr 3129, Jb 392); finally הֵן as suffix to a noun, only in Is 317.

For examples of singulars with plural suffixes see l.

91g 2. In the plural masc. and in the dual the suffixes are to be regarded primarily as affixed to the original ending of the construct state (־ַ֫ י, cf. §89d). This ending, however, has been preserved unchanged only in the 2nd fem. In most cases it is contracted to ־ֵי, as in the constr. st. without suffixes (so throughout the plur. and in the poetical suffix ־ֵ֫ יהוּ of the 3rd sing. masc.); in the 2nd masc. and 3rd fem. sing. it is ־ֶי (cf. k). On the 1st pers. and 3rd masc. sing. see i.—Thus there arise the following 91h

Suffixes of Plulral Nouns.
Singular. Plural.
1. c. my. ־ַי, pause ־ָי 1. c. our. ־ֵ֫ ינוּ
2. m. thy. ־ֶ֫ יךָ 2. m. your. ־ֵיכֶם
f. ־ַ֫ יִךְ pause ־ָ֫ יִךְ f. ־ֵיכֶן
3. m. his. ־ָיו, poet. ־ֵ֫ יהוּ 3. m. their. ־ֵיהֶם, poet. ־ֵ֫ ימוֹ
f. her. ־ֶ֫ יהָ f. ־ֵיהֶן

91i Thus the original ־ַי is (a) contracted in the 3rd sing. masc. ־ֵ֫ יהוּ and throughout the plural, as סוּסֵ֫יהוּ, סוּסֵ֫ינוּ, &c.; (b) retained unchanged in the 1st sing. סוּסַי, the real suffix-ending י (see b) being united with the final Yôdh of the ending ־ַי; and in the 2nd fem. sing. סוּסַ֫יִךְ, with a helping-Ḥireq after the Yôdh. On the other hand (c) the Yôdh of ־ַי is lost in pronunciation and the ă lengthened to ā in the 3rd masc. sing. סוּסָיו, i.e. sûsāw (pronounced susā-u).[2] The 2nd masc. sing. סוּםֶ֫יךָ and the 3rd fem. sing. סוּסֶ֫יהָ were formerly also explained here as having really lost the י, and modified the a of sûsakā, sûsahā to Seghôl; but cf. the view now given in g and k.

91k Rem. 1. As סוּסֵ֫ינוּ represents sûsai-nû, so סוּסֶ֫יךָ and סוּסֶ֫יהָ represent sûsai-kā, sûsai-hā, and the use of Seghôl instead of the more regular Ṣere is to be explained from the character of the following syllable,—so P. Haupt who points to יִקְטְלֶ֫הָ as compared with יִקְטְלֵ֫הוּ. In support of the view formerly adopted by us that the י is only orthographically retained, too much stress must not be laid on the fact that it is sometimes omitted,[3] thereby causing confusion in an unpointed text with the singular noun. A number of the examples which follow may be due to an erroneous assumption that the noun is a plural, where in reality it is a singular, and others may be incorrect readings. Cf. דְרָכֶ֫ךָ thy ways (probably דַּרְכְּךָ is intended), Ex 3313, Jos 18, ψ11937; for other examples, see Jos 2111 ff. (מִגְרָשֶׁ֫הָ; but in 1 Ch 640 ff. always ־ֶ֫ יהָ), Ju 199, 1 K 829, Is 5813, ψ11941,43,98 (probably, however, in all these cases the sing. is intended); אֱסָרֶ֫הָ Nu 308 (cf. v. 5); מַכֹּתֶ֫הָ Jer 198, 4917; מְבִיאֶ֫ה Dn 116. For the orthographic omission of י before suffixes cf. רֵעִ֫הוּ for רֵעֵ֫יהוּ his friends 1 S 3026, Pr 2918; Jb 4210 (but it is possible to explain it here as a collective singular); עֲוֹנֵ֫נוּ our iniquities, Is 645,6, Jer 147; Ex 109, Neh 101 (לְוִיֵּ֫נוּ from לְוִיִּם which is always written defectively); נִסְכֵּכֶם Nu 2933; רָעֹֽתֵכֶם Jer 449; יְדֵכֶם ψ1342; לְמִֽינֵהֶם after their kinds, Gn 121 (but see c), cf. 44 and Na 28. The defective writing is especially frequent in the 3rd masc. sing. ־ָו, which in Qe is almost always changed to ־ָיו, e.g. חִצָּו his arrows, ψ588, Qe חִצָּיו. On יַחְדָּו, only three times יַחְדָּיו, cf. §135r.

91l 2. Unusual forms (but for the most part probably only scribal errors) are—Sing. 2nd pers. fem ־ֵיךְ (after אַשְׁרֵי happy! Ec 1017, which has become stereotyped as an interjection, and is therefore unchangeable; cf. Delitzsch on the passage); ־ַ֫ יְכִי (cf. Syr. ־ֵכי) 2 K 43, and 7 in Keth., ψ1033–5, 1167 (־ָ֫ יְכִי in pause).—In Ez 1631 ־ַ֫ יִךְ (so ־ֵיכֶם in 68) occurs with an infin. ending in וֹת, the וֹת being therefore treated as a plural ending; similarly, the plural suffix is sometimes found with the feminine ending וּת (Nu 1433, Is 544, Jer 38, Ez 1615, 237, as well as in 1620 Qe, and Zp 320), with the ending îth (Lv 524, reading חֲמִֽשִׁתוֹ), and even with the ordinary feminine ending ath; Is 4713, Ez 3511, ψ915, Ezr 915.—Wholly abnormal is מַלְאָכֵ֫כֵה thy messengers, Na 214, evidently a case of dittography of the following ה: read מַלְאָכַ֫יִךְ.

3rd masc. ־ֵ֫ יהוּ Hb 310, Jb 2423; ־ֵ֫ הוּ 1 S 3026, Ez 4317, Na 24; וֹ֫הִי (a purely Aramaic form) ψ11612.—3rd fem. ־ֶ֫ יהָא Ez 4115.

Plur. The strange 2nd pers. masc. תְּפוֹצֽוֹתִיכֶם (with î, so Qimḥi; cf. Norzi) Jer 2534, is probably a mixed form combining תָּפ֫וּצוּ and הֲפִיצֽוֹתִיכֶם; fem. ־ֵיכֶ֫נָה Ez 1320.

3rd masc. ־ֵיהֵ֫מָה Ez 4016; fem. ־ֵיהֶ֫נָה Ez 111.

3. The termination ־ֵ֫מוֹ (also with the dual, e.g. ψ587, 5913), like מוֹ and ־ָ֫ מוֹ, occurs with the noun (as with the verb, §58g) almost exclusively in the later poets [viz. with a substantive in the singular, ψ2111, 1710,10, 587, 5913, 8918; with a dual or plural, Dt 3227,32,37,38, 3329, ψ23,3, 117, 3516, 4912, 587, 5914, 735,7, 8312,12, 1404,10, Jb 2723; after prepositions, see §103f, o, notes], and cannot, therefore, by itself be taken as an indication of archaic language. On the other hand there can be no doubt that these are revivals of really old forms. That they are consciously and artificially used is shown by the evidently intentional accumulation of them, e.g. in Ex 155,7,9 ψ23,5, and 1404,10, and also by the fact observed by Diehl (see the heading of this section) that in Ex 15 they occur only as verbal suffixes, in Dt 32 only as noun suffixes.

91m 3. It is clear and beyond doubt that the Yôdh in these suffixes with the plural noun belongs, in reality, to the ending of the construct state of the masculine plural. Yet the consciousness of this fact became so completely lost as to admit of the striking peculiarity (or rather inaccuracy) of appending those suffix-forms which include the plural ending ־ֵי, even to the feminine plural in וֹת (סֽוּסוֹתֵ֫ינוּ, סֽוּסוֹתֶ֫יךָ, &c.), so that in reality the result is a double indication of the plural.[4]

91n Such is the rule: the singular suffix, however (see b), also occurs with the ending וֹת (probably through the influence of Aramaic), e.g. צֵֽדְוֹתִי ψ13212 (unless it be sing. for עֵֽדוּתִי, as, according to Qimḥi in his Lexicon, תַּֽחֲנֹתִי 2 K 68 is for תַּֽחֲנוּתִי); מַכֹּֽתְךָ Dt 2859 (treated on the analogy of an infin. ל״ה); אַֽחֲיוֹתֵךְ Ez 1652. On the other hand מִצְוֹתֶ֑ךָ (so Baer, Ginsb.; but Opit. ־ֶ֫ יךָ) ψ11998, Dn 95 is merely written defectively, like גַּרְגְּרֹתֶ֫ךָ according to Baer (not Ginsb.) in Pr 19, &c. In the 3rd plur. the use of the singular suffix is even the rule in the earlier Books (see the instances in Diehl, l. c., p. 8), e.g. אֲבוֹתָם (their fathers) oftener than אֲבֹֽתֵיהֶם (this only in 1 K 1415, and in Jer, Ezr, Neh, and Ch [in 1 K, Jer, Ezr, however, אֲבוֹתָם is more common]); so always שְׁמוֹתָם, שְׁמוֹתָן their names, דּוֹרותָם their generations. From parallel passages like 2 S 2246 compared with ψ1846, Is 24 with Mi 43, it appears that in many cases the longer form in ־ֵיהֶם can only subsequently have taken the place of ־ָם.

91o 4. The following Paradigm of a masculine and feminine noun with suffixes is based upon a monosyllabic noun with one unchangeable vowel. With regard to the ending ־ַת in the constr. st. of the fem. it should be further remarked that the short ă of this ending is only retained before the grave suffixes כֶם and כֶן; before all the others (the light suffixes) it is lengthened to ā.


Masculine. Feminine.
סוּס a horse. סוּסָה a mare.
Sing. 1. com. סוּסִי my horse. סֽוּסָתִי my mare.
2. m. סֽוּסְךָ thy horse. סוּסָֽתְךָ thy mare.
f. סוּסֵךְ thy horse. סֽוּסָתֵךְ thy mare.
3. m. סוּסוֹ equus eius (suus). סֽוּסָתוֹ equa eius (sua).
f. סוּסָהּ equus eius (suus). סֽוּסָתָהּ equa eius (sua).
Plur. I. com. סוּסֵ֫נוּ our horse. סֽוּסָתֵ֫נוּ our mare.
2. m. סֽוּסְכֶם your horse. סֽוּסַתְכֶם your mare.
f. סֽוּסְכֶן your horse. סֽוּסַתְכֶן your mare.
3. m. סוּסָם equus eorum (suus). סֽוּסָתָם equa eorum (sua).
f. סוּסָן equus earum (suus). סֽוּסָתָן equa earum (sua).


Masculine. Feminine.
סוּסִים horses. סוּסוֹת mares.
Sing. 1. com. סוּסַי my horses. סֽוּסוֹתַי my mares.
2. m. סוּסֶ֫יךָ thy horses. סֽוּסוֹתֶ֫יךָ thy mares.
f. סוּסַ֫יִךְ thy horses. סֽוּסוֹתַ֫יִךְ thy mares.
3. m. סוּסָיו equi eius (sui). סֽוּסוֹתָיו equae eius (suae).
f. סוּסֶ֫והָ equi eius (sui). סֽוּסוֹתֶ֫יהָ equae eius (suae).
Plur. 1. com. סוּסֵ֫ינוּ our hourses. סֽוּסוֹתֵ֫ינוּ our mares.
2. m. סֽוּסֵיכֶם your horses. סוּסֽוֹתֵיכֶס your mares.
f. סֽוּסֵיכֶן your horses. סוּסֽוֹתֵיכֶן your mares.
3. m. סֽוּסֵיהֶם equi eorum (sui). סוּסֽוֹתֵיהֶם equae eorum (suae).
f. סֽוּסֵיהֶן equi eorum (sui). סוּסֽוֹתֵיהֶן equae eorum (suae).
  1. Also in Jer 1510 read (according to §61h, end) כֻּלְּהֶם קִלְּלוּנִי; in Ho 76 probably אַפְּהֶם for אֹֽפֵהֶם.
  2. In the papyrus of the decalogue from the Fayyûm, line 16, ויקדשיו occurs for ויקדשהו Ex 2011. Gall, ZAW. 1903, p. 349, takes this as an indication that the traditional forms of the noun-suffix יו or ו represent aiŭ or . P. Haupt aptly compares the Greek use of the iota subscript (ᾷ).
  3. So in the Mêša‛ inscription, l. 22 מגדלתה its towers (along with שעריה its gates). Can it have been the rule to omit י after the termination ôth? Cf. below, n.
  4. See an analogous case in §87s. Cf. also the double feminine ending in the 3rd sing. perf. of verbs ל״ה, §75i.