[122p] 4. The following classes of ideas, which are also regarded as feminine in Hebrew (see above, h), are usually indicated by the feminine form, notwithstanding their occasional transference to masculine persons (see r and s):
[122q] (a) Abstracts (sometimes along with masculine forms from the same stem, as נְקָמָה vengeance, as well as נָקָם, עֶזְרָה help, as well as עֵ֫זֶר), e.g. אֱמוּנָה firmness, faithfulness, גְּבוּרָה strength, גְּדוּלָה greatness, מְלֵאָה fullness, מֶמְשָׁלָה dominion, &c. Similarly, the feminine (sing. and plur.) of adjectives and participles is used substantivally in the sense of the Latin and Greek neuter, e.g. נְכוֹנָה stedfastness, ψ 510, טוֹבָה goodness, רָעָה evil, Gn 5020, נְקַלָּה a light thing (i.e. a trifling thing), Jer 614; so especially in the plural, e.g. גְּדֹלוֹת great things, ψ 124; הַנֶּֽהֱרָסוֹת the ruined places, Ez 3636, along with הַנְּשַׁמָּה that which was desolate, טֹבוֹת kindnesses, 2 K 2528, נְכֹחוֹת uprightness, honesty, Is 2610, נְעִימוֹת amoena, ψ 1611 (but in verse 6 in the same sense נְעִימִים), נִפְלָאוֹת wonderful things, Ex 3410 and frequently, קָשׁוֹת hard things, roughly Gn 427, 30 (but cf. also רֵיקִם vain things, Pr 1211, 2819). Cf. moreover, the very frequent use of זֹאת, הִיא (as well as זֶה and הוּא), Ju 144, ψ 11823, &c., in the sense of hoc, illud (also הֵ֫נָּה equivalent to illa, Is 5119): also the use of the feminine form of the verb in Is 77 לֹא תָקוּם וְלֹא תִֽהְיֶה it shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass; cf. Jer 107; so too the suffixes Gn 156, Ex 1011, Jb 3818, referring back to a whole statement.
[122r] (b) Titles and designations of office, properly a subdivision of the abstract ideas treated above, under q, and specially noticed here only on account of their peculiar transference to concrete male persons. Thus we have קֹהֶ֫לֶת Ec 11, &c. (as a title of Solomon), properly no doubt that which takes part in or speaks in a religious assembly, hence LXX ἐκκλησιαστής, i.e. concionator, preacher; the proper names סֹפֶ֫רֶת Ezr 255, Neh 757, and פֹּכֶ֫רֶת Ezr 257, Neh 759, and the foreign word פֶּחָה viceroy; in the plural כְּנָוֹת prop. cognomina, then like-named, colleagues; פְּרָעוֹת princes (if this be the true meaning). All these words, in accordance with their meaning, are construed as masculine (in Ec 727 instead of אָֽמְרָה ק׳ the words should rather be divided as אָמַר הַקּ׳; cf. 12:8).
- Cf. the list of masculine and feminine abstracts in Albrecht, l. c., 1896, p. 111 ff.
- While in all these instances it is simplest to speak of the feminine in Hebrew as being used for the neuter (which in Latin, Greek, and German is commonly employed for similar purposes), it must yet not be forgotten that since the language is wholly wanting in neuters, the Semitic mind regarded the above-mentioned forms primarily as actual feminines. Hence the Arab commentators are accustomed to explain the feminines of adjectives and participles (which would be neuter in Latin, &c.) by supplying a feminine substantive.
- This use of the feminine form is far more frequent in Arabic, Ethiopic, and Aramaic; cf. e.g. in Arabic ḥalîfa (fem. from ḥalîf, following after, taking the place of) in the sense of the successor or representative (of Muḥammad), and ‛allāma (great wisdom) as a title of learned men. Analogous to this is the Latin magistratus, magistracy, for magistrate, and our his Majesty, Excellency, Highness, &c.