multiplication of the idea of the stem may be clearly seen, is (c) the pluralis excellentiae or pluralis maiestatis.
[124b] Examples of (a): Plurals of local extension to denote localities in general, but especially level surfaces (the surface-plural), since in them the idea of a whole composed of innumerable separate parts or points is most evident, as שָׁמַ֫יִם (§88d) heaven (cf. also מְרוֹמִים heights of heaven, Is 3316, Jb 1619; elsewhere מָרוֹם); מַ֫יִם water; יַמִּים (the broad surface of the sea) poetically for יָם sea; פָנִים (prop. the side turned towards any one, then) surface in general, usually face; אֲחוֹרִים the back, Ex 2612, 3323, &c., צַוָּארִים neck nape of the neck; also מְרַֽאֲשׁוֹת the place at the head, מַרְגְּלוֹת place at the feet; עֲבָרִים place on the other side (of a river); מַֽעֲמַקִּים depth, מֶרְחַקִּים (also מֶרְחָק) distance, מִשְׁכָּבִים bed, Gn 494 (unless, with Dillmann, it is to be explained in the sense of double bed, i.e. torus), מִשְׁכָּנִים ψ 465, and מִשְׁכָּנוֹת 43:3, 84:2, 132:5, dwelling (perhaps also אֹֽהָלִים encampment, in passages like 1 S 410). The last four belong, however, to poetic style, and are better reckoned amongst the plurals of amplification treated under d–f. So perhaps יְצֻעִים bed (ψ 637, Jb 1713; but Gn 494, ψ 1323, &c., in the singular); probably, however, יְצֻעִים (prop. strata) refers to a number of coverings or pillows.
The plural of extension is used to denote a lengthened period of time in עֽוֹלָמִים eternity (everlasting ages).
[124c] Rem. The plural of extension includes also a few examples which were formerly explained as simply poetic plurals, e.g. Jb 171 קְבָרִים לִי graves are (ready) for me, i.e. the place where there are many of them (as it were the graveyard) is my portion, Jb 2132, 2 Ch 1614; cf. 2 K 2220.
[124d] Of (b): the tolerably numerous abstract plurals, mostly of a particular form (qeṭûlîm, qiṭṭûlîm, &c.), may be divided into two classes. They sum up either the conditions or qualities inherent in the idea of the stem, or else the various single acts of which an action is composed. Cf. for the first class, בְּחוּרִים and בְּחוּרוֹת youth, זְקֻנִים old age, נְעוּרִים youth; בְּתוּלִים maidenhood, כְּלוּלוֹת bridal state; מְגוּרִים condition of a sojourner, בְּשָׂרִים fleshliness (only in Pr 1430), חַיִּים life (the abstract idea of the qualities of a living being); שִׁכּוּלִים childlessness, סַנְוֵרִים blindness, עִוְעִים perverseness.
[124e] There are also a number of plurals, found almost exclusively in poetry (sometimes along with the singular), which are evidently intended to intensify the idea of the stem (plural of amplification), as אוֹנִים might, Is 4026; אֱמוּנִים (as well as אֱמוּנָה) and אֱמוּנוֹת faithfulness; אַשְׁרֵי (according to §93l, only in the construct state plural or with suffixes = the happiness of), happy; כּֽוֹשָׁרוֹת (complete) prosperity, ψ 687; בִּינוֹת Is 2711 and תְּבוּנוֹת Is 4014, &c. (keen) understanding; עֵצוֹת (true) counsel, Dt 3228; דֵּעִים Jb 3716 and דֵּעוֹת
- Cf. the same use of the plural in τὰ στέρνα, τὰ νῶτα, τὰ τράχηλα, praecordia, cervices, fauces; on plurals of extension in general, cf. the prepositions of place and time in the plur. form, §103n. סְפָרִים is not a case in point, in the sense of letter (properly a sheet folded into several pages; elsewhere also סֵ֫פֶר) 1 K 218 ff., 2 K 101, 1914 (Is 3714; referred to afterwards by the singular suffix); Is 391, Jer 2925, 3214 (after being folded, previously סֵ֫פֶר).
- Cf. A. Ember, ‘The pluralis intensivus in Hebrew,’ AJSL. 1905, p. 195 ff.