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Conjunctions: Biblical Hebrew

(2,560 words)

Author(s): Arnold, Bill T.
Conjunctions are particles that join words, phrases, or clauses, and express relations between them. In Biblical Hebrew, the category ‘conjunctions’ as a part of speech overlaps somewhat with that of prepositions; together with adverbs and a few others, they are often referred to simply as particles (Waltke and O’Connor 1990:66; Arnold and Choi 2003:95; Joüon and Muraoka 2006:319). Biblical Hebrew conjunctions are of two types: coordinate conjunctions and subordinate conjunctions. 1. Coordinate conjunctions The most common coordinating conjunction by far is -וְ - , conjoinin…

Number: Biblical Hebrew

(1,324 words)

Author(s): Arnold, Bill T.
1. Overview Biblical Hebrew nouns display three degrees of numerical inflection: singular, plural, and dual, the latter limited to specific noun classes. Adjectives, verbs, pronouns, both independent and pronominal, as well as the demonstrative pronouns, display only two: singular and plural. 2. Morphology Early Northwest Semitic languages, as well as other Semitic languages attested in the second millennium B.C.E., had a fully inflected declension system for the nouns. It is thus thought that the paleo-Hebrew endings were singular -u, dual , and plural in the nominative,…

Adversative: Biblical Hebrew

(382 words)

Author(s): Arnold, Bill T.
The idea of opposition or contrast may be expressed in Classical Hebrew by the lexemes אֲבָל ʾăḇå̄l and אוּלָם ʾūlå̄m. The adverb אֲבָל ʾăḇå̄l expresses the antithesis of a previously stated idea: אֲבָל֙ שָׂרָ֣ה אִשְׁתְּךָ֗ יֹלֶ֤דֶת לְךָ֙ בֵּ֔ן ʾăḇå̄l śå̄rå̄ ʾištǝḵå̄ yōlɛḏɛṯ lǝḵå̄ bēn ‘(No), but your wife Sarah shall bear you a son’ (Gen. 17.19) (Clines 1993 1:109; HALOT 1:7). Similarly the conjunction אוּלָם ʾūlå̄m may denote contrast either in a nominal clause (e.g., וְאוּלָ֛ם ל֥וּז שֵׁם־הָעִ֖יר לָרִאשֹׁנָֽה wǝ-ʾūlå̄m lūz šēm-hå̄-ʿīr lå̄-rīšōnå̄ ‘but Luz was the name of the city at f…

Comparative Clause: Biblical Hebrew

(251 words)

Author(s): Arnold, Bill T.
Subordinate clauses may have the function of making a comparison with the action or situation of the main clause. In most such cases the protasis, introduced by כַּאֲשֶׁר ka-ʾăšεr, denotes the compared situation in the subordinate clause, followed by the apodosis in the main clause, introduced by כֵּן kēn, which provides the standard of comparison, e.g., וַיְהִ֛י כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר פָּֽתַר־לָ֖נוּ כֵּ֣ן הָיָ֑ה wa-yhī ka-ʾăšεr på̄ṯar-lå̄nū kēn hå̄yå̄ ‘And just as he interpreted for us, so it happened’ (Gen. 41.13). The reverse order is also possible, e.g., כֵּ֥ן תַּעֲשֶׂ֖ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּֽרְתָּ kēn taʿăśε …