Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/121. Construction of Passive Verbs

§121. Construction of Passive Verbs.
Blake, ‘The internal passive in Semitic,’ JAOS xxii.

a 1. Verbs which in the active take one accusative (either of the proper object, or of the internal object, or of some other nearer definition; cf. §117a, p, u) may in the passive, according to our mode of expression, be construed personally, the object of the active sentence now becoming the subject, e.g. Gn 3519 וַתָּ֫מָת רְחֵל וַתִּקָּבֵר and Rachel died, and was buried, &c. The passive, however, is also used impersonally (in the 3rd sing. masc.), either absolutely, as Dt 213f., Is 1610, Ez 1634 (with a dative added, 2 S 1716, Is 535, La 55), or, more frequently, with the object of the active construction still subordinated in the accusative,[1] e.g. Gn 2742 וַיֻּגַּד לְרִבְקָה אֶת־דִּבְרֵי עֵשָׂו and there were told (i.e. one told) to Rebekah the words of Esau; 2 S 2111, 1 K 1813. b Other examples are: after Niph., Gn 418 וַיִוָּלֵד לַֽחֲנוֹךְ אֶת־עִירָד and unto Enoch was born Irad (cf. Nu 2660, and after an infinitive, Gn 215); Gn 175, 218 (after an infinitive); 29:27 (unless וְנִתְּנָה is 1st plur. cohortative); Ex 2128, 2528, Lv 613, Nu 710 (after an infinitive); 26:55 (cf. verse 53); Dt 208 (where, however, for יִמַּס the Hiph. יַמֵּס should be read, according to 1:28); Jos 715, Is 1610; with the object preceding, Ex 137, Lv 28, 1920, Nu 1629, Dan 9:24.[2]— Also after Puʿal, Jer 5020; before Puʿal, Is 143 (אֲשֶׁד equivalent to the internal object עֲבֹדָה=which they have caused to be served by thee); Jb 229; according to the Masoretic text also Gn 4622, where, however, the Samaritan and LXX read יָֽלְדָת for יֻלַּד; the Samaritan in Gn 3526 and 46:27 also reads יָֽלְדוּ, and this (or יֻלַּד) should certainly be read instead of יֻלְדוּ in 2 S 2122.—After Hoph., Ex 108, 277, Lv 1018, 1627, Nu 325, 1 K 221, Pr 1633, Jb 3015; after the infinitive Hoph., Gn 4020, Ez 164 f., 27:7; before Hoph., Is 171, 212, Ho 106, Zc 136; after the infinitive Hothpaʿel, Lv 1355 f.

c 2. Verbs which in the active take two accusatives (§117cc) retain in the passive construction at least one accusative, namely that of the second or remoter object, whilst the nearer object now becomes the subject. Thus, corresponding to אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶ֫ךָּ which I will show thee (Gn 121) the passive is אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה מָרְאֶה (Ex 2540) which thou hast been shown, i.e. which has been shown to thee; cf. Ex 2630 (but in Lv 1349 with an accusative of the person); Jb 73. In ψ 2216 מֻדְבָּק מַלְקוֹחָ֑י depends on an assumed transitive הִדְבִּיק governing two accusatives (= my tongue is made to cleave to my jaws); also in Is 120, חֶ֫רֶב תְּאֻכְּלוּ ye shall be devoured with the sword, חֶרֶב is not an accus. instrumenti, but most probably an accusative of the object retained from the active construction.[3]

d Rem. 1. Examples of the retention of the second accusative are—(a) with verba induendi and exuendi (§117cc), ψ 8011, כָּסּוּ תָרִים צִלָּתּ the mountains were covered with the shadow of it (the vine); Pr 1923. So also some of the examples in §116k of passive participles of these verbs, Ju 1811, 1 S 218, 175, 1 K 2210, Ez 92, 3;[4] with the accusative preceding, Neh 412.—(b) with verba copiae and inopiae, Ex 17, Is 3810 (equivalent to I must forego the residue of my years); Is 4020.—(c) an accusative of the result (§117ii) with the passive, Is 611, Zc 144, Jb 282; with the accusative preceding, Is 2412, Mi 312 (Jer 2618), Jb 157, 2216.[5] Also in Ez 4017 and 46:23, the accusative preceding עָשׂוּי (in 41:18 following it) can only be taken as the accusative of the result; some general idea, such as that of place, is to be understood as the subject of עָשׂוּי.—(d) an accusative of the member or part specially affected by the action (§117ll), Gn 1711, 1424, Ju 17 (accusative before part. pass.); 2 S 1532 (accusative with suffix after the part. pass.).

e 2. Both accusatives are retained in an unusual manner after the passive of a verbum implendi in Nu 1421; instead, however, of the Niph. וְיִמָּלֵא the Qal (which is sometimes used transitively elsewhere) should simply be read with the LXX; similarly in ψ 7219, although there the LXX also translate the passive.

f 3. The efficient cause (or personal agent) is, as a rule, attached to the passive by לְ (thus corresponding to the Greek and Latin dative), e.g. Gn 2521 וַיֵּעָ֫תֶ֫ר לוֹ יְהֹוָה the Lord let himself be intreated by him; cf. Lv 2623, ψ 7310 and the blessing בָּרוּךְ הוּא לַֽיהוָֹה blessed be he of the Lord Ru 220; cf. Gn 1419, Ju 172b, 1 S 1513; also in the plural, 1 S 2321 (2 S 25, ψ 11515).—Before the verb, Pr 1420 and frequently; less commonly by מִן־ (called מִן־ of origin=coming from), e.g. Gn 911; before the verb, ψ 3723, Jb 241; by בְּ (instrumenti) [rarely, König § 106], Gn 96 (בָּֽאָדָם by man); Nu 362, Is 143 b [but ?=wherewith it was worked (§52e) with thee; cf. Dt 213, König § 106; and see עָבַד בְּ in the Lexicon], Ho 144, always to introduce a personal agent.—On the connexion of the passive participle with a genitive of the agent, cf. §116l.

  1. When this is not recognizable either by the nota accusativi, or by its disagreement with the passive form in gender, number, and person, it naturally cannot be determined whether the construction is really impersonal. The construction itself can only be explained by supposing that while using the passive form the speaker at the same time thinks of some author or authors of the action in question, just as on the theory of the Arab grammarians a concealed agent is included in every passive. This accounts for the possibility (cf. §144g) of using the active without a specified subject as a periphrasis for the passive.
  2. In 2 K 1830 יִנָּתֵן is to be read or אֶת־ is to be omitted, as in the parallel passage Is 3615.
  3. In the active, the sentence would be I will cause the sword to devour you; by the rule stated above, under c, this would become in the passive, the sword (nom.) shall be made to devour you (acc.). Instead of this, the remoter object is here made the subject, and the nearer object is retained in the accusative. Otherwise, the only possible explanation would be, according to the Arabic idiom, to cause one to devour the sword (remoter object), i.e. to give him over to it. It would then be simplest to read תֹּֽאכְלוּ.
  4. Analogous to הַלָּבוּשׁ הַבַּדִּים who was clothed in linen, Ez 93, would be וְהַנּוֹתָר אֶת־הֶהָמוֹן הַזֶּה 2 Ch 3110; but we must certainly read there וַנּוֹתֵר with the LXX.—Still less can ψ 873 be so explained, נִכְבָּדוֹת being not an accusative, but the subject of a noun-clause. On the other hand, שָׁלוּחַ 1 K 146 may be explained with Ewald in the sense of being charged with something, so that, like צִוָּח, it may be construed with an accusative.
  5. In reality וַיָּרֻם Ex 1620, 26 (it became putrid) is equivalent to a passive (it was changed), to which תּֽוֹלָעִים is added as an accusative of the result.