Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/131. Apposition

§131. Apposition.

131a 1. Apposition in the stricter sense is the collocation of two substantives in the same case in order to define more exactly (or to complete) the one by the other, and, as a rule (see, however, below, under g), the former by the latter. Apposition in Hebrew (as in the other Semitic languages[1]) is by no means confined to those cases in which it is used in English or in the classical languages. It is not infrequently found when either the subordination of one substantive to the other or some more circumstantial kind of epexegetical addition would be expected.

2. The principal kinds of apposition in Hebrew are:—

131b (a) The collocation of genus and species, e.g. אִשָּׁה אַלְמָנָה a woman (who was) a widow, 1 K 714; נַֽעֲרָה בְתוּלָה a damsel (that is) a virgin, Dt 2223, 28, Ju 44, 191, 2112, 1 S 3017, 1 K 12; cf. Gn 138, 2120 (where, however, קַשָּׁת is probably an explanatory gloss); Ex 245 (1 S 1115), 2 S 1516, 1 K 316, 529 (but probably סֵ֫בֶל should be read instead of סַבָּל); Is 324 (unless מַֽעֲשֵׂה is to be read), Jer 201. Perhaps also כֹּחֵן הָרֹאשׁ the priest (who is) the chief man, 2 K 2518, &c.; others take כֹּהֵן as constr, st.—In 2 S 107 read כָּל־צְבָא הַגִּבּ׳ with the LXX, as in the parallel passage 1 Ch 199 for כָּל־צָבָא הַגּ׳, which is evidently meant to refer to the reading in 2 S.

131c (b) Collocation of the person or thing and the attribute, e.g. Jb 2029 (27:13) זֶה חֵ֫לֶק־אָדָם רָשָׁע this is the portion of a man, (who is) a wicked man (but רָשָׁע might also be an adject.); cf. Pr 612.—Lv 613, 164 (where, however, קֹ֫דֶשׁ is probably a gloss); Pr 2221 אֲמָרִים אֱמֶת words (which are) truth; (immediately after אִמְרֵי אֱמֶת) cf. 1 S 213, Mi 111 (where, however, בּ֫שֶׁת is most probably a gloss on עֶרְיָה); Zc 113 (=comfortable words); ψ 455 (?) 68:17 (cf. verse 16). In a wider sense this includes also such cases as ψ 605 יַ֫יִן תַּרְעֵלָה wine which is staggering (intoxicating drink), which causes staggering[2]; 1 K 2227, 2 Ch 1826 מַ֫יִם לַ֫חַץ (in Is 3020 parallel with לֶ֫חֶם צַר) water which is affliction, drunk in trouble (imprisonment). Still more boldly, 1 K 53 בָּקָר רְעִי oxen which were taken out of the pastures, and 1 K 67 undressed stones which come from the quarry, probably a corruption of מִמַּסָּע. A person and a condition are in apposition in Ez 186 (unless בְּנִדָּתָהּ is to be read).—In 1 S 41 read אֶ֫בֶן הָע׳, as in 51, 712.

131d (c) Collocation of the person (Dt 2836) or thing (form) and material,[3] or of the place or measure and its contents, e.g. 1 Ch 1519 נְה֫שֶׁת בִּמְצִלְתַּ֫יִם with cymbals which were brass, i.e. of brass; cf. Ex 2625, Dn 118, 1 Ch 2815, 18 (?); Ex 2817 four rows, namely stones (for which 39:10 has טוּרֵי אָ֑בֶן); cf. 2 Ch 413, Lv 63 (see, however, §128d); 2 K 71 סְאָה סֹ֫לֶת a seah of fine flour; cf. 2 K 76.18, Gn 186, Ex 1633, Lv 511, Ru 217, 1 K 1624, 2 K 523 כִּכְּרַ֫יִם כֶּ֫סֶף two talents of silver;[4] cf. 5:17, Ex 3917, Ez 2218 (if the text be right). With the material placed before the measure, Ex 3023 f..—A period of time and its contents are placed in apposition חֹ֫דֶשׁ יָמִים a month of days, i.e. a month’s time=for a whole month, Gn 2914, Nu 1120, 21, cf. Dt 2113, 2 K 1513, and שְׁנָתַ֫יִם יָמִים two years’ time, i.e. two full years, Gn 411, 2 S 1323, 1428, Jer 283.11, Dn 102 f..

Finally, under this head may be included all the cases in which a numeral (regarded as a substantive) is followed by the object numbered in apposition, e.g. שְׁלשָׁה בָנִים trias sc. filii, §97a and §134b.

131e (d) Collocation of the thing and the measure or extent, number, &c., e.g. Nu 920 יָמִים מִסְפָּר days, (a small) number, i.e. only a few days; כֶּ֫סֶף מִשְׁנֶה money, repetition, i.e. twice as much money, Gn 4312 (unless כֶּ֫סֶף be constr. st.); מַ֫יִם בִּרְכָּ֑יִם water which was of the measure of the knees, which reached to the knees, Ez 474 (also מֵי מָתְנָ֑יִם water that was to the loins, in the same verse). This likewise includes the cases in which a noun is followed in apposition by a numeral (see §134c) or an adverb, originally conceived as a substantive, e.g. Neh 212 אֲנָשִׁים מְעַט men, a few, i.e. some few men; 1 K 59 תְּבוּנָה הַרְבֵּה understanding, much-making, i.e. much understanding, unless הַרְבֵּה is to be taken as an adverb with וַיִּתֵּן, as in 2 S 88 with לָקַה. 131f (e) Collocation of the thing and its name, e.g. בְּהַֽרֲרָם שֵׁעִיר in their mountainous district, Seir (perhaps only a later gloss), Gn 146; הָאָ֫רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן the land Canaan (כנען probably only a later gloss), Nu 342; cf. Ezr 91, 1 Ch 59 (see under g below).—For examples of nouns in the construct state before a noun in apposition, see §130e.

131g Rem. 1. Only in certain combinations does the noun of nearer definition come first, e.g. הַמֶּ֫לֶךְ דָּוִד, הַמֶּ֫לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה king David, king Solomon (less frequently דָּוִד הַמֶּ֫לֶךְ as in 2 S 1339, 1 K 217, 122, 2 K 829, 915, and in late Hebrew, Hag 11, 15 [cf. the Aramaic order דריוש מלבא], and often in Chron.).—A chiasmus occurs in Is 454, the name standing after the defining noun in the first part of the verse, and before it in the parallel clause.

131h 2. When the nota accusativi (אֵת, אֶת־) or a preposition precedes the first substantive, it may be repeated before the noun in apposition, e.g. Gn 42, 222, 244, 4729, Is 6621; this usually occurs when the nearer definition precedes a proper name. As a rule, however, the repetition does not take place (Dt 181, Jer 3318, 1 S 214). A noun in apposition is made determinate, even after a noun with a prefix, in the ordinary way, e.g. 2 Ch 1213 בִּירֽוּשָׁלַ֫יִם הָעִיר in Jerusalem, the city which, &c.[5]

131i 3. Sometimes a second adjective is used in apposition to a preceding adjective, in order to modify in some way the meaning of the first, e.g. Lv 1319 בַּהֶ֫רֶת לְבָנָה אֲדַמְדָּ֑מֶת a white-reddish (light red) bright spot.

131k 4. Permutation is to be regarded as a variety of apposition. It is not complementary like apposition proper (see a above), but rather defines the preceding substantive (or pronoun, see below), in order to prevent any possible misunderstanding. This includes cases like Gn 94 with the life thereof (which is) the blood thereof; Ex 2230, Dt 226, 1 S 79, 2 K 34 an hundred thousand rams, the wool, i.e. the wool of the rams; Jer 2515 this cup of the wine, that is of fury (but הַֽהֵמָה is probably a gloss); Is 4225 he poured upon him fury, namely his anger;[6] but especially the examples in which such a permutative is added to a preceding pronoun, viz.—

131l (a) To a separate pronoun, e.g. Ex 711; with regard to the vocative, cf. §126f.

131m (b) To an accusative suffix, e.g. Ex 26 she saw him, the child (unless אֶת־הַיּ׳ be a later gloss); Ex 355, Lv 1357 b, 1 K 1921 (where, indeed, הַבָּשָׂר appears to be a late gloss); 21:13, 2 K 1615 Keth., Jer 914, 312, Ez 321, Ec 221 (according to Delitzsch rather a double accusative).[7]

131n (c) To a noun-suffix, e.g. Ez 103 בְּבֹאוֹ הָאִישׁ when he went in, the man; 42:14; cf. Pr 134 (?), Ez 312; so also after a preposition with suffix, e.g. Ec 410 אִי לוֹ הָֽאֶחָד woe to him, the one alone; with a repetition of the preposition, Nu 3233, Jos 12 לָהֶם לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל to them, to the children of Israel; Ju 217, Jer 5156, Ez 425 (?), Dn 1111, 1 Ch 442, 2 Ch 2614.[8]—Cf. finally, Ct 37, where the suffix precedes the genitive periphrastically expressed by שֶׁלּ׳, as in Ez 91, where the genitive is expressed by לְ.[9]

131o Of a different kind are the cases in which the permutative with its proper suffix follows as a kind of correction of the preceding suffix, e.g. Is 2923 when he (or rather) his children see, &c. (but יְלָדָיו is clearly a gloss); cf. ψ 8312; in Jb 293 read בַּֽהֲהִלּוֹ (infin. Hiph.) or at least its syncopated form בַּהִלּוֹ.

131p 5. Cases of apposition in a wider sense are those in which the nearer definition added to the noun was originally regarded as an adverbial accusative; on its use with the verb and on the relative correctness of speaking of such an accusative in Hebrew, cf. §118a and m. Owing to the lack of case-endings, indeed, it is in many instances only by analogies elsewhere (especially in Arabic) that we can decide whether the case is one of apposition in the narrower or in the wider sense; in other instances this must remain quite uncertain. However, the following are probably cases of apposition in the wider sense:—

131q (a) Such phrases as מִשְׁנֶה כֶ֫סֶף a double amount in money, Gn 4315; cf. Jer 1718; 1 S 175 five thousand shekels in brass, but this might also be taken (as in d) shekels which were brass; certainly such cases as Jb 15l0 older than thy father in days, and the expression of the superlative by means of מְאֹד (originally a substantive), e.g. טוֹב מְאֹד very good, Gn 131 (cf. also Ec 716 צַדִּיק הַרְבֵּה righteous over much), and the very frequent הַרְבֵּה מְאֹד prop. a much-making exceedingly, i.e. exceedingly great, Gn 151, 4149, also Pr 2329 פְּצָעִים חִנָּם wounds without cause,[10] perhaps also Gn 3425 (בֶּ֫טַח).

131r (b) A few examples, in which an epexegetical substantive is added to a substantive with a suffix; thus, Ez 1627 מִדַּרְכֵּךְ זִמָּה of thy conduct in lewdness (but it is also possible to explain it (as in c) of thy conduct, which is lewdness); cf. Ez 2413, 2 S 2233 מָֽעוּזִּי חָ֑יִל my fortress in strength, i.e. my strong fortress (cf., however, ψ 1833); Hb 38, ψ 717. While even in these examples the deviation from the ordinary usage of the language (cf. §135n) is strange, it is much more so in חֲבֹֽלָתוֹ חוֹב Ez 187, i.e. according to the context his pledge for a debt; Ezr 262 כְּתָבָם הַמִּתְיַֽחֲשִׂים, i.e. their register, namely of those that were reckoned by genealogy (but perhaps הַמִּתְי׳ is in apposition to the suffix in כְּתָבָם), also the curious combinations (mentioned in §128d) of בְּרִיתִי with a proper name (Lv 2642), and in Jer 3320 with הַיּוֹם.[11] 131s 6. In Dt 334 (מֽוֹרָשָׁה, perhaps מוֹר׳ לִקְהִלַּת is to be read), 33:27 (מְעֹנָה), Ju 78 (צֵדָה), the absolute state appears to be used instead of the construct to govern a following logical genitive; this, however, cannot be explained either as a special kind of apposition, or (with Hitzig) as a peculiarity of the dialect of Northern Palestine, but is merely a textual corruption. On the other hand, in Jb 3111 עָוֹן is evidently intended to combine the readings עֲוֹן פְּלִילִים and עָוֹן פְּלִילִי (as in verse 28).—The remarkable combination אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת in ψ 808, 15 is due to the fact that in ψψ 42–83 אֱלֹהִים has almost throughout been subsequently substituted by some redactor for the divine name יחוה; on יהוה צְבָאוֹת cf. §125h. In ψ 596, 805, 20, and 84:9 יהוה has been reinstated in the text before אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת.[12]

131t 7. Lastly, the nearer definition (qualification) of a noun may be effected by means of a preposition (either with a suffix or with an independent noun), but must then be distinguished from the cases in which the preposition is dependent on a verb or verbal idea, e.g. Gn 36 and she gave also לְאִישָׁהּ עִמָּהּ unto her husband with her (= her husband who was with her); in Gn 916 (that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh) and other places, the qualification of the noun is itself also qualified.

  1. On certain uses of apposition peculiar to the Semitic languages, cf. the exhaustive discussion by Fleischer, ‘Ueber einige Arten der Nominalapposition im Arab.’ (Kleine Schriften, ii. 16); [and see also Driver, Tenses, Appendix IV.]
  2. Unless it is to be translated thou gavest us intoxication to drink as wine (and so in 1 K 2227 give him affliction to eat as bread, &c.); cf. ψ 806 and the analogous examples of apposition in the form of a second accusative in §117kk. Moreover, having regard to יַ֫יִן הָרֶ֫קַח spiced wine, Ct 82, and עַ֫יִד פֶּ֫רֶא a wild ass’s colt, Jb 1112 (in which passages יַ֫יִן and עַ֫יִר must certainly be in the construct state) we cannot but ask whether the Masora does not intend the יַ֫יִן in ψ 605 to be taken as construct state (for which elsewhere יֵין).
  3. Cf. also the examples treated above in §127h.
  4. On the anomalous form כִּכְּרַ֫יִם (instead of כִּכָּרַ֫יִם; cf. כִּכָּרָ֑יִם immediately before), see §88b.
  5. In 1 K 118 participles after לְכָל־נָשָׂיו, as in 2 K 106 after אֶת־גְּדֹלֵי הָעִיר, in 19:2 after a determinate accusative, and in Hag 14 after בְּבָֽתֵּיכֶם, are used without the article; these, however, are probably to be explained not as in apposition, but according to §118p.
  6. But מַ֫יִם Gn 617 (cf. 7:6) is to be regarded as a later gloss upon the archaic מַבּוּל.
  7. For וַיְשַׁנּוֹ 1 S 2114 either’ וַיְשַׁנֶּה is to be read or the Kethîbh is to be explained according to §75b, note. Also יִלְכְּדֻנוֹ Pr 522 has hardly preserved the correct form.
  8. But in Is 176 we should certainly divide the words differently and read בִּסְעִפֵי הַפֹּֽרִיָּה, in Jer 4844 read אֵלֶּה for אֵלֶ֫יהָ, and in Pr 1413 אַֽחֲרִית הַשִּׂמְחָה; in Gn 219 נֶ֫פֶשׁ חַיָּה is a late gloss upon לוֹ, and in Ez 4125 אֶל־דַּלְתוֹת הַֽהֵיבָל a gloss on אֲלֵיהֶן.
  9. Some of the examples given above are textually (or exegetically) doubtful, whilst in the case of others, especially those from the later Books, we cannot help asking whether such a prolepsis of the genitive by means of a suffix (as e.g. Ez 103) is not due to the influence of Aramaic, in which it is the customary idiom; cf. Kautzsch’s Gramm. des Biblisch-Aram., §81e and § 88.
  10. In ψ 695 חִנָּם (like שֶׁ֫קֶר in a false way, falsely, ψ 3519 and 38:20) is used as an adverbial accusative with a participle; cf. §118q.
  11. But in Nu 2512 שָׁלוֹם may also be explained, according to c, as really in apposition. Cf. on the whole question Delitzsch, Psalmen, 4th ed., p. 203, note 1.
  12. Without this assumption it would be inconceivable that יהוה אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת should not have been written; that the anther of these Psalms regarded צְבָאֹוֹת already as an independent name of God (so Gesenius and Olshausen) is out of the question.