Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/132. Connexion of the Substantive with the Adjective

§132. Connexion of the Substantive with the Adjective.[1]

132a 1. The adjective (like the participle used adjectivally), which serves as an attribute of a substantive, stands after the substantive, and agrees with it in gender and number, e.g. אִישׁ גָּדוֹל a great man, אִשָּׁה יָפָה a beautiful woman. If the substantive is immediately connected with a genitive, the attribute follows the latter, since, according to § 89 and §128a, the construct state and the genitive belonging to it are inseparably united, e.g. Est 815 עֲטֶ֫רֶת זָהָב גְּדוֹלָה a great crown of gold.— On the attribute when attached to a determinate substantive, see above, §126u. 132b Rem. 1. Where an adjectival attribute appears to stand before its substantive (according to the usual explanation, for the sake of special emphasis) the relation is really appositional in character; thus, Is 1030 עֲנִיָּה עֲנָתוֹת O thou poor one, Anathoth! (but probably עֲנִ֫יהָ answer her, is to be read); cf. 23:12, 53:11 (a righteous man, my servant; but in 28:21 זָר and נָכְרִיּ are predicates preceding the substantives); Jer 36, 10 f., ψ 184 him who is worthy to be praised will I call upon the Lord; 92:12 (apposition after participles).—But רַבִּים and רַבּוֹת many, are sometimes placed, like numerals, before the substantive, Jer 1616, Neh 928 (in ψ 1457 רַב is a subst. regens, in 89:51 the text is corrupt); an appositional relation can scarcely be intended in these instances.

132c 2. In a few expressions (mostly poetic) the adjective appears not as an attribute after the substantive, but in the construct state governing it; so in the singular, Ex 1516 (unless גֹּדֶל should be read); 1 S 167 (the height of his stature); in the plural, 1 S 1740 חַלֻּקֵי אֲבָנִים smooth ones of (among) stones, i.e. smooth stones; Is 359, Ez 724, ψ 465, and with a following collective instead of a plural, e.g. Is 2919 אֶבְיוֹנֵי אָדָם the poor among men, i.e. poor men; Jer 4920, Zc 117; cf. in Latin canum degeneres. However, in almost all these cases the adjective which is made into a regens is strongly emphatic, and is frequently equivalent to a superlative (see below, §133g).

132d 3. When two adjectives follow a feminine, sometimes only that standing next to the noun takes the feminine termination, e.g. 1 K 1911 רוּחַ גְּדֹלָה וְחָזָק וגו׳ (but read גָּדוֹל); 1 S 159 (but cf. §75y); Jer 209, ψ 632. A similar dislike of the feminine form may also be observed in the case of verbal predicates referring to feminine subjects, cf. §145p and t.

When an attribute qualifies several substantives of different genders, it agrees with the masculine, as being the prior gender (cf. §146d), e.g. Neh 913 חֻקִּים וּמִצְוֹת טוֹבִים; Jer 349, Zc 85.

When three attributes follow a substantive, the first two may stand without a conjunction, and the last be attached by wāw copulative, cf. Zc 18.

132e 4. After feminines plural ending in ־ִים (§87p) the adjectival attribute (in accordance with the fundamental rule stated above, under a) takes the ending וֹת, e.g. Is 1014 בֵּיצִים עֲזֻבוֹת forsaken eggs; Gn 3216. For a strange exception see Jer 2917 (differently in 24:2).

132f 5. With regard to number it is to be remarked that—

(a) Substantives in the dual are followed by adjectives (or participles) in the plural, e.g. ψ 1828 (Pr 617) עֵינַ֫יִם רָמוֹת haughty eyes; Is 353, Jb 43 f., cf. §88a.

132g (b) Collective ideas are not infrequently joined with the plural of the adjective or participle (constructio ad sensum); thus, e.g. צֹאן sheep [with fem. plur.], Gn 3043, 1 S 2518; עַם=men, 1 S 1315, Is 91; כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל=all the Israelites, 1 S 214; גָּלוּת=the exiles, Jer 284; cf. also נֶ֫פֶשׁ שְׁנָ֫יִם two souls, Gn 4627.[2] Cf. similar phenomena in the connexion of collectives with plural predicates in §145c.

132h (c) The pluralis excellentiae or pluralis maiestatis is joined, as a rule, to the singular of the attribute, e.g. ψ 710 אֱלֹהִים צַדִּיק; 2 K 194, 16 (=Is 374, 17); Is 194; but cf. אֱלֹהִים חֶיִּים[3] Dt 523, 1 S 1726, 36, Jer 1010, 2336, perhaps also Ex 203 אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים= another god, and Jos 2419 אֱלֹהִים קְדשִׁים (but cf. above, §124gk). On the other hand, 1 S 48 is to be explained as having been said by the Philistines, who supposed that the Israelites had several gods. On the connexion of אֱלֹהִים with a plural predicate, see §145i.

2. On the adjective (in the construct state) governing a following genitive, see §128x; for the participle in the same construction, see §116f–l.

  1. On the expression of attributive ideas by substantives, cf. above, §127h, and §128o, with the note; §135n and §141c (substantives for adjectives as predicates of noun-clauses) and §152u (periphrases for negative qualities). On the use of the feminine of adjectives (and participles) to express abstract ideas, see §122q. It remains to mention further the employment (mostly only in poetry) of certain epithets in place of the substantives to which the quality in question belongs; e.g. אָבִיר the strong one, i.e. God; אַבִּיר the strong one, i.e. the bull (in Jer 816, &c., the horse); קַל swift=the runner (of the horse, Is 3016); לְבָנָה alba, i.e, luna; פֹּֽרִיָּה (fructifera) a fruitful tree, Is 176 (so פֹּרָת Gn 4922); רֹבֵץ a croucher, i.e. a crouching beast of prey, Gn 47. Cf. also רֹזֵן (gravis, augustus) and נָשִׂיא (elatus ?), i.e. a prince. The use of adjectives and participles for substantives is much more extensive in Arabic. In Greek and Latin poetical language cf. such examples as ὑγρή = the sea; merum for vinum, &c.
  2. But it is impossible to take תְּמִימִם in Ez 466 as an attribute of בָּקָר; probably it is a correction intended to harmonize the passage with Nu 2811 where two young bullocks are required.
  3. Cf. 1 S 2813, where אֱלֹהִים (in the sense of a spirit) is followed by עֹלִים as a second accusative; conversely in 1 S 1913, 16, a singular suffix refers back to תְּרָפִים household god (but not so in Gn 3134), as in ψ 464 to the plural of amplification יַמִּים sea. On the other hand, it is very doubtful whether רַבָּה ψ 7815 is to be regarded as an attribute of תְּהֹמוֹת and not rather as the adverb, abundantly.