Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/139. Expression of Pronominal Ideas by means of Substantives

§139. Expression of Pronominal Ideas by means of Substantives.

139a Analogous to the periphrases for expressing materials and attributes by means of substantives (§128o and p), is the use of substantives to represent certain kinds of pronominal ideas, for which no special expressions exist. Thus—

139b 1. אִישׁ, אִשָּׁה man, woman, are used to express—

(a) The idea of each, every (in the sense of each severally) with reference to persons,[1] and even animals (Gn 1510), e.g. Gn 105, feminine Ex 322; אִישׁ is the object, e.g. in Jer 1215. On אִישׁאִישׁ cf. §123c.

139c In a few passages אִישׁ in the above sense is placed for the sake of emphasis before the governing noun (always a substantive with a suffix), thus מִיַּד אִישׁ אָחִיו Gn 95, according to the usual explanation, stands for מִיַּד אֲחִי אִישׁ at the hand of the brother of every man. But although the explanation seems to be supported by Gn 4225 and Nu 1717, it is inconceivable that such an inversion of nomen regens and rectum should occur. It is more likely, either that the second substantive is in apposition to אִישׁ (thus Gn 95 at the hand of every man, his brother, [unless it is a combination of the two readings מִיַּד אִישׁ and מִיַּד הָֽאָדָם]; similarly 15:10 and he laid each or, more exactly, one piece of it, &c., and so probably also Nu 1717 every one, sc. his name), or אִישׁ precedes as a kind of casus pendens, and only receives its nearer definition from the following substantive with suffix; thus Gn 4112, 4225 (according to the context = to every one in his sack); 42:35, where צְרוֹר־כַּסְפּוֹ בְּשַׂקּוֹ is virtually the predicate of אִישׁ; Ex 124, 2821, Nu 510, 2654, 2 K 2335, and especially Zc 710.[2]

139d (b) Any one, some one, e.g. Gn 1316, Ct 87, with a negative no one;[3] so after אַל־ Ex 1619, 29; before לֹא Gn 236 and frequently.—Instead of אִישׁ we sometimes find in a similar sense אָדָם man, homo, e.g. Lv 12 (cf. כְּאַחַד הָֽאָדָם as any one else, Ju 167, 11), נֶ֫פֶשׁ (soul) person, Lv 21, 51, &c., and in a neuter sense דָּבָר (prop. word, thing) for anything, Gn 1814, or כָּל־דָּבָר Lv 52, Nu 3123. With a negative דָּבָר means nothing; thus after אַל־ Gn 198; after לֹא Ec 85.—Cf. finally, מֵֽאַחַד any one, Dt 157; anything, Ez 1810 (but in Lv 42, 513 מֵֽאַחַת) and the expressions noticed in §144e. The latter include also instances like Ez 1832 I have no pleasure בְּמֹוֹת הַמֵּת in the death of him that dieth, i.e. of any man.

139e (c) In connexion with אָחִיו his brother or רֵעֵ֫הוּ his neighbour, אִישׁ one, masc. (as אִשָּׁה one, fem., in connexion with אֲחוֹתָהּ her sister or רְעוּתָהּ her neighbour) is used to represent the ideas of alter—alter, the one—the other[4] (in reference to persons, animals, or things without life; see the Lexicon) or the idea of one another, e.g. Gn 1311 and they separated them selves אִישׁ מֵעַל אָחִיו the one from the other; Ex 263 five curtains (יְרִיעֹת fem.) shall be coupled together אִשָּׁה אֶל־אֲחֹתָהּ one to another.

139f 2. נֶ֫פֶשׁ soul, person expresses the idea of self,[5] both in the singular, Pr 198, 16, 29:24, Jb 184 (in all cases נַפְשׁוֹ equivalent to himself) and in the plural, Jer 379, &c. Similar to this is the use of בְּקִרְבָּךְ Gn 1812 (prop. in her inward part) in the sense of within herself.[6] 139g 3. עֶ֫צֶם bone (then metaphorically for substance) expresses the idea of self, selfsame, very same, in reference to things (as נֶ֫פֶשׁ to persons, e.g. בְּעֶ֫צֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה in the selfsame day, Gn 713, cf. Jos 1027, Ez 242; כְּעֶ֫צֶם הַשָּׁמַ֫יִם לָטֹהַר as it were the very heaven for clearness, Ex 2410; בְּעֶ֫צֶם תֻּמּוֹ in the very fullness of his strength (= in the midst of his full strength), Jb 2123.

139h 4. The simple plural of words denoting time sometimes includes also the idea of a few, some;[7] thus יָמִים a few days, Gn 2455, 404 (here even of a longer period, = for some time); Is 6520, Dn 827 (on the other hand, Gn 2744, 2920 יָמִים אֲחָדִים; see § 96 under אֶחָד); שָׁנִים some years, Dn 116, 8.

  1. As a rule אִישׁ is used in the particularizing sense of each man, with the plural of the verb, e.g. Gn 4411; sometimes, however, as subject to a verb in the singular, e.g. Gn 4413.
  2. Cf. on the whole question the thorough discussion by Budde, Die bibl. Urgeschichte, p. 283 ff.: according to him, the words in Gn 95 are to be rendered at the hand of one another (from men mutually) will I require it. [In support of this view, Budde points to Zc 710 בִּלְבַבְכֶם וְרָעַת אִישׁ אָהִיו אַל־תַּהְשְׁבוּ, which in the light of 8:17, וְאִישׁ אֶת־רָעַת רֵעֵהוּ אַל־תַּחְשְׁבוּ בִּלְבַבְכֶם, can only, he observes, be rendered ‘and devise not the hurt of one another in your heart’. So also König, Syntax, § 33.]
  3. Cf. also אֵין־אִישׁ Gn 3911. On the expression of the idea of no one by means of אֵין with a following participle, see the Negative Sentences, §152l.
  4. Elsewhere זֶה... זֶה are used in a similar sense, Ex 1420, Is 63; also הָֽאֶחָד... הָֽאֶחָד 2 S 146, or the substantive is repeated, e.g. Gn 4721 (from one end... to the other end).
  5. On the representation of this idea by pronouns, separate and suffixed, see §135a, i and k.
  6. In a similar way the idea of self in Arabic, as in Sanskrit (âtman), is paraphrased by soul, spirit; in Arabic also by eye; in Rabbinic by גּוּף body, גֶּ֫רֶם or עֶ֫צֶם bone, in Ethiopic and Amharic by head, in Egyptian by mouth, hand, &c.; cf. also the Middle High German mîn lîp, dîn lîp, for ich, du. However, נֶ֫פֶשׁ in such cases is never (not even in Is 462 נַפְשָׁם they themselves) a merely otiose periphrasis for the personal pronoun, but always involves a reference to the mental personality, as affected by the senses, desires, &c.
  7. Some in reference to persons in Ex 1620 is expressed by אֲנָשִׁים, and in Neh 52–4 by יֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר sunt qui, with a participle following.