Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/14. Mappîq and Rāphè
14a 1. Mappîq, llke Dageš, also a point within the consonant, serves in the letters א ה ו י as a sign that they are to be regarded as full consonants and not as vowel letters. In most editions of the text it is only used in the consonantal ה at the end of words (since ה can never be a vowel letter in the middle of a word), e.g. גָּבַהּ gābháh (to be high), אַרְצָהּ ʾarṣāh (her land) which has a consonantal ending (shortened from -hā), different from אַ֫רְצָה ʾárṣā (to the earth) which has a vowel ending.
14b Rem. 1. Without doubt such a Hē was distinctly aspirated like the Arabic Hā at the end of a syllable. There are, however, cases in which this ה has lost its consonantal character (the Mappîq of course disappearing too), so that it remains only as a vowel letter; cf. §91e on the 3rd fem. sing.
14cThe name מַפִּיק means proferens, i.e. a sign which brings out the sound of the letter distinctly, as a consonant. The same sign was selected for this and for Dageš, since both are intended to indicate a hard, i.e. a strong, sound. Hence Rāphè (see e) is the opposite of both.
14d 2. In MSS. Mappîq is also found with א, ו, י, to mark them expressly as consonants, e.g. גּוֹיִ (gôy), קָוִ (qāw, qāu), for which וְ is also used, as עֵשָׂוְ, &c. For the various statements of the Masora (where these points are treated as Dageš), see Ginsburg, The Massorah, letter א, § 5 (also Introd., pp. 557, 609, 637, 770), and ‘The Dageshed Alephs in the Karlsruhe MS.’ (where these points are extremely frequent), in the Verhandlungen des Berliner Orientalisten-Kongresses, Berlin, i. 1881, p. 136 ff. The great differences in the statements found in the Masora point to different schools, one of which appears to have intended that every audible א should be pointed. In the printed editions the point occurs only four times with א (אׄ or אּ), Gn 4326, Lv 2317, Ezr 818 and Jb 3321 (רֻאּוּ; where the point can be taken only as an orthophonetic sign, not with König as Dageš forte). Cf. Delitzsch, Hiob, 2nd ed., p. 439 ff.
14e 2. Rāphè (רָפֶה i.e. weak, soft), a horizontal stroke over the letter, is the opposite of both kinds of Dageš and Mappîq, but especially of Dageš lene. In exact manuscripts every בגדכפת letter has either Dageš lene or Rāphè, e.g. מֶלֶךְֿ mèlĕkh, תָּפַֿר, שָׁתָֿה. In modern editions (except Ginsburg’s 1st ed.) Rāphè is used only when the absence of a Dageš or Mappîq requires to be expressly pointed out.