Open main menu

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/143. The Compound Sentence

§143. The Compound Sentence.

143a A compound sentence (§140d) is formed by the juxtaposition of a subject[1] (which always precedes, see c) and

(a) An independent noun-clause, which (a) refers to the principal subject by means of a pronoun, e.g. Na 13 יְהֹוָה בְּסוּפָה דַרְכּוֹ the Lord—in the storm is his way; 2 S 236, ψ 1831, 10417, 1252, Ec 214; cf. also Gn 3423, where the predicate is an interrogative clause.—A personal pronoun is somewhat frequently used as the principal subject, e.g. Is 5921 וַֽאֲנִי זֹאת בְּרִיתִי אֹתָם and as for me, this is my covenant with them, &c.; Gn 99, 174, Is 17, 1 Ch 282;[2] with an interrogative noun-clause, Gn 3730, Jb 214, 3819:—or (β) is without a retrospective suffix (in which case naturally the connexion between the subject and predicate is much looser), e.g. 1 S 2023 and as touching the matter which, &c.... behold the Lord is between thee and me for ever; Pr 272. 143b (b) An independent verbal-clause: (a) with a retrospective suffix,[3] e.g. Gn 96 (cf. §116w); 17:15 as for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai; 26:15, 28:13, 34:8, Ex 3037, 321, 1 S 210, 2 K 1029, Is 91, 1110, Ez 332, Ho 911, ψ 114, 465, 654, 7417, Dn 117; with a pronoun as the principal subject, Gn 2427; (β) without a retrospective suffix, Is 1917 every one that mentions it (Judah) to it (Egypt), it (Egypt) is afraid.

143c Rem. 1. In all the above examples prominence is given to the principal subject (by its mere separation from the context by means of a greater disjunctive, as a casus pendens[4]) in a manner which would be quite impossible in a simple noun or verbal-clause (e.g. Na 13 if it were דֶּ֫רֶךְ יְהֹוָה בְּסוּפָה); cf. the French c’est moi qu’on a accusé. But the statement or question contained in the clause which forms the predicate also receives greater weight. For the same purpose other members of the sentence also are sometimes placed at the beginning and resumed again by a following suffix; thus the object, Gn 1315, 2113, 3512, 4721 (with the Samaritan and LXX read perhaps הֶֹֽעֱבִיד); 1 S 2529; a specification of place, Gn 217, 2 K 2218, &c.; a substantive with לְ, 1 S 920, 2 S 623; cf. the examples in §135a.—In Nu 1529 a dative is co-ordinated with the casus pendens, i.e. there is a transition to a different construction.

143d 2. To compound sentences belong also the numerous examples already treated in the account of the tenses, where the predicate of a casus pendens is introduced by the wāw apodosis. The isolation and prominence of the principal subject is in this case still more marked than in the instances treated above; on the casus pendens with a following imperfect consecutive (e.g. Jer 619, 3324), cf. §111h; with a following perfect consecutive (e.g. Ex 421, 1244, Nu 233, 1 S 2527, 2 S 1410, Is 94, 566 f.), §112t and mm; on the participle as casus pendens, §112oo and §116w.—In Jb 1517 wāw apodosis follows with the cohortative; in Jb 2312, ψ 1157, the imperfect is separated by לֹא from the wāw apodosis; in Jb 46 as for thy hope, it is the integrity of thy ways, 36:26, Ec 56, an incomplete noun-clause is appended by wāw apodosis. On wāw apodosis after disconnected specifications of time, cf. §112oo at the end, and Gn 409, 2 S 1534 וְעַתָּה וַֽאֲנִי עַבְדֶּ֫ךָ and now (so far as the present is concerned) I will be thy servant, Nu 1212, Jer 41 (me thou needest not fear).

143e 3. Sometimes a substantive introduced by לְ (in respect to; cf. §119u) serves the same purpose as the casus pendens beginning the sentence, as Nu 188 (unless the לְ here serves to introduce the object, according to §117n); Is 321 (where, however, וְשָׂרִים should most probably be read); Ec 94, 1 Ch 71, 2420 ff., 2 Ch 721. On the other hand, ψ 163, 174, 326, 8919, 11991, are very doubtful. The suggestion of P. Haupt (Johns Hopkins University Circulars, xiii. no. 114; Baltimore, 1894) also deserves attention, that in passages like Ec 94, and in לְכֹל Gn 910, 2310, Ex 273, 19, Ez 449, &c., לְ is not the preposition, but an emphasizing particle, answering to the Arab. lă, surely; Assyrian ; with בֹּל it is equivalent to in short. Cf. also לְ־לְ sive—sive, et—et, Jos 1716, Ezr 111, Assyrian .

  1. In Gn 3140 a verbal-clause (הָיִ֫יתִי I was) occurs instead of the subject, and is then explained by another verbal-clause.
  2. In 1 Chr 282 (cf. also 22:7 אֲנִי הָיָה עִם־לְבָבִי) אֲנִי might also be taken as strengthening the pronominal suffix which follows (equivalent to I myself had it in my mind), as e.g. Ez 3317 whereas their own way is not equal; cf. §135f.
  3. Cf. the Mêšaʿ inscription, l. 31, and Ḥoronain, therein dwelt, &c.
  4. But this term must not (any more than that formerly used ‘the subject preceding absolutely’) be misunderstood to mean that the principal subject is, as it were, floating in the air, and that the whole sentence results in an anacoluthon. On the contrary, to the Semitic mind, such sentences appear quite as correctly formed as ordinary noun- and verbal-clauses.