Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/146. Construction of Compound Subjects

§146. Construction of Compound Subjects.

146a 1. When the subject is composed of a nomen regens (in the construct state) with a following genitive, the predicate sometimes agrees in gender and number not with the nomen regens, but with the genitive, when this represents the principal idea of the compound subject.[1] Thus 1 S 24 קֶ֫שֶׁת גִּבֹּרִים הַתִּים the bow of the mighty men is broken, as if it were the mighty men with their bow are broken; Ex 2612, Lv 139, 1 K 141 (but the text is clearly very corrupt), 17:16, Is 211, 2117, Zc 810, Jb 1520, 2121, 2910, 327 (רֹב שָׁנִים equivalent to many years); 38:21; with the predicate preceding, 2 S 109, unless it is to be explained according to §145k.

146b Rem. 1. The cases in which קוֹל (voice, sound) with a following genitive stands at the beginning of a sentence, apparently in this construction, are really of a different kind. The קוֹל is there to be taken as an exclamation, and the supposed predicate as in apposition to the genitive, e.g. Gn 410 the voice of thy brother’s blood, which crieth (prop. as one crying)...!=hark! thy brother’s blood is crying, &c.; Is 134, 666. In Is 528 an independent verbal-clause follows the exclamation the voice of thy watchmen!; in Jer 1022 and Ct 28 an independent noun-clause; in Is 403 קוֹל קֹרֵא the voice of one that crieth! i.e. hark! there is one crying is followed immediately by direct speech; in Mi 69 קוֹל hark! may be used disconnectedly (cf. the almost adverbial use of קוֹל in §144m) and יְהֹוָה be taken as the subject to יִקְרָא.

146c 2. When the substantive כֹּל (כָּל־) entirety is used in connexion with a genitive as subject of the sentence, the predicate usually agrees in gender and number with the genitive, since כֹּל is equivalent in sense to an attribute (whole, all) of the genitive; hence, e.g. with the predicate preceding, Gn 55 וַיִּֽהְיוּ כָּל־יְמֵי אָדָם and all the days of Adam were, &c. (in 5:23, 9:29, וַיְהִי; but the Samaritan reads ויהיו here also); Ex 1520; with the predicate following, ψ 1506, &c. Exceptions are, e.g. Lv 1714 (but cf. §145l), Jos 825, Is 6410, Pr 162, Na 37. On the other hand, in such cases as Ex 1216 the agreement of the predicate with כָּל־ is explained from the stress laid upon the latter, כָּל־מְלָאכָה לֹא being equivalent to the whole of work (is forbidden).

146d 2. When the subject of the sentence consists of several nouns connected by wāw copulative, usually

(a) The predicate following is put in the plural, e.g. Gn 822 seed time and harvest, and cold and heat... shall not cease (לֹא יִשְׁבֹּ֫תוּ); after subjects of different genders it is in the masculine (as the prior gender, cf. §132d), e.g. Gn 1811 אַבְרָהָם וְשָׂרָה זְקֵנִים Abraham and Sarah were old; Dt 2832, 1 K 121.

146e Rem. Rare exceptions are Pr 279 שֶׁ֫מֶן וּקְטֹ֫רֶת יְשַׂמַּח־לֵב ointment and perfume rejoice the heart, where the predicate agrees in gender with the masculine שֶׁ֫מֶן (as in Is 513 with שָׂשׂוֹן); on the other hand, in Ex 214 (where הָֽאִשָּׁה וִֽילָדֶ֫יהָ are the subjects) it agrees with הָֽאִשָּׁה as being the principal person; in the compound sentence, Is 94, it agrees with the feminine subject immediately preceding.[2]

146f (b) The predicate preceding two or more subjects may likewise be used in the plural (Gn 401, Jb 35, &c.); not infrequently, however, it agrees in gender and number with the first, as being the subject nearest to it. Thus the predicate is put in the singular masculine before several masculines singular in Gn 923, 1129, 2132, 2450, 3420, Ju 145; before a masculine and a feminine singular, e.g. Gn 38, 2455 then said (וַיּאֹ֫מֶר) her brother and her mother; 33:7; before a masculine singular and a plural, e.g. Gn 77 וַיָּבֹא נֹחַ וּבָנָיו and Noah went in, and his sons, &c.; Gn 818 (where feminines plural also follow); 44:14, Ex 151, 2 S 521; before collectives feminine and masculine, 2 S 122.

146g Similarly, the feminine singular occurs before several feminines singular, e.g. Gn 3114 וַתַּ֫עַן רָחֵל וְלֵאָה then answered Rachel and Leah; before a feminine singular and a feminine plural, e.g. Gn 2461; before a feminine singular and a masculine singular, Nu 121 וַתְּדַבֵּר מִרְיָם וְאַֽהֲרוֹן then spake Miriam and Aaron; Ju 51; before a feminine singular and a masculine plural, e.g. Gn 337 (cf., on the other hand, ψ 754 נְמֹגִים אֶ֫רֶץ וְכָל־יֽשְׁבֶ֫יהָ dissolved are the earth and all the inhabitants thereof). The plural feminine occurs before a plural feminine and a plural masculine in Am 813.—In Jer 4425 for אַתֶּם וּנְשֵׁיכֶם read אַתֶּם הַנָּשִׁים with the LXX, and cf. verse 19.


(c) When other predicates follow after the subjects have been mentioned, they are necessarily put in the plural; cf. Gn 2132, 2461, 3114, 337, &c., and §145s.
§147. Incomplete Sentences.

147a 1. Sentences are called incomplete, in which either the subject or the predicate or beth must in some way be supplied from the context.[3] Besides the instances enumerated in §116s (omission of the personal pronoun when subject of a participial clause) and the periphrases for negative attributes §152u, this description includes certain (noun-) clauses introduced by הִנֵּה (see b below), and also a number of exclamations of the most varied kinds (see c below).

Rem. Incomplete sentences are very common in Chronicles, but are mostly due to the bad condition of the text; cf. Driver, Introd.6, p. 537, no. 27. Thus in 2 Ch 1122b restore חָשַׁב, with the LXX, before לְהַמְלִיכוֹ; in 35:21 add בָּ֫אתִי, with the LXX, after הַיּוֹם and read פְּרָת for בֵּית; in 2 Ch 196 and 28:21 the pronoun הוּא is wanted as subject, and in 30:9 the predicate יִֽהְיוּ; cf. also the unusual expressions in 1 Ch 933 (Ezr 33), 1 Ch 1513 (ye were not present?), 2 Ch 153, 1610, 12 (bis), 18:3.

147b 2. The demonstrative particle הֵן, הִנֵּה en, ecce may be used either absolutely (as a kind of interjection, cf. §105b) before complete noun-or verbal-clauses, e.g. Gn 2815 וְהִנֵּה אָֽנֹכִי עִמָּךְ and, behold! I am with thee; 37:7, 48:21, Ex 313, 3410, or may take the pronoun, which would be the natural subject of a noun-clause, in the form of a suffix, see §100o. Whether these suffixes are to be regarded as in the accusative has been shown to be doubtful in §100p. However, in the case of הִנֵּה the analogy of the corresponding Arabic demonstrative particle ’inna (followed by an accusative of the noun) is significant.[4] If הִנֵּה with a suffix and a following adjective or participle (see the examples in §116p and q) forms a noun-clause, the subject proper, to which הִנֵּה with the suffix refers, must, strictly speaking, be supplied again before the predicate.[5] Sometimes, however, the pronoun referring to the subject is wanting, and the simple הִנֵּה takes the place of the

  1. Sometimes, however, the attraction of the predicate to the genitive may be merely due to juxtaposition.
  2. Similarly with a mixed object, Gn 332 he put... Leah and her children אַֽחֲרֹנִים after; אַֽחֲרֹנִים agrees with the masculine immediately preceding.
  3. This does not apply to such cases as Gn 338, where an infinitive with לְ appears alone in answer to a question, the substance of the question being presupposed as a main clause; cf. also Gn 267, where הִיא must again be supplied after אִשְׁתִּי.
  4. On the same analogy any substantive following הִנֵּה would have to be regarded as originally a virtual accusative. Since, however, Hebrew does not possess case-terminations (as the Arabic does, and uses the accusative necessarily after ’inna), it is very doubtful whether, and how far, substantives following הִנֵּה were felt to be accusatives.
  5. That these are real noun-clauses and that the participle (e.g. מֵת in הִנְּךָ מֵת Gn 208) cannot be taken as a second accusative (as it were ecce te moriturum), is also shown by the analogy of Arabic, where after ’inna with an accusative the predicate is expressly in the nominative.