Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/157. Object-Clauses (Oratio Obliqua)

§157. Object-Clauses (Oratio Obliqua).

157a Clauses which depend on a transitive verb, especially on what are called verba cordis, i.e. verbs denoting any mental act, such as to see, to hear, to know, to perceive, to believe, to remember, to forget, to say, to think, &c., may be subordinated to the governing verb without the help of a conjunction by simple juxtaposition (§120a), or they may be co-ordinated with it either with or without wāw copulative (§120d–h). As a rule, however, the objective clause is introduced by the conjunction כִּי that, less frequently by אֲשֶׁר that.[1]


(a) Object-clauses without a conjunction. Besides the passages mentioned in § 120 (especially under e) there are a number of examples, in which a clause depending on a verbum dicendi or sentiendi (the oratio obliqua of the Latin and English Grammar) is added in the form of an independent noun-clause or verbal-clause; e.g. Gn 1213 אִמְרִי־נָא אֲחֹ֫תִי אָ֑תְּ say, I pray thee, thou art my sister; ψ 1013, Jb 253a.14, Neh 66; Zc 823 (after שָׁמַע); ψ 921 (after יָדַע); verbal-clauses, e.g. ψ 5021 thou thoughtest הֱיֽוֹת־אְהְיֶה כָמ֫וֹךָ I was surely like thyself [but read הָיוֹ for הֱיוֹת]; Gn 4115, Ju 948 what ye have seen me do; Is 488, Ho 72.

157b (b) Object-clauses introduced by כִּי, e.g. Gn 65 וַיַּרְא יְהֹוָה כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָֽאָדָם and the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great, &c.—Direct narration also is very frequently introduced by כִּי (analogous to the ὅτι recitativum; frequently, indeed, with the secondary idea of a particle of asseveration, as in Gn 269, 2720), e.g. Gn 2130, 2216 f., 26:22, 29:32, 37:35, Jos 224, &c., even when the direct narration is not expressly indicated, Gn 425, 3231, 4151 f., Ex 184.—On the expression of a second object by means of a clause introduced by כִּי, see §117h.[2]

157c (c) Object-clauses introduced by אֲשֶׁר, e.g. Est 34 כִּֽי־הִגִּיד לָהֶם אֲשֶׁר־הוּא יְהוּדִי for he had told them that he was a Jew; 1 S 1815, Ez 2026, Ec 812,[3] even before direct narration, 1 S 1520, 2 S 14. Somewhat frequently אֲשְׁר is preceded by the nota accusativi אֶת־ (equivalent to the circumstance, the fact, that), e.g. Jos 210, 1 S 2411, 19, 2 S 1120, Is 383, but in Gn 3029, Dt 2915 equivalent to the way in which.

  1. On these clauses with כִּי and אֲשֶׁר and generally on clauses which we should render as subordinate, cf. P. Dörwald ‘Zur hebr. Syntax’ in Neue Jahrbb. für Philol. und Pädag. 1890, p. 115 ff.
  2. Instead of a complete objective clause we sometimes find a kind of accusative and infinitive construction, especially after נָתַן (prop. to give up) in the sense of to allow, e.g. Nu 2123 וְלֹֽא־נָתַן סִיחֹן אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבֹר בִּגְבֻלוֹ and Sihon did not suffer Israel to pass through his border; 20:21; followed by an infinitive with לְ, e.g. Gn 206, 317, Ex 319.—Cf. also the analogous examples in Dt 2856 (after נִסָּה to venture; see §113d); Ju 1120 (afterהָֽאֱמִין to trust); 1 K 194 (after שָׁאַל to request).
  3. In Jer 289 a subject-clause is thus introduced by אֲשֶׁר instead of the usual כִּי.