Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/59. The Perfect with Pronominal Suffixes

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar  (1909) 
Wilhelm Gesenius
edited and enlarged by Emil Kautzsch
, translated by Arthur Ernest Cowley
The Perfect with Pronominal Suffixes

§59. The Perfect with Pronominal Suffixes.

a 1. The endings (afformatives) of the perfect occasionally vary somewhat from the ordinary form, when connected with pronominal suffixes; viz.:—

(a) In the 3rd sing. fem. the original feminine ending ־ַת or ־ָת is used for ־ָה.

(b) In the 2nd sing. masc. besides תָּ we find תּ, to which the connecting vowel is directly attached, but the only clear instances of this are with ־ַ֫ נִי.[1]

(c) In the 2nd sing. fem. תִּי, the original form of תְּ, appears; cf. אַתִּי, קָטַ֫לְתִּי, §32f; §44g. This form can be distinguished from the 1st pers. only by the context.

(d) 2nd plur. masc. תּוּ for תֶּם. The only examples are Nu 205, 215, Zc 75. The fem. קְטַלְתֶּן never occurs with suffixes; probably it had the same form as the masculine.


We exhibit first the forms of the perfect Hiphʿîl, as used in connexion with suffixes, since here no further changes take place in the stem itself, except as regards the tone (see c).
Singular. Plural.
3. m. הִקְמִיל 3. c. הִקְטִילוּ
3. f. הִקְמִילַת
2. m. הִקְטַלְתָּ, הִקְטַלְתּ 2. m. הִקְטַלְתּוּ
2. f. הִקְטַלְתִּי, הִקְטַלְתּ
1. c. הִקְטַלְתִּי 1. c. הִקְטַלְנוּ

The beginner should first practise connecting the suffixes with these Hiphʿîl forms and then go on to unite them to the Perfect Qal (see d).

c 2. The addition of the suffix generally causes the tone to be thrown forward towards the end of the word, since it would otherwise fall, in some cases, on the ante-penultima; with the heavy suffixes (see e) the tone is even transferred to the suffix itself. Considerations of tone, especially in the Perfect Qal, occasion certain vowel changes: (a) the Qameṣ of the first syllable, no longer standing before the tone, always becomes vocal Še; (b) the original Pathaḥ of the second syllable, which in the 3rd sing. fem. and 3rd plur. had become Še, reappears before the suffix, and, in an open syllable before the tone, is lengthened to Qameṣ; similarly original ĭ (as in the 3rd sing. masc. without a suffix) is lengthened to ē, e.g. אֲהֵב֫וּךָ 1 S 1822, Pr 197.

d The forms of the perfect of Qal consequently appear as follows:—

Singular. Plural.
3. m. קְטָל 3. c. קְטָלוּ
3. f. קְטָלַת (קְטָלָת, see g)
2. m. קְטַלְתָּ (קְטַלְתּ, see h) 2. m. קְטַלְתּוּ
2. f. קְטַלְתִּי (קְטַלְתּ, see h)
1. c. קְטַלְתִּי 1. c. קְטַלְנוּ

The connexion of these forms with all the suffixes is shown in Paradigm C. It will be seen there also, how the Ṣere in the Perfect Piʿēl changes sometimes into Seghôl, and sometimes into vocal Še.

e Rem. 1. The suffixes of the 2nd and 3rd pers. plur. כֶם and הֶם, since they end in a consonant and also always have the tone, are distinguished as heavy suffixes (suffixa gravia) from the rest, which are called light suffixes. Compare the connexion of these (and of the corresponding feminine forms כֶן and הֶן) with the noun, § 91. With a perfect כֶם alone occurs, ψ 11826. The form קְטַל which is usually given as the connective form of the 3rd sing. masc. before כֶם and כֶן is only formed by analogy, and is without example in the O.T.

f 2. In the 3rd sing. masc. קְטָלָ֫הוּ (especially in verbs ל״ה; in the strong verb only in Jer 2015 in Piʿēl) is mostly contracted to קְטָלוֹ, according to §23k; likewise in the 2nd sing. masc. קְטַלְתָּ֫הוּ to קְטַלְתּוֹ.—As a suffix of the 1st sing. ־ָ֫ נִי occurs several times with the 3rd sing. masc. perf. Qal of verbs ל״ה, not only in pause (as עָנָ֫נִי ψ 1185; קָּנָ֫נִי Pr 822 with Deḥi), but even with a conjunctive accent, as הֹרָ֫נִי Jb 3019; עָנָ֫נִי 1 S 2815 (where, however, the reading עָנַ֫נִי is also found). With a sharpened נ‍: דָּנַ֫נִּי Gn 306, יִסְרַ֫נִּי ψ 11818.

g 3. The 3rd sing. fem. קְטָלַת (=קָֽטְלָה) has the twofold peculiarity that (a) the ending ath always takes the tone,[2] and consequently is joined to those suffixes which form a syllable of themselves (נִי, ךָ, הוּ, הָ, נוּ), without a connecting vowel, contrary to the general rule, §58f; (b) before the other suffixes the connecting vowel is indeed employed, but the tone is drawn back to the penultima, so that they are pronounced with shortened vowels, viz. ־֫ ־ֶךְ, ־֫ ־ַם, e.g. אֲהֵבָ֫תֶךְ she loves thee, Ru 415, cf. Is 4710; גְּנָבָ֫תַם she has stolen them, Gn 3132; שְׂרָפָּ֫תַם it burns them, Is 4714, Jos 26, Ho 214, ψ 487. For ־ַ֫ תְנִי, ־ַ֫ תְךָ &c., in pause ־ָֽ תְנִי is found, Jer 821, ψ 6910, and ־ָֽ תְךָ Ct 85; and also without the pause for the sake of the assonance חִבְּלָֽתְךָ, she was in travail with thee, ibid. The form קְטָלַ֫תּוּ (e.g. Ru 415) has arisen, through the loss of the ה and the consequent sharpening of the ת (as in ־ֶ֫ נּוּ and ־ֶ֫ נָּה for ־ֶ֫ נְהוּ and ־ֶ֫ נְהָ, cf. §58i), from the form קְטָלַ֫תְהוּ, which is also found even in pause (אֲהֵבַֽתְהוּ 1 S 1828; elsewhere it takes in pause the form סְמָכָֽתְהוּ Is 5916); so קְטָלַ֫תָּה from קֵטָלַ֫תְהָ; cf. 1 S 16, Is 3417, Jer 4924, Ru 36; in pause Ez 1415, always, on the authority of Qimḥi, without Mappîq in the ה, which is consequently always a more vowel-letter.

h 4. In the 2nd sing. masc. the form קְטַלְתָּ is mostly used, and the suffixes have, therefore, no connecting vowel, e.g. זְנַחְתָּ֫נוּ פְרַצְתָּ֑נוּ thou hast cast us off, thou hast broken us down, ψ 603; but with the suff. of the 1st sing. the form קְטַלְתַּ֫נִי is used, e.g. חֲקַרְתַּ֫נִי ψ 1391; in pause, however, with Qameṣ, e.g. עֲזַבְתָּ֑נִי ψ 222; Ju 115 (with Zaqeph qaṭon); but cf. also צְרַפְתָּ֫נִי ψ 173 with Merekha.—In the 2nd sing. fem. ־תִּי— is also written defectively, רִמִּיתִ֫נִי 1 S 1917, Ju 1135, Jer 1510, Ct 49. Occasionally the suffix is appended to the ordinary form ־ְתּ, viz. הִשְׁבַּעְתָּ֫נוּ thou (fem.) dost adjure us, Ct 59, Jos 217.20; cf. Jer 227, and, quite abnormally, with Ṣere הוֹרַדְתֵּ֫נוּ thou (fem.) didst let us down, Jos 218, where הוֹרַדְתִּ֫נוּ would be expected. In Is 811 וְיִסְּרֵ֫נִי is probably intended as an imperfect.

i 5. In verbs middle ē, the ē remains even before suffixes (see above, c), e.g. אֲהֵֽבְךָ֫ Dt 1516, אֲהֵבַ֫תְהוּ 1 S 1828, cf. 1822; יְרֵא֫וּהוּ Jb 3724. From a verb middle ō there occurs יְכָלְתִּיו I have prevailed against him, ψ 135, from יָכֹל with ŏ instead of ō in a syllable which has lost the tone (§44e).

  1. On the ă as an original element of the verbal form, see §58f, note.
  2. חִבְּלָֽתְךָ֣ Ct 85 is an exception. כֶם would probably even here have the tone (see e); but no example of the kind occurs in the O.T. In Is 512 the imperfect is used instead of the perfect with a suffix.