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Thread: Hebrew non-infinitive verbs with בְּ prefix

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    Default Hebrew non-infinitive verbs with בְּ prefix

    This may be really simple, but it's eluding me.

    I'm trying to search for all non-infinitive-construct verbs that are prefixed with בְּ. Obviously this prefix is common with infinitives, so it is finding only the non-infinitive verbs that interest me. Any ideas how I can do this from the command line in WTM?

  2. #2
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    The only verb forms which might have a prefix besides infinitives would be participles. So you can run this search with WTM as your search version:
    '*@v?P* b
    On the command line the "b" will be the Hebrew beth. You could search all verbs which are not infinitives constructs preceeded by beth by using this search: '*@v?[pivPa]* b
    The square brackets are in effect an "or" search for anything within them, in this case different forms of verbs.
    When I ran this search it appears that the beth in front of the verb is always a separate word with a pronominal suffix. But you could look through all 199 hits to make sure it does not contain something other than participles. One of them is an infinitive absolute (Jer 31:20), but the beth also has a suffix in that case.
    I hope this helps.
    Mark Eddy

  3. #3

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    Thanks Mark for your response.

    The only verb forms which might have a prefix besides infinitives would be participles.
    I would have agreed with this up until a few days ago. Then I stumbled across בַּצַּ֥ר in Hosea 5:15 which Bibleworks (and Accordance for that matter) list as being the 3ms perfect of the geminate verb צרר plus the preposition בְּ. The search that you proposed (which has in itself been an education for me) doesn't find this, nor the other instances of this exact form (e.g. Deut 4:30, 2Sa 22:7).

    The thing is, if 3ms perfects can have בְּ prefixes, I'd really like to find a few examples: hence my request for how to do such searches. Also can imperfects have such prefixes?

    At the moment I can search on the exact lemma (and exclude the references to "Bezer" and narrowness it throws up) but I feel it should be possible to search for verbs with prepositional prefixes somehow. I suspect your suggestion doesn't quite do this as it contains the space, and thus only finds separate words. But I don't know any other way of trying this.

    Anyone have any other ideas?

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    Very interesting. I wonder if בַּצַּר is really parsed correctly in these instances. HALOT lists an adjective צַּר, "narrow," that is used substantivally, "anxiety," in a couple of places that are similar to the ones you mention, but without the following לָהֶם or the like: Isa 26:16; 4:2; maybe Job 36:19. Of course it also lists the texts you cite and a number of others as verb forms under I צרר Qal B.3.c. Seems odd, though.
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Laurence View Post
    I would have agreed with this up until a few days ago. Then I stumbled across בַּצַּ֥ר in Hosea 5:15 which Bibleworks (and Accordance for that matter) list as being the 3ms perfect of the geminate verb צרר plus the preposition בְּ. The search that you proposed (which has in itself been an education for me) doesn't find this, nor the other instances of this exact form (e.g. Deut 4:30, 2Sa 22:7).
    It will not find the exact form, because this form includes the definite article. To find it you would need to search for:
    '*@v?[pivPa]* h@Pa* b (where the "h" and the "b" are Hebrew characters)
    My guess (since I do not own Accordance) is that both programs use the WTM morphological database. WTM was based on HALOT, not on BDB. Neither BDB nor HALOT is inerrant. And when they disagree, there is usually a good reason to question one or the other or both. HALOT lists the passages you cite plus Ps 18:7; Is 25:4; Ps 66:14; 106:44; 107:6,13,19,28; and 2Ch 15:4 in Qal section B.3.c. of the verb צרר. I suspect that whatever graduate student made WTM in these instances mistook the form for a perfect, when HALOT understood it as a participle (the forms are identical for this verb). But all translations take the form as a substantive, i.e. used as a noun. Since there is a daggesh in the tsade, indicating that the Masoretes read it as having the article, it is clear that this has to be a noun (BDB) or participle (HALOT): "in the distress for them" or "when they had distress" or "when they were in distress." I would suggest that WTM be corrected. Furthermore, since BDB displays the entry for the adj., I suspect that behind the scenes the program does not read this form (with beth prefixed) as a verb, even though WTM does. BDB actually lists these in its entry for the noun BDB 8366 rc; So there must be a double anomaly that this form is linked with the adjective entry BDB 8365 rc; in the analysis window.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Laurence View Post
    The thing is, if 3ms perfects can have בְּ prefixes, I'd really like to find a few examples: hence my request for how to do such searches. Also can imperfects have such prefixes?
    In light of the above, I still do not think that perfects or imperfects can have prefixes. But you can check for each of them independently, if you wish. The search for just the perfects would be '*@v?p* b
    The search for ust imperfects would be '*@v?i* b

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Laurence View Post
    At the moment I can search on the exact lemma (and exclude the references to "Bezer" and narrowness it throws up) but I feel it should be possible to search for verbs with prepositional prefixes somehow. I suspect your suggestion doesn't quite do this as it contains the space, and thus only finds separate words. But I don't know any other way of trying this.

    Anyone have any other ideas?
    BibleWorks treats the prepositions as separate lemmas, whether they are prefixed or separate. So the search I gave you will display both prefixes and separate words together in the same list. If you look through the entire list, you will notice a number of participles which have the beth prefixed. But all the other verb forms have the beth separate with a pronominal suffix.

    Christ's,
    Mark Eddy
    Last edited by Mark Eddy; 04-19-2012 at 01:52 AM.

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    Default The other one

    If you do search for definite article before a 3ms perfect, the other example is 2 Chron. 1:4. The hiphil of כּוּן . Gesenius has a discussion of this occurance under the subject of relative clauses. 138. (look for the paragraph with the large blue "i") The definite article may serve as a relative pronoun.
    I though feel more comfortable with Mark's explanation.
    SkipB

    "Ambitious to be well-pleasing unto him"
    RJ Blackburn
    Reformed Episcopal Seminary

    http://www.reseminary.edu



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    Thanks, Nick, for this interesting question, and Mark for your well-researched responses. I'd be inclined to go with the BDB analysis. Mark's point about the definite article is final: perfect verb forms simply cannot have a definite article. A participle is theoretically possible, but the expression would still be awkward and odd: "when they/I/you have someone troubling them/me/you." In the contexts, the substantive is much more likely. It's the commonplace use of substantive + ל־ to express possession: "when they/I/you have distress." HALOT treats the substantive as a use of the adjective (even though it oddly does not find it in these cases), whereas BDB has a separate entry for it. But can adjectives be used as substantives in Hebrew (as they can in Greek)?
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

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    In response to Skip, note also the following section in Gesenius: almost all the examples are in Ezra and Chronicles, suggesting that this may be a peculiar feature of the Hebrew of those books; and other examples may be due to errors in textual transmission or in the Masora. When I studied linguistics (at the same time I was learning Semitic languages), my favorite among the things I learned was that "all grammars leak." Nick has either come across a bunghole in biblical Hebrew, or there are problems in the text and in some of the analysis of it.
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

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    I like that: "all grammars leak." I often remind my students that grammars are tools that help us describe what the language does. Especially in dealing with writing from the past, grammar is descriptive rather than prescriptive. But as everyone has pointed out, the use of בַּצַּר here is more like a substantive.
    SkipB

    "Ambitious to be well-pleasing unto him"
    RJ Blackburn
    Reformed Episcopal Seminary

    http://www.reseminary.edu



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Laurence View Post
    Thanks Mark for your response.



    I would have agreed with this up until a few days ago. Then I stumbled across בַּצַּ֥ר in Hosea 5:15 which Bibleworks (and Accordance for that matter) list as being the 3ms perfect of the geminate verb צרר plus the preposition בְּ. The search that you proposed (which has in itself been an education for me) doesn't find this, nor the other instances of this exact form (e.g. Deut 4:30, 2Sa 22:7).

    The thing is, if 3ms perfects can have בְּ prefixes, I'd really like to find a few examples: hence my request for how to do such searches. Also can imperfects have such prefixes?

    At the moment I can search on the exact lemma (and exclude the references to "Bezer" and narrowness it throws up) but I feel it should be possible to search for verbs with prepositional prefixes somehow. I suspect your suggestion doesn't quite do this as it contains the space, and thus only finds separate words. But I don't know any other way of trying this.

    Anyone have any other ideas?
    It is definitely parsed incorrectly in WTM. It is an adjective used substantivally, here meaning "in their narrow straits" (i.e., in their afflictions and troubles, where one is, figuratively, between "a rock and a hard place." In other words, where one finds oneself in narrow straits.

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