This passage from Genesis 3:1 will help us review some of the Hebrew we have already learned and will introduce us to some new parts of speech.
Note the following: veh-han-na-chash (“and the serpent”) contains the conjunction (Vov, “and”); the definite article (Ha, “the”); and a noun (na-chash), the subject of ha-yah, the third person masculine singular past tense of the verb “to be.” Ah-room (“cunning”) is a masculine adjective describing na-chash. Meek-kol combines a form of the preposition. lmimeen (“from”), joined to the noun lKokol, “all, the whole.” Char-rat (“beast”) is a feminine, singular noun joined closely to the following word. We call this a construct relationship, and chay-yat is in its construct state. In its absolute state it is hY:h’ (chay-yah), in form like the feminine nouns we met in the lesson on “Using Pronouns and Nouns,”BR 07:06. Hassa-deh (“the field”) has the definite article prefixed to the noun. Ah-sher (“which”) is our first encounter with a relative pronoun. Ah-sah (“made”) is a third person masculine singular verb, followed by its subject, ah-doh-nay e-lo-heem. Ah-doh-nay is the traditional pronunciation of the name of God. The actual pronunciation of the divine name was likely “yah-veh.”aE-lo-heem is the word meaning “God.”
lmi is just one of a number of prepositions. It ends in Nun, a weak letter often lost in pronunciation and replaced by the following consonant sound represented by the doubling dagesh, thus meek-kol. Something similar occurs in English, with the replacement of the n of “inmoveable” with immovable.
As in English, prepositions are followed by nouns or pronouns to form prepositional phrases, Frequently occurring Hebrew prepositions include:
before, in front of, ago (in time)
The above prepositions can stand alone. The following occur only as prefixes:
from-me, –mi in, with, at –B]
for, to –l] like, as –K
Now form prepositional phrases using nouns you have learned earlier, such as Jl,M,àh’ µ[i, eem ham-me-lek, “with the king.” Jl,M,àl’lam-me-lek, “belonging to the king,” is a famous expression in biblical archaeology, referring to jar-handles stamped with this inscription. The expression consists of l] + Jl,M,àh’. Note how the consonant He of the definite article is assimilated and the preposition is pronounced with the vowel of the article, If you pronounce leh-ham-melek swiftly again and again, you will see how these sounds merged in Hebrew. The same pronunciation shift happens to the other prefixed prepositions.
Recall that Genesis 3:1 a contained the expression µyhiOlaÔ hw:OhyÒ hc;[; rv,a}, ah-sher ah-sah ah-doh-nay e-lo-heem, “which the Lord God made,” rv,a} is the relative pronoun in Hebrew, equal to “who,” “whom,” “which,” and “that” in English. It is used for all genders and numbers without variation in form. In our verse the word connects the following clause, “which the Lord God made,” to a preceding word in the sentence, char-rat “beast.” The relative clause functions like an adjective to provide more information about the beast.
Another important group of words to know are the demonstrative Pronouns and the demonstrative adjectives. The demonstrative pronouns are:
hz,zeh this (masc. sing.)
taOzzoht this (fem. sing.)
hL,aeàa-leh these (masc. & fem. plural)
These same demonstrative pronouns become demonstrative adjectives when used with the definite article. Compare carefully:
this is man
this is woman
these are men
these are women
Now note and distinguish the following examples:
this is commandment
this great commandment
taOZh’ hl;/dGÒh’ hw:x]Mih’
this is a man
this great man
hZ,h’ l/dG:h’ vuaih;
these are commandments
these great commandments
hL,aeàh; t/l/dGÒh’ t/xÒMih’
Notice that demonstrative adjectivesfollow the noun, the opposite of English, and they have the prefixed definite article.
In our next lesson we will learn to recognize verbs that do not always appear with three root letters, Soon we will have enough background to tackle a short biblical passage.
Pronouns, Prepositions and Adjectives
“And the serpent was cunning more than [literally, “from”] any [other] beast of the field which the Lord God had made.”
hdC;h’ tY”j lKomi µWr[; hw:h; vjN:j”wÒ µyhiOlaÔ hw:OhwÒ hc;[; rc,a} (veh-han-na-chash ha-yah ah-room meek-kol chay-yat has-sa-deh ah-sher ah-sah ah-doh-nay e-lo-heem)
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