[b-hebrew] Proverbs 3:3 - subordinate participles?

Shai Heijmans shaih at post.tau.ac.il
Mon Apr 21 08:30:36 EDT 2003

Dear Steve,

You wrote:

> In Proverbs 3:3, how should the verbs QASHAR
> and KATAV be parsed.  The vowel pointing seems
> confusing.  They look to me like participles, but the
> parsing guides I consulted takes them as imperatives.

Indeed they are: 2.m.s. imperative + 3.m.p. object suffix
When a suffix is added to the qal imperative of the singular, the base form
usually becomes qitl- or qutl-, compare:

kivsh -uha (Gn 1:28)
ikhl -uha (Lv 10:12)
horg -eni (Nu 11:15)
'ozr -enu (Jos 10:6)
doqr -eni (1Sam 31:4)

You have "qoshrem" and "kotvem", with the 3.m.p. suffix, just like:
tomn -em (Job 40:13)
shomr -em (Prov 4:21)
shovr -em (Jer 17:18)
(note the qamaz here is "hatuf", i.e. it is pronounced "o" according to the
jewish-european pronunciation)

> Might they be taken as participles, thus making
> their respective clauses subordinate to the first
> clause of the verse.

Well, you can. but if it is a participle,
1. how would you explain the unusual orthography without a yod?
2. why is the pointing of the first syllable with qamaz and not with holam?
3. why is the pointing of the last syllable with zere and not with hiriq?
4. qal participle would suggest a third party (plural!) will do the binding
and the writing, which is, IMHO, problematic.


Shai Heijmans
M.A. Student
Department of Hebrew and Semitic languages
Tel Aviv University

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