[b-hebrew] One question about Yonah

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Aug 18 17:02:09 EDT 2003

Hi All:

I was wondering the same question, though not limited to the example in Jonah.

I noticed what I think are over 100 different nouns where they are sometimes used a final hey as in the feminine, sometimes without, as in masculine. I would have to go back to verify all the uses, but it is common enough to be noticed.

I wonder what it portends. Is it a clue to ancient pronunciation that changed long before the Masorites? Does it have a linguistic effect long since forgotten?

Then there are many where the addition of a final hey changes the meaning, usually akin to the English adding a -ness or -ice to a noun. Is there a pattern to recognize which is which? I haven’t found it.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "B. M. Rocine" <brocine at twcny.rr.com>

> Hi Daladier,
> In short, a conclusive explanation is difficult.  As a student of Biblical
> Hebrew, you will find that such inconclusive explanations are all too
> common!  ;-)
> Both a masculine and feminine form of the word are well-attested, even by
> the same writer, for instance, in NUmbers 11:5 (feminine) and 11:22
> (masculine).
> Gesenius (Compare sections 122 s and t) suggests that the masculine refers
> to a class
> or category, and that the feminine refers to one from the class, a singular
> fish.  The HALOT lexicon allows the same possibility.  That explanation
> seems a little "fishy" (I mean doubtful) to me in reference to Yonah in
> particular because of the use of the
> masculine in 2:11.
> We may be looking at a scribal error in 2:2, called dittography, which
> should be read haddag.
> I don't suppose that the extra syllable is a rhetorical flourish left
> over from the days when the story was repeated orally.  In such a case, I
> believe that the accent on the word would be on the penultimate syllable
> rather than on the last, as we see it in Yonah 2:2.
> BTW, in post-biblical Hebrew, the feminine form came to mean a *small* fish.
> Shalom,
> Bryan
> You wrote:
> ***********
> In verse 17, chapter 1 (verse 1, chapter 2 of Tanach) Yonah is launched into
> sea, where one big fish (DAG, masculine) swallow he.
> In verse 1, chapter 2 (verse 2, chapter 2 of Tanach) he pray of stomach of
> one fish (DAGAH, fem).
> Why between this two verses have the difference?
> Daladier Lima
> Hebrew student
> ************
> B. M. Rocine
> Living Word Church
> 6101 Court St. Rd.
> Syracuse, NY 13206
> ph: 315.437.6744
> fx: 315.437.6766
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