[b-hebrew] Inflexions?

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Nov 17 17:20:14 EST 2003

To All:

When I took the introductory class to Biblical Hebrew, I was taught that there are seven inflexions to Hebrew verbs: Qal, Niphal, Piel, Pual, Hiphil, Hophal, Hithpael, and that all verbs exhibited these forms.

Is the Piel a true, independent form? Or is it just a different conjugation of the Qal, in the same way as there are different conjugations in Spanish for -a and -o verbs?

When reading a pointed Tanakh, I noticed that if a verb is pointed as a Qal, it almost never has a Piel expression, or if Piel almost never Qal. When reading an unpointed text, it is usually impossible to recognize any difference between the two (except in the case of participles and possibly infinitives which introduce other questions). Hence my question above.

I also can’t tell any difference in meaning between Qal and Piel.

The Pual occures more often, but is that the Qal passive mentioned by George Athas recently?

Would not a more accurate picture be that there is a Qal conjugated as Qal and Piel, passive Qal (Pual), Niphal, Hiphil, Hophal, Hithpael? These at least have definitional distinctions that can be recognized as well as consonental variations that show up (usually) in an unpointed text?

Let me get behind my shield while you shoot your arrows . . . . ;-)

Karl W. Randolph.
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