[b-hebrew] question from parshat ha'azinu

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Sat Oct 4 02:32:56 EDT 2003

Dear Jason:

The question here deals not with the nouns, but with the -MW suffix. There is some controversy about that suffix, has anyone done a study on it?

There are at least 172 verses where words with that suffix are found. Some of the verses have more than one occurrence of the suffix.

Things that I noticed:
• the meaning of the suffix could either be plural or singular, though usually plural
• it occurs more often in poetry than prose, Deuteronomy 32 is poetry
• it is more often attached to a single letter prefix than to a noun or verb e.g. KMW or LMW
• where it is plural, it usually refers to a natural group or assemblage, such as a people, tribe
• it seems to emphasize the subject of the -MW more so than the noun or prefix it’s appended to
• it seems to indicate that very subject, possibly a reflexive emphasis, not a general subject 

Does anyone have any corrections or additions to this?

Karl W. Randolph.

From: "Jason Hare" <jason at hareplay.com>

> In Deuteronomy 32.37-38, I came across two forms that I thought were odd. I
> did an MTR search, and this is the only ocurrence of either of these words
> in this form:
> )LHYMW [elohei/mo] from verse 37
> ZBCYMW [z'vachei/mo] from verse 38
> Is there indeed something odd here? I don't recall ever running across forms
> like this before. What would cause them *not* to use the regular -YW [-av]
> ending??
> I looked in Rashi, and he commented nothing on the form. He just added this
> in his notes:
> *)LHYMW* $(BDW [*elohei/mu* she'av'du] - *his gods* whom they served
> Any pointers?
> Thanks,
> Jason
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