[b-hebrew] question from parshat ha'azinu

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Oct 7 16:37:06 EDT 2003

Dear Jason:

Yes, the question is originally yours, but Trevor added other considerations that may have a bearing on your question.

First of all, -MW- as an infix, which is always appended to K- in Tanakh, does not fit the pattern that you brought up. Of the verses where KMW is found, how many of them are the same pattern of the -MW- infix with the third person singular suffix dropped off, and how many have a different meaning? KMW is found in about 55 verses. I haven’t investigated this question yet.

Secondly, how will removal of most the KMW examples effect my initial impressions? I suspect it will strengthen them. This is something I expect will take several hours to investigate. Even removing all the KMW examples leaves over 120 verses to check.

My impression is most clearly seen in LMW in contrast to LW: whereas LW merely means “to (for) him”, LMW seems to mean “to that very one” with emphasis on the object. Another of my initial impressions is that the -MW suffix refers to a plural object, such as a people. We can’t ignore the possibility that this is poetic, though I suspect that it is more than that. Therefore, in Deuteronomy 32:37–8, my reading would have an emphasis on ‘their’ in “their gods” and “their sacrifices” to emphasize that it is not the true God and his prescribed sacrifices. This is a reading that may not translate well, but seems to be there in the Hebrew language.

Karl W. Randolph.

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

> Karl,
> This question was originally mine. I would love to get a response from your
> investigation. The fact is, the explanations that I received seemed
> precursory and premature. I am not convinced that the endings of
> ):ELOH"YMOW [eloheimo]
> and
> C:BFX"YMOW [tz'vacheimo]
> are by some sort of analogy to KMW-, as in K.FMOWKF [kamocha] or K.FMOWHW.
> [kamohu]. I think it may be possible that they were lengthened from the
> regular -av ending to the -eimo ending for poetic purposes, but is this seen
> anywhere else? Beyond that, it would surely not be done for rhyming purposes
> (for this is not how Hebrew poetry is formed), so what would be the real
> function of this, given that the respective phrases are rather long?
> Regards,
> Jason
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
> > Dear Trevor:
> >
> > When I got a list of the verses that have the -MW suffix, I then wrote
> down my initial
> > impressions of its uses. Your questions below give me more food for
> thought.
> >
> > In a quick search where -MW- is used as an infix between a preceeding word
> and a
> > personal pronoun suffix, it is always appended on K- prefix. This appears
> to be used
> > over a hundred times. It is sometimes used where one could expect the K-
> to be
> > prefixed to the following word possibly making it emphatic, sometimes as
> stand
> > alone, as in "Who is like you?".
> >
> > What you pointed out may change my initial response.
> >
> > I'll have to get back later on further impressions.
> >
> > Thanks for the feedback.
> >
> > Karl W. Randolph.
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