[b-hebrew] There is Qal Passive stem!!!

George Athas gathas at hotkey.net.au
Mon Sep 15 20:22:24 EDT 2003

> The qal passive idea is simply obfuscation. The only qal passives in the
> Hebrew Bible are participles like BARUK.

Not quite true. There does appear to have been a Qal Passive at a very early
stage of Hebrew. The vestiges of it are seen mostly in the Qal Passive
participle. However, there are a handful of Qal Passive Perfects and Imperfects,
which are usually mistaken for Pual or Hophal forms. There is a short discussion
of these in Seow's grammar (2nd Ed), pp.323-24. I'm sure there must be a more
detailed discussion elsewhere, too.

The Niphal is strictly speaking not the passive of the Qal; it has just assumed
that role in the demise of the Qal Passive. Niphal is passive in sense, but also
middle/reflexive; it goes beyond a mere passive to the Qal. The true Qal Passive
would employ O-class vowels, just like the passive stems of Piel (Pual) and
Hiphil (Hophal); the use of O-class vowels is a characteristic of passive stems,
and the Niphal doesn't follow this rule.

So, to sum up, yes there is a Qal passive stem, but in the biblical forms of
Hebrew it is quite rare.

Best regards,

Lecturer of Biblical Languages
Southern Cross College
Sydney, Australia

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