-mw suffix (was Re: [b-hebrew] Isaiah 53:8)

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Dec 11 16:37:19 EST 2004

Hello, Samuel and all,

Samuel Arnet wrote:
> Karl Randolph wrote:
> > The -MW suffix is used well over 170 times in Tanakh, less than a
> > third of those connected to the L- prefix. When we take into account
> > all the uses of the suffix, there are several times that it refers to
> > a singular object. That is more than the at least three times
> > (Genesis 9:26-27, Isaiah 44:15) that it is connected to the L- prefix
> > referring to a singular object. Examples include Genesis 19:15
> > referring to the dawn, Exodus 15:5 where it refers to "a stone",
> > shall I go on? You need to refer to all of these uses, not to
> > restrict yourself to those connected to the L- prefix.
> I was referring here to the form *LF^MOW*; you, however (in the
> Genesis and Exodus passages mentioned above) to L:MOW and K.:MOW, 
> which are separate lemmas.

I have not followed the discussion.  But looking at the above examples,
there is no use of L:MOW and it seems that K:MOW corresponds to 
the "MW" suffix applied to K as it is applied to L in LFMOW (I suppose F is
kamatz, and I guess ^ is a meteg.  I don't remember these offhand.)  I am not
even sure that the kamatz isn't related to LFMOW being at the sof-pasuk
whereby had it been a word-prefixed form like K:MOW perhaps it too might
have taken a "L:MOW" form.

So some of the examples in Genesis (9:26-7) and the example of Isaiah 44:15
are all uses of the exact same word as you refer to.  Your comment about 
"L:MOW" then is simply misplaced as it takes Karl's examples and misquotes

Beyond that, my ugaritic textbook (Daniel Sivan, hebrew) says (Ch. 3,
section 15): "m, [-ma/i/aa] a word ending that appears following any
word and probably anaclitic.  ... The anaclitic m also appears following the
relatives l-, k-, b- so that it separates the relative pronoun from the
word that follows.   Comparison to hebrew shows that in this case the m has
a long vowel [lemaa], [bimaa], [kimaa]."  He gives for l- the following example:
yb(r lt_n )at_th, lm nkr mddth, and translates it: "He brings to a second person
his wife, to a stranger his love." (1.14 II, 48-50). He references Robertson, D.
A., Linguistic Evidence in Dating Early Hebrew Poetry, 1972, p. 109-110.

So it seems to me in light of these that "lamo" was originally a general word 
form for the l- prefix. It  was not plural or singular but probably as it became
more poetic and archaic assumed its place as more of plural form because
the m suffix reminds one of various plural suffixes.

But really, I haven't studied all these at all.  I just wanted to
bring additional
elements to the discussion to see how others relate to them.

Yitzhak Sapir

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