[b-hebrew] Syntax of ts-r-r

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Nov 14 12:27:13 EST 2008

I did a quick electronic search of the text, and you mention the only two
instances where the verb is connected with CRR and conjugated in this

I found the phrase CR L- where the verb is CRR 38 times in Tanakh. Several
of the times the verb is conjugated referring to a specific actor, several
times a specific situation is referenced from the context, the two times you
mentioned it is conjugated as a feminine seems to a more generalized "it was
difficult for".

Years ago, I asked why some nouns seemed to have the same meaning while
sometimes a feminine with a final -H and sometimes masculine without it? Of
those where the meanings were sufficiently different so that a pattern could
be recognized, I noticed that often the masculine referred to the specific
actors, while the feminine referred to the generalizations or abstractions.
I wonder if the feminine conjugation of the verb carries the same import?

Karl W. Randolph.

Ps: Yitzhak:

MLXMH as a noun is not mentioned in Judges 10:9, and in 1 Samuel 30:6 the
context clearly indicates that it was not the city itself that was the cause
of the distress for David. That's why I mentioned that this appears to be a
more generalized use. You did well to note Jonah 2:3 where it appears to be
a noun instead of a verb yet carrying the same idea, and Psalm 120:1.

Proverbs 26:8 uses the verb in a context outside of this question, therefore

On Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 5:16 AM, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 12:19 AM, Phil King wrote:
> > I am trying to get an accurate picture of the meanings of verb forms
> derived from the root ts-r-r, with particular attention to the syntactic
> frames they occur in. Both BDB and TDOT list this root as appearing in
> transitive and intransitive frames. I'm particularly trying to get to grips
> with the syntactic frames like 'tsar liy' in which the person experiencing
> distress appears as an argument prefixed with the preposition l.  My
> understanding is that here tsar is an intransitive verb with an impersonal
> third person masculine subject governing verb agreement, and the experiencer
> of the 'emotion' given in a prepositional phrase. As such it is similar to
> ch-r-h in frames like wayichar lo. Is this a normal way of describing the
> syntax here, or is there a better way? A friend has described this to me as
> 'reduced transitivity', but I don't know if that is accepted terminology for
> Hebrew verbs, or if there is other terminology commonly used.
> I think as a phrase, the term is to be understood as a noun "distress," or
> at best participle.
> As a verb, the phrase "wayyicer l-Y X" is to be understood X was a distress
> to Y.  For example, Isaiah 49:20.  The verb is conjugated according to X
> even when X is not explicitly mentioned, as in Judges 10:9 (X = mlxmh, war)
> or 1 Sam 30:6 (X = (yr, city).  Given this verbal connotation, there are
> probably instances of cr that should be read as an infinitive.  Thus, for
> example the verb xgg has the infinitive "xog" as in Zech 14:16-19.  Prov
> 26:8 may suggest a different infinitive ("caror", rather than "cor"),
> but the reading of Prov 26:8 could be read differently (reading ?bn as
> a collective, and "crwr ?bn" as a noun chain).  In any case, it is possible
> that later the loss of this infinitive form, and the presence of the phrase
> in participle form ("car li"), meant that the infinitives *bacor li were
> reinterpreted as *bacar li, given the current vocalization.
> The phrase also appears with a feminine crth and crh in Jonah 2:3 and Ps
> 120:1.
> Yitzhak Sapir

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