[b-hebrew] 3ms vs 1cp pronominal suffixes on yiqtol

Van Parunak van at parunak.com
Tue Nov 6 07:33:41 EST 2012

As Jerry points out, reading the suffix as 1cpl would be unparalleled. 
But it may not be necessary to suggest that the 3ms "refer[s] to a 
plural entity." In v. 6, David has already used, first the plural (עניים 
and אביונים), then the singular (לו, and depending on one's 
interpretation of the verb, יפיח) to refer to the righteous poor (the 
same object of discussion as in v. 8). Is the psalmist clumsily ignoring 
the number of the suffix (he could, after all, have written תצרם or the 
like), or is he making a deliberate rhetorical move, in both cases 
reminding the reader that the general principle of God's care for the 
righteous poor as a class (first colon in each verse) manifests itself 
in his specific provision for the individual (second colon)?

Charles Grebe queried,
> I have a question about the pronominal suffix "ennu" (segol/nun with 
> dagesh forte/shuruk) as found on yiqtol forms. My understanding is 
> that this is an ambiguous form. It could be either 3rd masc singular 
> (him/it) or first common plural (us). I'm wondering if this is really 
> the case and how do we know that. 

Jerry Shepherd responded,
> You've raised a very interesting question. I did a search in my 
> BibleWorks, and while I cannot claim it is exhaustive, I couldn't find 
> a single instance where this suffix on a finite verb is 1cpl. For 
> years now I've assumed and taught that the suffix is ambiguous. I 
> imagine that the supposed ambiguity comes from the occurrence of the 
> suffix on the preposition min. But, as far as I can tell, the suffix 
> does not represent 1cpl on verbs. In your particular example, I 
> suppose the 3ms suffix can, as is sometimes the case with 3ms suffixes 
> generally, refer to a plural entity. And I see that several 
> translations take it that way.


Van and Anita Parunak
1027 Ferdon Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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