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Of the Structure and Genius of the Hebrew Language.

130. The nature, the stru&ure, and the genius of a language, are always congruous to the situations, the customs, and the manners of the people who use it; and must be attended to, in order to understand their writings. In the Hebrew language, there are many peculiarities necessary to be remarked for interpreting the books written in it.

131. In Hebrew, there are no neuter nouns, and consequently, no neuter gender of adjectives. This is an instance of fimplicity, and it introduces peculiar manners of expression. [N° 852.]

Glaff. Philol. Sacr. l. 3. can. 19.

132. What are called conjugations in Hebrew, are very unlike to those of other languages; being different forms which any one verb assumes, by the addition of some letters, in order to express the various modifica. tions of which the action denoted by it, is susceptible ; and thus answering to the several modes, voices, and species of verbs in other languages.

Schultens, Gram. Reg. 108.

133. Some have affected to multiply the conjugations, under pretence of removing anomalies from the


language; but they would thus introduce a minuteness of distinction inconsistent with the simplicity of the Hebrew. Some of their additional conjugations, and even two of those commonly received, are discriminated only by the vowel points, and therefore arbitrarily; others of them, perhaps, are either irregular and infrequent forms of words, or inferred from a false reading in some text of Scripture. Schultens, Gram. Heb. Robertfon's Gram. Heb. I. 2. C. 1.

Wilson's Heb. Gram. c. 10,

134. Grammarians have generally attempted to accommodate the Hebrew syntax to the rules of the Greek and Latin languages; but by this they have only perplexed it ; for it is, in almost every instance, totally dissimilar. Thus, nouns relating to the same thing are, in Hebrew, joined by mere apposition, without any regard to their being of the same gender or number. Bust. Thesaur. 1. 2. c. 3. Robertson's Gram. l. 4. c. 1. $ 1.

Wilson's Gram. C. 20. Glass.
Deut. xxii. 28. obina 77793 “ a girl, a virgin.”
Gen. xlii. 30. 47* (plur.) (fing.) “ The man, the lord.”

often O1773x 079778 « Jehovah God.”
. (.) (.) “ Their portion is


135. When a substantive agrecs with an adjective, it is placed first ;' but, if the adjective stand first, it is an affirmation ; a verb, generally that of existence, being understood."

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Buxt. ib. l. 2. c. 1. Robertson, ib. 2. Glass, ib. l. 3. t. 1. * Prov. xv. 14. 723 35, “ An understanding heart.”

Ver. 20. 037 ya, “ a wise son. [Psal. cxix. 75, 137. N° 136.]

136. An adjective agrees with its substantive, and a verb with its nominative, generally in gender and number, but not always ; for sometimes a plural substantive has a singular verb or adjective; and, a collective fubstantive, or two or more fingular substantives may have a plural verb, adjective, or participle.

Jid. ib. Glass, ib. l. 3. t. 4. can. 9. t. 3. can. 53.
Buxt. ib. 1. 2. c. 9, 10.
Gen. i. 1. dube (plur.) x2 (sing.) “ Creavit Dii.”
Psal. cxix. 75. 70own p7x “ Right are thy judgments.
Ver. 137. 7own nu“ Upright are thy judgments."
Pfal. Ixxxix. 15. “ Blessed is the people (oun fig.) that know

(77 plur.) the joyful sound; Jehovah, in the light of thy
countenance they shall walk (7135oti plur.)” Gen. xli. 57.
“ All the earth (8787 fing.) came (1x2 plur.) into Egypt.”
But Sam. has 7987877 plur.

Ken. in loc. Pfal. Ixxxix. 12. “ Tabor and Hermon, in thy name they shall rejoice” (1997plur.)

« The world and its fulness, thou hast founded them” (ongd' plur. aff.)

Ver. 11

137. As the Hebrews do not distinguish the cases of nouns by varying the termination, they can have no rules for the government of nouns; they have not even particles for regularly marking a particular case; those that are commonly reckoned fuch, being truly prepositions, which have a variety of fignifications.

138. The only government of nouns, producing a change of termination, is what is called the constructed state ; which is more properly a sort of composition ; for the change of termination accelerates the pronunciation, and it is made in the governing word; but this form of expression has all the same varieties of force, as the government of a genitive in other languages.

Buxt. Thes. 1. 2. c. 3. reg. 1. Glass, ib. l. 3. t. 1. can. 30.
Ezra. iii. 7. naporna, “ according to the decree of Cyrus ;”

i. c. given by him.
Gen. ii. 21, 78 muna, “ coats (made) of skins. "
Psal. xliv. 22. 1936 , “ as sheep of (intended for) laugh-


Gen. ii. 9. O^777 , “ The tree of (giving) life.”
Prov. i. 7. 071074 087, “ The fear of Jehovah,” as its object.
Exod. iv. 10. 27 wiX, “ A man of words,” i. e. an elo.

quent man.

139. The government of the affix pronouns, by verbs, is in like manner a species of composition.

140. Almost all the other regimens in the Hebrew, are by means of prepositions ; and are, therefore, entirely resolvable into the various significations of the prepositions.

Buxt. Thes. I. 2. c. 11. Glass, ib. l. 3. t. 1. can. 31.

141. It is not, perhaps, ftri&tly true, that all the primitive words, or roots, in Hebrew, consist of three letters ; but very many of them do; and this regulalarity is a mark of its being a simple and original language, not one made up by the mixture of several.

142. It is whimsical to pretend that the Hebrew language contained as many roots as there are possible combinations of three letters, and consequently, was fingularly copious; for no language was ever formed with such mathematical exactness. Men form words only as they have occasion for them; and there was nothing in the situation of the Hebrews that could lead them to form a language remarkably copious. Yet it was not, on the other hand, remarkably scanty; and it is certain that they had many roots which do not now appear in the Bible.


143. It is commonly affirmed, that all the Hebrew primitives are verbs; and it is evident that, at least, most of them are such. This is another mark of its being a fimple and original language ; for verbs are expressive of the powers and qualities of things, as in act or exertion, in which case they are most striking, and therefore would be first taken notice of, and obtain names.

144. It requires abstraction, to conceive the power by itself, separate from its being exerted; therefore adjectives, which express a power as quiescent, would be formed later than verbs, and naturally derived from them. In Hebrew, they are thus derived ; and they are very few, which proceeds from the people being little addicted to abstraction, and has produced many


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