The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew. Volume II|
Hidāyat al-Qāriʾ (Long Version)
[…]‘for the day when I arise as a witness’ (Zeph. 3.8),‘The Lord is my light and my salvation’ (Psa. 27.1), which are two masculine nouns, since the accent is at the end and not the beginning of the word. Another example is(Ruth 2.6), which means ‘who returned’ and is a past verb, since the accent is on the first letter. Similar to this in letters and form is(Lev. 22.13), which means ‘and she became one returning (to her father’s house)’, ‘she became one doing’, since the accent is not on the first letter. A similar case is(Gen. 46.26), which means ‘every soul (belonging to Jacob) that is entering’. Since the accent occurs on the ʾalef, (it means) the soul became one doing, as opposed to(Gen. 46.27), which means ‘ (all the persons belonging to Jacob who) arrived’ or ‘who entered’. The he in the first word (i.e.Gen. 46.26) is the he of the definite article, whereas in the second word (i.e.Gen. 46.27), it is in place of. The accent has changed two things: the meaning (of the word) and the meaning of the affixed he. Likewise,‘They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers’ (Jer. 11.10), since the accent is on the shin, this is from the lexical class of ‘returning’, as opposed to‘They captured and made their prey’ (Gen. 34.29), which should be interpreted as being from the lexical class of ‘capturing’, since the accent is on the bet. Likewise(Jud. 5.12), in which the first (two cases of) mean ‘my rousing, my rousing’, since the accent occurs on the resh, whereas the second (two cases of) mean ‘rouse yourself, rouse yourself’, feminine singular imperative, on account of the occurrence of the accent on the ʿayin. Similarly,‘and I spoke to the prophets’ (Hosea 12.11) should be interpreted as a past verb, since the accent falls on the bet, as opposed to‘I will speak tenderly to her’ (Hosea 2.16), which should be interpreted as a future verb. (To these could be added) other similar examples. On account of this, the accents have an important status and there is a need to learn them.
- 1 I.e. mahpakh.
2If one were to say ‘What do you say concerning the formation of these accents?’, the response would be that they originated by convention among the people of the language, by the help of which they fully expressed their purposes, as in the aforementioned examples and others. They established them by convention, just as they established the vowels by convention, as will be explained. It is not impossible that the established form was based on a particular type of arrangement of the Levites in [ Ezra], peace be upon him, because [ ] the accents were established [ ] his time [ ], for if he investigates what [ ] the forms, he would realize that it was fixed by the Levites [ ] on the basis of the principles of singing and according to the established arrangement [ ] [ ] serves pashṭa [ ] close to [ ] two conjunctive accents, namely inverted shofar1 and merkha, as will be explained. Likewise, tevir is served by two conjunctive accents, namely merkha and darga. Each has its own special melody, and a particular number of tones in various different pitches according to the accent when it is followed by a vowel in the word, as will be explained. If it be said ‘What is the origin of the melodies of the accents before the aforementioned arrangement was fixed?’, the response would be as follows. It is possible that the people of the language paused on one letter and made it slightly longer than another one to the extent that they could make thereby their intentions known. My claim that the accents have been fixed since the time of the prophets, peace be upon them, is supported by three things.
- 2 The wording is a conflation of the two verses Lev. 25.34 and Lev. 26.43 in the Masoretic Text.
One of these is that the nation has not been cut off from the holy land. The period in which they were cut off from it was between the two temples, concerning which it is stated‘Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them’ (Lev. 26.34, 43).2 When the land completed its rest in the periods of its lying fallow,‘the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia’ (Ezra 1.1 etc.) and he sent up the two groups (of returnees) to the holy land, the group of Ezra and the group of Nehemiah, according to what [ ] Ezra. After they arrived in the Holy Land they were not cut off from it until this day. Now the reading that Ezra, peace be upon him, and his congregation used to read is the reading of the Land of Israel today. It has remained the way (of reading) that has been transmitted among them from generation to generation, from one offspring to another, until now. If it be said: the wicked Edom deported the people, filled ships with them, left them without a sailor or a helmsman, and caused the hot baths to overwhelm them with smoke until they died, in accordance with what is said to have happened during the conquests of Jerusalem by Edom; the response should be: Although it did to them what you have mentioned, Edom only cut them off from Jerusalem. This is demonstrated by the fact that there was pilgrimage to Tiberias from the direction of the Levant and the East and to Gaza from the direction of the West during the period the people of Edom were in control of the Land of Israel, which was about five hundred years, in accordance with what is mentioned in their chronicles. Those who dwelt in the land all taught their children the Torah and the Scriptures, I mean the remainder of the twenty-four books. If all this is indeed so, then it must be the case that the people used to teach their children what they knew and were familiar with concerning the correct division of the accents and their musical rendition.
- 3 I.e. the various Jewish communities outside of the Land of Israel.
3The second point is that those who were exiled and did not come back with Ezra and Nehemiah, peace be upon them, remained scattered and they lost (knowledge of) the accents, and began to read with different cantillations. Therefore, you see that the (Jews of) Byzantium read in a way that is different from that of the people of Iraq. The (Jews of) Persia have a way of reading that is different from that of the (Jews of) Byzantium and the Iraqis. The people of the West have (a reading) different from all of the aforementioned. Indeed, perhaps some community that you do not know has a way (of reading) that differs from all of these, such as those whom Edom drove away to remote countries, as we have mentioned. It is the general consensus of those just mentioned3 that the way of reading of the Land of Israel is the original one and this is what is called the Tiberian reading. This is demonstrated by the fact that the people in the communities of the exile would press any teacher who travelled (from Tiberias) to these distant lands to teach their children the reading of the Land of Israel and eagerly imbibed that from him, making him sit down so that they could assiduously learn it from him. Whoever came from the exile to the Land of Israel had a desire for the teaching of the reading of the Land of Israel that was equally ardent as that of those absent and (a desire) for abstaining from his own (tradition of reading). This is evidence for what I have stated.
The third point is that if somebody were to read(Gen. 1.1) with the accent tevir or an accent other than the ṭifḥa, he would provoke the congregation to point out his error and angrily censure him. This demonstrates what I have stated. Likewise, if somebody were to read the three books with the cantillation of the twenty-one books or read the twenty-one books with the cantillation of the three books, the congregation would declare him to be in error and reject it. Likewise, if somebody were to read merkha in place of darga, or darga in place of merkha, or reviaʿ in place of pazer, or the like, he would be declared to be in error. Now, if all this is the case, it strengthens my claim that the accents have been established since the time of the prophets. If this were not the case, then anybody who wished to change (the reading) could change it without being called to account for this, just as there would be no calling to account of somebody who wanted to recite in prayer the Psalms or some passage from the twenty-four books without the intention of reading (the text) in order.
Some people have considered the following passage to demonstrate that the accents are the work of the Levites:‘and they gave the sense, so that they understood the reading’ (Neh. 8.8). The argument is that there was no one preceding the time of Ezra, as has been mentioned before, and what is referred to (in this passage) is an innovation in relation to earlier practice. This is not improbable, since neither reason nor textual tradition confutes this claim.
4It is an established fact that the reading has various characteristic features, which the reader must learn in order to ensure a correct cantillation of what he reads. When he does not know this, the cantillation is produced in a corrupt fashion. If it be said ‘So what benefit is there in the accents apart from what you have stated?’, the response would be that their benefit is that they enable the congregation, however numerous, small or large, all to read one word together, and that they continue, whatever they read, in a coordinated way. Such a thing cannot be achieved without the established accents. Surely you see that Muslims, whether they be two or more, cannot read with the same degree of coordination as the Jews read, since each one has his own way (of reading). One makes long a place that another makes short. One reads melodically a place that another reads flat. For this reason they are unable to achieve what Jews do, because a group and individuals intone according to specific rules, and they do not change that from letter to letter. If somebody were to change something, (his reading) would be rejected and declared to be incorrect.
5For this purpose and others, they fixed the rules of the accents and the masters of this discipline composed books and treatises that discuss the principles that have brought about their particular effects. They recorded what has deviated from a particular principle. This includes cases where the reason for the deviation is stated and cases where a reason is not stated. Know that the rules of the discipline of the accents involve the consideration of a particular accent that exhibits some inconsistency and stating what the reason is for this inconsistency. This involves, for example, consideration of the fact that the accent tevir is served sometimes by the conjunctive accent merkha and sometimes by darga, this being a case where the same accent has two alternating conjunctive accents. When somebody considers the reason for this, it is clear to him what the cause is that conditions the darga. The other rules are formulated in a similar manner. It is a discipline that is known by all who have investigated it carefully. If somebody has not investigated carefully, he only knows it from somebody who has investigated carefully. It is possible that the person who established these accents founded a discipline derived from them, which was transmitted with its practitioners. Some of this was lost and some remained, just as some of the knowledge of a language may be lost while some remains. This applies to the rules (of the accents). Whoever investigates carefully achieves his goal, or at least part of it. Since earlier scholars—may God have mercy upon them—investigated this discipline very carefully, they achieved an expert knowledge of it.
6When, however, somebody wishes to learn about this, he is not able to find a complete book of theirs on this subject, only fragmentary writings. I have, therefore, been requested to strive to complete this short treatise that I have begun, and I have acceded to this request, acknowledging my deficiencies with regard to it and transmitting what I have learnt from their writings and from their pupils, and seeking help (in this task) from the God of Israel.
7This book consists of three sections. The first section concerns the letters and their pivots, I mean their places (of articulation) in the mouth, including those that are heavy and those that are light. The second section concerns the vowels, those that are long and those that are short, their places of articulation, their basic form and their accidental properties. The third section concerns the accents, those of low pitch and those of high pitch, and their subordinate accents.
II.L.1.0. The first discourse: on the letters
II.L.1.1. Preliminary Discussion concerning the Nature of Letters
It should be noted that a letter by itself in isolation does not convey meaning. What we say is demonstrated by the fact that if you say ףלא (ʾalef), although you may think it is a single letter, it is not one but three letters, viz. א ל פ . Likewise, the אב (bāʾ, i.e. bet) is two letters. Similarly, when you say לאמג (gimel), this is four letters. Similarly, the לאד (dāl, i.e. dalet) is three letters, and so forth for the remainder of the inventory of letters. This is because one cannot communicate only with the (phonetic) property of the letter itself, but when two letters follow each other, it is possible to do this with them, whether they are identical or different, as when you say ג ָּ ג (‘roof’), דָ דּ (‘breast’), ג ַּגּ תֹו (‘roofs’),(‘her breasts’ Prov. 5: 19). One cannot communicate concerning the (phonetic) property of gimel or the (phonetic) property of dāl (i.e. dalet) (by uttering the sounds) in isolation. This shows that the original conventional agreement was on the properties of the letters, and since the property could not be talked about (by uttering it) by itself, it needed something else to allow it to stand as an independent expression [ ]. So, to ʾalef was added a lamed and pe, to bāʾ (i.e. bet) was added an ʾalef, and to gimel mem, ʾalef and lamed so that it is possible to communicate about their property in isolation.
8If somebody were to say ‘Why was the conventional agreement not on the ʾalef without its property, and on the bāʾ (i.e. bet) and gimel without their property’, the response would be that ʾalef has three letters and each letter has a different property, so how could they aim to know the property of one letter, then two further letters when no property is known to them. Rather it is necessary for them to know the distinctive property of the three letters and then pronounce a single word. My claim that the conventional agreement was initially on the property of the letter is supported by the fact that people differ with regard to the number of the letters that are added to the quality of the letter and its phonetic property, whereas no difference is permitted with regard to the quality of the letter and its phonetic property. This is because the Tiberians add only yod to the essence of bāʾ, whereas other towns add to it yod and tav and they say ‘bet’. Likewise, they (the Tiberians) add ʾalef and lamed to the property of dāl, whereas others add lamed and tav and say ‘dalet’. They add ʾalef and yod to the quality of zāy and say ‘zāy’, whereas others add nun to this and say ‘zayin’. To lamād they add mem, then ʾalef, then dāl, where others reverse this and add ʾalef, then mem, then dāl and say ‘lamed’, and so forth. This is also the practice with the remaining letters. The variation has not taken place in the property (of the letter) but rather in the occurrence of the added letters in order for the property to be articulated in a single utterance. If this (i.e. the addition of letters) is what existed in the establishment (of the language), there would be no variation.
9Since the property of the letter requires other (elements), the additions have been added to the property and the letter has become a free-standing entity consisting of a combination of its property with additional elements. After this, however, the letter still cannot communicate meaning by itself, because if somebody said ‘ʾalef’, he would not thereby communicate to the hearer more than what he already knows, namely that ʾalef is distinct from (other letters such as) ṭet. The letter, therefore, requires other letters to be combined with it in order for meanings to be understood. So it is required, for example, to have the combination ʾalef, resh and ṣade to (form the word) ץרא , and the combination shin, mem and resh to form רמש .
Just as the property of a letter requires added elements, the combinations of letters required something else, without which no meaning can be understood by the joining of letters, namely the vowels (literally: ‘kings’), which are called also vocalization (literally: inflectional vowels). This is because if (vowels such as) qameṣ and pataḥ were missing from רמשׁ , you would not know to what form to assign the word, whether toor toor to. This would have been after the vowels were fixed among those who established (the language) by convention. If the vowels are removed, the meaning is not understood at all.
The letters and vowels also require something else, namely the accents. This is the case as remarked above with (a pair of) words that have identical combinations of letters and identical vowels with no diffeRence (between them), and that require (the placement of) the accent in order for the meaning to be understood, as in‘Arise! Shine! ’ (Isa. 60.1),‘my arising as a witness’ (Zeph. 3.8),‘The Lord is my light and salvation’ (Psa. 27.1).
10So, there are four cases of need (of complements): the need of the property (of a letter) for added elements in order for it to be an autonomous utterance, the need of a letter for another letter, the need of (a combination of) letters for vowels—these three are necessarily interdependent—and the need of (combinations of) letters and vowels for accents, not in all circumstances but in certain cases. For this reason I have presented the section on letters fiRst, then I have presented second the section on vowels and I have presented third the section on accents, according to this order of obligatory complementarity.
Now, meaning is not expressed by a letter alone and so the Hebrew grammarians have called a ‘letter particle’ a ‘functional particle’, since a functional particle does not express meaning in relation to itself but expresses meaning in relation to something else. This terminology (i.e. ‘functional particle’ rather than ‘letter’) is appropriate becauseconsists of two letters, and likewise, ﬠ ִ ם and similar cases. When some letters are combined with each other, unwritten letters are concealed between written letters. The main case of this are the vowels in words such as. In each of these words a letter ʾalef is hidden, which is one of the soft letters. When some letters are combined and a vowel occurs with them, a letter is not hidden between them, as inin which another letter is not hidden between the two (written) letters, as a yod is hidden between the kaf and nun in‘south of Chinneroth’ (Josh. 11.2). There are many cases of this, but I have cited here one example.
II.L.1.2. Section concerning the Inventory of Letters
11The traditional inventory of letters consists of twenty-two basic letters. To the basic letters are added five letters, which are called ‘straight’, namely ץףןםך . To the basic letters are added six letters, namely תפכדגב . The Tiberians add to these six letters the letter resh, making it (i.e. the group of non-basic letters) תרפכדגב , so that the total comes to thirty-four with the resh of the Tiberians. It is said that there are some who attribute a particular feature to zayin and call it zāy makrūkh. I have not, however, been able to identify their purpose in using the term makrūkh, in order for me to be able to describe it, as I shall describe the purpose of the Tiberians (in the use of this term makrūkh) with regard to the resh.
II.L.1.3. Chapter concerning the Place of Articulation of the Letters
12Know that according to the traditional inventory (of letters) there are five groups in five places (of articulation). These are . ףמוב , שצסז , תנלטד , קרכיג , עחהא
The letters עחהא have a single place of articulation. This is the throat and the root of the tongue. The Tiberians call it the ‘root of the tongue’ and the ‘place of swallowing’. This is the fiRst place of articulation in the mouth. For this reason they are the lightest letters, as a group or individually. The meaning of their ‘lightness’ is that they never take dagesh. It has been said that dagesh is placed in ʾalef in some specific places in Scripture, namely in the following four cases:‘and they brought him the present’ (Gen. 43.26),‘and they brought to us by the hand of our God’ (Ezra 8.18),‘from your dwellings you shall bring’ (Lev. 23.17),‘and his bones, which were not seen, are laid bare’ (Job 33.21). I shall clarify this in response to those who have adduced this as a counterargument. Ḥet and ʿayin do not take dagesh in any circumstances. As for he, it takes what could be thought to be dagesh, but it is not what it is thought to be. This is because dagesh makes a letter heavy and rafe makes it soft, as in‘roof’.
- 4 Literally: leaning.
- 5 Literally: leaned upon.
The quality of the letter is uttered with dagesh and with rafe in the realization of its phonetic property. Dagesh is placed on a letter at the beginning of a word, the middle and the end. This is not the case with he, since it is in a place (of articulation) in which heaviness is not possible. This is because heaviness is for the purpose of a pressure4 that is applied to the place of articulation, so that the letter is made heavy. The tongue root and the place of swallowing are not a place that permits closure or contraction, or what resembles this, like the lips, which can be closed and receive pressure,5 so that from them can be heardand, as will be described below. It is only at the end of a word that a point occurs in it (i.e. he) in order to cause its property to appear and distinguish it from places where it does not appear, such as‘a reproach and a taunt’ (Ezek. 5.15), in which the quality of the he is not pronounced, rather it is pronounced with the pronunciation of ʾalef. This differs from the other letters in which dagesh is permitted, such as kaf and pe, which have two types of pronunciation that both necessarily entail the articulation of the property of the letter.
As for he, this is not pronounced at the end of a word unless it has a dot in it. This is is not called dagesh but rather ‘appearance’. Do you not see that if a dot appears in it, (it is) at the end of a word, as in‘Oh! ’ (Josh. 7.7),‘half of it’ (Lev. 6.13). It may occur in the middle of a word and be pronounced in the way that it is pronounced when it has a dot in it, as in‘you wrong me’ (Job 19.3),‘filling with vain hopes’ (Jer. 23.16),‘and the altar hearth’ (Ezek. 43.15). So it is clear to you that this (dot) denotes appearance and is not dagesh, for dagesh is a strengthening that occurs in the letter after the articulation of its property:‘king’,‘Malluch’ (1 Chron. 6.29),‘He made you see’ (Deut. 4.36),‘Have you seen?’ (1 Sam. 10.24). It is clear, therefore, from this that the dot in he is to indicate the appearance of the property (of the letter) and not for making it heavy.
13It follows from all of this that these four letters are never made heavy since they are in the first place of articulation from which speech is sounded. If it were said: Surely the dagesh may be inserted in some of the four letters of this place, namely in the ʾalef in the four passages that you have just mentioned, and this disproves your statement that dagesh is not put on the letters of this place of articulation, the response would be: If one examines carefully the so-called dagesh in the ʾalef in these four passages, one sees that it is not dagesh, since the speaker strives to introduce heaviness into it but it is not made heavy. Surely you see how heaviness occurs in bet, kaf and other letters without effort and strengthening takes place. This is not the case with ʾalef. If one examines carefully whether ʾalef is made heavy in this way, one will see that it is not made heavy. Rather it is as if the speaker is taking it out of a pit, unlike the other letters in which dagesh is permitted. It is said that the reason for the impossibility of heaviness in the letters of this place of articulation is that it is the first of the places of articulation, and the more the articulation progresses upwards from place to place, the more heaviness can be applied.
From the second of the places of articulation are heard F and ֿ ך rafe. This is the third of the tongue that is adjacent to the pharynx, opposite the (soft) palate. In fact this is not a primary place of articulation, but it functions like one. This is because when gimel and kaf have dagesh, their place of articulation is the middle of the tongue, in its wide part. The primary places of articulation are five in number. The third of the tongue that is the place of articulation of the two (aforementioned) letters with rafe, I mean ג and, is secondary. So, the total number of places of articulation are six, five primary and one secondary. The middle of the tongue is the place of articulation of five letters, namely קרכיג .
From the third place of articulation are heard five letters, namely תנלטד . This is the extremity of the tongue in combination with the flesh of the teeth. If you press gently, you hear from itandrafe. If you press with force, you hear from it דּ and תּ with dagesh. This differs from the second place of articulation, which is divided into two places (when the letters are pronounced) with dagesh and rafe respectively, namely the (back) third of the tongue and its middle. Dalet and tav are not like that, rather their place of articulation does not change, whether they have dagesh or rafe. Dagesh denotes pressing with force and rafe (pressing) lightly.
The fourth place of articulation is the teeth, from which are heard four letters, namely שצסז . In this place of articulation the letters are not divided into light and heavy as in the preceding places of articulation. Know that when you pronounce (the word), you pronounce three letters from three different places of articulation, the shin from the teeth, the yod from the middle of the tongue, in its wide part, and the nun from the extremity of the tongue and the flesh of the teeth. If you taste a letter (by pronouncing it) in its place of articulation, you will taste its property.
The fifth place of articulation is the lips, which is that of the four letters ףמוב . If you close the lips with force,and פּ with dagesh are heard. If you close them gently and lightly, you hear from themandwith rafe. This place of articulation is like the place of articulation of תנלטד , where two letters with dagesh and two letters with rafe are heard.
II.L.1.4. Section concerning some General Issues relating to Letters
- 6 Literally: the masters.
14If somebody were to say ‘What is the value of knowing the places of articulation of the letters?’, the response to him would be as follows. If somebody asked and said ‘What is language?’, I would say: It consists of expressions that its original speakers6 established by convention among themselves to make their intentions understood to one another. It needs to be known that before this they established by convention specific letters in various places of articulation, from which the expressions could be constructed. They were, therefore, the foundations of the expressions. Through knowledge of the places of articulation the thinking of the establishers (of the language) can become clear, in that they taught that the meaning that one intends can be fully expressed with twenty-two letters, but cannot be fully expressed with less than this. They took them from five basic places of articulation, and one secondary place of articulation, as has been explained. Either it was the case that only the aforementioned letters could have been produced from each place of articulation or they knew that letters other than those mentioned could have been produced from the places of articulation but they had no need of more than the ones they proclaimed. It seems that it will be impossible for us to know the truth with regard to this issue.
[ ] not true. Since it is of this nature, knowledge [ ] than ignorance. Since the knowledge of the technique of reading is explicated through (its analysis into) letters, vowels, accents and the shewa, it is appropriate for the necessary description to be made of each of these, in order for me to demonstrate the superiority of this language over other languages, since it is ‘a pure language’ (Zeph. 3.9). Given that among the letters of Hebrew there are several letters, as explained above, that are ‘straight’, there areletters, and dagesh and rafe in all remaining letters except, if one were to say ‘What is the function of dagesh and rafe?’, the response would be as follows. There is clearly a function. This includes the change of meaning by means of dagesh and rafe, for example‘Rejoice, oh young man! ’ (Ecc. 11.9), which is an intransitive verb, since the mem in it is light. If it has dagesh, the verb becomes transitive, as in‘Gladden the soul of your servant’ (Psa. 86.4). Likewise‘the priest who cleanses’ (Lev. 14.11) is a transitive agent, whereas‘the man who is cleansed’ (Lev. 14.11) is a reflexive agent, and similar cases.
The people of the language used words from one place of articulation, such as‘Oh!’, which is from the place of articulation offrom the place of articulation of,‘on this side and that’ (Ezek. 40.34) from the place of articulation of, and similar cases.
[…] The third category is what interchanges in one place of articulation, for example בּ ִַ זּ ֥ ר ‘He scattered’ (Psa. 68.31), which is said to be like‘He has distributed, he has given to the poor’ (Psa. 112.9). The place of articulation of bet and pe is the lips. (Another case) is‘and Shobach’ (2 Sam. 10.16) and‘and Shopach’ (1 Chron. 19.16), which are said to be the same name; and likewise‘They have misled my people’ (Ezek. 13.10)—‘ (God) caused (me) to wander’ (Gen. 20.13),‘Hasten! ’ (Joel 4.11)— וּשׁוּח .
16The fourth category is what interchanges from different places of articulation, which includes scribal error and ciphers, for dalet and resh (which are sometimes confused by scribal error) are from two different places of articulation and the cipher (consisting of the interchange of) bet and shin is from two different places of articulation. Interchanges that are from a single place of articulation do not fall into this category, as will be explained in a separate chapter (see §II.L.1.5.).
17Take note that it is said that some letters are contracted. Their contraction is indicated by two things: meaning and grammar. Some letters are augments at the beginning, middle or end of a word.
An example of an augmented letter at the beginning of a word is‘The third is Absalom’ (1 Chron. 3.2). It is said that the presence of this lamed has no meaning and the meaning would remain the same if it were elided. An example of an augmented letter in the middle of a word is said to be֩‘youths without blemish’ (Dan. 1.4). It is said that the ʾalef in ֩ מ ֻ םוּא is augmented, without any function, because the lexical class of ‘blemish’ does not contain a root letter ʾalef. Examples of an augmented letter at the end of a word are‘binding his foal to the vine’ (Gen. 49.11) and‘the son of Beor’ (Num. 24.3), where the vav ofhas no meaning, and likewise the yod insince it is not a pronoun, and similar cases.
As for cases of the contraction of a letter that is reflected by the meaning, it is said to include examples such as‘for the Lord gave you into my hand today’ (1 Sam. 26.23), where it is said that a yod has been contracted in, and its virtual form is, since it does not say ב ְ י ַ ד , in which it would be conjoined to an underlying noun, but rather it is pronounced in its disjoined form, which is with qameṣ. Likewise in‘Are you my son Esau?’ (Gen. 27.24), it is said that a he has been contracted in א ַ תּ ָ ה , since it does not have the function of a declarative but rather of an interrogative, and its virtual form isLikewise in‘Can you like him spread out the skies?’ (Job 37.18) an interrogative he is contracted in it and its virtual form is ﬠ ִ וֹמּ, so that it would be like‘Can you put a rope?’ (Job 40.26),‘Can you send forth lightnings’ (Job 38.35).
As for cases of the contraction of a letter that is reflected by the grammar, these include examples like‘with hatchets and hammers’ (Psa. 74.6), since it should according to rule have beenso that it would be like‘I will pin David to the wall’ (1 Sam. 18.11),‘on asses and on camels and on mules and on oxen’ (1 Chron. 12.41), for this is the rule for the co-ordination of two nouns after one another with the particle bet.
When two identical letters succeed one another at the end of one word and the beginning of another and the two words are linked by an accent, if the reader is not careful to pronounce them both, one of them would become coalesced and they would be pronounced as one letter. The reader must pronounce them clearly in order to distinguish, for example, the two ṣades in‘it produced blossoms’ (Num. 17.23), to ensure that the two nuns are pronounced in‘then Nebuchadnezzar’ (Dan. 3.13, etc.) and to ensure that the two mems are pronounced in‘as I was with Moses’ (Josh. 1.5, etc.), and similar cases of two letters succeeding each other in this manner.
II.L.1.5. Chapter on the Interchange of Letters
It is said that among the letters are those that interchange from the same place of articulation, so that, for example, ʾalef interchanges with he in a case such as‘after this he joined’ (2 Chron. 20.35). This is in place ofbecause the ʾalef inis not the ʾalef of the first person future, but is the expression of the narrator. Likewise‘the rest of the multitude’ (Jer. 52.15), which is in place of‘for you are speaking falsely of Ishmael’ (Jer. 40.16), which is in place of, and similar cases.
From the place of articulation of, bet interchanges with pe, as in—‘he scatters’,—‘he scattered’. As for what interchanges from two different places of articulation, this is like the interchange of bet with he in‘you shall strike the rock’ (Exod. 17.6), which is said to be in place of.
Gimel interchanges with kaf in‘encircled with lilies’ (Cant. 7.3), which is said to be כוּס ָ ה , from‘the upright from a thorn hedge’ (Micah 7.4), since it does not make sense for it to be derived from‘they shall be turned back’ (Isa. 42.17, etc.). These two letters are from the same place of articulation. Mem interchanges with gimel, as in‘We grope like the blind’ (Isa. 59.10), which is in place of, as in‘They grope in the dark’ (Job 12.25).
Dalet interchanges with zayin, as in. (The interchange of) resh with dalet is due to scribal error, as in‘Reuel’—‘Deuel’,‘Riphath’ (Gen. 10.3)—‘Diphath’ (1 Chron. 1.6),‘Rodanim’ (1 Chron. 1.7)—‘Dodanim’ (Gen. 10.4).
He interchanges with ʾalef, as in‘what is to befall your people’ (Dan. 10.14), in which (the ʾalef of the qere) is in place of he. A similar case is‘The jar of meal shall not be spent’ (1 Kings 17.14). This is from the same place of articulation. A case of interchange from two places of articulation is‘he who closes his eyes’ (Prov. 16.30), in place offrom‘and he closed’ (Isa. 29.10).
Vav interchanges with bet, as in‘They were drunk, but not with wine; they staggered, but not with strong drink’ (Isa. 29.9), in place ofThis is from the same place of articulation. From two places of articulation it interchanges with ʾalef, as in‘because of pride’ (Jer. 13.17), which is said to be in place of
Zayin interchanges in the same place of articulation with ṣade, as in‘he rejoices’—‘he rejoices’,‘a little’ (Isa. 10.25, etc.)—‘a little one’ (Gen. 19.20, etc.). An example from two places of articulation is‘hedgehog’ (Isa. 14.23, etc.)—‘hedgehog’ (Isa. 23.15).
Ḥet interchanges with resh, as in‘He is king over all creeping creatures’ (Job 41.26), which is in place of. These are from two places of articulation.
Ṭet interchanges in the same place of articulation with tav, as in ֙‘harp’ (Dan. 3.5, etc.)—harp’ (Dan. 3.7).
It is said that yod interchanges with ʾalef, as in‘and I shall cast you down from your station’ (Isa. 22.19), in place ofwhich corresponds to the meaning of‘and I shall cast you down’ (Isa. 22.19).
It is said that kaf interchangs with bet, as in(2 Kings 4.40), which is in place of, so that its meaning is ‘while they were eating (pottage)’, since a comparison here is not relevant. A similar case‘when bringing up the offering’ (2 Kings 3.20), so that it is like‘when the flame went up’ (Jud. 13.20). This is from two places of articulation. A case from the same place of articulation is‘He has slandered your servant’ (2 Sam. 19.28), which is said to be in place of, from‘You shall not go as a slanderer’ (Lev. 19.16).
Lamed interchanges with bet, as in‘At Michmash he stores his baggage’ (Isa. 10.28), in place of. It is said that‘when a man is guilty in any of these’ (Lev. 5.5) is in place of. These two are from two places of articulation. An example from one place of articulation is‘and his border shall be up to Sidon’ (Gen. 49.13), which is said to be in place of.
It is said that mem interchanges with bet, in the same place of articulation, in‘Surely, (as) a wife is faithless against her husband’ (Jer. 3.20), in place of.
Nun interchanges with mem from two places of articulation, for example‘to the kings’ (2 Chron. 1.12, etc.)—‘kings’ (Prov. 31.3),‘at the end of days’ (Dan. 12.13), the virtual form of which is.
Samekh interchanges with ṣade in the same place of articulation, as in‘they have broken’ (Job 30.13)—֙‘they broke’ (2 Kings 25.10, etc.). It is also said that‘he will cut’ (Ezek. 17.9) is in place of.
It is said that ʿayin interchanges with ḥet, as in‘hasten’ (Joel 4.11)—.
Pe interchanges with bet from the same place of articulation in‘sweeping rain’ (Prov. 28.3), which is said to be in place of. Likewise it is said that‘Your warriors have been dragged away’ (Jer. 46.15) is in place ofAn example from two places of articulation is said to be‘they shake’ (Job 26.11) in place of י ְ חוֹר ֲ וּפ from ָ֙ ר ֽ ח ֲ וּפ ‘they shake’ (Jer. 23.9).
It is said that ṣade interchanges with samekh in the same place of articulation, as in‘blood red of garments’ (Isa. 63.1).
It is said that qof interchanges with kaf in the same place of articulation, as in ק ֥ בוֹ ַ ע ‘helmet’ (1 Sam. 13.38, etc.)—‘helmet’ (1 Sam. 17.5, etc.).
It is said that resh interchanges with kaf, as in‘darkness of water’ (2 Sam. 22.12)—‘darkness of water’ (Psa. 18.12).
Shin interchanges with samekh in the same place of articulation in‘shut of eye’ (Num. 24.3, etc.), which is in place of ס ְ םוּת from‘shut up the words’ (Dan. 12.4). Its interpretation as ‘placed’ is not plausible. This is becauseis a conjoined passive participle. The disjoined form would be, like, and its imperative would have to beor. This would lead to the conclusion that there is a root letter mem in the lexical class of ‘placing’, but this is not the case, because (we see from examples such as)‘They placed (themselves) at the gate’ (Isa. 22.7),‘They set their mouths against the heavens’ (Psa. 73.9),‘You have put everything under his feet’ (Psa. 8.7), (that) all forms from the lexical class of ‘placing’ lack mem.
It is said that tav interchanges with ʾalef, as in‘He took a cedar tree and an oak’ (Isa. 44.14), which is in place of‘cedar’ (Zeph. 2.14). This is a short sample of the interchange of letters.
II.L.1.6. Chapter concerning the Influence of the Four Letters ’alef, vav, yod and he, I mean , א̇ו̇י̇ה̇ on the Six Letters ב̇ג̇ד̇כ̇פ̇ת̇
When one of these four is at the end of a word and the word is conjoined with what follows it by the accent, and the second word begins with one of the letters, this letter is pronounced light with rafe, as in‘and I shall fetch a morsel of bread’ (Gen. 18.5),‘for in their anger’ (Gen. 49.6),‘or on a far journey’ (Num. 9.10),‘These are the sons of Ephraim’ (Num. 26.35),‘and you shall stone him to death with stones’ (Deut. 13.11),‘and the word of the Lord was’ (1 Kings 17.2, etc.), and very many similar examples of what is not disjoined from the (preceding) accent. In every case where there is no disjunction from the (preceding) accent in this way, theletters are light, with rafe.
II.L.1.7. Section on Deviations from the General Rule
18The cases that deviate from what I have stated are nine exceptions to the rule concerning which there is, to my knowledge, no disagreement. I shall exclude from the discussion cases concerning which there is disagreement. This is because when there is no disagreement about a case, the reader cannot change anything, but when disagreement has occurred concerning a case, the reader makes a choice. He reads whatever variant he wishes. Nobody who may wish to reject it is able to reject it, since he would be rejecting something concerning which there is disagreement, involving one (reading) and an alternative. He (the reader) may read the one reading or the two alternatives (i.e. with dagesh or rafe) interchangeably. So long as this is the situation, a rule cannot be fixed. A rule can only be fixed for something concerning which there are no disagreements. Cases concerning which there is no disagreement include, as far as I can see, the following nine exceptions to the rule: ʾoghera, di-fsiq, di-dhḥiq, ʾathe me-raḥiq, mappiq he, mappiq vav, mappiq yod, two identical letters, bet and pe.
As for ʾoghera, this is the ‘collection’ of only seven words. People, however, often add to them what does not belong to them, and introduce variant readings with regard to them. What is contained in this exception to the rule are four words in the song(Exod. 14.30, ‘the Song of the Sea’). These are:‘He has triumphed gloriously’ (Exod. 15.1, 21), which Moses said, and the twin phrase that Miriam said,‘They are as still as a stone’ (Exod. 15.16),‘Who is like you?’ (Exod. 15.11). In this song there is one word that one may think is analogous to these four, but it is not the case, rather there is disagreement concerning it. This is‘the people whom you have redeemed’ (Exod. 15.13). There are only these four in the song that belong to the exceptional group ʾoghera. In the first four books there is nothing, except that there is what may be imagined belongs to the exceptional group, but it is not the case, rather there is disagreement concerning it, viz.‘and Jeroboam appointed a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth (day)’ (1 Kings 12.32). There is disagreement concerning the bet inIn Isaiah there is one word from the ʾoghera group, viz.‘and I shall make (your pinnacles) of agate’ (Isa. 54.12), in Jeremiah, viz.‘and I am weary of holding it in’ (Jer. 20.9) and in Daniel‘and wisdom like wisdom of the gods’ (Dan. 5.11). These seven aforementioned cases are called ʾoghera. As for‘the counselors, the treasurers, the justices’ (Dan. 3.2, 3),‘trigon, harp’ (Dan. 3.5), they are cases of disagreement. I do not know for what reason this group of (seven) exceptional cases breaks the rule of the lettersI have only documented them by listening to the transmitters of the reading.
The second type of case that breaks the rule is di-fsiq (i.e. ‘what is paused’). Whenever paseq comes between one of the lettersand the lettersthe lettershave no influence, because they only have influence when there is nothing cutting (them off from what follows). The paseq cuts (them off) in a way and so this is the reason why the rule ofis not observed, as in‘they have done completely’ (Gen. 18.21),‘May the Lord add to his people (a hundred times as many) as them’ (1 Chron. 21.3). There is no exception at all to this type of case that breaks the rule. Whenever a paseq occurs, the rule ofis broken.
The third type of case that breaks the rule is di-dhḥiq (i.e. ‘what is compressed’). Know that this breaking of the rule consists of what is compressed with regard to the rule regarding them (i.e. the letters), and that is why they say di-dhḥiq. The meaning of di-dhḥiq is that between the accent that is in the word containing one of theletters and aletter there is a vowel and this vowel is not dwelt upon or prolonged in pronunciation. On account of this compression (of the vowel) the rule of theis broken, as in‘that I may call to witness against them’ (Deut. 31.28),‘you shall meditate on it’ (Josh. 1.8) and similar cases. The compression may occur in a word that does not have an accent but is a small word, as in‘whatever (your soul) says’ (1 Sam. 20.4),‘This is my son’ (1 Kings 3.23),‘What, my son?’ (Prov. 31.2),‘and what will you do?’ (Josh. 7.9), and other cases. If it is said that this condition may hold forandbut its effect does not come about, namely dagesh, as in‘through which you let us down’ (Josh. 2.18),‘and there was no longer any spirit in them’ (Josh. 5.1), ְ אר ֵ ה ֙ נ ַָ ת ֣ תּ ִ י‘See, I have given into your hand’ (Josh. 6.2), and the vowel that you mentioned inandis present inand dagesh does not occur in the bet, the response should be that the difference between what you mentioned (and the cases with compression) is that the vowel that is after the accent indoes not have an exhalation of breath but is very compressed, but the vowel inis not compressed in the joining (of the words) but is expansive with an exhalation breath, and is like other (long) vowels, or nearly so. Whoever examines this closely will perceive the difference.
The fourth type of case that breaks the rule is ʾathe me-raḥiq. This is the opposite of the previous type of case that breaks the rule, because the latter (i.e. ʾathe me-raḥiq) is on account of what is far and the former (i.e. di-dhḥiq) is on account of what is near, and so there is a fundamental difference between them. This (i.e. ʾathe me-raḥiq) arises from the fact that due to the distance of the accent (from the preceding conjunctive accent), one comes upon it (the accent) like a ballista and so theletter is pronounced with dagesh, as in‘He will build a house for my name’ (2 Sam. 7.13),‘Do you work wonders for the dead?’ (Psa. 88.11),‘Turn aside, sit here’ (Ruth 4.1). Also (included in this category) are cases in which there is no (conjunctive) accent, so (such cases must be considered) to have a virtual (conjunctive) accent before them in order to conform to (cases such as)as in‘that I may go to her and inquire of her’ (1 Sam. 28.7), and similar cases.
The fifth type of case that breaks the rule is mappiq he. The meaning of their term mappiq he is the (consonantal) pronunciation of the he. It is derived from‘and the decree went forth’ (Dan. 2.13). This is because when the he is pronounced at the end of a word, the rule of theletters is broken, as in‘half of it in the morning’ (Lev. 6.13),‘and all those who are with her in the house’ (Josh. 6.17),‘and it has four wings’ (Dan. 7.6), and similar cases. There are no exceptions to this breaking of the rule at all.
The sixth type of case that breaks the rule is mappiq vav. This is because every vav at the end of a word is pronounced according to the Palestinians as a bet rafe, which breaks the rule of the, as in‘ (enter) his courts with praise’ (Psa. 100.4),‘I cried aloud to him’ (Psa. 66.17), and similar cases. There are two words that are exceptions to this breaking of the rule, namely‘He will stretch the line of confusion over it’ (Isa. 34.11),‘The sound of a carefree multitude was with her’ (Ezek. 23.42). Although according to the principle of breaking the rule what follows the two vavs should have had dagesh, this has not occurred.
The seventh type of case that breaks the rule is mappiq yod. Take note that whenever yod occurs at the end of a word and the next word begins with one of theletters, and ḥireq or ṣere occurs under the letter before the yod, then the rule ofis observed, as in‘Libni his son’ (1 Chron. 6.14),‘for they have stripped them’ (Nahum 2.3),‘the princes of the Philistines’ (1 Sam. 18.30), and similar cases. If vowels that are different from the aforementioned occur under the aforementioned letter, the yod is strengthened and the rule ofis not observed, as in‘perhaps you may inspire terror’ (Isa. 47.12),‘Jeatherai his son’ (1 Chron. 6.6), כּ ִ֚ י‘for what great nation’ (Deut. 4.7),‘into a great and mighty nation’ (Num. 14.12),‘Sinai into the holy place’ (Psa. 68.18). One word is an exception to this breaking of the rule, namely‘the Lord in them’ (Psa. 68.18). What should have occurred according to the principle of the breaking of the rule iswith dagesh, because there is no ḥireq or ṣere on the letter before the yod. I do not know for what reason it contravenes the breaking of the rule.
The eighth type of case that breaks the rule is the succession of two letters. If two bets or kafs, but not the remainingletters, succeed one another and under the first of them there is a shewa, then the rule ofis broken, as in‘and when she came’ (Josh. 15.18),‘and she caught him by his garment’ (Gen. 39.12),‘Is it not like Carchemish?’ (Isa. 10.9), and other cases. If a vowel occurs under the first of the two instead of shewa, the rule ofis observed, as in‘And he (shall take) a wife in her virginity’ (Lev. 21.13)‘They went in haste’ (Ezra 4.23), and similar cases.
The ninth type of case that breaks the rule is bet and pe. The statement concerning them is similar to the statement regarding the preceding type of case that breaks the rule, without there being any disagreement. This is that when bet is followed by pe and shewa is below the bet, the rule ofis broken, as inand I will get glory over Pharaoh’ (Exod. 14.4),‘and my words which I have put in your mouth’ (Isa. 59.21), and similar cases. If a vowel occcurs instead of shewa, then the rule ofis observed, as inHe will not look upon the rivers’ (Job 20.17). I do not know any exception to this breaking of the rule.
- 7 The fuller citation כַאֲשֶׁר־֜תַּמּוּ וַיְהִ֙י as opposed to simply כַאֲשֶׁר וַיְהִ֙י in the text of Hid (...)
Take note that Ben Naftali, and perhaps some of those who preceded him, had a particular opinion about the dagesh of seven cases of kaf afternamely‘when his master heard’ (Gen. 39.19),‘and when he heard’ (Gen. 39.15),‘and when (the king) saw’ (Esther 5.2),‘and when he saw’ (Jud. 11.35),‘and when they brought (them) out’ (Gen. 18.17),‘when he became king’ (1 Kings 15.29),‘and when they had perished’ (Deut. 2.16).7 According to him, each of the seven cases of kaf that occurs afterin Scripture has dagesh. This is known from his codices. Others, however, pronounce these rafe. I do not know for what reason Ben Naftali pronounced them with dagesh, for those who pronounce them rafe follow the principle of the influence of the softletters on theletters. The reader, therefore, has two options. Either to read with the reading of Ben Naftali, in which case he must read all forms that he (Ben Naftali) reads, whether they be good readings or difficult readings, or to read with the reading of Ben Asher, which also is authoritative. If somebody reads what he deems to be the best reading of this one and of that one, he would (read) without any rule, because he deviates from the rationale of each of them.
II.L.1.8. Section on Further General Issues Relating to א ̇ ו ̇ י ̇̇ ה
Take note that the criterion of the (rule of) theletters and theletters should be based on the pronunciation and not on the writing. This is demonstrated in‘and Balak saw’ (Num. 22.2). The wordends in ʾalef, one of theletters, and (the next word) begins with bet, one of theletters, but this letter is not pronounced rafe, despite the ʾalef being adjacent to the bet and their being linked by the accent. The bet ofoccurs with dagesh, since the end of(in pronunci ation) is the resh not the ʾalef, and the criterion is the pronunciation not the writing. An opposite case is‘and you will make poles of’ (Exod. 25.13). The last letter of the wordis tav, but the bet is rafe. The reason for this is that when tav has qameṣ, it is pronounced with two letters, and if you were to writein full orthography, it would have he. So the criterion is the pronunciation. The other cases of the breaking of the rule are also based on this principle, since this is the principle that forms the basis for the rule of א ̇ ו ̇ י ̇̇ ה and. Surely you see that in‘and your servants have come’ (Gen. 42.10) the bet occurs with dagesh on account of the breaking of the rule known as di-dhḥiq.
Perhaps somebody may ask why the lettershave caused what is after them to be rafe in accordance with the preceding discussion. The response could be that this is because these four letters are the letters of softness and prolongation, as has been stated by Yaḥyā ibn Dāʾūd the Maghribī, the author of the Book of Prolongation and Softness, and letters that come after them that are not one of the letters of softness become soft due to their proximity. It may also be said that this is a custom adopted by the people of the language for a good reason known to them, and the knowledge of this has been transmitted by us and we read what we have received from the people of the language, and we should not abandon it until the people of the language come and we know the function of what they adopted as their convention. So whoever does not read according to the rule ofandis reading incorrectly. Blessed is He who knows secrets (cf. Psa. 44.22).
II.L.1.9. Chapter concerning Letters that Occur in Three Grades
19Take note that just as there are among the letters those that when they are adjacent to another letter, the latter makes them light with rafe, likewise among the letters are those that occur in three grades with regard to heaviness and lightness. The first grade is lightening. The second is the normal dagesh. The third is the major dagesh. This includes the tav.
Take note that the tav, unlike the other letters, may occur rafe, as in‘and rooms of the gate’ (Ezek. 40.10); it may occur with dagesh, as in‘instead of bronze’ (Isa. 60.17),‘ornaments of gold’ (Cant. 1.11); and it may occur with major dagesh. The latter includes three tavs: ָ֙‘He made it an eternal heap of ruins’ (Josh. 8.28),‘and its houses and its treasuries’ (1 Chron. 28.11),‘and these three men’ (Dan. 3.23). I do not know anybody who differs (in reading) with regard to these three tavs. As for the form, there were differences (of reading) with regard to it.
Take note that the Tiberians said that they have a resh that is not read (in the same way) by anybody else. It is likely that the climate of their town caused this. It has the same status as the tav in the wordaccording to the view of Ben Naftali, who gives it a grade in between two grades.
The resh in their tradition is associated with specific letters, just as theare associated with the letters, namelyand. Two of these eight letters operate both before the resh and after it, namely, and the six other letters before the resh. The eight letters affect the resh only when shewa is under it or (when shewa is) under the eight letters that are specific to it.
The light resh in their tradition is (in words) such as‘Harness the chariot! ’ (Micah 1.13),‘drops of the night’ (Cant. 5.2),‘in his second chariot’ (Gen. 41.43). Such cases and similar ones are their normal pronunciation of the letter, for they consider it to be the light resh.
The major resh in their tradition are cases such as‘Have you seen?’ (2 Kings 6.32),‘to irritate her’ (1 Sam. 1.6), and the like.
The grade between two grades (of the resh) where dalet precedes it are cases such as‘the roads to Zion’ (Lam. 1.4),‘his way’ (Gen. 24.21),‘to contempt’ (Dan. 12.2). Cases with zayin are‘dripping’ (Psa. 72.6),‘any of his offspring to Molech’ (Lev. 20.2),‘He scatters’ (Isa. 28.25). Cases with ṣade are‘the crucible’ (Prov. 17.3),‘as testing’ (Zech. 13.9),‘as far as Zarephath’ (Obd. 1.20). Cases of tav are‘you spread out’ (Job 37.18),‘and Taralah’ (Josh. 18.27),‘you will (not) cause to breed’ (Lev. 19.19). Cases of tet are‘all the leaves of its sprouting’ (Ezek. 17.9),‘He is eager to tear’ (Psa. 17.12),‘the rains of his strength’ (Job 37.6). A case with samekh is‘its boughs’ (Ezek. 31.5). Cases with lamed are‘to wash’ (Gen. 24.32),‘to graze’ (1 Sam. 17.15),‘for your favour’ (Lev. 19.5),‘for his favour’ (Lev. 1.3). Cases with nun are ס ְַ נר ֵ֣ י ‘rulers of’ (Josh. 13.3),‘my nard’ (Cant. 1.12). They call these cases and similar ones a grade (of resh) between two grades, namely (the grades of) dagesh and rafe. Whoever investigates this carefully (will see that) it is as they say, since the difference is clear between the resh ofand יand (the resh) that is adjacent to the eight letters (preceding it) when they have shewa under them or when shewa is under it. Its heaviness is clear compared to the lightness of the resh ofand the like.
20It has been stated previously that I do not know anything that I can report about the zāy makrūkh. I only mentioned it so that it be known that letters have different attributes and because speech is dependent on letters.
Take note that the people of the language made the conjugations of the language in four categories: from one root letter, such as‘hit’ and the like, from two letters, such as‘build’ and the like, from three letters, such asand the like and from four letters, such as‘wrap’, and the like. A letter may also change position in a word with the result that its meaning changes. I shall mention here the phenomenon of change of position in one word as an example:with three letters from ‘becoming evening’,‘sweet to a man’ (Prov. 20.17) from the lexical class of ‘delight’,‘heavy swarm’ (Exod. 8.20) from the lexical class of ‘mixing’,‘ (every) raven according to its kind’ (Lev. 11.15), a bird,‘Oreb and Zeeb’ (Jud. 7.25), the name of a man. When you change the position of their letters, they become‘Bera’ (Gen. 14.2), the name of a man,‘a quarter’,‘stupidity’ from (the lexical class) of ‘being stupid’, from‘The stupid man does not know’ (Psa. 92.7),‘when (a man) causes (a field or vineyard) to be grazed over’ (Exod. 22.4) from the lexical class of ‘trampling, befouling with dung’,‘He ignited fire’ (Jud. 15.5) from the lexical class of ‘kindling and setting fire’, and‘and you will remove the evil’ (Deut. 13.6, etc.) from the lexical class of ‘removing’.
II.L.1.11. Chapter concerning the Occurrence of Letters for the Sake of Enhancement
Take note that you do not find in the Bible a word that consists of less than two letters, as, for example,‘surely, but’,‘for, when’,‘in it’,‘from’,‘upon’,‘who’. A word may consist of three letters, for example,‘keep’,‘remember’,‘pass’. It may consist of four letters, for example‘wrap’, from‘and David was wrapped’ (1 Chron. 15.27). Expressions may be constructed from five up to eleven letters. We have not found more than that number. This is found in only three words:‘and in their abominations’ (Ezek. 16.47),‘according to your deeds’ (Ezek. 20.44),‘and the satraps’ (Esther 9.3). It has been said that it would have been possible for the people of the language to use twelve letters in the expression‘and from your strength’ (cf.‘and strength’ Psa. 68.35) and other expressions according as the need may have arisen. As for words of two letters, when you move the first to the (position of) the last and the last to the (position of) the first, they turn out to be a functional part of speech consisting of two parts, for example,‘father’—‘he came’,‘he measured’—‘to you’,‘Gad’ —‘fish’, ח ֹ ם ‘heat’—‘brain’,‘pour’—‘end’, and similar cases.
An expression consisting of two or more letters may be enhanced. Enhancement includes various different types. A noun that is enhanced by he, as in‘Azmon’—‘to Azmon’ (Josh. 15.4),‘Devir’—‘to Devir’ (Josh. 10.38, etc.),‘Babylon’—‘to Babylon’ (2 Kings 20.17, etc.) is one type. A second type is where a feminine noun ending in he is enhanced by tav, for example‘storm’—‘storm’ (Hos. 8.7),‘darkness’—‘darkness’ (Job 10.22),‘salvation’—‘salvation’ (Psa. 3.3, etc.), and similar cases. It may be said that in‘to Egypt’ (Gen. 46.3, etc.) and—‘to Jerusalem’ (1 Kings 10.2, etc.) that the he at the end of the word is in place of‘to’. A verb may also be enhanced with he, as in‘pardon’ (Num. 14.19)—‘pardon’ (Dan. 9.19),‘hear’—‘hear’ (Dan. 9.19),‘return’—‘RETURN’ (Num. 10.36, etc.),‘arise’—‘arise’ (Num. 10.35, etc.).
Inflected nouns may be enhanced by yod, for example‘the one sitting’ (Psa. 123.1),‘the one who changes’ (Psa. 114.8),‘the one who makes high’ (Psa. 113.5),‘the one who makes low’ (Psa. 113.6). Feminine nouns may also be enhanced by yod, as in‘your diseases’ (Psa. 103.3),‘your youth’ (Psa. 103.5),‘your life’ (Psa. 103.4). Nouns may also be enhanced by vav, for example‘the son of Beor’ (Num. 24.3, etc.),‘beasts of the earth’ (Gen. 1.24),‘into a spring of water’ (Psa. 114.8).
Functional particles may be enhanced by yod, for example‘on a ten-stringed instrument and on a harp’ (Psa. 92.4), ﬠ ַ ד ‘until’—‘until’. Functional particles may also be enhanced by mem and vav, for example‘I strengthen you with my mouth’ (Job 16.5), the virtual form of which is‘and I shake my head at you’ (Job 16.4), the virtual form of which is‘when you walk through fire’ (Isa. 43.2), the virtual form of which is. The same is found in the middle of words, for example‘like them’—‘like them’ (2 Kings 17.15).
Take note that somebody who has discussed enhancement has stated that‘and with my song I give thanks to him’ (Psa. 28.7) is enhanced by he, and that if it was not enhanced, it would have been. Likewise he has stated‘he saves’ is enhanced to‘he saves’ (1 Sam. 17.47, etc.), and also U וּדוֹי ‘they praise you’—‘they praise you’ (Psa. 45.18). The situation is not, however, as he states, because the imperative forms areandand it is the rule that the (prefixed) letter of the future is attached to the imperatives of active verbs, so in the formsandthe he is part of the basic structure and it is not a he of enhancement. Since, however, the people of the language regarded this as heavy, they elided the hes in such forms, in order to make the word lighter. You will find this explained in the books of the grammarians.
Verbs may be enhanced by a vav at the end of the word, for example‘and you will drive them out from before you’ (Exod. 23.31), the virtual form of which isSimilar examples are‘make them move by your power, and bring them down’ (Psa. 59.12),‘for (you are) the glory of their strength’ (Psa. 89.18), and further cases.
21One person who has discussed enhancement has said that identical successive letters are enhanced in (ways that fall into) two categories. The first category is (an enhancement) of a letter by another identical letter, whereby they become two letters. The second is (an enhancement) of two letters by two identical adjacent letters, whereby they become four.
Examples of the first category include the following. Bet:‘They still bring forth fruit’ (Psa. 92.15), which does not have successive letters, and‘It will make the maidens flourish’ (Zech. 9.17). Gimel:‘that they may hold a feast for me’ (Exod. 5.1),‘and celebrating’ (1 Sam. 30.16). Dalet:‘and you should not waver’ (Jer. 4.1),‘whenever you spoke of him, you shook your head’ (Jer. 48.27). He:‘ (My eye) has grown dim from anger’ (Job 17.1),‘ (Let his right eye) be utterly blinded’ (Zech. 11.17). Zayin:‘Plunder the silver’ (Nahum 2.10),‘and they will plunder those who plunder them’ (Ezek. 39.10). Ḥet:‘I will complain’ (Job 7.11, etc.),‘I muse’ (Psa. 143.5). Ṭet:‘are shaken’ (Psa. 82.5),‘is violently shaken’ (Isa. 24.19); שׁ ֽ טוּ ‘go through’ (2 Sam. 24.2),‘go through’ (Jer. 5.1). Yod:‘Kittim’ (Gen. 10.4, etc.),‘Kittim’ (Jer. 2.10,. etc.). Kaf:‘when the anger of the king had abated’ (Esther 2.1),‘The anger of the king abated’ (Esther 7.10). Lamed:‘withers’ (Job 18.16),‘withers’ (Psa. 90.6). Mem:‘in silence’ (Psa. 94.17),‘in silence’ (Isa. 47.5, etc.). Nun: י‘and I will establish’ (1 Chron. 17.11, etc.),‘and I will establish’ (2 Sam. 7.13). Samekh:‘to moisten’ (Ezek. 46.14),‘drops’ (Cant. 5.2). ʿAyin:‘You shall break them’ (Psa. 2.9),‘is utterly broken’ (Isa. 24.19). Pe: וֹ‘and he will wave his hand’ (2 Kings 5.11, etc.),‘He will shake his hand’ (Isa. 10.32). Ṣade:‘and he divided’ (Gen. 32.8, etc.),‘while the number of his months have been cut in two’ (Job 21.21). Qof:‘and a place for gold that they refine’ (Job 28.1),‘refined’ (1 Chron. 28.18, etc.). Resh:‘Curse Meroz’ (Jud. 5.23),‘Curse bitterly’ (Jud. 5.23). Shin:‘and they waited until they were disappointed’ (Jud. 3.25),‘He disappointed (by delaying)’ (Exod. 32.1);‘Come together and hold assembly’ (Zeph. 2.1). Tav:‘will be broken’ (1 Sam 2.10, etc.),‘and I will cause to be dismayed’ (Jer. 49.37). These are examples of a letter being followed by another letter to form two (identical) letters.
Now, the second category, in which two letters follow two letters, include cases such as‘smashed the jars’ (Jud. 7.19),‘and he dashed me to pieces’ (Job 16.12);‘The cedar work has been laid bare’ (Zeph. 2.14),‘will be laid utterly bare’ (Jer. 51.58), and other cases, which have been stated to be enhancement by a scholar who has discussed enhancement. Note, however, according to the diqduq scholars this is not enhancement. This is because the meaning (of a word) can be fully expressed without a letter of enhancement and also (a letter of enhancement) is not a fixed component of a conjugation. These scholars fall into two groups. Some of them consider it (i.e. the enhanced letter in the examples above) to be a root letter due to the fact that it is a fixed component of the conjugation. Others call it an auxiliary letter and do not consider that it should be called a root letter, since one may utter (inflections of) the lexical class without it, but not in the way that (inflections of) a lexical class are uttered without a letter that is for the purpose of enhancement.
II.L.1.13. Chapter on Contraction
Take note that he may occur for the sake of enhancement without expressing meaning and, conversely, it may be contracted, being indicated only by the grammar, and retain the meaning of he. It is contracted after ʾalef, as in‘He flew swiftly’ (Psa. 18.11), the virtual form of which is, like‘as (the eagle) flies swiftly’ (Deut. 28.49), its imperative being. He is contracted after bet, as in‘and let the birds multiply’ (Gen. 1.22), the virtual form of which is, and after gimel, as in‘the roof’,‘to the roof’ (Josh. 2.6). He is contracted after dalet, as in‘She adorns herself with her jewels’ (Isa. 61.10),‘She decked herself with her ring’ (Hos. 2.15). It is contracted after he:‘will be blinded’ (Zech. 11.17),‘ (My eye) has grown dim’ (Job 17.7). It is contracted after vav:‘ (The king) will desire’ (Psa. 45.12),‘and he longed’ (2 Sam. 23.15). It is contracted after zayin:‘and Esau despised’ (Gen. 25.34),‘God, you will not despise’ (Psa. 51.19). It is contracted after ḥet: ו ַ יּ ִ֜ מ ַ ח ‘and he blotted out’ (Gen. 7.23),‘You will blot out’ (Deut. 25.19). It is contracted after ṭet: ו ַ יּ ֵ֥ ט ‘and he stretched’ (Gen. 29.21, etc.),‘ (The Lord) stretches out his hand’ (Isa. 31.3). It is contracted after yod:‘Where is Abel your brother?’ (Gen. 4.9),‘Where is your loving kindness?’ (Psa. 89.50). It is contracted after kaf: ֙‘and she wept before him’ (Jud. 14.17),‘and she wept and did not eat’ (1 Sam. 1.17). It is contracted after lamed:‘He made the mists rise’ (Jer. 51.16),‘and he made the mists rise’ (Jer. 10.13). It is contracted after mem:‘from the north and from the south’ (Psa. 107.3, etc.),‘westward and northward’ (Deut. 3.27, etc.). It is contracted after nun:‘and he built the house’ (1 Kings 6.9),‘and he built’ (Josh. 19.50). It is contracted after samekh:‘I will arise and cover the earth’ (Jer. 46.8),‘and it covered the face of the whole land’ (Exod. 10.15). It is contracted after ʿayin:‘and the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering’ (Gen. 4.4),‘man will regard’ (Isa. 17.7). It is contracted after pe:‘Do not release your hand’ (Josh. 10.6),‘release’ (Jud. 11.37). It is contracted after ṣade:‘Let it enjoy its sabbaths’ (Lev. 26.43),‘Then the land will enjoy’ (Lev. 26.34). It is contracted after qof:‘and he made the people of Israel drink’ (Exod. 32.20),‘and I made all the nations drink’ (Jer. 25.17). It is contracted after resh:‘Do not pour out my soul’ (Psa. 141.8),‘because he poured out his soul to death’ (Isa. 53.12). It is contrated after shin:‘The words of the men of Judah were harder’ (2 Sam. 19.44),‘It will not seem hard to you’ (Deut. 15.18). It contracts after tav: ו ַ יּ ַ֔ תא‘I stirred up (one) from the north and he has come’ (Isa. 41.25),‘To you it will come’ (Micah 4.8). (To these can be added) other examples of this type.
22This is what needs to be said in the discourse on the letters. It is finished, much praise be to God.
II.L.2.0. The second discourse
II.L.2.1. Preliminary Remarks on Vowels
- 8 I.e. they refer to the vowels.
23Discussion concerning the ‘kings’. If you wish, you may say concerning the ‘melodies’, and if you wish, you may say concerning the ‘inflections’. The meaning of these is the same.8 Four preliminary issues will be presented at the beginning of this section. Some of these have already been mentioned previously.
24The first is that speech cannot begin with a ‘melody’ (vowel), i.e. a ‘king’ (vowel). Rather it must begin with a letter. This is because when somebody begins speaking, the first component of his speech that is heard is one of the letters. He cannot begin with one of the vowels without putting a letter before it.
25The second is that when somebody begins (speech) with a letter, he must attach vocalic articulation (ʾiʿrāb) to this, since the letter cannot be deprived of this when it is the beginning (of speech).
- 9 I.e. letters that are consonants and not ‘soft’ vowel letters.
- 10 This word consists of two consonantal radicals, viz. ל and ך, the inflectional prefix being ignored
The third is that if somebody utters a word consisting of two letters that appear in speech,9 a vowel must come between them, I mean one of the eight vowels, as in, and as in Tַ, ו ַ יּ ֵ ל10 and similar cases.
26The fourth is that the vowels always belong to the letters and the letters do not belong to vowels. This is because the vowels cannot function without letters. A letter may be deprived of a vowel but a vowel may not be deprived of a letter. This is because speech must consist of quiescent and mobile components and a mobile component is only made mobile by a vowel, whereas a quiescent component dispenses with this, as will be described in what follows.
II.L.2.2. Chapter concerning the Number of the Vowels and those of them that are ‘High’, those of them that are ‘Level’ and those of them that are ‘Low’, and what is Connected to this
- 11 Literally: The angels established language by convention with him and he established it by conventi (...)
What is to be said concerning the vowels is manifest and clear, and not obscure, because it is through them that the purpose of a speaker is understood, and without them speech would be nonsense. Surely you see that in the original establishment (of language) by convention they were indispensable. This is because the origin of language was with Adam, peace be upon him. Either at the beginning the angels and he established language by mutual convention11 or they taught him language. It is not possible that God, may He be exalted, established language by convention with the angels, because the establishment by convention requires the pointing to the thing for which language is conventionally established. Pointing can only be undertaken with a limb, but He, may He be exalted, transcends the need to have limbs. If somebody were to say that He could have created a limb with which to establish (language) just as He could have created an instrument for speech, with which He could speak, (the response would be): but He must have taught them language to some extent for the sake of His first speech, namely when He said to the angels‘Let there be light’ (Gen. 1.3), and He caused this to happen after this speech and thereby obliged them to recognize that ‘light’ is the name of what came into being after the speech and they learnt this. Then other items (of language) followed a similar course. He would have helped them receive and retain (language) from the first instance.
When He said, the shewa in it under the yod must of necessity have been pronounced mobile and the ḥireq must have been pronounced under the he, so thatwas a future form. Similarly, when He said to Adam‘You may eat of every tree of the garden’ (Gen. 2.16), if He had not pronounced qameṣ under the ʾalef and ḥolem over the kaf, it would not have been known that this is an infinitive. This is because the meaning of the letters in a case such as לכא changes with pataḥ, resulting in the change of vowels into the formWhen pataḥ occurs in the place of ḥolem, it becomes a past verb. So with, when shewa occurs in place of qameṣ, it becomes an imperative. Likewise with, when ḥolem occurs on ʾalef and ṣere under the kaf, it becomes a participle. The changes in meaning of these three letters that you see, without themselves changing, are all due to the change of vowels, so without them none of what has been mentioned (with regard to changes of meaning) could have come about and no speech would have taken place. A similar case is.
27So it is clear to you that the vowels are not innovations but rather the fourth of the obligatory requirements, in accordance with what has been discussed previously in the first discourse. A single letter may exist without a vowel. When a speaker wants to speak, he adds to the single letter another letter, and further letters, but he is in no circumstances able to add a second letter when the first letter is deprived of a vowel. A letter is an element (of speech), but communication between people can only be achieved by combining a letter with a vowel. A letter can stand without a (subsequent) vowel but a vowel can only stand with (a preceding) letter.
II.L.2.3. Section concerning what Corresponds to Arabic Inflectional Vowels
28In this regard it has been said that vowels are a basic component of speech and every language requires certain vowels so that speakers can make their intentions understood to one another.
29The Arabs have three inflectional vowels in their language. These are ‘raising’ (rafʿ), i.e. the vowel ḍamma, which is written above; ‘holding level’ (naṣb), i.e. the vowel fatḥa, which is written above; and ‘lowering’ (khafḍ), i.e. the vowel kasra, which is written below. They also have vowelless inflection (jazm), in which they cut short a letter, I mean they make it quiescent (without a vowel). This is a circle (sign) written over the letter that is made quiescent. ‘Raising’ (rafʿ) is a form such as Zayd-u, ‘holding level’ (naṣb) is Zayd-a and ‘lowering’ (khafḍ) is Zayd-i. They have given the agent rafʿ inflection due to its agency. They have given the patient naṣb inflection due to the occurrence of the action upon it. They have made the affixed particles bi-, ka- and li- govern khafḍ inflection and they say dār li-Zayd-in ‘a house of Zayd’, marartu bi-Zayd-in ‘I passed by Zayd’, Zayd-u ka-Bakr-in ‘Zayd is like Bakr’, and the same applies also to other particles that govern khafḍ inflection other than these three affixes, i.e. min, ʿalā, ʿan, ʾilā, fawqa, ʾasfala, taḥta, quddāma, and other khafḍ-governing particles. I have mentioned this to show that the Hebrew language has vowels corresponding to these inflectional vowels that are greater in number than those of the Arabic language. In this respect Hebrew exhibits its superiority over Arabic, as it does in other features that are not connected with the topic I have described.
II.L.2.4. Section on the Correspondence of Hebrew Vowels to Arabic Inflectional Vowels
(What corresponds to) Arabic inflectional vowels (ʾiʿrāb) in the Hebrew language consists of three categories: ‘raising’ (rafʿ), ‘holding level’ (naṣb) and ‘lowering’ (khafḍ). (What corresponds to Arabic) vowelless inflection (jazm) in Hebrew falls into two categories, one like the vowellessness of the Arabic language and the other is not found in it (i.e. in Arabic). For this reason I have said that the vowels of our language are greater in number than the inflectional vowels of Arabic. The last category (i.e. mobile shewa) is divided into three types. The first of these types corresponds to the three types of Arabic inflectional vowels. The second type corresponds to the ‘holding level’ (naṣb) only. The third type corresponds to the ‘lowering’ (khafḍ) only. What corresponds in Hebrew to (the Arabic inflectional vowel) ‘raising’ (rafʿ) are two vowels, namely וֹא and וּא . Three vowels correspond to (the Arabic inflectional vowel) ‘holding level’ (naṣb), namely ‘big fatḥa’, i.e., ‘medium fatḥa’, i.e., and ‘small fatḥa’, i.e.. Two vowels correspond to (the Arabic inflectional vowel) ‘lowering’ (khafḍ), namelyand. The vowelless inflection (jazm) is the quiescent shewa. This is the vowellessness of Arabic. The other jazm is the mobile shewa. This, as I have mentioned, is divided into three types. The shewa requires special discussion and this will come in its appropriate place, with the help of God.
II.L.2.5. Section on Rafʿ
Take note that one category of ‘raising’ (rafʿ) in the Hebrew language is used in the active participle in certain conjugations, for example, and other examples with this pattern,, and other examples with this pattern,, and other examples with this pattern. To these should be added forms that are used for the imperative and the past such as‘be burnt’,‘was burnt’, and other examples of this pattern; those that are used for the imperative in the conjugaton ٦ַ נוֹכּ such as‘turn’,‘be gracious’; those that are used for the past in the conjugation, such as‘be known’,‘be saved’; those that are used for unconjugated nouns designating bodies and abstractions, such as‘tent’,‘thumb’,‘circumstance’,‘store’, and similar cases, and the abstractions‘anger’,‘desolation’,‘speech’, and so forth. This vowel is not found in (forms expressing) a patient. This category (of rafʿ) is used for agents, just as the Arabs use [their] rafʿ for agents. The Hebrews use it for forms other than those designating agents by extension, just as the Arabs use their rafʿ for forms other than those designating agents by extension, such as topicalization, interrogative constructions, and so forth. Nobody can object to my statement that this category of rafʿ is not used in (a form expressing) a patient by saying that‘the net is spread’ (Prov. 1.17) is a patient and that it has been made a patient by rafʿ, i.e.. This is because my statement refers only to cases where this type of rafʿ occurs at the beginning of a word with the first letter but the mem inhas been placed before the rafʿ, and it is for this reason that I have stated that this category of rafʿ is not found in a patient.
II.L.2.6. Section on the Second Rafʿ
As for, the Hebrews use this in the imperative of (conjugations in the category), as in,, and the like. They use it in a verb whose agent is not named (i.e. a passive verb), for example, and the like. They use it in concrete and abstract nouns and in the names of people. An example of a personal name is‘and Purah, your servant’ (Jud. 7.10). A concrete noun is‘I have trodden the wine press’ (Isa. 63.3). An abstract noun is(Psa. 94.17, etc.),(Psa. 22.3, etc.) ‘silence’. To these can be added further examples.
II.L.2.7. Section on Naṣb
The small naṣb, which is qameṣ, like naṣb in the language of the Arabs, is used in (forms expressing) the patient, for example‘guarded’,‘broken’,‘remembered’,‘built’, and the like. It is used in the ‘absolute patient’, i.e the infinitive, as in‘guarding’,‘remembering’,‘building’,‘doing’, and the like. It is used in past verbs, such as‘he built’,‘he built’, and the like. It is used in the form that expresses both the past and the active participle such asand words with this pattern.
The ‘big naṣb’ is used in imperatives from (conjugations in the category), such as‘hit’,‘incline’,‘feed’,‘cause to stand’, and the like. It is used in ‘transposed infinitives’, such as‘speak’,‘ (we) look for peace’ (Jer. 8.15, etc.), and other forms expressed by this category of naṣb.
The third (category of) naṣb, i.e. segol, is used in imperative forms such as‘leave me alone’ (Deut. 9.14),‘wash me thoroughly’ (Psa. 51.4). They use it in past forms such as‘he fed’,‘he made strong’,‘they were silent’, and so forth.
II.L.2.8. Section on Khafḍ
The khafḍ vowelis used in past forms such as‘he caused to rise’,‘he bore witness’. It is used in a noun of agent (active participle) such as‘causing to rise’,‘bearing witness’. It is used in imperative forms substituting for the other category of khafḍ (i.e. ḥireq) when it is followed by one of the letters, as in‘remove yourselves’ (Num. 16.24),֙‘remove yourselves from the midst’ (Num. 17.10), and the like.
The second category of khafḍ, i.e., is used in the past of all conjugations from the category, for example‘he hit’,‘he saved’,‘he approached’,‘he placed’,, ‘he revealed’,‘he exiled’,‘he spoke’,‘he swallowed’,‘he sacrificed’, נ ִ ח ַ ם ‘he comforted’,‘he threw’,‘he threw’,‘he pushed’,‘he sated’,‘he sought’,‘he bent (bow)’,‘he mantled’,‘he mocked’,‘he turned left’. It is used in the imperative of all conjugations in the category of, for example‘place’, ´ַ שׂ ִ י ‘tell’,‘be prepared’,‘?’,‘decay’,‘be confused’. It is used in the imperative, the past and the active participle of most conjugations of the categoryfor example,. These and others are examples of the use of khafḍ, naṣb and rafʿ in the Hebrew language.
II.L.2.9. Section (Preliminary Remarks on the Shewa)
30(What corresponds to Arabic) vowellessness (jazm) in the Hebrew language is the quiescent shewa. This is because the shewa falls into two categories, quiescent and mobile. The quiescent shewa is what deprives a letter of a vowel so that it is not mobile. The mobile shewa is additional to the (inventory of) vowels of the Arabic language, (the treatment of which) has various subsections.
II.L.2.10. Section concerning the Shewa
31The shewa is divided into two categories, quiescent and mobile. There is no third category. The quiescent shewa has features by which it is distinguished from the mobile shewa. The mobile shewa has two features by which it is distinguished from the quiescent shewa.
A feature of the quiescent shewa is that it makes a letter under which it occurs quiescent and makes it part of the preceding (syllabic) group, for example‘Israel’,‘Jehdeiah’,‘Zimri’,‘for cleansing’ (Ezek. 16.4),‘my graven image and my molten image’ (Isa. 48.5). So the letter under which the (quiescent) shewa occurs becomes quiescent. Whatever letter it occurs under is not mobile at all and it (the quiescent shewa) cuts it off from what is after it and conjoins it to what is before it.
Another of it features is that it divides a word into (units) that have the status of words. This is because every letter at the end of a word is quiescent when it is deprived of an accompanying vowel and this letter that is deprived of a vowel is the stopping point of the word and its place of division, as inin which the tav is the stopping point of the word, and רוֹא , in which the resh is the stopping point of the word, and so forth. A quiescent shewa in the middle of a word has the same status, for it is in a sense a stopping point on account of its quiescence, for example‘and the satraps’ (Esther 9.3),‘those who chirp’ (Isa. 8.19). Each of these two expressions has the status of three words on account of the quiescent shewa. If it were absent, this division would not be admissible.
Another of its features is that it indicates the feminine gender in many cases, for example,‘you (fs.) washed and you painted (fs.) (your eyes)’ (Ezek. 23.40), and similar cases. Forms such asandare not counterevidence, since I did not say that it occurred at the end of a word only to express the feminine gender, but that it indicates feminine gender in many cases.
II.L.2.11. Section on the Nature of Mobile Shewa
32A feature of mobile shewa is that when it occurs under a letter, the letter is not in any way static or at rest. If a speaker wished to make it quiescent, he would never speak, just as if a speaker wanted to always make a quiescent shewa mobile, … .
Another of its features is that it does not make the letter following it quiescent but rather only makes the third letter after it quiescent. This statement is valid since it (the mobile shewa) itself is not removed from under its letter but rather its letter is made mobile and the letter after it is made light (i.e. rafe). Quiescence may occur in the third letter or one greater (in number) than that. Examples of the occurrence of quiescence on the third letter are‘in Israel’,‘in Jezreel’,‘to Jeremiah’ (Neh. 12.12, etc.). Examples (of quiescence) in a later syllable are‘in the beginning’,‘in the land (of)’,‘with a sword’, and similar cases.
34And if somebody were to say ‘What are the full facts concerning the two of them, I mean the quiescent and the mobile shewa?’, the response would be as follows. As for the quiescent shewa, I do not know any more of its distinctive features than those that I have already mentioned. With regard to the mobile shewa, it must be treated in various subsections. All the following subsections, therefore, concern the mobile shewa rather than the quiescent shewa. It is not necessary to mention the corresponding quiescent shewa in each place, since it is sufficient to say that the quiescent shewa does not have any more features than those that have been mentioned. I shall present below the various subsections concerning the mobile shewa.
II.L.2.12. Chapter concerning the Mobile Shewa and what is Related to this
35Take note that the inventory (of letters) consists of twenty-two basic letters, in addition to which there are the ‘straight’ letters, the letters with rafe and the letters ‘between two grades’, as has been stated previously. The discussion here relates only to basic features and not to secondary features.
II.L.2.12.1. The First Subsection
This is its influence by the four letters. When these four letters are preceded by a letter that is not one of them and under this letter there is shewa, the shewa is pronounced as a shortened vowel like the vowel that is under one of the four letters. Now, if it is appropriate for gaʿya to occur on it, it is pronounced equal to the vowel (following it). For example,‘and if thus’ (Num. 11.15), in which shewa is under vav and the vav is pronounced with ḥireq like that which is under the ʾalef, but shortened since it it does not have gaʿya. Surely you see that when it is appropriate for it to have gaʿya, it is pronounced with the (vowel) pronounced on the letter equally, without any difference, for example‘and if there remains’ (Exod. 29.34). Similar to the preceding examples are‘and Taanach’ (Jud. 1.27),‘Megiddo and Gezer’ (1 Kings 9.15), in which the shewa is pronounced as a shortened segol. When, however, you say‘and his sons’ (Gen. 9.1, etc.), the shewa is pronounced with a segol of full length on account of the gaʿya, and so also other cases where shewa is pronounced with the pointing of the ʾalef.
As for he, a shewa before it is pronounced with the vowel of the he, for example inthe shewa is pronounced as a short qameṣ on account of the absence of gaʿya. When gaʿya is appropriate, the shewa is pronounced with the qameṣ of the he with its full length, for example . Inthe shewa is pronounced with a shortened qibbuṣ, due to the absence of gaʿya, and other cases where shewa is pronounced like the pointing of the he.
Ḥet: Examples of shewa before ḥet are‘it is far’ (Jdg 18.28),‘for (I heard) the voice of a woman in travail’ (Jer. 4.31),‘and the sword will rage’ (Hosea 11.6),֙‘and the skilfully woven band’ (Exod. 28.8, etc.),‘and your palate is the best of wine’ (Cant. 7.10), and other cases.
ʿAyin: Examples of shewa before ʿayin are‘blessed be the Lord for ever’ (Psa. 89.53), in which the lamed ofis pronounced with a ḥolem like the ʿayin but shortened. When it is appropriate for it to have gaʿya, there is no difference between the shewa and the ḥolem, for example‘may his name be for ever’ (Psa. 72.17). Similar cases are‘and if it is bad in your eyes’ (Josh. 24.15),‘in the eyes of God’ (Prov. 3.4),‘and a man’ (Gen. 2.5, etc.),֙‘and the boundary goes up’ (Josh. 15.6, etc.),‘and Ephron was sitting’ (Gen. 23.10),‘and the fortified cities’ (Josh. 19.35), and other cases.
36Now this rule applies to shewa with the four letters when shewa is under a letter that is not one of the four.
When it is of one of the four, the rule does not apply, for example‘let them clap their hands’ (Psa. 98.8, etc.),‘ (the house of) their God which’ (Ezra 7.16). If it is said ‘Why is it that these four letters differ in this way from the other letters when they come before (another of the four letters) and have shewa, and why does the rule not apply to all (letters)?’, the response to him would be as follows. Since the letter (i.e. one of theletters) that is before the four letters requires a vowel together with shewa (i.e. a vowel represented by a ḥaṭef sign), the vowel (of the ḥaṭef) is dominant, so the shewa does not have any influence and the ḥet ofis pronounced with pataḥ and the he ofis also pronounced with it. Moreovercannot be pronounced with pataḥ and shureq and it is also not possible for it be pronounced with shureq and not pataḥ, for if it were pronounced with shureq, I mean qibbuṣ, there would be no reason for pataḥ to occur. Since these two situations are impossible, it must be pronounced with pataḥ, due to its natural association with it. What has been said concerningapplies equally to. If somebody says ‘Why are the other letters not like these four letters when they are before the aforementioned (four letters), especially when every shewa under a letter must be pronounced as a vowel when…
II.L.2.12.2. The Second Subsection
… . because shewa has not changed form but rather is adjacent to it, just as qameṣ is adjacent to pataḥ and other vowels. This is demonstrated by the fact that mem in‘to Jeremiah’ has shewa under it and the yod after it has qameṣ under it, but the shewa is not pronounced like qameṣ but rather is pronounced like ḥireq, unlike the four letters. The shewa of the four letters is restricted by what is before it, but the shewa of yod is not restricted by what is after it. The difference, therefore, is clear between the two subsections.
If somebody were to say ‘What is the value of us knowing this?’, the response to him would be as follows. When shewa comes before yod, in most cases this is an indication of the indefinite. If a vowel were to occur in place of it, this would be an indication of the definite, for example‘on the day of your sacrifice’ (Lev. 19.6), (which is) indefinite, and‘on that day, a vineyard’ (Isa. 27.2), (which is) definite,‘He turned the sea into dry land’ (Psa. 66.6), (which is) indefinite,‘Israel passed on the dry land’ (Josh. 4.22), (which is) definite, and so forth.
II.L.2.12.3. The Third Subsection
The remainder of the inventory of letters amounts to seventeen letters. If yod (which has been discussed above) is added to them, they come to eighteen letters. Shewa under these eighteen letters is pronounced as a short pataḥ. Examples of cases in which it is not appropriate for gaʿya to occur include‘in a multitude of people’ (Prov. 14.28),‘your evictions’ (Ezek. 45.9),‘I have seen his ways’ (Isa. 57.18),‘and the head of Oreb’ (Jud. 7.25),‘remember, oh Lord’ (Psa. 132.1),‘unclean of name’ (Ezek. 22.5),‘fear the Lord’ (Jos. 24.14), and other cases with these eighteen letters. If one were to say ‘Tell me about the shewa that is pronounced as pataḥ under these eighteen letters. Is it substituting for another (pronunciation), or is it alone the pronunciation that is the rule under the letters to the exclusion of any other, or is this pronunciation together with another the rule under them, or what is the situation concerning this?’, the response to him would be as follows. These letters are pronounced as pataḥ. It is a feature of this pataḥ that it is only pronounced short. Shewa is the only way to represent this shortness. Since according to their principles shewa is not combined with a vowel under these eighteen letters, they marked the shewa alone. It was not possible for them to mark the pataḥ by itself, since it would have been pronounced as a full vowel.
- 12 The extant model manuscripts L, A and C do not have gaʿya on the shewa here: L(...)
If one were to say ‘According to this statement, when a shewa occurs under these eighteen letters it is only pronounced as short pataḥ, but we seen a contradiction of this in cases such as‘As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel’ (Ezek. 35.15), in which the lamed ofis ‘heavy’, the response to him would be that what makes the lamed heavy is the gaʿya, for this is the only thing that can change the form of the vocalic pronunciation of the shewa.12 If he says ‘ (Why) have they not marked a pataḥ where the gaʿya occurs to express heaviness and a shewa where there is shortness?’, the response to him would be as follows. It is not permissible to mark a pataḥ where (the shewa is pronounced with) heaviness, because the rule regarding the marking of shewa and pataḥ on these eighteen letters is that the pataḥ alone does not indicate shewa but shewa alone indicates pataḥ. Furthermore if they marked pataḥ where there is heaviness, that would make it unclear as to whether the following letter had dagesh or not, since one of the features of pataḥ is that in many places it is followed by dagesh to express definiteness, for example‘whoever touches this man’ (Gen. 26.11),‘on that day’, and so forth. A mobile shewa can never be followed by dagesh in the reading of Scripture, except inand יIn the discussion concerning these below, however, I shall explain that the shewa in these two words is quiescent and not mobile.
Furthermore, gaʿya is not obligatory under a letter as a vowel and shewa are obligatory, because gaʿya is only an exhalation of air in speech, and its elision is possible. The reader chooses in his reading (whether to pronounce it or not). There are some places, however, in which the speaker does not have a choice, for example‘for they do not sleep unless they do wrong’ (Prov. 4.16), because the gaʿya makes it into the lexical class of ‘slumber and sleep’. If it were lacking, it would be from the lexical class of repeating, as in‘ “Do it a second time” and they did it a second time’ (1 Kings 18.34). This applies also to the lexical classes of ‘fearing’ and ‘seeing’. The lexical class of ‘fearing’ has gaʿya, for example‘Let them fear the Lord’ (Psa. 33.8). Although here it has two yods, there is potential doubt in cases such as‘The nations will see and be ashamed’ (Micah 7.16). If this is the case, the occurrence of gaʿya in the lexical class of ‘fearing’ prevents it. To these can be added further examples in which the reader does not have a choice. Cases in which the reader does have a choice include, and the like. Such cases do not attain the status of the vowels and the shewa, because the construction of a word is based on the vowels. Its construction is not based on the gaʿya. For this reason the scholars of language in this discipline say ‘The gaʿya has no principle’. For these reasons, when there is a need for lengthening, you mark a gaʿya with shewa and you do not mark pataḥ by itself. This is the appropriate response to the question.
II.L.2.12.4. The Fourth Subsection
When shewa is under a letter, it is not possible for any of the disjunctive or conjunctive accents to be under this letter, so long as shewa is under it, since it is a principle of shewa that it does not combine with an accent on a letter in any circumstances. If somebody says: ‘Why is that, when you have not denied that the combination of a shewa and an accent on the same letter is possible, although we do not find them combined?’, the response to him would be as follows. Even if the shewa of both categories, i.e. quiescent and mobile, were to combine (with an accent), the combination of an accent with quiescent shewa could not take place, since it is the principle of the quiescent shewa that it makes the letter quiescent and does not move at all, as is the case with the resh in, the mem inand the bet inA disjunctive accent and a conjunctive accent by their nature cause the letter to move (with a vowel) and introduce a melody or melodies in it. A quiescent letter cannot have a melody at all. A melody is movement, so how can a quiescent shewa be also mobile at the same time? Is this not a contradiction? So this is impossible.
If somebody were to say ‘Although the combination of an accent with a quiescent shewa is impossible, it would be permissible for one to be combined with mobile shewa, because there is no contradiction’, the response to him would be as follows. The statement that an accent moves a letter with a vowel does not imply that its movement is like that of shewa. This is because shewa makes a letter mobile, but causes its articulation to be quick, so that one cannot tarry on the letter, like the bet in‘in the beginning’, since it is not permissible to hold onto it when the speaker wishes to express his intention. Likewise dalet in‘liberty’, and the ṣade in‘bundle’, in which the shewa causes the letter to move quickly with a speed that does not allow tarrying on it. This is not the case with an accent, which, rather, causes the letter to have a vowel and introduces melodies into it. The letter is given a vowel in its place without moving back or forward so long as it is given a melody. Surely you see how it (the accent) gives the resh a melody in‘they made haste’ (Josh. 8.14) and the letter does not move from its place. The accent has given it a melody, or two or more. One does not tarry on the dalet inand the like (with shewa) in the way one tarries on the resh or the kaf in‘They made haste and rose early’ (Josh. 8.14). The shewa moves quickly forwards whereas an accent causes vocalic movement within its place. If these were to combine there would be a logical contradiction. It is, therefore, clear from this that shewa and an accent cannot combine together in a single letter.
II.L.2.12.5. The Fifth Subsection
A mobile shewa is not followed by a letter with dagesh, for example‘on finishing’ (Deut. 31.24, etc.),‘when they enter’ (Exod. 28.43, etc.),‘regarding the offering’ (Mal. 2.13),‘in all’, and the like. This is not contradicted byand. For if there is an added ʾalef and you say [ʔƐƩ∫tʰaːjim] and [ʔƐƩ∫tʰeː], the shewa becomes quiescent. I shall discuss this at greater length in the section concerning yetiv with the help of God and His good will. If one were to say ‘Why is shewa not followed by a letter with dagesh?’, the response to him would be as follows. The principle of dagesh is to make a letter heavy and give it a kind of quiescence. A mobile shewa is not dwelt upon and so the letter that is after it must be light. When the letter that is after it is heavy, it is not possible to give it the mobility to the extent that I have mentioned.
II.L.2.12.6. The Sixth Subsection
Mobile shewa does not combine with a vowel on a letter of the alphabet with the exception of the four letters, for example‘I am the Lord, that is my name’ (Isa. 42.8),‘did he not?’ (Gen. 20.5),‘and encamp’ (2 Sam. 12.28),‘Come up to me and help me’ (Josh. 10.4), and similar cases. If one were to say ‘Is not shewa combined with qameṣ under the dalet of, under the qof with qameṣ in‘before’,‘before them’, under the mem with qameṣ in‘drag her! ’ (Ezek. 32.20) and under the bet with segol in‘which I built’ (Dan. 4.27)?’, the response to him would be as follows. This does not contradict what I stated. This is because the people responsible for this matter have agreed on the rule of combining shewa and a vowel only under the four letters. It is said, however, that some scribes wanted to remove uncertainty from places that may lead to error and have combined a vowel with shewa in this way, because they thought that people would err in the reading of. When some people saw shewa without qameṣ in, they read it as pataḥ. If they saw qameṣ alone, they were at risk of giving the qameṣ its full length. So, the scribes decided to combine them so that this degree of uncertainty be removed. This applied also to similar cases (cited above). This is an exception to their customary practice. What supports the claim that this is the view of only some of them with regard to letters not belonging to the group of the four (is that in most codices one does not find what has been presented as counterevidence, but all codices are uniform in the combination of shewa with a vowel under the four letters.
II.L.2.12.7. The Seventh Subsection
When shewa is combined with a vowel in a letter, the vowel is deprived of its full length, as in‘Ḥorem and Betanath’ (Josh. 19.38), in which the ḥet is pronounced with a short vowel on account of the shewa that is with the qameṣ. The same applies to‘also every sickness’ (Deut. 28.61), in which shewa is combined with the vowel and the vowel has become short. If it were said ‘Why is it that when shewa is combined with a vowel under a letter, the vowel is deprived of its full quantity?’ the response would be as follows. This is because when there is mobile shewa, it is not permissible to slow down on or dwell on the letter. This is a principle that cannot be avoided. When they both occur under a letter, its principle holds, namely moving forward quickly, and so it is not possible for the vowel to be given its full quantity. This is determined by the principle of the shewa. If somebody were to say ‘Just as the shewa has an unavoidable principle, likewise a vowel has an indissoluble feature, namely slowness and steadiness, so why is the vowel not more worthy of fulfilling its principle than something else?’, the response to him would be as follows. If they wanted to maintain the principle of the vowel, they would not have combined it with shewa, since that would be nonsense. Rather they combined them in order for the principle of the vowel to be eliminated. The combination of the two principles is impossible, just as is the elimination of the two principles. It is necessary to maintain one of them, and this is the principle of the shewa. If somebody were to say ‘With how many vowels does shewa combine?’, the response would be: with three, qameṣ, pataḥ and segol. If he said ‘Why is it combined specifically with these three and not the others?’, the response would be: because with these three vowels it is permissible to melodize, pause and read quickly, whereas this is not possible with the other vowels.
II.L.2.12.8. The Eighth Subsection
When shewa is at the beginning of a word, it is always mobile, for example‘the word of whom will stand’ (Jer. 44.28),‘from day to day’ (1 Chron. 12.23),‘according to the permission of Cyrus’ (Ezra 3.7),‘in the heat of the day’ (Gen. 18.1), and similar cases. If somebody were to say ‘Why have you claimed that quiescent shewa never occurs at the beginning of a word?’, the response would be that a quiescent shewa is the stopping point of what precedes it, and the beginning of a word has nothing before it, as the ʾalef in‘There was a man in the land of Uz’ (Job 1.1) and the shin in‘the heavens for height, and the earth for depth’ (Prov. 25.3), and similar cases. And if somebody said ‘Do you not say that every shewa beginning a word is mobile, but we find a mobile shewa that is not word-initial, for example‘and the rear guard’ (Josh. 6.9, etc.),‘He has shut the mouth’ (Dan. 6.23),‘and they heard’,‘and they lay down’?’, the response to him would be as follows. When I said that every shewa at the beginning of a word is mobile, this does not oblige me to claim that a mobile shewa is found only in word-initial position. Indeed a mobile shewa may be in the middle of a word. This claim would, however, be contradicted if a shewa that is not mobile is found in word-initial position. Yet in the examples that I have adduced, and others like them, they are in initial position in the sense that they are preceded by quiescence and a stopping point.
If somebody were to say ‘So do you say that a letter by itself can have the status of a word and have mobility and quiescence, but this is a contradiction with regard to a single letter, so according to thiscould not have a mobile shewa until the shewa becomes mobile after quiescence, as you say?’, the response would be as follows. The stopping point may be a quiescent shewa after a mobile letter, as in, and the like. It may also be what is analagous to it and may be called a stopping point, namely the introduction of heaviness to a letter. This may cause (the following shewa) to be mobile, as in‘and capture your captives! ’ (Jud. 5.12), in which the heaviness of the vav has the status of a word with two letters, so the shewa is mobile on account of this. The heaviness of the letter corresponds to quiescence of a shewa and becomes a stopping point, as in‘the ones who speak’ (Exod. 6.27), and similar cases, as will be explained in the discussion about he and mem below.
II.L.2.12.9. The Ninth Subsection
A mobile shewa is followed by quiescence only in a letter that is not less than the third letter after it. Quiescence in a letter that is greater (in number than the third) is possible, but the minimum for quiescence is the third (letter after the mobile shewa), as in‘to Joshbekashah’ (1 Chron 25.24),‘to Jokmeam’ (1 Kings 4.12), and the like. Examples of quiescence in a letter that is greater than the third (after the mobile shewa) are‘God’,‘cypresses’, and the like. If somebody were to say ‘Do not‘Guard my life and deliver me’ (Psa. 25.20),‘Draw her down’ (Ezek. 32.20) and analogous cases refute the principle that you have formulated?’, the response to him would be as follows. I spoke only about shewa that is present under a letter. Cases of shortness and lightness that have been transmitted by teaching from the people of the language are not relevant for this argument.
II.L.2.12.10. The Tenth Subsection
38Mobile shewa does not occur adjacent to another mobile shewa at the beginning, middle or end of a word, for if they were adjacent, the word would be defective. This is because a word must consist of a letter with a vowel and what is attached to the letter with a vowel by way of an initial mobile shewa is of a lesser vowel movement than the following vowel. These two may be followed by a quiescent consonant. This structure cannot be broken. Therefore, two mobile shewas are not linked together, as two quiescent shewas are.
II.L.2.12.11. The Eleventh Subsection
39Two quiescent shewas cannot follow one another at the beginning of a word or in the middle of it. If somebody were to say ‘Why is this so?’, the response to him would be: because the first shewa is quiescent on account of it being the stopping point of what precedes it. The second shewa, however, is not preceded by a letter with a vowel, for which the second shewa would be a stopping point. For this reason, two quiescent shewas are not linked together in the places mentioned.
II.L.2.12.12. The Twelfth Subsection
When there are two shewas following one another, a sequence in which the first is mobile and the second quiescent is not permissible, rather the first must be made quiescent and the second mobile. If somebody were to say ‘Why is that?’, the response to him would be as follows. When the first shewa is mobile, it is not permissible for it to be followed by a quiescent letter, because if that were the case, the mobile shewa would not have scope to spring forward quickly. It has been stated previously that quiescence cannot occur on less than the third letter after a mobile shewa. Furthermore it is not possible to pronounce a mobile shewa followed by a quiescent shewa for the reason just mentioned, whereas a pronunciation of a quiescent shewa in the first letter and a mobile shewa on the second letter is acceptable, as in‘and they gathered’, and the like. Take note that shewa may be construed as a successive sequence (of two) even though only one is written. This applies to cases such as‘from crying’ (1 Sam. 7.8),‘sacrificing’,‘playing the pipe’ (1 Kings 1.40, etc.),‘from being king’ (1 Sam. 8.7, etc.). The shewa here is pronounced mobile. The reason for this is that the letter is pronounced as two letters. This is the custom of Hebrew, namely that every letter with strengthening, I mean with dagesh, in the middle of a word, where it does not have the status of beginning (a word or syllable), under which there is shewa, is pronounced as two letters. This is shown by‘Is it like a fool?’ (2 Sam. 3.33) in that the kaf inis pronounced as two kafs, and so in other cases. The dagesh on the letter, therefore, is in place of the quiescent shewa and the shewa that is present under the letter is mobile, and so it is pronounced as two letters.
II.L.2.12.13. The Thirteenth Subsection
A shewa at the end of a word can only be quiescent, as in‘way’,‘king’, and the like.
II.L.2.12.14. The Fourteenth Subsection
Two successive silent shewas occur only at the end of a word, as in‘inhabitant of Lebanon, nested among the cedars’ (Jer. 22.23),‘you were swathed in bands’ (Ezek. 16.4),‘you painted (your eyes)’ (Ezek. 23.40), and similar examples. A shewa at the end of a word indicates feminine gender in many cases, both when following (another shewa) and also when not in such a sequence. In some cases shewa does not indicate feminine gender but rather pause, as in‘and he took captives from him’ (Num. 21.1),‘and out of Jacob shall one have dominion’ (Num. 24.19). If somebody were to say ‘What is the value of the two successive shewas at the end of a word?’, the response would be as follows. One is a stopping point, namely the first one, as in‘and you sat on a stately couch’ (Ezek. 23.41). The bet in ְis the end of a word expressing the masculine singular. The second shewa under the tav indicates the feminine gender. You will find this practice in many places.
II.L.2.13. Section concerning Uncertainty regarding the Reading of the Shewa
The shewa may be the cause of uncertainty for the reader in some places as to whether it is mobile or quiescent. (This applies to). It has been stated previously that in words containing not more than five letters the shewa is mobile, as in‘he who is impoverished in respect to offering’ (Isa. 40.20),‘the one speaking’ (Gen. 45.12, etc.), except for one case, namely‘this madman’ (2 Kings 9.11). The reason why it is not mobile is that there is no heaviness in the he. If you were to give heaviness to the he, the shewa would be made mobile. As for words beginning with he and mem that have more than five letters, the rule concerning these is that if the accent is on the fifth letter or later, the shewa is silent, for example‘those who speak’ (Exod. 6.27),‘those who curse’ (Num. 5.19), apart from some exceptions that deviate from this rule, for example‘those who seek’ (Exod. 4.19, etc.), and the like. When the accent is on the fourth letter, the shewa is mobile, for example,‘those who wait’ (Job 3.21),‘those who remove’ (Amos 6.3), and the like.
As for a series of two successive identical letters in the middle of a word that one may be uncertain about, this has been discussed above. The (reading of the shewa) is determined by heaviness in it, for example‘and to teach them the writing’ (Dan. 1.4). If the heaviness was removed from the vav, the shewa would not be pronounced like pataḥ. There are six words that deviate from this rule, namely‘Then they will call upon me’ (Prov. 1.28),‘They will seek me diligently but will not find me’ (Prov. 1.28),‘and in their distress they seek me’ (Hos. 5.15),‘and those who seek me diligently find me’ (Prov. 8.17),‘He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honours me’ (Psa. 50.23).
As for what can cause uncertainty in forms such as‘and the gold of’ (Gen. 2.12), ֽ סוּ ֲַ ג ֛ ר ‘and he closed’ (Dan. 6.23), it may be said concerning cases that are linked to what follows by the accent, such as‘and resemble a gazelle’ (Cant. 8.14), that since maqqef occurs onthe shewa is quiescent, but if there were an accent on it, the shewa would be mobile, as in‘Capture your captives, son of Abinoam’ (Jud. 5.12). As for what is separated (by the accent), like‘and he closed’ (Dan. 6.23), the heaviness has caused the shewa to be mobile. There are also some cases that are only learnt by listening.
II.L.2.14. Section on the Names of the Vowels
41[…] the teeth make a squeaking sound with it.
The seventh is shureq [ ] three dots (written) obliquely. It may be replaced by one dot in the middle of vav, whose name is shureq, which is derived from‘to hear the whistlings of the flocks’ (Jud. 5.16), which is a whistling, because it gathers the lips together.
II.L.2.15. Section on their Place of Articulation
The place of articulation of ḥolem is the root of the tongue and the place of swallowing, which is the place of articulation of, and it moves over the surface of the entire mouth. Take note that if somebody were to investigate carefully their places of articulation, he would have something like the knowledge necessary as to what is first in position and what is last.
42The second place of articulation is the place of articulation of qameṣ. It is slightly above the root of the tongue, this being the (first) third of the tongue, and its movement is to above the palate.
43The third place of articulation is the place of articulation of pataḥ, which is the surface of the tongue at the bottom (of the mouth).
44The fourth place of articulation is the place of articulation of segol, which is the sides of the mouth, and its movement is upon the lower surface of the mouth.
45The fifth place of articulation is the place of articulation of ṣere, which is the teeth, without closure, because it breaks through them.
46The sixth place of articulation is the place of articulation of ḥireq, which is the closure of the teeth with force.
47The seventh place of articulation is the place of articulation of shureq, which is the lips gathered together (as if for) whistling.
II.L.2.16. Section concerning Combinations of them (i.e. the Vowels) to Form Basic Nouns and Combinations of them to Form Abstractions
For example,‘Ono (place name)’ (1 Chron. 8.12, etc.), a basic noun (combining) ḥolem with ḥolem and the abstraction‘his light’ (Job 36.30, etc.). Ḥolem with qameṣ: the abstraction‘good deed’ (1 Sam. 24.19, etc.). Ḥolem with pataḥ: the basic noun‘spear’ (Num. 25.7, etc.) and the abstraction‘he made known’ (Lev. 4.23, etc.). Ḥolem with segol: the basic noun‘tent’ and the abstractionḤolem with ṣere: the basic noun‘Bozez (name of a crag)’ (1 Sam. 14.4) and the abstraction‘goes out’. Ḥolem with ḥireq: basic noun‘fault’ (Psa. 50.20) and the abstraction‘doing (mpl.)’. Ḥolem with shureq: the basic noun תּ ֹ וּה ‘confusion’ and the abstraction‘they are good’ (cf. Num. 24.5, etc.). To these can be added further examples of this type of (arrangement of vowels), the seven with the seven.
II.L.2.17. Chapter concerning the Descending of the Vowels from One to the Other according to the Order of their Places of Articulation
Ḥolem descends to qameṣ with the attachment of a pronoun and the plural, for example‘ransom’—‘his ransom’,‘wealth’—‘his wealth’,‘holiness’—‘his holiness’,‘height’—‘his height’. If you form a plural, you say‘holinesses’. From qameṣ to pataḥ:‘new’—֙‘new (pl.) in every morning’ (Lam. 3.23),‘cloud’—‘clouds’. From pataḥ to segol: they say‘I meet you outside’ (Cant. 8.1)—‘that he does not find you’ (1 Kings 18.10). From segol to ṣere in a conjoined form, for example‘fracture for (fracture)’ (Lev. 24.20)—‘over the ruin of Joseph’ (Amos 6.6). To these can be added other cases of vowels descending from one to the other in this way.
II.L.2.18. On the Origin of the Vowels
If somebody were to ask ‘With regard to the form of these vowels, what is the origin of their formation? Do you say that the scribes established their form?’ The response would be as follows. If the scribes were the source of this, it would be permissible for somebody who was not satisfied with it to come and create different forms. This would be permissible for every single scribe. There would be no limit or end to their forms. If one were to say ‘Is not the qameṣ of the people of Iraq a superscribed half ʾalef, and so forth with regard to the shape of their vowels?’, the response would be as follows. What should be relied upon in this regard is (the shape of vowels) in the Holy Land. It is not implausible that when the people of the exile moved away from the Holy Land they made a record of their reading and created shapes (of vowels) when they had moved away from the Holy Land for fear that they would forget the reading. The (original) shapes (of the vowels) of the Holy Land, however, remained. If somebody were to say ‘So who formed them?’, the response to him would be as follows. It is possible that the people of the language formed the shapes of the vowels just as they formed the shapes of the letters. It is also possible that the people of the language used to use them in conversation without their knowing any (written) form for them until the time of Habakkuk, peace be upon him, when God said to him‘Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets’ (Hab. 2.2). He indicated the reason for this, namely‘so that one who reads it can run’ (Hab. 2.2). Indeed, there is no doubt that when somebody takes a simple codex without accents or pointing, he stumbles in the reading and does not ‘run’, apart from a few exceptional people that are found in some generations, such as Ben Asher and Ben Naftali in their time and those like them. If a reader has a codex in which the cantillation and pointing are clearly indicated, he can run and not stumble.
48This is what needs to be said, but God knows best. The discourse is finished.
II.L.3.0. The third discourse: on the accents (selected passages)
II.L.3.1. On the Gaʿya
- 13 The corrected reading פארדהא is a form IV imperative of the root r-d-d, which in medieval Judaeo-Ar (...)
If somebody were to say ‘So, what do you say concerning the gaʿya?’, the response to him would be as follows. The gaʿya does not have a definite status in the reading of Scripture. One reader may omit it and another reader may sustain it. There are some places, however, in which it may not be omitted, since it affects the meaning. This applies to the lexical class of ‘fearing’, and so they have said ‘Every (form from) the lexical class of ‘fearing’ has gaʿya’. Likewise one says‘you sleep’,‘they sleep’, with gaʿya, from the lexical class of ‘sleeping’,‘for they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong’ (Prov. 4.16). If it is without gaʿya, it is from (the lexical class) of ‘repeating’, as in‘If you do so again, I will lay hands on you’ (Neh. 13.21). If somebody were to say ‘So do you consider it to be one of the conjunctive accents or disjunctive accents?’, the response to him would be as follows. It should not be considered to belong either with the disjunctive accents or the conjunctive accents, since it is only an exhalation in speech, which carries the words forward, and joins and binds them with one another, as in‘not destroying them all’ (Isa. 65.8),‘if they will diligently learn the ways of my people’ (Jer. 12.16). Its distinctive property is the extension of the melody so that joy is diffused in the heart, in order to conduct the reading along, animating the reader and moving him to read more. An expert of this discipline has said: If you wish to know whether gaʿya is correct, look at the place of the gaʿya. If it is permissible to put the accent of the word on the place of the gaʿya, then the gaʿya is in order. If it does not come in the place of the accent, then return it to the place (of the accent).13 He has said that by this principle one may distinguish a correct gaʿya from one that is incorrect. He then retracted this and said that this principle applies only to certain places. The first statement is the correct one.
II.L.3.2. Chapter concerning Cases whose Rule is not at all Dependent on an Accent and Cases whose Rule is Dependent on an Unspecified Accent.
This includesIf somebody were to ask, why is the formsometimes pointed with segol and sometimes pointed with pataḥ, the response would be as follows. When the form is singular, segol occurs under the mem. Examples of the singular are‘when the man turned from his chariot’ (2 Kings 5.26), מ ְֶ כּר ָ ב ָ֖ ה ְ סו ִֻ ס ֑ םי ‘a chariot and horses’ (2 Sam. 15.1). In the plural you say‘Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’ (Jud. 5.28),‘the chariots of Pharaoh and his army’ (Exod. 15.4), and the like. There is one exception to this, in that it does not have segol (in the singular) but ḥireq, namely‘in his second chariot’ (Gen. 41.43).
Likewise people may ask concerning מ ַ ה andwhy their pointing varies and what is their rule. The response is as follows. When it is followed by dagesh, it has pataḥ, for example‘whatever your soul says’ (1 Sam. 20.4),‘What shall we speak? And how can we show ourselves to be just?’ (Gen. 44.16). When it is followed by rafe, it has segol, for example י‘What has my beloved?’ (Jer. 11.15),֙‘What is to be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf?’ (2 Kings 4.13), and similar cases.
People may ask concerningwhat the rule is relating to the fact that it is sometimes with dagesh and sometimes rafe. The response relates to two factors. One is that it is because of the accent, namely when the accent is on the mem of המל , it is rafe and when the accent is on the lamed, it has dagesh, for example‘Why have you done evil to this people? Why (did you ever send me)?’ (Exod. 5.22). All of the reading of Scripture follows this rule except for one case in Job, for the accent is on the lamed, but it is rafe, namely‘Why have you made me your mark?’ (Job 7.20). The second response is that it is on account of the letter. This rule is superior to the first, since המל may be without an accent but rather have maqqef, for example‘Why should a fool have a price in his hand’ (Prov. 17.16), and similar cases. The rule concerning this is that whenever המל are linked prosodically to three letters, namely ʾalef, he and ʿayin, it is rafe, for example‘Why are you laying a snare?’ (1 Sam. 28.9),‘Why, oh Lord, does your anger burn?’ (Exod. 32.11),‘Why have you dealt ill?’ (Num. 11.11),‘Why have you come up against us?’ (Jud. 15.10), and the like. There are five cases that are exceptions to this rule, since they are linked prosodically to ̇ א ̇ ה ̇ ע but have dagesh. These are‘Why have you vexed me?’ (1 Sam. 28.15),‘Why have your servants set on fire?’ (2 Sam. 14.31),‘Why should I fear in times of trouble?’ (Psa. 49.6),‘Why is my pain unceasing?’ (Jer. 15.18),‘Why should I smite you to the ground?’ (2 Sam. 2.22). Their mnemonic combination is ‘The slave has vexed me; I have feared pain; I have killed him’. If you like, you may say ‘The servant has vexed me; I have feared illness; I have smitten him.’ Every המל that is prosodically bound to the other letters of the inventory, namely, has dagesh, except for three cases, which are prosodically bound to shin and zayin, namely‘Why have you forgotten me?’ (Psa. 42.10),‘Why have you rejected me?’ (Psa. 43.2),‘Why have you made me (your mark)?’ (Job 7.20). Their mnemonic combination is: ‘You made me forgotten and rejected’.
People may ask concerningand,and,and, ל ֵ ב and,and,andwhy these sometimes occur with ṣere and sometimes with segol. The response concerning this is as follows. When the accent is on the first letter of the word following these words, they have segol so long as they have maqqef, for example‘Here is my signature’ (Job 31.35),‘Behold it (is the joy of his way)’ (Job 8.19). You say‘They are six’ (Prov. 6.16) and‘six (measures) of barley’ (Ruth 3.17). You say‘it is not the time of coming’ (Haggai 1.2),‘for from day to day’ (1 Chron. 12.23). An exception to the (expected form)is‘not at the time of her impurity’ (Lev. 15.25), for the accent is not on the first letter but it has segol. You say‘The king’s heart is a stream of water’ (Prov. 21.1),‘that comes into a man’s heart’ (2 Kings 12.5). You say‘Let it be as you say’ (Gen. 44.10, etc.). You say‘in the crag of rock’ (Job 39.28). The phrase‘a crag of rock’ (1 Sam. 14.4) has ṣere since the accent occurs on the second letter.
People may ask concerning א ֵ ת and א ֶ ת which of them has the accent and which has maqqef. The response is as follows. They say that everywith segol in the reading of Scripture is always without an accent and has maqqef, except for three cases, namely‘when he strove with Aram (naharaim)’ (Psa. 60.2),ֶ א ֥ ת ‘the pride of Jacob’ (Psa. 47.5),‘for him whom he loves’ (Prov. 3.12). Everywith ṣere must have an accent and never has maqqef, except for one case, namely‘everything that is high’ (Job 41.26).
People may ask also concerningandwhy it is with qameṣ and with ḥolem. The response is as follows. They have said that whenever it has maqqef it occurs only with qameṣ, except for two cases in the reading of Scripture:‘all my bones’ (Psa. 22.15),‘all the brothers of a poor man’ (Prov. 19.7), and also‘and has measured in a third (measure)’ (Isa. 40.12), although they interpreted it as being from the lexical class of ‘measuring’. Whenever it occurs with ḥolem, it does not have maqqef but rather has an accent, for example כּ ֹ֚ ל‘everyone who is called by my name’ (Isa. 43.7), ֠ כּ ֹ ל‘whatever your hand finds’ (Ecc. 9.10).
They may also ask concerning the lexical class of ‘blessing’ why the shewa under the resh is sometimes quiescent and sometimes mobile. The response is as follows. They have said that whenever the accent is under the bet of the lexical class of ‘blessing’, the shewa is quiescent, for example‘Bless the Lord your God’ (1 Chron. 29.20). When the accent is on the kaf, the shewa is mobile, for example‘Bless the Lord, (you) his angels’ (Psa. 103.20),‘in order that your soul blesses me’ (Gen. 27.19), except one case, in which the accent is on the kaf but the shewa is quiescent, namely‘I blessed the Most High’ (Dan. 4.31). It may be said that this last case has broken the rule since it is in the Aramaic language. If, however, there is a case that breaks the rule in Hebrew, then it must be‘with your blessing will the house of your servant be blessed’ (2 Sam. 7.29), because the accent in this is on the kaf and the shewa is silent, unless it be said that in this word there are two accents. The most plausible statement is that it is a case that breaks the rule because‘I will bless those that bless you’ (Gen. 12.3) has two accents and the shewa is mobile. Likewise in‘the blessings of your father’ (Gen. 49.26) the accent is on the kaf and the shewa is quiescent, and this is also a case that breaks the rule.
1 I.e. mahpakh.
2 The wording is a conflation of the two verses Lev. 25.34 and Lev. 26.43 in the Masoretic Text.
3 I.e. the various Jewish communities outside of the Land of Israel.
4 Literally: leaning.
5 Literally: leaned upon.
6 Literally: the masters.
7 The fuller citation כַאֲשֶׁר־֜תַּמּוּ וַיְהִ֙י as opposed to simply כַאֲשֶׁר וַיְהִ֙י in the text of Hidāyat al-Qāriʾ is given in Kitāb al-Khilaf (ed. Lipschütz, 1965, 19).
8 I.e. they refer to the vowels.
9 I.e. letters that are consonants and not ‘soft’ vowel letters.
10 This word consists of two consonantal radicals, viz. ל and ך, the inflectional prefix being ignored.
11 Literally: The angels established language by convention with him and he established it by convention with them.
12 The extant model manuscripts L, A and C do not have gaʿya on the shewa here: L; A, C. Moreover in the available manuscripts of Hidāyat al-Qāriʾ a gaʿya sign is not marked.
13 The corrected reading פארדהא is a form IV imperative of the root r-d-d, which in medieval Judaeo-Arabic is often used with the sense of the form I (Blau 2006, 245).
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