Bibles

Person Third - Grammar of Biblical Hebrew

Summary

The third person form of a term refers to a person(s) or thing(s) other than the writer/speaker and the person being addressed by the writer/speaker.

Article

In English, the third person pronouns include: “he”, “him”, “his”, “she”, or “her”, for singular; and “they”, “them”, or “their,” for plural. In Biblical Hebrew, terms which are marked for third person can change form according to both gender (masculine and feminine) and number (singular or plural). In Biblical Hebrew, verbs, pronouns, and pronominal suffixes can all be marked for third person.

Form

In Biblical Hebrew, a term marked for third person can be recognized by a variety of changes to the form. These changes differ greatly from each other, so it is difficult to sum them up in a simple, helpful way. The paradigm below shows a sample of the kinds of changes that signal a third person form.

Paradigm

Third Person Qal Suffix Conjugation Forms
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
third person masculine singular” קָטַל qatal he killed
third person feminine singular” קָטְלָה qatlah she killed
third person common plural” קָטְלוּ qatlu they killed
Third Person Qal Prefix Conjugation Forms
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
third person masculine singular” יִקְטֹל yiqtol he will kill
third person feminine singular” תִּקְטֹל tiqtol she will kill
third person masculine plural” יִקְטְלוּ yiqtelu they will kill
third person feminine plural” תִּקְטֹלְנָה tiqtolenah they will kill
Third Person Indepdent Personal Pronoun Forms
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
third person masculine singular” הוּא hu he / it
third person feminine singular” הִיא / הִוא hi / hiw she / it
third person masculine plural” הֵם / הֵמָּה hem / hemmah they
third person feminine plural” הֵן / הֵנָּה hen / hennah they
Third Person Object Pronoun Forms
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
third person masculine singular” אֹתוֹ ‘otho him / it
third person feminine singular” אֹתָהּ ‘othah her / it
third person masculine plural” אֶתְהֶם / אֹתָם ‘ethhem / ‘otham them
third person feminine plural” אֶתְהֶן / אֹתָן ‘ethhen / ‘othan them
Third Person Pronominal Suffix Forms
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
third person masculine singular” לוֹ / -וֹ lo / -o (to) him
third person feminine singular” לָהּ / - ָהּ lah / -ah (to) her
third person masculine plural” לָהֶם / -הֶם / - ָם lahem / -hem / -am (to) them
third person feminine plural” לָהֶן / -הֶן / - ָן lahen / -hen / -an (to) them

Examples

Finite verb marked for third person

A finite verb (and/or verbal participle) in third person form indicates that the subject of the verb is someone/something other than the writer/speaker or the person being addressed.

Example: GEN 12:1
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־אַבְרָ֔ם
wayyomer yehwah ‘el-‘avram
and-he-said Yahweh to_Abram
Now Yahweh said to Abram

Personal pronoun marked for third person

A third person indpendent personal pronoun refers either to a person/thing (for singular) or group of persons/things (for plural) other than the writer/speaker and the person being addressed by the writer/speaker.

Example: GEN 36:1
עֵשָׂ֖ו ה֥וּא אֱדֽוֹם
‘esaw hu ‘edom
Esau he Edom
Esau (also called Edom)

Pronominal suffix marked for third person

A third person pronominal suffix usually functions either as a personal pronoun (for verbs and prepositions) or as a possessive adjective (for nouns).

As attached to a verb
Example: GEN 37:14
וַיִּשְׁלָחֵ֨הוּ֙ מֵעֵ֣מֶק חֶבְרֹ֔ון וַיָּבֹ֖א שְׁכֶֽמָה׃
wayyishlahehu me’emeq hevrown wayyavo shekhemah
and-he-sent-him from-the-Valley-of Hebron and-he-went to-Shechem.
So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron, and he went to
Shechem.
As attached to a noun
Example: 2SA 17:23
וַיָּ֜קָם וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ אֶל־בֵּיתוֹ֙ אֶל־עִיר֔וֹ
wayyaqom wayyelekh ‘el-betho ‘el-‘iro
And-he-stood-up and-went to_his-house to_his-city
He went home to his own city
As attached to a preposition
Example: JOB 39:12
הֲתַאֲמִ֣ין בֹּ֖ו
hatha’amin bow
Do-you-believe in-him?
Will you depend on him?
Example: 2KI 17:15
אֲשֶׁ֨ר צִוָּ֤ה יְהוָה֙ אֹתָ֔ם לְבִלְתִּ֖י עֲשֹׂ֥ות כָּהֶֽם׃
‘asher tsiwwah yehwah ‘otham levilti ‘asowth kahem
whom had-commanded Yahweh [dir.obj]-them to-abstain doing
like-them
those that Yahweh had commanded them not to do like them.

Grammar of Biblical Hebrew