The Structure Of The Hebrew Sentence -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 004:13 (Feb 1847)
Article: The Structure Of The Hebrew Sentence
Author: Anonymous


The Structure Of The Hebrew Sentence

The subject named at the head of this Article should not be left wholly out of view, in a course of Hebrew instruction. Every biblical student should endeavor to ascertain and classify the principles which regulated the expressions of thought among the Hebrews. Without this, there can be no radical acquaintance with Hebrew syntax in general; and without it, even the meaning of the sacred writers cannot always be fully apprehended. If any one supposes that the Hebrew sentence is so simple as to afford no opportunity to exercise his powers of analysis: or that it is so stereotyped in form as to exclude any very striking exhibition of variety, he entertains probably the common opinion on the subject, but one which is not correct As compared with those languages which carry the system of inflection to such an extent, for example, as do the Latin and the Greek, the Hebrew moves in this respect, it must be confessed, in a restricted sphere; its sentence is, certainly, both uniform and simple. But without possessing so much flexibility as we see there, it has still left to it a wide range of movement. The inquisitive scholar has opened to him here an interesting field of study; and, after performing the necessary preparatory work, he should advance to it and add to his, other knowledge that which may be gained from extending his inquiries in this direction. In truth, the greater the uniformity which may distinguish a language in the construction of its sentences, the more important and significant must be any departure

from it, which may at any time appear. The cause of such a virtual resistance to the prevailing spirit of the language, must lie deeper in the thoughts and feelings of the writer, than where such variations belong rather to the outward forms of speech, and may be taken up by him, therefore, as a matter of accident or habit, and so be entirely unmeaning. This remark is specially true of the Hebrew. When a writer or speaker here deviates from the ordinary mode of expression which the laws of the language impose so rigidly upon him, it is because he is urged by a special impulse; he breaks over the external restraint in the impetuosity of his feelings; he makes not only his words but the very order of them expressive of the state of his mind; and, in order to enter into this, to sympathize with him, to catch the exact reflection of his thoughts, we must know the difference between the ordinary Hebrew style and that of earnest, impassioned discourse; we must be able to see what new meaning belongs to the new position; we must understand the laws of that subtle, mental emphasis which prescribed to the words their unwonted order, so that as we read we may fill our ears, as it were, with the very tones with which the old pro...

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