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long, Jehovah, wilt thou forget me forever ?? Here, also, there are two phrases pressing upon each other:
1. How long ( Jehovah, wilt thou forget me
. The general characteristics of the Hebrew language are eminently those of the Semitic family, of which it is the most perfect type, in this sense, that it has preserved for us traits of primitive physiognomy which time has effaced in the cognate idioms. Thus, the monosyllabic and biliteral roots are more recognizable than anywhere else; the plan of the words appears more plainly, and many of the grammatical processes which, in the other dialects, have gained a considerable extension, here appear only in germ. The word op, for instance, which, from interrogative has become negative in Syriac and in Arabic, occurs regularly in Hebrew with the first sense, and seems sometimes to approach the second by insensible shades. Many elliptical and defective phrases in the neighboring tongues are found in Hebrew complete. Finally, the significations of words are here, in general, less advanced; that is, they have traversed less distance from the primitive signification. Thus 779, in Hebrew, signifies to unbind; in Aramæan, *** has passed to the sense of to dwell by a whole series of intermediate shades: 1, To unbind; 2, to unbind, in the evening, the pack of beasts of burden, when a halt is made on the journey; 3, to stop in an inn, diversari, Cf. βούλυσις, καταλύω, κατάλυμα; 4, to sojourn, dwell. It is true that in other aspects the Hebrew seems richer in forms, and more cultivated than the Aramean; but that is an effect of the coarseness of this latter tongue. Spoken by a people less ingenious, the Aramean advanced farther than the Hebrew, without at the same time perfecting itself. The mechanism of the compound tenses, the addition of the emphatic ending, the composition of the particles, the pleonastic expressions which characterize the Chaldæan and the Syriac, are evidently the indices of a longer development which the heaviness of the national mind has hindered from becoming a progress.
Hebraists have asked themselves if the Hebrew were a rich or poor tongue, and have answered differently, giving on each side respectable proofs in favor of their opinions. All languages, in fact, are rich in the order of ideas which is familiar to them; only that order of ideas
1 The last word of this verse is ordinarily explained in the sense of prorsus; but there is no reason to depart here from the constant signification of the word nyi.
[This rejection, by Renan, of the meaning “ altogether," "wholly," for n3? in favor of "forever," and his view of the blended structure of the verse, may be pronounced the opinion of the best scholars, including De Wette, Hupfeld, Perowne, Conant. —TR.)
2 Gesenius, Gesch, der hebr. Spr. 16.
is more or less extended or limited. The Hebrew, in spite of the small number of its monuments remaining to us, may seem, in some respects, a language of great richness. It possesses, for natural and religious things, an ample stock of synonyms, which offer the poet inexhaustible resources for parallelism. It suffices to cite that alphabetic Psalm (Psalm cxix), divided into twenty-two octaves, or one hundred and sixty-six verses, of which each, without a single exception, contains an ever diversified expression of the law of God. Fourteen synonyms have been counted for expressing trust in God; nine to express the pardon of sins; twenty-five for the observance of the law.1 The simple sentiments of the soul, as to rejoice, to be troubled, to hope, to hate, to love, to fear, etc., may also be rendered in a multitude of ways, for the most part very delicate. Finally, the names expressing natural objects and phenomena, present, among the Hebrews, a great wealth of shades. The ox may be called 98, 99, 11, 12. The lion numbers seven or eight synonyms following the different ages: 78
.בָּקָר שׁוֹר אַלוּף אֶלֶף
these two last for the lion's כְּפִיר ,גוּר שָׁחַל לַיִשׁ לָבִיא and לְבִי אַרְיֵה and
whelps. As a third instance, there is no kind of rain which is not designated by a particular name: 77 designates rain in general, that to which no other idea is attached than the wetting of the earth ; designates the continuous rains of the season; ani, and perhaps opin, the early rains which, in Palestine, fall in October; d'???), the fine rains, in which the drops are multitudinous; d'?'yx, passing showers; Dv1 and 7??? heavy and sudden rains; 42an, inundation, the deluge; so, dew or mist; vip, the evening rain which falls regularly in spring. Nations generally have many words for that which interests them most. It is natural that men leading a pastoral or agricultural life, living familiarly with nature and animals, should have seized and sought to express by language, shades which escape us, because they are indifferent to us.
These examples suffice to prove that, in the circle of ideas in which the mind of the Jews moved, their tongue was as rich as any other; but this circle, it must be admitted, extended little beyond the sensations, and moral or religious ideas. No trace of philosophical and
. scientific nomenclature is perceived, unless in Koheleth, the redaction of which appears quite modern. In conclusion, it is evident that
1 Gesenius, Gesch. der hebr. Spr. & 14. Herder," Dial. sur la poésie des Hébreux, dial. 1."
2 See in Zechariah (x. 1) a passage where several of these synonyms are purposely brought together.
3 Renan's view is that Ecclesiastes was originally a product of the brilliant age of Solomon, but that the antiquity of its present form cannot be defended. On the other hand, Dr. Pusey maintains that neither philological nor historical reasons exist, to shake the old belief that
every judgment formed upon the scope of the Hebrew language can be only relative, since a large part of the wealth of this tongue is lost for us. This may be inferred from the number of dras elpnuéva, and also from the number of essential roots which are found in Aramæan and in Arabic, and which are wanting in Hebrew. Leusden, with his almost Massoretic patience, counted the words which appear in the Hebrew and the Biblical Chaldee, and found five thousand, six hundred and forty-two of them. The number of Hebrew roots is estimated at five hundred.
It may be understood that, notwithstanding this apparent poverty, the Hebrew language was quite sufficient for the needs of the people who spoke it, upon considering how well the mechanism of the Semitic forms is adapted to supplement the number of the roots. It seems as if the Shemites had purposed an economy of stem-words, and had aspired to draw from each one of them, by means of derivation, all it could contain. It is in this sense that M. Ewald could say with truth that the derivation of forms (Bildung) is the dominant process of the Semitic tongues.? To see, behold, distrust, look out for, experience, appear, present one's self, show, cause to experience, for, experience, appear, present one's self, show, cause to experience, are so many ideas which, among us, demand different words, and which, in Hebrew, are expressed by the verbal forms of the root, 0787; prophet, vision, mirror, look, form, appearance, resemblance, are substantives derived from it. The root ofi, marking the idea of elevation, produces: to ascend, show one's self mighty, bring up children, build a house, raise, remove, give victory, celebrate, raise the voice, levy a tax, take away, offer a sacrifice, be proud, height, heap, pride, sacrifice, present. D?p, to stand, expresses by its different forms : to arise, exist, appear, believe, dwell, persevere, ratify, be well, live, keep alive, verify, enjoin, construct, rebuild, rebel, bring up, establish, stature, pride, station, substance, thing, place, dwelling, revolt, enemy, means of resistance, adversary. What a parsimony of roots processes of derivation so extended allow a language!
Did the Hebrew language know variety of dialects ? It can hardly be doubted a priori, when the most cultivated languages are seen to vary with the slightest territorial divisions, and to disintegrate themselves, so to speak, under the pressure of the popular mouth. However, almost all the Hebrew works which remain to us, having been written at Jerusalem, and in a language regarded as classic, no positive testimony allows us to establish the number and the character of these different dialects. The fact reported in the Book of Judges (xii. 6), attests among the Ephraimites a variety of pronouncing us but plainly that is not argument enough to constitute an Ephraimitish dialect. The ground upon which it has been desired to establish Danite, Idumean, Judaic (of the tribe of Judah), etc., dialects, are not more solid. The passage of Nehemiah (xiii. 23, 24) proves only one thing, viz., that the speech of Ashdod, or, in other terms, that of the Philistines, differed from the pure Hebrew; which was known from other sources. In short, the attempts of critics to detect in the style of such a book, or of such an author, characteristic provincialisms, do not appear to have reached any decisive result. "
Ecclesiastes is Solomon's. Lectures on Daniel, p. 327 sq. Dr. Tayler Lewis supports the same view of the Antiquity and Authorship, in the American Elition of Lange's Commentary, vol. X of the Old Testament.-TR.
i Upon the means remaining to us, apart from the Biblical text, for filling out the Hebrew dictionary, see Gesenius. Gesch, der hebr. Spr. 214, and Hebr. und chald. Handwerterbuch, Vorr. Cf. A. Schultens, De defectibus hodiernis linguo hebraicæ, and Walckenaer, Observat. ad Orig. græcas, obs. 26.
2 Gramm, der hebr. Spr. $11.
It must be supposed that the tribes of the North, adjoining Syria, spoke, from the time of the kingdom of Israel, a dialect nearer the Aramaean ; in fact, the names of the two cities 107 and 72 present us with two Aramæan words, and one Chaldæan dual form. The Samaritan, which represents to us pretty well the vulgar language of these countries, belongs to the Aramean group, rather than to the Canaanite or Hebrew group. Finally, at the commencement of the Christian era, we still find in the north of Palestine a different dialect from that of Jerusalem. The mingling of foreign races with the Israelites, which had always obtained in the north of Palestine (orian Somathe circle of the Gentiles, Galilæa gentium), was without doubt the cause of these changes.
It must then be believed that, below the standard language, which alone has been transmitted to us, there existed a popular speech, partaking of patois, loaded with provincialisms, and variable according to districts. Dialect and incorrectness are two very closely connected ideas; the very word dialect designated, in its origin, the common language in opposition to the written.” However simple be the mechanism of the Hebrew language it may be believed that it was yet too difficult for the people, and that many errors passing into usage, constituted here and there local peculiarities. It is thus that in Ezekiel, Zechariah, and the works of which the style is least pure, we often find irregular forms : nx for the masculine, ons for the feminine:
and even already the Nithpael_form which הוֹשַׁבְתִּים for הוֹשְׁבוֹתִים
i Cf. Gesenius. Gesch, der hebr. Spr. 215.
2 H' ka@' nuépav Sládektos, from datéyouar " to discourse." This is still the sense of the word διάλεκτος in Aristotle.
acquired much importance in the rabbinical Hebrew. The numerous confusions to which the conjugation of the irregular verbs gives rise, must be viewed in the same manner as a relic of those incorrigible usages of the people, always incapable of submitting its speech to a fixed mechanism.
Another fact not less worthy of remark, is the striking analogy which all these provincial irregularities have with the Aramæan. It seems that even before the captivity the popular patois approximated much to that tongue, so that it is now impossible for us to distinguish very clearly, in the style of certain writings, what belongs to the popular dialect, or to the patois of the kingdom of Israel, or to the influence of the time of the captivity. We think, at least, that this last cause cannot explain the Aramaisms which occur, either in very ancient pieces, like the song of Deborah, and the mashal of Balaam, or in the works which appear to belong to the best epoch of Hebrew poesy, like the Song of Songs. We prefer, with M. Ewald, to see in these Aramaisms, popular or provincial forms of speech. Amos and Hosea, who belong to the commencement of the eighth century, and consequently to an epoch when Aramean influence is out of the question, present in their style many like peculiarities, doubtless because both approximate the popular style, and perhaps also because the second was a native of the kingdom of Israel.” It is to be remarked, in conclusion, that the Semitic languages differ less in the mouth of the people than in books. The vulgar Arabic, for instance, is much nearer the Hebrew, or the Syriac, than the literary Arabic. It might be said that the more or less learned mechanisms which distinguish the different dialects from each other, are nice superfluities to which the vulgar never attained. So true is it that, in a general sense, there is really only one Semitic tongue !
GEORGE H. WHITTEMORE. ROCHESTER, N. Y.
1 Cf. Gesenius, Gesch., p. 56: Lehrg. der hebr. Spr., & 71, 4, Anmerk.
? Cf. Ewald, Kritische Gramm. 8 6; Gramm. der hebr. Spr., & 5. Cf. E. Bæhl. De aramaismis libri Koheleth (Erlangæ, 1860).
3 Eichhorn saw Samaritanisms in these peculiarities of the style of Amos and of Hosea. Quite correctly, if by Samaritan be understood the language of the kingdom of Israel, having always a strong Aramuan tinge ; but Gesenius remarks, with justice, that the name of Samaritan is employed, according to usage, only to designate a language of much more modern formation.