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individual who should “conceive and bear a son;" for which reason he makes use of the definite article ; for were he to omit it, and use the term nebe alone, he would manifest that he himself did not know to what individual person his prophecy referred. Thus the prophet employs the article to show that the object to which it relates was definite to his own mind, although the neglect of a further specification still leaves room for doubt in the minds of his readers as to the particular person alluded to.
The other examples adduced of the use of the article in cases where it is not employed in English can by no means be classed with the passage Is. 7: 14, and all admit of a much easier solution. Thus the article is frequently used after the 3 of similitude by writers both of prose and poetry, in order to give emphasis to the noun the comparison is made with, which usually denotes some well known object (see § 720. I. 2. a.). You here cite a rule laid down by Gesenius in his Lexicon, that the article after the 2 of similitude is omitted, when followed by another word which renders it definite ; and kindly remind me that I have failed to notice this circumstance, at the same time stating it as your opinion, not only that it requires notice, but that the numerous cases where the 3 of similitude is followed by a noun not made definite and which is also without the article, require a particular, thorough investigation.
To this I reply, that I did not notice Gesenius's rule because I consider it as either superfluous or erroneous. For if Gesenius means, as you seem to suppose, that the article is omitted after the 3 of similitude when the noun is followed by another which is definite, this needs no mention, since the first noun as a matter of course never receives the article (see § 717. II. b. a. ß.y). Does he however mean, as I think he does from the examples he adduces, that the article after > is omitted whenever the noun is qualified by a following adjective, participle, or noun with a preposition, this does not hold good ;* since we also find nouns with a taking the article when followed by a qualificative adjective, e. g. Siz ove like the precious ointment, Ps. 133:2; nam nisin buna, like these good figs, Jer. 24: 5,8.
* It is true that in the Latin edition of his Lexicon (1833), the assertion is restricted by a “plerumque,” for the most part ; but in the last German edition since published (1834), and which must be taken as giving the author's latest views, no qualifying expression is made use of.
29: 17 ; or participle, e. g. bou39 like the early dew, Hos. 6:4, 13:3, we like the troubled sea, Is. 57:20, 12 Damans, like water spilt, 2 Sam. 14:14: while on the other hand, as you justly observe, comparisons are made with equal or still greater frequency by means of without the article, before nouns which are not followed by any such qualifying term; thus we have yiap like the chaff, Is. 41: 15, Ps. 1: 4, and pins like chaff, Hos. 13:3; we like the eagle, Jer. 48 : 40, 49 : 16, 22, Ps. 103: 5, and we like an eagle, Deut. 32: 11, Job 9: 26 ; une like the serpent, Jer. 46: 22, and wing like a serpent, Prov. 23 : 32 ; 89539 like the lioness, Isa. 5 : 29, and "as like a lioness, Num. 23 : 24, Deut. 33: 20, Hos. 13:8, so 17.??Xlike a lion, Gen. 49 : 9, Ps. 7:3, 17: 12; ning like the mighty man, Is. 42: 13, and jaap like a mighty man, Zech. 10:7, Job 16:4. Here we see both that a noun with sometimes has the article even followed by an adjective or participle; and again, frequently has it not, even when destitute of such qualification. But in fact, the use or omission of the article after > entirely depends on whether the writer desires to lay an emphasis on the name of the thing with which the comparison is made or not; just as one may say in English, “ the lion shall eat straw like the ox,” or “a lion shall eat straw like an ox:” and in the examples given by Gesenius without the article, the article is omitted not on account of the following word, but simply because the writer views the noun as indefinite, and expresses it accordingly. But when he views the noun as definite and hence lays a stress upon it, he places the article before the noun, and either uses or omits it before the following adjective or particle (see examples given above); and if this noun, instead of being followed by a qualificative, be in construction with another following noun, he will of course place the article before this latter only, e. g. 1907 Bino like the sand of the sea, Gen. 32: 12, 41:49, Is. 10:22,77ablike the head of the lion, 2 Sam. 17:10, Ezek. 18:4, ban gis like the fourt of the air, Hos. 7: 12.
Now your query: When is the 3 of similitude followed by the article, and when not? I would change into the following: When does the writer usually lay a stress upon the noun with which the comparison is made, and consequently prefix the article to it; and when does he not? To this I would reply by giving the following rule, viz. that when the writer makes a comparison with something that is generally known, presenting
the noun that denotes it unrestricted in its qualities before the reader, who is expected to recall to mind all the attributes of the object in order to rightly understand the comparison, he generally lays a stress upon such noun, and accordingly places the article before it: thus, “ thou shalt make the hills like the chaff,” Is. 41: 15; “thy youth shall renew itself like the eagle,” Ps. 103: 5, etc. etc. But when he qualifies and restricts the meaning of the noun in any way, either by an adjective, participle, verb, or relative pronoun—the noun forming the subject, or by a preposition that indicates its relation to another noun, so that the reader is not left to recall its attributes by an unaided effort of mind, he generally lays no stress upon it, and accordingly leaves it without the article; thus,“ like chaf that passeth away,” Is. 29:5, Hos. 13:3;“ as an eagle stirreth up her nest,” Deut. 32:11, etc. etc. We even meet with examples of both these kinds of construction in one and the same
. they shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine ; turn back thy hand as a grape-gatherer into the baskets, Is. 6:9, 23, the fire? saith the Lord'; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces ? 23: 29. But, be it remembered, these rules will hold good generally, but not always; for a writer sometimes lays no stress upon the noun even when left unrestricted, and vice versa.
In the examples next quoted, as in the lion, 1979 the bear, In the kid, the use of the article may also be easily accounted for, and cannot in my opinion be likened to that of ripsm. In these instances the context shows that the writer means merely one of the class spoken of, without designing to specify any individual in particular, and where accordingly we would use the indefinite article. But, as I have said in my Grammar, the Hebrew writer here uses the definite article emphatically, to render prominent the nature and properties of the class of objects denoted, rather than the object itself” (§ 720. II. 2. a.); thus David in giving to Saul a proof of his courage and strength says, 51707 X X 7 and there came the lion and the bear, 1 Sam. 17: 34, meaning, there came one of each of those powerful, ferocious animals, the lion and the bear, and still I slew them ; so too the passages, 1 Kings 20 : 36, Amos 5: 19, also Judg. 14: 6, Samson rent the lion as one rends the kid (77 sour), that young and tender animal. This explana
tion coincides with the principle laid down by Ewald, which is recommended by you to my serious attention and quoted in the following words, “ the article is used with nouns that signify a species in order to designate an individual and all possible like individuals of the same species definitely separated or distinguished from other different species ;” but with this difference, that in stating that the writer uses the article in such to render prominent the nature and properties of the class of objects denoted, rather than the individual objects themselves," I think I have hit nearer the mark, and will also be more easily understood by others.
Having given you my opinion respecting the use of the article in the word niqsa Is. 7: 14, and in the other instances which you have incidentally introduced, I now proceed to your second query, of a contrary nature, i. e. with regard to the omission of the article in the passage au Dan. 9 : 25, where the English version employs the definite article, thus, “ from the going forth of the command to return and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince," etc. Your question is, “ Is it admissible by the laws of Hebrew grammar to translate this passage as it now stands in our version ? is it correct to translate unto the Messiah, when in Hebrew the article is omitted ?!!. To this I answer, that in my opinion it is correct, and in accordance with the principle I have given above, viz. that the prophet or poet frequently omits the article even where the noun must be regarded as definite (see p. 413): and the example in Dan. 9:25, I take to be one of this kind ; since, if we examine the entire passage, we find that the prophet in his vivid description of the vision he has seen likewise omits the article before other nouns where the prose writer would be required to use it, as they are undoubtedly definite; thus in the expression - 7 xra the going forth of the command, etc., the word command is specific, and in prose would take the article ; again in verse 26, u ought to have the article because mentioned before in v. 25, yet it is omitted. Hence we are justified in asserting that nun is not left anarthrous because the prophet wishes to make his statement indefinite, but because its definiteness is so clear and obvious before his excited mind, that he considers it unnecessary to point it out by means of the article. The assertion of Hengstenberg, that nun is here used as a proper noun, is incorrect, as you rightly observe ; since in that case the following would necessarily take the article.
Your last question, “ Are there any fixed principles with regard to such omission of the article by the poets ?” is difficult to answer, as it principally depends on the subjective state of the poet's mind; but it may be generally remarked that he omits the article with a definite noun only where the context or the nature of the noun would prevent any ambiguity from this cause, as in a the king, Ps. 21:2, Esth. 1: 19; mu the Messiah, Dan. 9 : 25, where only one individual can be alluded to; as also in the case of monadic objects, e. g. won the sun, 7 the earth, Ps. 2:2, Job 9:24. The article is also not unfrequently omitted by a poet before a noun in one clause of a sentence when it is prefixed to a corresponding noun in another and parallel clause, as in ls. 11: 5, 13: 10, 13, Ezek. 7: 27. (See Gram. 718.)
I have thus endeavored to answer your grammatical inquiries according to my opinions; but I am not sure that this will remove your difficulties. I have done so with pleasure, and shall always be ready, if health will permit, to discuss any grammatical topic, even of a graver nature than the above, which you may in future find time or inclination to suggest. In the meantime I am, dear sir, Yours with great respect and esteem,