Hebrew Pronouns


In my research, pronouns are assumed when translating the Masoretic Text because they don’t actually appear there…is this correct?


Yes and no. There are pronouns in Hebrew — both in Biblical Hebrew and in Modern Hebrew … and they’re the same pronouns. “hu” = he. “he” = she. “hem” = them. “mi” = who, “ashar” = that / which, etc…

However, it is not necessary to use such pronouns in Hebrew as much as pronouns are used in English because unlike English verbs, a Hebrew verb has a special form for each person (whether 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person masculine, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person feminine, etc…) So where as in English if you want to say someone walked, you must use the word “he” or “she” and say for example “he walked.” In Hebrew, on the other hand, if you want to say “he walked” you only need to say “halakh” (walked) … and the verb will have it’s own special form for whether it is a “he” or a “she” or a masculine or feminine “them” that walked.


You could say “hu halakh” (he walked), but it is unnecessary since simply saying “halakh” means the same thing — and Biblical Hebrew especially tends to use the briefest way of saying things, but it’s not that we have no pronouns or that the pronoun is simply guessed or inferred. You don’t guess that “halakh” is “he walked” instead of “she walked” because “halakh” can only refer to a one single masculine individual who walked. Where as if it were to intend to a woman, it would say “halkha.” If it were to refer to several mean who walked, it would say “halkhu,” and so on.


In English the verb stays the same — “walk” — and you just add “he” “she” or “they” before the word… and sometimes you add “ed” at the end of the verb (walked), but the vowels of the verb stay the same… it will always be w-a-l-k… but in Hebrew the vowels change entirely depending upon whether it was a he, she, or they. A theoretical way you might do it in English would be “walk” = He walked, “wolka” = she walked, “wolku” = they walked, “walkti” (i walked).

Hope you get the idea. It’s not just guess work… it’s just not English.

All the best!


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