Introduction: Biblical Hebrew verbs
have: stem (voice), tense (mood), person, gender,
Stem (voice): The stem gives the theme
of the verb. There are 7 basic stems in
Biblical Hebrew. The active voice is expressed by the Qal, Piel, and Hiphil stems.
The middle voice is expressed by the Niphal and Hithpael stems. The passive voice is
expressed by the Niphal, Pual and Hophal stems.
- Qal Stem: A simple active theme.
- Niphal Stem: A simple passive/middle theme.
- Piel Stem: An intensive active theme.
- Pual Stem: An intensive passive theme.
- Hiphil Stem: A causative active theme.
- Hophal Stem: A causative passive theme.
- Hithpael Stem: A reflexive theme.
Tense (mood): In Hebrew, tense is
viewed, basically, as completed or incomplete
action. The context where the verb is found, and other verbal forms (participles,
infinitives, etc.) provide other shades of meanings related to tense such as past,
present, and future. Mood, the relation of the verb to reality, is determined by
context or other verbal forms (imperatives, cohortatives, etc.).
- Perfect: Completed action.
- Imperfect: Incomplete action.
Other verb forms that are related to tense or mood;
- Imperative: Command, etc.
- Participle: A verbal adjective that expresses a state of continued activity, etc.,
sometimes ending in "-ing.
- Infinitive: A verbal noun sometimes translated starting with to be, or ending with
- Cohortative and Jussive: Indicate volition, exhortation, or command - "let us."
Person: Hebrew verbs use a first, second, or third person.
Gender: Hebrew verbs use the masculine, feminine, or common genders.
Number: Hebrew verbs are singular or plural.