adjective is a word that describes a person(s), place(s), or thing(s).
Within a sentence, an adjective usually describes a noun.
In Bibical Hebrew, adjectives match the noun they describe in gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural). However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If a noun is dual, its accompanying adjective will be plural. Also, the gender of some nouns does not match their apparent form (as in נָשִׁים “women”, which is grammatically-feminine although it appears grammatically-masculine); in these cases, an accompanying adjective will match the gender of the noun itself rather than the apparent form. Similarly, for nouns with either collective singular (as in עַם, meaning “people”) or majestic plural (as in אֱלֹהִים, meaning “God”), the accompanying adjective may match the implied number rather than the apparent form.
The forms of the adjective closely resemble the forms of the common noun.
|masculine singular absolute||טוֹב||tov||good|
|masculine singular construct||טוֹב||tov||good|
|masculine singular determined||הַטּוֹב||hattov||the good|
|feminine singular absolute||טוֹבָה||tovah||good|
|feminine singular construct||טוֹבַת||tovath||good|
|feminine singular determined||הַטּוֹבָה||hattovah||the good|
|masculine plural absolute||טוֹבִים||tovim||good|
|masculine plural construct||טוֹבֵי||tove||good|
|masculine plural determined||הַטּוֹבִים||hattovim||the good|
|feminine plural absolute||טוֹבוֹת||tovoth||good|
|feminine plural construct||טוֹבוֹת||tovoth||good|
|feminine plural determined||הַטּוֹבוֹת||hattovoth||the good|
Describes a noun¶
In Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic, an
attributive adjective almost always immediately follows the noun that it describes and has the same form in gender, number, and definiteness.
Thus, if the noun is masculine, the adjective is also masculine. If the noun is singular, the adjective is also singular.
If the noun is definite, the adjective is also definite; and so on.
|my older daughter|
|כִּ֣י עִ֤יר גְּדוֹלָה֙ גִּבְע֔וֹן|
|ki ‘ir gedolah giv’on|
|for city great Gibeon|
|because Gibeon was a large city|
Predicative adjectives are adjectives that describe nouns using a linking verb.
Often the linking verb is not present in the Hebrew text and must be supplied when translating into English.
Like attributive adjectives, a predicative adjective usually has the same form as the noun it
describes in both gender and number. Unlike attributive adjectives, however, a predicative
adjective can be indefinite even if it describes a definite noun.
|My master is wise|
|טֹ֥וב דְּבַר־יְהוָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר דִּבַּ֑רְתָּ|
|towv devar-yehwah ‘asher dibbarta|
|Good word-of_Yahweh that you-spoke.|
|The word of Yahweh that you have spoken is good.|
nominal adjective is an adjective that itself functions as a noun in the sentence rather than describing a noun.
|רַ֝בִּ֗ים קָמִ֥ים עָלָֽי|
|rabbim qamim ‘alay|
|many are-rising-up against-me|
|many people are rising up against me|
|לָכֵ֗ן כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ קְד֣וֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל|
|lakhen koh ‘amar qedosh yisra’el|
|Therefore thus he-says holy-of Israel|
|Therefore the Holy One of Israel says,|
adverbial adjective is an adjective that functions as an adverb,
meaning that it describes a verb instead of a noun.
|כִּ֥י לָהֶ֛ם הָיָ֥ה הַגּוֹרָ֖ל רִיאשֹׁנָֽה|
|ki lahem hayah haggoral rishonah|
|for to-them it-was the-lot first|
|For the first casting of lots had fallen to them.|
Other uses of adjectives¶
adjectives that compare two or more items¶
comparative adjective expresses a comparison between two or more items.
In Biblical Hebrew, comparative adjectives are often used either with the preposition מִן (“from”) or with the phrase מִכֹּל (“from all”).
|מַה־מָּת֣וֹק מִדְּבַ֔שׁ וּמֶ֥ה עַ֖ז מֵאֲרִ֑י|
|mah-mmathoq middevash umeh ‘az me’ari|
|What_sweet than-honey and-what strong from-lion|
|What is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger than a lion|
|וְהַנָּחָשׁ֙ הָיָ֣ה עָר֔וּם מִכֹּל֙ חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה|
|wehannahash hayah ‘arum mikkol hayyath hassadeh|
|And-the-serpent was shrewd from-all beings-of the-field|
|Now the serpent was more shrewd than any other beast of the field|
adjectives with stronger meaning¶
intensive adjective has a stronger degree of meaning than a typical adjective.
In Biblical Hebrew, the meaning of an adjective can be strengthened by pairing it either with the word מְאֹד (“very”) or with the phrase לֵאלֹהִים (“to God”).
|Behold, it was very good|
|a very large city|
adjectives with strongest meaning¶
superlative adjective has a meaning strengthened to its greatest degree.
Biblical Hebrew can use different ways to make an adjective superlative. Usually, the superlative meaning of an adjective must be determined from the context.
|עֹ֚וד שָׁאַ֣ר הַקָּטָ֔ן|
|‘owd sha’ar haqqatan|
|Still remains the-young|
|There remains yet the youngest|
|the best of them is like a brier|
|the fairest among women|