Quartz Hill School of Theology

Lesson 9: Verbs Continued



Translation Singular    Plural
mountain הַר הָרִים
land, earth אֲדָמָה אֲדָמוֹת
tent אֹהֶלאֹהָלִים
messenger, angel     מַלְאָךְמַלְאָכִים
eternity, world עוֹלָםעוֹלָמִים
apple (m.) תַּפּוּחַתַּפּוּחִים
tablet (m.) לוּחַלוּחוֹת
city (f.) עִירעָרִים


Translation     Hebrew
to remember     זָכַר
to ride רָכַב
to go out יָצָא
to sit, to dwell     יָשַׁב
to know יָדַע
to see רָאָה
to stealגָּנַב

The Basic Verbal Pattern

Almost all Hebrew verbs have roots consisting of three consonents. To these three consonents may be added various vowels and sometimes additional consonents.

The consonents that are added to a verb may appear at the beginning, middle or end. Those that are added to the beginning of the root are called prefixes, those added to the middle are called infixes, and those added to the end are called suffixes. The additional consonents will be consistent for all verbs, regardless of the root.

The vowels that are added to the root will likewise form a consistent and recognizable pattern in how they are attached to the consonents.

Naming the Three Consonents

In the Middle Ages the Hebrew word for verb was פֹּעַל, a secondary meaning from its use in the Bible meaning action or deed. Since Hebrew verbs are made up of three consonents, the Medieval grammarians used the three consonents of פֹּעַל to label the three consonents of any verb. Thus, the first consonent in a verb is called the פ pe consonent, the second consonent is called the ע ayin consonent, and the third consonent is called the ל lamed consonent. Thus, for example, a verb ending in א is called a lamed aleph verb. An example would be יָצָא, which in addition to being lamed aleph is also pe yod.

Weak vs. Strong Verbs

The verbs you have thus far been exposed to have been what are classified as strong verbs. This means that the root consonents show up in all the verbal forms. This may sound strange, and even a little scary to the beginning student, but those verbs which have yod י, vav ו, heh ה, aleph א, or begin with a nun נ are classified as weak verbs, because there are certain situations where these consonents will be assimilated (that is, the consonents will disappear or cause odd behavior with the vowels). You'll learn about weak verbs in future lessons. For now, you'll be learning just the strong verbs.

The Qal Perfect

You have already learned the Qal Participle. The Qal Perfect is formed by adding certain suffixes to the root consonents. These suffixes are the same for the perfect of all Hebrew verbs.

The suffixes give information about the person, gender, and number. Thus, it is not necessary to add personal pronouns to the perfect.

The perfect will usually be translated into English as some sort of past tense. However, the perfect is not actually a past tense. Instead, it refers to completed action. There will be times when the perfect is better translated as a present or even a future tense in English. REMEMBER: Biblical Hebrew (unlike Modern Hebrew) does not have past, present, and future tenses.

Please memorize the following paradigm, which uses קָטַל as an example. Remember, you can plug in any three consonents you like.

Qal Perfect


Translation     Verb     Gender    Pronoun
he killed קָטַל m. הוּא
she killedקָטְלָהf. הִיא
you killedקָטַלְתָּm.אַתָּה
you killedקָטַלְתְּf. אַתְּ
I killedקָטַלְתִּיm. or f.אֲנִי


Translation     Verb    Gender    Pronoun
they killedקָטְלוּm.הֵם
they killedקָטְלוּf. הֵן
you killedקְטַלְתֶּםm.אַתֶּם
you killedקְטַלְתֶּןf.אַתֵּן
we killedקָטַלְנוּm. or f.אֲנַחְנוּ


Please read pages 79-83 in Biblical Hebrew Step-by-Step.


1. Memorize the Qal perfect conjugation and all the vocabulary words above.

2. Do the Exercises on pages 83-84.

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Website: www.theology.edu

Quartz Hill School of Theology
43543 51st Street West
Quartz Hill, CA 93536

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