The Hebrew script used in these lessons are the internet Hebrew Unicodes and are best viewed with the David.ttf font uploaded to your fonts folder.
In Verbs part 1 we learned that each Hebrew verb identifies;
- Person (first, second or third) of the subject of the verb
- Gender (masculine or feminine) of the subject of the verb
- Number (singular or plural) of the subject of the verb
- Tense (perfect or imperfect) of the verb
- And sometimes the gender and number of the object of the verb
In the next couple of lessons we will learn that each Hebrew verb also includes the following.
- Voice (active, passive or reflexive) of the verb
- Mood (simple, causative or intensive) of the verb
Hebrew verbs have three voices - active, passive and reflexive. In the active voice the subject of the verb is imparting the action of the verb. For instance, in the phrase קצר יעקב (qatsar ya'aqov) Jacob is performing the action of the cutting - "Jacob cut" (In Verbs part 1, all of the verbs learned there are in the active voice). In the passive voice the action of the verb is imparted on the subject of the verb so, in the phrase נקצר יעקב (niq'tsar ya'aqov) the action of cutting is imparted on Jacob - "Jacob was cut." In the reflexive voice the action of the verb is imparted on the subject of the verb by the subject of the verb. In the phrase התקצר יעקב (hitqatser ya'aqov) Jacob performs the action of cutting onto himself - "Jacob cut himself." Below is a chart with the conjugations of the active, passive and reflexive verb voices of קצר in the perfect tense.
Generally speaking the passive voice verbs in the perfect tense are identified by the prefix נ (nee) and the reflexive voice verbs in the perfect tense are identified by the prefix הת" (heet).
However, when it comes to the passive voice in the imperfect tense the only difference between the passive and the active is a change in the vowel sounds. Reflexive voice in the imperfect tense does not include the first letter of the reflexive prefix - ה, instead the second letter - ת, is placed after the prefix identifying the subject of the verb. The chart below includes the active, passive and reflexive conjugations for the verb קצר in the imperfect tense.
The first time a person is confronted with these various conjugations of a verb they feel overwhelmed. Do not let this frustrate you as there are a few of things to keep in mind.
Some of the more common conjugations will be easily recognized simply because of the extensive number of times they are used in the text. For instance the verb conjugation ויאמר (vay-yo-mer) meaning "and he said" is used 2084 times in the Hebrew Bible (ten times in Genesis chapter one alone).
The vast majority of the verbs in the Hebrew Bible are in the pa'al (simple, active) form which is the simplest form of the verbs.
There are several resources available to assist the Hebrew student to easily identify these conjugations (more on this in a later lesson).