Particle Demonstrative


Demonstrative particles function to direct the attention of a listener or reader.


Biblical Hebrew has only a few demonstrative particles, with the two most common ones being הִנֵּה and הֵ֣ן. The specific function of a demonstrative particle is to draw attention to whatever immediately follows the particle, either a single word or an entire phrase. Similar to the exhortation particle, demonstrative particles are sometimes left untranslated. Demonstrative particles can stand alone or take a pronominal suffix and/or a prefixed conjunction.


Directs the attention of the listener

When used in direct speech, the demonstrative particle functions to direct the attention of the person listening to the speech. This function of the demonstrative particle also serves to make a presentation of a person/thing from one person to another (see GEN 12:19 below).

Example: JOS 3:11

הִנֵּה֙ אֲרֹ֣ון הַבְּרִ֔ית אֲדֹ֖ון כָּל־הָאָ֑רֶץ עֹבֵ֥ר לִפְנֵיכֶ֖ם


hinneh ‘arown habberith ‘adown kol-ha’arets ‘over lifnekhem


Look ark-of the-covenant-of lord-of all_the-earth is-crossing

before-you into-the-Jordan.

Look! The ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth

crosses over ahead of you into the Jordan.

Example: ISA 65:1

אָמַ֨רְתִּי֙ הִנֵּ֣נִי הִנֵּ֔נִי אֶל־גֹּ֖וי לֹֽא־קֹרָ֥א


‘amartiy hinneni hinneni ‘el-gowy lo-qora vishmi

I-said look-me look-me to_nation not_called by-my-name.

I said “”Here I am! Here I am!”” to a nation that did not call on my name.

Example: GEN 12:19

וְעַתָּ֕ה הִנֵּ֥ה אִשְׁתְּךָ֖ קַ֥ח וָלֵֽךְ׃

insert transliteration

and-now behold your-wife take and-go

Now therefore here is your wife. Take her

and go your way.

Directs the attention of the reader

When used in narrative or poetry (not in direct speech), the demonstrative particles functions to direct the attention of the person reading the text. This function of the demonstrative particle often directs the attention of the reader to a scene that a person within the narrative is observing at that moment (see GEN 1:31 and GEN 8:13 below).

Example: ISA 40:10

הִנֵּ֤ה שְׂכָרֹו֙ אִתֹּ֔ו

hinneh sekharow ‘ittow

Look his-reward with-him

See, his reward is with him

Example: GEN 1:31

וַיַּ֤רְא אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֔ה וְהִנֵּה־ט֖וֹב מְאֹ֑ד

insert transliteration

And-he-saw God [dir.obj]_all_that he-made and-behold _good very

God saw everything that he had made. Behold, it was very good.

Example: GEN 8:13

וַיַּ֕רְא וְהִנֵּ֥ה חָֽרְב֖וּ פְּנֵ֥י הָֽאֲדָמָֽה

insert transliteration

And-he-saw and-behold it-was-dry face-of []-ground

looked out, and saw that behold the surface of the ground was dry