Pronoun Personal

Summary

In Biblical Hebrew, a personal pronoun is a word that indirectly refers to a particular person(s) or thing(s). In English, the following words are personal pronouns: “I”, “we”, “you”, “he”, “she”, “they”, “them”.

Article

In Biblical Hebrew, personal pronouns change form according to gender (masculine, number (feminine, and person (first, second, or third. Grammatically they are very similar to pronominal suffixes, but they stand alone rather than attaching to other kinds of words; also, they are more limited in their function.

Form

Paradigm

Personal Pronoun Paradigm
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
common singular first person אֲנִי / אָנֹכִי ‘ani / ‘anokhi I
masculine singular second person אַתָּה ‘attah you
feminine singular second person אַתְּ ‘at you
masculine singular third person הוּא hu he / it
feminine singular third person הִיא / הִוא hi / hiw she / it
common plural first person אֲנַחְנוּ ‘anahnu we
masculine plural second person אַתֶּם ‘attem you
feminine plural second person אַתֵּנָה ‘attenah you
masculine plural third person הֵם / הֵמָּה hem / hemmah they
feminine plural third person הֵן / הֵנָּה hen / hennah they

Function

As a general noun

Example: ISA 41:10
אַל־תִּירָא֙ כִּ֣י עִמְּךָ־אָ֔נִי אַל־תִּשְׁתָּ֖ע
כִּֽי־אֲנִ֣י אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ
‘al-tira’ ki ‘immekha-‘ani ‘al-tishta’ ki-‘ani ‘eloheykha
Not_fear for with-you_I not_be-anxious for_I your-God
Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be anxious, for I am
your God.
Example: EXO 6:2
אֲנִ֥י יְהוָֽה
‘ani yehwah
I Yahweh
I am Yahweh.
Example: JER 12:1
צַדִּ֤יק אַתָּה֙
tsaddiq ‘attah
righteous you
you are righteous

As subject of a finite verb

Sometimes an independent personal pronoun appears as the subject of a finite verb even though the pronominal subject is already indicated by the verb form iteself. In these cases, the personal pronoun functions to emphasize the personal role of the subject in performing the verbal action. When used in this way, the personal pronoun is often translated reflexively in English: “myself”, “yourself”, etc.

Example: 1KI 18:22
אֲנִ֞י נֹותַ֧רְתִּי נָבִ֛יא לַיהוָ֖ה
‘ani nowtharti navi layhwah
I I-am-left prophet for-Yahweh
I, I alone, am left as a prophet of Yahweh

As subject of a verbal participle

Example: DEU 8:1
אָנֹכִ֧י מְצַוְּךָ֛
‘anokhi metsawwekha
I am-commanding-you
I am giving you

In apposition with a noun or pronominal suffix

Sometimes a personal pronoun simply repeats a noun or pronominal suffix that has appeared earlier in the sentence. The specific function of the repeated pronoun must be discerned from the context in these cases, but often the repetition expresses some kind of emphasis on the identified person(s) or thing(s) within the sentence.

Example: GEN 27:34
בָּרֲכֵ֥נִי גַם־אָ֖נִי אָבִֽי
barakheni gam-‘ani ‘avi
Bless-me also_me my-father
Bless me, me also, my father
Example: EZR 7:6
ה֤וּא עֶזְרָא֙ עָלָ֣ה מִבָּבֶ֔ל
hu ‘ezra’ ‘alah mibbavel
He Ezra came-up from-Babylon
Ezra came up from Babylon
Example: GEN 36:1
עֵשָׂ֖ו ה֥וּא אֱדֽוֹם
‘esaw hu ‘edom
Esau he Edom
Esau (also called Edom)