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טו וַתִּפֹּל שְׁבָא וַתִּקָּחֵם, וְאֶת-הַנְּעָרִים הִכּוּ לְפִי-חָרֶב; וָאִמָּלְטָה רַק-אֲנִי לְבַדִּי, לְהַגִּיד לָךְ.

This verse, Job 1:15, ends with "and I alone escaped to tell you". The "you" in Hebrew is in the feminine form, indicating that it is a woman to whom the servant escaped to give the message. While Job is quite obviously not a woman: why is the feminine pronoun used to refer to Job here and several other places in this chapter?

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I really do not understand the voting system on this site. How can you write something totally misguided (see the two answers) and still get rewarded 7 points? – fdb Mar 18 '14 at 19:58
@fdb I'm not sure I understand you correctly. Are you asking why a question to which the asker does not know the answer, should be appreciated? Or are you saying that I shouldn't have asked a question about a text I misunderstood? As for the voting system: A question is not voted up because it correctly understands a text or has all the answers. This question was voted up because it is a relevant question, and because it is worth publicizing so others with the same question can learn from the excellent answers. – Niobius Mar 19 '14 at 11:56
If you ask: “Is the moon made of green cheese?”, we can answer the question and say “No”. If you ask: “Why is the moon made of green cheese?” then we need to say that you are misguided. – fdb Mar 19 '14 at 12:06
up vote 15 down vote accepted

That's not feminine; that's masculine. These are "pausal forms", so when the preposition lamed plus 2 msc sg suffix would normally be lĕkā, in "pause" it is lāk -- which is the same form as the 2 fem sg, and thus the confusion.

See Gesenius-Kautzsch-Cowley, Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (2nd edn; Clarendon Press, 1910), at § 29n, p. 97 (last line of that paragraph).

Most grammars will give you a section on pausal forms (check index). There's a nice article by E.J. Revell, "Pausal Forms in Biblical Hebrew: Their Function, Origin and Significance", Journal of Semitic Studies 25 (1980): 165-179 [first article listed in ToC] if you're interested to dig deeper...

...or, even deeper, Richard Goerwitz's 1993 University of Chicago PhD dissertation, "Tiberian Hebrew Pausal Forms". See also the Jewish Encyclopedia article on "Accents in Hebrew" for the interaction of the accentual system with pausal forms (or, with encoding problems at that site, see the original page scans).

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It's not a feminine pronoun (although it looks like one)! Lakh (לָךְ) in this case is a form of the male pronoun lekha known as "pausal," which because of its position as the final word of the verse. Pausal forms generally expand a shva or e-vowel into a qamatz; for example, at the end of Genesis 1:1 eretz becomes aretz. See for example the chart here, or the examples of pausal lakh discussed here or here.

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