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If we trust Biblehub's parsing information, yerek is in the construct form, hammizbeah is in the absolute form with the definite article, and saponah is in the absolute form with a 3FS possessive prefix. Thus, וְשָׁחַ֨ט אֹתֹ֜ו עַ֣ל יֶ֧רֶךְ הַמִּזְבֵּ֛חַ צָפֹ֖נָה לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה might be rendered, "And he will slay it upon the side of the altar, her north, to the face of YHWH."

Now, this might make sense if "her" referred to the altar, but that's impossible because the word for altar is masculine. Thus, I am puzzled trying to decipher the grammar of this verse.

How would you explain the grammar of יֶ֧רֶךְ הַמִּזְבֵּ֛חַ צָפֹ֖נָה to an independent Hebrew student?

1 Answer 1


This might be an issue with how their parsing database is coded. The website parses צָפוֹן correctly as a feminine-gender noun, but it parses incorrectly because it analyzes the ending ה- as a 3rd person, singular number, feminine gender pronominal suffix, when in fact it is the locative suffix, which happens to be spelled identically to the pronominal suffix. Another obvious example of the parsing error occurs in Genesis 28:14:

Biblehub parsing, Genesis 28:14

In reality, צָפֹנָה consists of the feminine-gender noun צָפוֹן (tzafon) with the locative suffix ה-. This suffix typically expresses direction to or towards an object.

Gesenius wrote,1

Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, p. 159, §90

Hence, שְׁאֹלָה (Sheʾola) means “to Sheʾol.”2 Likewise, צָפֹנָה (tzafona) means “toward the north” or “northward.”


1 p. 159, §90
2 Gen. 37:35


Gesenius, Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm. Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar. Ed. Rödiger, Emil. 17th ed. Trans. Conant, Thomas Jefferson. New York: Appleton, 1887.

  • 1
    The parsing in Logos Software still calls it noun, feminine, singular, but then has directional heh ending.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 13:32
  • Not being an Hebrew scholar - may I ask if the locative suffix you mention is the Hebrew way of expressing a dative case ? In Greek, a locative meaning would normally be expressed by the dative case of the noun being used.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 15:50
  • 2
    @NigelJ—No, it’s actually more or less equivalent to εἰς followed by a substantive in the accusative, e.g., בָּבֶלָה & εἰς Βαβυλῶνα (2 Kings 24:15). Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 18:26

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