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Jonah 1:11 (KJV 1900): Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee (לָּ֔ךְ) לָּ֔ךְ is a second person feminine pronominal suffix, which means that it cannot be referring to Jonah. So why do English translations have Jonah as the object there? I've checked some commentaries and all the translations that I've come across always point to Jonah. What am I missing? Is לָּ֔ךְ not a second person feminine pronoun?

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The MT for Jonah 1:11 is:

וַיֹּאמְר֤וּ אֵלָיו֙ מַה־נַּ֣עֲשֶׂה לָּ֔ךְ וְיִשְׁתֹּ֥ק הַיָּ֖ם מֵֽעָלֵ֑ינוּ כִּ֥י הַיָּ֖ם הוֹלֵ֥ךְ וְסֹעֵֽר

The translation (mine) is:

And they said to him, "What should we do with you, that will quiet the sea for us?", because the sea was increasingly stormier"

In this verse, לָּ֔ךְ is the second person masculine form of לך in phrase-final position. The altered pronunciation לָּ֔ךְ rather than the expected form לְךָ is intended to indicate a clause break, that we indicate with a comma when translating. The orthography is identical to second person feminine, but the context clarifies the gender. In practice, the pronunciation of the masculine phrase-final form of לך is drawn out a little more and lower in tone than would be the case if it were second person feminine.

The phrase final forms are called צורות הֶפְסֵק והֶקְשֵׁר, in Hebrew and the pausal form in English.

The pausal form of לך is very very common in the OT, especially at the end of a verse.

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As pointed out by Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim in his answer

The pausal form of לך is very very common in the OT

Another example is in Leviticus 21:8 Berean Study Bible

You are to regard him as holy, since he presents the food of your God. He shall be holy to you, because I the LORD am holy—I who set you apart.

https://biblehub.com/leviticus/21-8.htm

to you,
לָּ֔ךְ (lāḵ)
Preposition | second person feminine singular

Once again, the context shows that it should be masculine.

Here is a case that it is feminine in 2 Kings 4:2 New International Version

Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?" "Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a small jar of olive oil."

help you?”
לָּ֔ךְ (lāḵ)
Preposition | second person feminine singular

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Does the Ivri suffix "Khe" (ךְ) in Yonah 1:11 refer to a female? - No. The imperative phrase Lakh! (לָּךְ) uses a silent sheva [in the final kaf] (ךְ) to end the syllable. - In context to Yonah 1:11, Lakh! (לָּךְ) refers to [Yonah] the male prophet to "Leave!"

Yonah (יוֹנָֽה) / Jonah 1:11

[11] And-[they] said to-him, "What will we do? Leave!, And-[it]-will calm The-Sea from-upon-us since The-Sea [is] becoming stormier. (וַיֹּֽאמְר֚וּ אֵלָיו֙ מַה נַּֽ֣עֲשֶׂה לָּ֔ךְ וְיִשְׁתֹּ֥ק הַיָּ֖ם מֵֽעָלֵ֑ינוּ כִּ֥י הַיָּ֖ם הוֹלֵ֥ךְ וְסֹעֵֽר)"


We also find La-Khe (לָּךְ) used as "to-You" in Numbers 18:10 with a declarative statement referring to any individual male priest [Aharon "אַהֲרֹן" or his-son].

Bamidbar / Numbers 18:10

[10] In-Holy [of] The-Holies, You-shall eat [it]. Any male may eat of it. | Holy [it]-shall be to-You. ( בְּקֹ֥דֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁ֖ים תֹּֽאכְלֶ֑נּוּ כָּל־זָכָר֙ יֹאכַ֣ל אֹת֔וֹ | קֹ֖דֶשׁ יִֽהְיֶה לָּֽךְ )


If the imperative Lakh! (לָּךְ) from Yonah 1:11 is the same as the declarative "La-khe" (לָּךְ) from Bamidbar 18:10, then translators must consider the context in which (לָּךְ) is being used. - Why would a question be a solution to the storm in Yonah 1:11?

  • The imperative order is presumed to be the solution - "Leave! (לָּךְ), And-[it]-will calm The-Sea from-upon-us" ( וְיִשְׁתֹּ֥ק הַיָּ֖ם מֵֽעָלֵ֑ינוּ)

Are there other instances of final kaf's with a silent sheva (ךְ) in reference to a man? -Yes. We find multiple instances of (יֵלֵךְ) referring to men in [Judges 7:4].

Shoftim / Judges 7:4

[4] And YHVH said to Gideon, "The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will purify them for you there. And it shall be, that of whom I say to you, 'This [one] shall go with you,' He-shall-go with you, and of whomsoever I shall say to you, 'This [one] shall not go with you,' he shall not go." ( וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-גִּדְעוֹן, עוֹד הָעָם רָב, הוֹרֵד אוֹתָם אֶל-הַמַּיִם, וְאֶצְרְפֶנּוּ לְךָ שָׁם; וְהָיָה אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ זֶה יֵלֵךְ אִתָּךְ, הוּא יֵלֵךְ אִתָּךְ, וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר-אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ זֶה לֹא-יֵלֵךְ עִמָּךְ, הוּא לֹא יֵלֵךְ )

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  • לך isn't "leave" in this verse. It's "to you" or "with you", as in "What are we going to do with you!" Nov 9 '20 at 16:14
  • In Judges 7:4 it's ye-lek, a verb. It's root is halak. But in Jonah that's not a verb. They look similar but they are not the same
    – Theo
    Nov 9 '20 at 16:19
  • If the imperative Lakh! (לָּךְ) from Yonah 1:11 is the same as the declarative "La-khe" (לָּךְ) from Bamidbar 18:10, then translators must consider the context in which (לָּךְ) is being used. - Why would a question be a solution to the storm in Yonah 1:11? The imperative order is presumed to be the solution - "Leave! (לָּךְ), And-[it]-will calm The-Sea from-upon-us" ( וְיִשְׁתֹּ֥ק הַיָּ֖ם מֵֽעָלֵ֑ינוּ) Nov 9 '20 at 16:24
  • 1
    מה נעשה ל... is a common idiom in the MT. Nov 9 '20 at 16:30

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