In Genesis 24:16 Rebekah is called "wə-han-na-‘ă-rā" or וְהַֽנַּעֲרָ֗.

I know the meaning of na-‘ă-rā is maiden but i was unable to find the significance of wə-han and what that modifier (wə-han) entails.

1 Answer 1


The word uses a conjunctive waw which joins two parts of speech, such as two nouns, an article and a noun, etc.

A literal rendering of the word וְהַֽנַּעֲרָ֗ would simply be "the girl" or "the maiden", joined by the letter waw. Translators typically supply additional English words that are implied/grammatically required to connect this word to the rest of the sentence. E.g. in the KJV וְהַֽנַּעֲרָ֗ is rendered "And the damsel was", even though there is no verb in the Hebrew וְהַֽנַּעֲרָ֗.

The wə-han thus functions as a prefix to convert the noun "girl" into the clause "the girl". See source material on the morphology of the word here.

  • So wə-han is conjuctive waw? Meaning wə-han functions as "and"?
    – User880
    Commented Jan 12 at 17:53
  • @User880 Article + conjunctive waw - it is essentially functioning as a "the" linked to the noun Commented Jan 12 at 18:06
  • @User880 I expanded my post in hopes that it is more helpful Commented Jan 12 at 19:29
  • Thank you, that clears it up
    – User880
    Commented Jan 13 at 1:16

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