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Hebrew—An Introduction to Reading the Old Testament
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Lesson 7: Prefixes, suffixes and construct form
Pronoun suffixes (step 4 of 9)
My, our, your, his, her, their

Hebrew will often combine the meaning of a word with a pronoun by use of pronoun suffixes. We see this functioning in two ways, depending on whether the suffix is attached to a noun or a verb.

When attached to a noun, a pronoun suffix conveys the meaning of possession. For example, בֵּן means “son,” whereas בְּנִי means “my son.”
Image by Gugatchitchinadze Link
Me, us, you, him, her, them

On the other hand, when a pronoun suffix is attached to a verb, it functions as the object of that verb. Thus שַׁלַּח becomes שְׁלָחַנִי when the author wants to say “he sent me.” When a 3ms perfect is combined with a 1cs, 3fs, 3mp or 3fp pronoun suffix, it can look similar to the perfect form with the same person-gender-number parsing. But the vowels will be different. For example, שְׁלָחָנוּ means “he sent us” whereas שָׁלָחְנוּ means “we sent.”
שָׁלַח
847x
send (verb)
pronoun suffixes
attached to nouns and verbs
1cs בְּנִי שְׁלָחַנִי my son / he sent me
1cp בְּנֵנוּ שְׁלָחָנוּ our son / he sent us
2ms בִּנְךָ שְׁלָחֲךָ your son [sir] / he sent you [sir]
2fs בְּנֵךְ שְׁלָחֵךְ your son [ma’am] / he sent you [ma’am]
2mp בִּנְכֶם שְׁלָחֲכֶם the son of you all / he sent you all
2fp בִּנְכֶן שְׁלָחֲכֶן the son of all you [ladies] / he sent all you [ladies]
3ms בְּנוֹ שְׁלָחוֹ his son / he sent him
3fs בְּנָהּ שְׁלָחָהּ her son / he sent her
3mp בִּנְהֶם שְׁלָחָם their son / he sent them
3fp בִּנְהֶן שְׁלָחָן the son of [those ladies] / he sent [those ladies]
Note: the difference in endings for the 3rd plurals are not a difference between how pronoun suffixes attach to nouns vs. verbs, but rather two ways the suffix might look for either nouns or verbs. In addition, the 3ms suffix can be also be הוּ or נוּ, though those are less common.
To me, to us, to you, ...

As mentioned on the previous step, the prefix prepositions בְּ and לְ can combine with a pronoun prefix without a base word. The meaning in such cases is similar to what the pronoun suffix means when attached to a verb, as it provides the object of the preposition. You will find these forms appear frequently, so get a good handle on how they look.
pronoun suffixes
attached to prefix prepositions
1cs בִּי לִי in me / to me
1cp בָּנוּ לָנוּ in us / to us
2ms בְּךָ לְךָ in you [sir] / to you [sir]
2fs בָּךְ לָךְ in you [ma’am] / to you [ma’am]
2mp בָּכֶם לָכֶם in you all / to you all
2fp בָּכֶן לָכֶן in all you [ladies] / to all you [ladies]
3ms בּוֹ לוֹ in him / to him
3fs בָּהּ לָהּ in her / to her
3mp בָּהֶם, בָּם לָהֶם in them / to them
3fp בָּהֶן לָהֶן in [those ladies] / to [those ladies]
Pronoun suffixes in the songs we’ve learned

Pronoun suffixes are everywhere in the Hebrew Bible, and we have we seen many of them in the songs we have learned to this point.

וְשִׁמְךָ לְעוֹלָם נוֹדֶה — “and your name unto eternity let us thank”

In the word וְשִׁמְךָ above, as well as in the first two words below, the pronoun suffix is attached to a noun and so expresses possession. However, in the third instance below (קִוִּינוּ לוֹ וְיוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ) we find a pronoun suffix attached to a preposition (לוֹ) and another attached to a verb (וְיוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ). It is important that can spot and understand these different types of pronoun suffixes before moving ahead.

In addition, note that nouns ending in an a-class vowel + ה will have that ה turned into a ת when a suffix attaches, as seen in בִּישׁוּעָתוֹ below.

עַמּוֹ — “his people”
אֱלֹהֵינוּ — “our God”
קִוִּינוּ לוֹ וְיוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ — “we have hoped unto him and he has saved us
וְנִשְׂמְחָה בִּישׁוּעָתוֹ — “and let us be glad in his salvation”

You might imagine that עֵינַיִם (“eyes”) with a 1cs pronoun suffix would become עֵינַיִמִי, but it doesn’t. Instead, when a noun with a masculine plural ending combines with a pronoun suffix, the final מ is dropped. 

לִבִּי — “my heart”
עֵינַי — “my eyes”
מִמֶּנִּי — “than me” (again, the preposition מִן with a 1cs pronoun suffix)
נַפְשִׁי — “my soul”
אִמּוֹ — “his mother”

Like prefix prepositions, stand-alone prepositions can also receive a pronoun suffix. In addition, they may also receive an extra י as a sort of glue, attaching that preposition, as in אֵלֶיךָ below (אֵל + a 2ms pronoun suffix).

אֵלֶיךָ — “unto you

אוֹרֵךְ – “your light”
וּכְבוֹדוֹ עָלַיִךְ יֵרָאֶה – “and his glory upon you will be seen”

Nouns with a feminine plural ending also use the י to “glue” on the pronoun suffix.

מִשְׁכְּנוֹתֶיךָ – “your dwelling places”
לִבִּי וּבְשָׂרִי – “my heart and my flesh”
הֱבִיאַנִי – “bring me
וְדִגְלוֹ עָלַי אַהֲבָה – “and his flag over me is love”

קוֹלִי – “my voice”
אֶשְׁפֹּךְ לְפָנָיו שִׂיחִי – “I will pour out before him my complaint”
צָרָתִי לְפָנָיו אַגִּיד – “my trouble before him I will tell”
וְכָל־קְרָבַי – “and all my inward parts”

תָּגֵל נַפְשִׁי בֵּאלֹהַי – “my soul will rejoice in my God”
הִלְבִּישַׁנִי – “he has clothed me
יְעָטָנִי – “he has wrapped me

אֱלֹהִים לָנוּ מַחֲסֶה וָעֹז – “God is for us refuge and strength”
יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת עִמָּנוּ – “the Lord of hosts is with us
מִשְׂגָּב־לָנוּ – “a fortress for us

יְשׁוּעָתִי – “my salvation”
עָזִּי – “my strength”
וַיְהִי־לִי לִישׁוּעָה – “and he has become to me unto salvation”
And now it is time to learn a new song with even more pronoun suffixes.