The Relative Clause in Jer. 10:11

In the video on Jeremiah 10:11b we came across a relative clause (underlined in red) indicated by the relative particle (A).

Jer 10.11 Rel Clz

The relative clause in Biblical Aramaic is similar to the relative clause in Biblical Hebrew. In Biblical Hebrew, the relative clause can follow a definite or indefinite antecedent. The relative clause explains or defines the definite modified word. The relative clause limits, or specializes, the indefinite modified word.

The relative clause in Biblical Hebrew is usually introduced by the particle אֲשֶׁר. The relative clause may consist of an adverbial clause, nominal clause, or verbal clause.

Finally, modified word is resumed in the relative clause by a pronoun. This pronoun is called the ‘retrospective pronoun’; the retrospective pronoun points back to the modified word, linking the modified word to the relative clause.  The retrospective pronoun can be explicit or implicit.

In the Biblical Aramaic of Jeremiah 10:11, the modified word (B) is definite, and is further defined by the relative clause. Jeremiah is to prophecy to “the gods”;  more specifically, he was to prophecy to “the gods who did not make the heavens and the earth.”

The relative clause in Jeremiah 10:11 is linked to the modified word (B) by the implicit pronoun of the Peal Perfect 3cp (C). The implied pronoun points back to the modified word (B).


Fuller and Choi, Invitation to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, §33.

Gesenius-Kautzsch, §155.

Published by Richard C. McDonald

I am married to Nancy McDonald and we have two boys, Noah and Stephen. I am a high school history teacher at Whitefield Academy in Louisville, KY. I am also an adjunct instructor of Old Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College. I am a fan of LSU, and college football in general. My family and I are members at Sojourn Church-JTown in Louisville, KY.

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