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Parashas Shof'tim, 19:10:

וְלֹא יִשָּׁפֵךְ דָּם נָקִי בְּקֶרֶב אַרְצְךָ

And 21:8:

וְאַל־תִּתֵּן דָּם נָקִי בְּקֶרֶב עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל

And then Ki Savo 27:25:

לְהַכּוֹת נֶפֶשׁ דָּם נָקִי

However, back in Shof'tim, 19:13:

וּבִעַרְתָּ דַם־הַנָּקִי מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל

… which uses the definite variant of "דַּם־נָקִי", not of "דָּם נָקִי".

Why is "דָּם נָקִי" (literally "innocent blood") used in most places and (a form of) "דַּם־נָקִי" (literally "blood of an innocent") used in 19:13?
Is there a difference in meaning between "דָּם נָקִי" and "דַּם־נָקִי"?

(I'm asking about "דָּם נָקִי" vs. "דַּם־נָקִי", not about definite vs. indefinite.)

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well im not sure what your asking then because to me the answer seems to be definite by hanaki where its past-tensive and that would answer your question unless i misunderstood you it seems like your bothered by the difference of naki and hanaki –  tryingToGetProgrammingStraight Aug 18 '13 at 7:17
@tryingToGetProgrammingStraight, that may explain why 19:13 uses the definite and the others don't, which is not my question. I'm asking why 19:13 uses the construct (and a makaf) while the others don't. –  msh210 Aug 18 '13 at 7:20
a definite is a stronger term and when using a definite "naki" becomes a description of it as opposed to part of describing the object (innocent blood Vs. blood of the innocent, as you see "blood" stops being a thing for itself) –  tryingToGetProgrammingStraight Aug 18 '13 at 7:26
This is a slightly confusing question. I think you need to be a bit clearer from the outset that you're asking about the construct versus the absolute. To that end, rather than putting 19:13 as your second example, you should probably put it first or last, setting it off against the other three. –  Shimon bM Aug 18 '13 at 8:15
@ShimonbM (and the three people who upvoted his comment), thanks for the advice. Do you think it's clearer now? –  msh210 Aug 18 '13 at 19:47

1 Answer 1

דָּם נָקִי means clean (innocent) blood, and דַּם־הַנָקִי means blood of the clean (innocent). therefore in this context,

וּבִעַרְתָּ דַם־הַנָּקִי מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל

which is talking about a event in past-tense,(avenging a already murdered man) there is a "object" (person) in discussion, and a "ה" (the) is appropriate.

and when using דם attached to another word, it has a patach, which weakens the emphasis on the word דם as standing alone, and makes it mean "blood of the clean" (innocent), where "clean" is the main description, and "blood" is added on to it.

NOTE: you may want to move this to Biblical Hermeneutics

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