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The prefix שֶׁ is very common in Mishnaic and Modern Hebrew, but in Tanakh appear rarely, except in Tehillim, Shir Hashirim, and Koheles, where it is all over the place. Why are these books the only ones where this prefix is common?

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It also shows up in Eicha Yonah Ezra and Divrei Hayamim. Probably a later Hebrew thing. Note all the instances in Tehillim are in the last 30 chapters. – Double AA Mar 3 '14 at 19:10
It also appears in B'reshis 6:3. But that's a hapax legomenon for Chumash, I think. – msh210 Mar 3 '14 at 19:17
@msh210 It's certainly a hapax, but not neccesarily the case that the ש is a prefix. Consider the root שגג. – Double AA Mar 3 '14 at 19:30
Hmmmm Shoftim 7:12 and Shoftim 8:26. Go figure. – Double AA Mar 3 '14 at 19:32
Quote from my upcoming book on the History of Lashon HaKodesh (Mosaica Press): > Similarly, academia points to the usage of the letter ש in Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes (a convention quite common in later rabbinic writings) to mean “that” and “of” instead of the Hebrew word asher (אשר) used in earlier books of the Bible. From this, scholars see that those books were written later than the rest of the Bible and so their form of Lashon HaKodesh more closely resembled that of the later rabbinic writings than other books of the Bible do. However, this argument is easily countered in light of... – Reb Chaim HaQoton Mar 3 '14 at 19:52

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