Me (quoting Ester 9:7–10):

7 And Parshandasa and Dalfon and Aspasa
8 and Porasa and Adalya and Aridasa
9 and Parmashta and Arisay and Ariday and Vayzasa,
10 the tensome of the sons of Haman ben Ham'dasa, terrorizer of the Jews, they killed....

My kid: Why are the ten names split up over three p'sukim?

Me: I don't know. Maybe it was too long for one?

My kid: I've seen p'sukim longer than all three put together!

Me: Good point.

The truth is that, as noted in a comment, this question may be a little weak — perhaps that's just how the authors of Ester liked to write — but the same question applies to Sh'mos 1:2–4, where I expect a stronger answer than "the author just liked to write that way". So consider my question to be about those (and similar) p'sukim in Chumash instead, if you prefer, although I ideally would still like an answer about the specific p'sukim in Ester quoted above.

  • 1
    I don't think you have such a strong question. It just is that way. See for example Chronicles I 1:1-4 and many many other places in Chronicles and around Tanach.
    – Double AA
    Jan 22, 2012 at 3:04
  • @DoubleAA, like Sh'mos 1:2–4. I agree it's not the strongest question (and it's not mine), but I couldn't, and can't, answer it, so am asking it here. I find it hard to believe, especially in Chumash, that it "just is that way" with no reason. (In Nach, fine, maybe it's for poetic reasons or that's just how the author liked to write, but in Chumash I'm not as happy with that answer.) I'll edit my question to be about Sh'mos rather than Ester.
    – msh210
    Jan 22, 2012 at 4:14
  • Somewhat related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/68720
    – msh210
    Feb 29, 2016 at 7:15
  • somewhat related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/88343/…. Looking through the list (as well as searching tanach for 4 word pesukim) should help you prove that in general, long lists of names are broken up into multiple Pesukim, sometimes even into three and four word pesukim. Feb 2, 2018 at 5:41

1 Answer 1


It seems to me that in general, pasukim are broken up so that there are no more than 3-4 names in a verse, especially a list.

Why this is done I imagine is up to speculation. Does it have mystical numerical meanings? (i.e. stability), does it have to do with human memory and good oration? (Saying things in threes makes it a stronger point, and more likely to be remembered), or is it just the style that the people who decided to break verses up into verses chose to use? (Normally christian monks btw)

I imagine all the possible answers are correct on some level.

  • "[T]he people who decided to break verses up into verses" are "[n]ormally [C]hristian monks"?? The g'mara refer to p'sukim as that which "paskeh Moshe", "Moshe demarcated it".
    – msh210
    Jan 22, 2012 at 16:03
  • @msh210 could be, but we have no idea if they are the same as not. Infact we know that the Torah described in the Talmud is marked differently than our own, regarding the middle word/letter.
    – avi
    Jan 22, 2012 at 18:57
  • 1
    @msh210 The gemara in Nedarim 38a "Amar Rav Acha bar Ahava" says that there was a dispute between the Babylonians and the Israelis how to break up the pasuk that we call Shemot 19:9 It seems we can't be too sure that all of our pasuk breaks are LeMoshe MiSinai.
    – Double AA
    Jan 22, 2012 at 19:29
  • 1
    @Alex (Those numbers are insufficient to prove our divisions match the G'mara's: perhaps they're ~equal in number but not in actual dividing points.)
    – msh210
    Jan 22, 2012 at 19:46
  • 3
    Let's settle this SE style judaism.stackexchange.com/q/13524/759
    – Double AA
    Jan 22, 2012 at 19:51

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