Shmot 31:4 says

לַחְשֹׁב, מַחֲשָׁבֹת; לַעֲשׂוֹת בַּזָּהָב וּבַכֶּסֶף, וּבַנְּחֹשֶׁת

Why does the word לחשוב have a shvah under the chet when normally a Peh-Gronit shoresh in the Pa'al binyan has a chataf-patach under the first shoresh letter in the שם הפועל?

I know that I have seen the same word spelled with a chataf-patach in Chumash before. Also, the following word has a chataf-patach where I would expect it to be.

  • What's the difference between a Shva na and a chataf patach?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 20:38
  • @DoubleAA What do you mean? A chet cannot take a shva-na as far as I know. The shva under this chet is a shva nach, but a Peh-gronit is supposed to take a chataf patach in this situation.
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 20:43
  • @DoubleAA Let me partially retract that statement. I am pretty sure that a chet cannot take a shva-na as the first letter of the shoresh (at least in a Pa'al verb)
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 18:03
  • So too the other place the word לחשב appears in Tanach, kodesh.snunit.k12.il/i/t/t2816.htm#30 עֹצֶה עֵינָיו, לַחְשֹׁב תַּהְפֻּכוֹת; קֹרֵץ שְׂפָתָיו, כִּלָּה רָעָה Commented May 26, 2014 at 0:50

1 Answer 1


You are correct in that a I-guttural (a peh-gronit verb) usually takes a composite shewa (although be mindful of the fact that it's not always with patach), but the major exception to this is where it appears in a closed syllable, after the lamed of the infinite construct, in which it often (although not always) takes a regular shewa.

So, for example, חֲסוֹת but לַחְסוֹת (Isaiah 30:14), עֲזוֹר but לַעְזוֹר (II Samuel 18:3), חֲצוֹב but לַחְצוֹב (Jeremiah 2:13), etc. And, of course, the example you gave, which can also be seen in Exodus 35:32, Proverbs 16:30 and II Chronicles 2:13.

If you would like to see a discussion of this in grammatical literature, see Gesenius §63i or Joüon and Muraoka §68e.


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