Why does the Torah use the word המה - HEYMA - in these 19 psukim (20 times) instead of the more common and simple form הם - HEYM ?

בראשית ו ד

בראשית ז יד

בראשית מב לה

בראשית מד ג

שמות יט יג

שמות לב טז

שמות לו ד

ויקרא יא כח

במדבר א נ

במדבר ג ט

במדבר ח טז

במדבר יג ג

במדבר יד כז X2

במדבר כ יג

דברים א לט

דברים יא ל

דברים יד ז

דברים לב כ

דברים לב כח

(Using the Torat Emet search engine I got results for only 90 more times in all of Neviim and Kesuvim where המה is used rather than הם.)

Is there a specific rule (or set of rules) as to when המה is used as opposed to הם ?

  • 1
    Rabbi Uri Sherqi said the form המה is simply a poetic form of הם - i.e. that there is no meaningful difference between the two.
    – Lee
    Jun 12, 2018 at 11:14
  • 1
    Yevamot13b ר' נחמיה אומר כל תיבה שצריכה למ"ד בתחלתה הטיל לה הכתוב ה"א בסופה?
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Jun 12, 2018 at 11:50
  • 1
    @Shmuel If you look at the psukim which I listed you will see that that rule has absolutely no relevance to this whatsoever. Jun 12, 2018 at 13:26
  • I noticed that in most cases, הם seems to be used as an "adjective" to describe an object, as in בימים ההם. whereas המה seems to be more "emphatic" and is used at the beginning of the phrase as if to say "THESE are.." It's not a universal rule, though, as I found in Shemot 32:15.
    – DanF
    Jun 12, 2018 at 13:29
  • @DanF I have looked through many different examples of the use of המה and this is hardly the case. Jun 12, 2018 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


I"m not sure this will solve everything, but the הפלאה in Sefer Panim Yafos (פרשת ראה דף קי"ב במהדורת מישור ד"ה וכבר) writes that הם and המה are the same, other then the fact that המה is more feminine סימן נקבה. Meaning the one receiving something.

  • 1
    Many of the examples of המה don't seem to have anything to do with anyone receiving something. But if the הפלאה says so it needs more looking into. Thank you very much. Jun 13, 2018 at 10:13

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