My unfamiliarity with the history of the Hebrew language has created some confusion for me. I believe that that it was the Masorete editors who had added some of the vowel points and vowel markings which did not exist in the original manuscripts of the Bible.

Did the Masorete editors themselves add this "י" type symbol indicating the possessive pronoun at the end of the word that they felt was indicating my? Please let me also show a couple of examples in the Hebrew Torah to clarify my question. For example in Ezra 7:24:

וּלְכֹ֣ם מְהֽוֹדְעִ֗ין דִּ֣י כָל־כָּֽהֲנַיָּ֣א וְ֠לֵֽוָיֵא זַמָּ֨רַיָּ֤א תָרָֽעַיָּא֙ נְתִ֣ינַיָּ֔א וּפָ֣לְחֵ֔י בֵּ֖ית אֱלָהָ֣א דְנָ֑ה מִנְדָּ֤ה בְלוֹ֙ וַֽהֲלָ֔ךְ לָ֥א שַׁלִּ֖יט לְמִרְמֵ֥א עֲלֵיהֹֽם׃

Also we announce to you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, the singers, porters, Nethinim, or servants of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, impost, or toll, upon them.

Here the word ministers (ופלחי – Strong's H6399) has this possessive type symbol indicating the possessive pronoun at the end of the word that indicates my. Also in Leviticus 9:1 the word elders (ולזקני – Strong's H2205) has the same possessive pronoun symbol at the end of the word that indicates my.

וַֽיְהִי֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁמִינִ֔י קָרָ֣א מֹשֶׁ֔ה לְאַֽהֲרֹ֖ן וּלְבָנָ֑יו וּלְזִקְנֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel.

However, as I am studying the Hebrew text, I find many other words that are not indicating a possessive my. Can this "י" possession marking at the end of the words serve a different purpose? Did the Masorete editors themselves add this symbol indicating the possessive pronoun at the end of the word, or this symbol was not present to serve this purpose in the Hebrew language before them?

  • 2
    Did you try looking at a scan from the Dead Sea Scrolls?
    – Double AA
    Jun 26, 2018 at 19:28
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    Welcome to MY! I'm afraid your question is rather about the Hebrew language, so it's rather off topic. Regarding your question, י is not a Masoretic note, but a letter on its own. It can refer to a lot of things as a suffix, one is "my", but it can be a first person singular suffix in past tense, and can be the sign of a genitive in plural (semichut) among many others... Jun 26, 2018 at 19:30
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    @Kazibácsi I don't fully understand this question, but it appears to be about the Hebrew language in Tanach, which is part of Judaism and therefore on-topic.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jun 26, 2018 at 19:43
  • Welcome to MiYodeya Stan. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Jun 26, 2018 at 19:58
  • @DoubleAA - a lot of Dead Sea Scrolls have yuds that are easily confused with vavs. Also, their orthography(compared to "normal"Biblical/Mishnaic forms) is peculiar in a lot of their writings, the Great Isaiah Scroll being a prime example.
    – Gary
    Jun 27, 2018 at 3:08

1 Answer 1


(1) No, the Masoretes did not add this י in the way you suggest. It is simply part of the base consonantal text.

(2) You are confusing the pronominal suffix ("my") with the masculine plural construct ending. Instead of the ~im plural ending, when there is a "bound" or genitive relationship with the following word (Ezr 7:24, "...servants of..."; Lev 9:1, "...elders of..."), the ending is rather ~ey, and that's the י ending you're looking at in these examples (not suffix, in this case).

There is also the י suffix that is the so-called "Ḥireq compaginis" - see on this §90k-n, at the link provided, also B. Waltke and M. O'Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, pp. 127-128. There are other, yet more rare י endings, too. So not every final י is the first person suffix!

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