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24. The Niphal Stem - Strong Verbs

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As a point of departure for your study of the Niphal, Piel, Pual, Hiphil, Hophal, and Hithpael stems, it would be helpful to review the introduction to Hebrew verbs as presented in Chapter 12. You will recall that this chapter represents an overview of the entire Hebrew verbal system, including general comments on each of the verbal stems. At the very least, review 12.6-9.

Throughout our study of the derived stems, you will not be required to memorize paradigms as you did in the study of the Qal. The reason for this piece of good news is that you will learn to recognize the various forms of each conjugation in a particular stem by recognizing the distinctive or diagnostic points of spelling. We are not phohibiting the memorization of paradigms but we believe that it isn't necessary if you learn the diagnostic features of spelling for each conjugation in each stem. It really does work as you will come to understand. This approach makes the study of the derived stems altogether manageable and palatable.

This "diagnostic" approach to the derived stems does assume, however, that you have mastered the various conjugations of the Qal stem. If necessary, you will want to review the chapters on the Qal stem in order to begin this study with a solid foundation.

Chapter Overview

Listen to Miles' Chapter Overview


Overheads (PowerPointPDF)

Chapter Material

  1. Read this chapter from beginning to end, but do not study it carefully until you have listened to the lecture. Now, we give one final instruction. It is important to understand the derivation of the names of the stems (Qal and the six major derived stems) so review 12.6 if necessary. With all of this introduction, you are ready to begin the study of the Niphal strong verb in Chapter 24.

  2. Listen to Gary's full lecture

  3. Read the chapter. 

    First, study the meaning of the Niphal stem as presented in 24.2. As a general observation, you will learn that the Niphal is used to express simple action with either a passive or reflexive voice. Read 24.2 (the text and footnotes) with care.

    One of the most important sections in this chapter is 24.3 in which we talk about the so-called "Nun of the Niphal" which figures prominently in the spelling of every Niphal form. To be successful in you recognition of Niphal verbs, you must understand what is meant by the "Nun of the Niphal."

    The Niphal Perfect of the strong verb is studied in 24.4-5. The diagnostic points of spelling are detailed in the text and are presented graphically as well. You must learn to recognize each of the diagnostics.

    We then move to diagnostics of the Niphal Imperfect (24.6-7), Imperative (24.8), Infinitive Construct (24.9-10), Infinitive Absolute (24.11-12) and Participle (24.13-14). With the study of each of the grammar's remaining chapters, it is essential that you study the final summary section (24.15 in Chapter 24).

    Master the diagnostic points of spelling. Your quizzes and exams will require you to know every diagnostic point spelling.

  4. Listen to the vocabulary (Biblical examples)


Please complete the following exercises:

  1. Parsing: 1-20 on pp. 191-192

  2. Translations: 1-12 on p. 193

  3. Bible Translations: 8,9,10 on pp. 195

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. From where does the name “Niphal” come?

  2. How will I know the difference between the Qal Cohortative 1cp and the Niphal Perfect 3fs?


  1. Exercise 6 (page 193)

  2. Exercise 8 (page 193)

  3. Exercise 10 (page 193)

Correct your homework with the answer key


  1. The Niphal stem expresses ________ action with either a _________ or reflexive voice. It may also express a __________ type of action.

  2. The n prefix often assimilates in which conjugations of the Niphal stem? What is the resultant indicator of this assimilation?

  3. What are the diagnostic features of the Niphal Infinitive Absolute? Of the Niphal Participle?

  4. The first item on the checklist for each of the derived stem chapters (strong and weak verbs) will look quite similar because the refrain will be the same. Have you mastered to diagnostic points of spelling for each of the conjugations?

  5. Do you understand that the Nun of the Niphal is preserved in the Niphal Perfect, Participle and one form of the Infinitive Absolute?

  6. Do you understand that the Nun of the Niphal is assimilated in the Imperfect, Imperative, Infinitive Construct and the other form of the Inifinitive Absolute?


Quiz (answers)

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