Second Temple Hebrew (Late Biblical Hebrew, Ben Sira, and Qumranic Hebrew) makes predicative use of two seemingly similar constructions: לא + infinitive and אין + infinitive. A syntactic examination of the two from a historical perspective, in light of morphosyntactic changes in the verbal system of Second Temple Hebrew and its sentence patterns, reveals that in spite of the similarities between them in form and in function, these are two seperate constructions that evolved independently. The former, initially a verbal phrase, is the negative counterpart of the affirmative predicative infinitive, and the latter, which constitutes a complete predication, is an offshoot of the existential pattern יש/אין + nominal phrase. In the Hebrew style of the Second Temple period the difference between them narrowed, so that they were occasionally interchangeable.
ArielC.Bar-AsherM.MeirI.“The Predicative Usage of the Infinitive as Indicative Verb in the Dead Sea Scrolls”Nitʿe Ilan: Studies in Hebrew and Related Fieldes Presented to Ilan Eldar2014Jerusalem2949(in Hebrew)
BaastenM. F. J.MuraokaT.ElwoldeJ. F.“Existential Clauses in Qumranic Hebrew”Diggers at the Well: Proceedings of a Third International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira2000Leiden111
FassbergS. E.Bar-AsherM.“The Overlap in Use Between the Infinitive Construct and the Infinitive Absolute in Biblical Hebrew”Shai le-Sara Japhet: Studies in the Bible Its Exegesis and Its Language2007Jerusalem427432in Hebrew
FassbergS. E.JoostenJ.ReyJ.-S.“The Infinitive Absolute as Finite Verb and Standard Literary Hebrew of the Second Temple Period”Conservatism and Innovation in the Hebrew Language of the Hellenistic Period: Proceedings of a Fourth International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls & Ben Sira2008Leiden4760
HurvitzA.MuraokaT.ElwoldeJ. F.“Further Comments on the Linguistic Profile of Ben Sira: Syntactic Affinities with Late Biblical Hebrew”Sirach Scrolls and Sages: Proceedings of a Second International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea scrolls Ben Sira and the Mishnah Held at Leiden University 15-17 December 19971999Leiden132145
van PeursenW. T.MuraokaT.ElwoldeJ. F.“Negation in the Hebrew of Ben Sira”Sirach Scrolls and Sages: Proceedings of a Second International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea scrolls Ben Sira and the Mishnah Held at Leiden University 15-17 December 19971999Leiden223243
SwiggersP.JongelingK.Murre-van den BergH. L.van RompayL.“Nominal Sentence Negation in Biblical Hebrew: The Grammatical Status of אין”Studies in Hebrew and Aramaic Syntax Presented to Professsor J. Hoftijzer on the Occasion of His Sixty-Fifth Birthday1991Leiden173179
E.g. Kropat p. 78; Leahy p. 142; Kesterson p. 231; Yifrach p. 278 and n. 11 (but she claims using generative phrasing that in its deep structure the infinitive contains a subject and a predicate). A more nuanced discussion is offered by van Peursen 2004 p. 250. Eliezer Rubinstein (see Qimron and Strugnell p. 81) goes as far as attributing the same syntactic structure to the construction לא + infinitive.
Qimron1986p. 71; Eskhult p. 91. See also Kieviet 1999 p. 9 and n. 2.
Yifrach p. 278; Ehrensvärd pp. 156-157.
Van Peursen1999p. 228 n. 39; the translation offered here is identical to his. See also van Peursen 2004 p. 252 which offers a very similar translation. Skehan and Di Lella p. 242: “Bring not everyone into your house”.
E.g. Kieviet1999pp. 21 23; Hurvitz.
Qimron1986pp. 77-78; Mor forthcoming §5.43.
See the discussion in van Peursen1999pp. 229-230.
See Sokoloff p. 74.
Cohen2013pp. 211-212. See also the Qumranic examples discussed in Ariel pp. 33-39.
See van Peursen2004p. 252 and n. 71.
Cohen2005p. 80. This link is also realised in ancient Greek (Kutscher p. תג).
See Kieviet1999p. 23; Swiggers p. 178.
Cf. in Rabbinic Hebrew: Sharvit2008pp. 255-256 (e.g. יש לי ללמד עליו זכות ‘I have somewhat to argue [or: I can argue] in favor of his acquittal’ [Mishna Sanhedrin 5:4]) and in Modern Hebrew with comparison to Modern English: Kuzar pp. 97-99 110-113 (e.g. יש לי לכתוב חיבור באנגלית ‘I have an English essay to write’).
Ben-Ḥayyim p. 83. On the fluidity of the distinction between different types of modality see e.g. Nuyts p. 16.