BHS Help Needed

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Dan Starcevich | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Jul 14 2016 11:22 AM

Could someone remind me what the vertical bar in the BHS text means? I can't seem to find an explanation for it in the apparatus. I seem to remember it is to mark a pause for someone doing public reading but I am not sure. Here is an example from Ex. 34:6

וַיַּעֲבֹ֨ר יְהוָ֥ה׀ עַל־פָּנָיו֮

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HJ. van der Wal | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 14 2016 11:39 AM

Shalom Dan and welcome to the forums!

The first vertical stroke in Exodus 34:6 is a paseq. The second vertical stroke you encounter in this verse belongs to the munah legarme accent.

Påseq (פָּסֵק, an Aramaic participle meaning “separating”) is a vertical stroke placed on the left of a word. This sign is graphically similar to the vertical stroke of some accents such as lgarme, major shalshelet Paseq was introduced at a late period and in a manner less coherent than other accents, as a result of which its use is not very clear. In most of about 480 examples found in our editions(), this sign serves as a bumper which prevents two words being brought into too close a relation under certain circumstances, e.g. when the same consonant appears both at the beginning and at the end of a word as in Jer 51.37 בָּבֶ֨ל ׀ לְגַלִּ֧ים ׀ מְעוֹן. But quite a few instances of it do not seem to fit this definition, and several hypotheses of varying degrees of likelihood have been put forward to account for these: e.g., that paseq is a diacritical symbol, or that it indicates an ancient abbreviation, or the insertion of a short gloss.

(1) The list is found in Wickes, Accentuation of Prose Books (cf. § n), pp. 120ff.

Joüon, P., & Muraoka, T. (2003). A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew (Vol. 1, pp. 68–69). Pontificio Istituto Biblico.


Posts 65
Dan Starcevich | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 14 2016 11:45 AM

Thanks so much brother!

Posts 372
Stephen Miller | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 14 2016 9:02 PM


The vertical line in BHS is as short break. When reading BHS, pause but not long enough to take a breath. It is sometimes combined with another pause mark a few words before.

Technically it is is a Paseq ... think of "pauseq".

Stephen Miller

Sydney, Australia

Posts 65
Dan Starcevich | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 15 2016 10:22 AM

thank you !

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