“Note carefully that the Pi‘el, Pu‘al, and Hithpa‘el have Dageš Forte Characteristic in the second root-letter…thus giving greater weight to the stem and intensifying the meaning.”Later, Weingreen includes the helpful comment that “Some verbs are found in the Piel without a primary Qal, as
The recent grammar of Paul Joüon and T. Muraoka (A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, Rome 1993) has one of the more thorough evaluations of the Piel. In their opening statement about the Piel, Joüon and Muraoka state: “The question how the function of Piel in relation to other conjugations, notably Qal, should be defined still remains one of the major challenges facing Hebrew and Semitic languages” (par. 52, p. 154-155, emphasis added).
In the Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar by Professor E. Kautzsch the Piel and its passive stem the Pual are given just over four pages (§52 a-s, pp. 139-143). About half of this space deals with the formation of the Piel and Pual, but there are some good comments about the function of the Piel:
“The fundamental idea of Piel…is to busy oneself eagerly with the action indicated by the stem. This intensifying idea of the stem…appears in individual cases as—(a) a strengthening and repetition of the action (cf. the intensive and iterative nouns with the middle radical strengthened, §84b)—(b) a causative sense (like hifil)… (c) Denominatives are frequently formed in this conjugation, and generally express a being occupied with the object expressed by the noun, either to form or to make use of it, e.g. קנן to make a nest, to nest…” (p. 141-142)Some of Gesenius’ fine print has a few other helpful comments about the force of specific cases. I would like to examine the various forces of the Piel stem to aid our exegesis and our understanding of this stem which “still remains one of the major challenges facing Hebrew and Semitic languages.”