A miscellaneous rule in Biblical grammar states
that the pronoun for himself when used in a sentence
functions adverbially to indicate that the activity of the
sentence was done for personal reasons.
A good example of this occurs in Nu10-01:02
And HaShem spoke unto Moses, saying:
Make for yourself two trumpets of silver; of beaten work shalt thou make them; and they shall be unto thee for the calling of the congregation, and for causing the camps to set forward.
Rashi comments on the personal aspect of making the
trumpets by providing three possible methods of personal
- Make the trumpets for yourself--only you can use them.
- Make the trumpets from your own funds
- The trumpets are used for your assemblies
Another example occurs at Ex18-27 which concludes
the chapter describing how Jethro recognized the superiority
of the Jewish God over other gods. The verse, translated
with the above rule, states
And Moses let his father-in-law depart;
and he went for personal reasons into his own land.
Rashi comments on the adverbial phrase: For personal reasons:
He returned to found his own personal society/club of people
who believe in a monotheistic God. The club/society he founded
is referenced in Ju04-11. which states
Now the Kenite society, who was of the descendants of
Hobab the father-in-law of Moses,
had separated himself from the Kenites,
and pitched his tent near the terebinth in Zaanannim,
which is by Kedesh.
We have only given two examples above. Over the next
few weeks we will develop this theme by bringing in
many more examples. Very often a Rashi method is not
appreciated till you have examined many verses which,
in diverse settings, apply the same rule.