Most people know that the Biblical meaning of a word is
by its underlying three-letter root. The Biblical root can
in different a) persons, b) tenses, c) pluralities, d)
genders, e) constructions
and f) modalities. For example I watched has a
different conjugation then
I will be watched even though both phrases will use
the same 3 letter
Additionally, a three letter root can take on new
meaning based on the
connective preposition used with it. For example the Hebrew
to command someone,
to delegate someone to speak to others.
How does one tell
which meaning applies in a given verse?
when this root is used with the
the verb-connective pair of words means
to delegate someone else to speak to the target person
Hence the Rashi-suggested translation of
And delegated [someone] to Joseph, saying, Your father did command before he died, saying,
Actually Rashi simply cites other verses where Tzivah el means
delegate. The idea of explicitly associating every verb-preposition
pair with a distinct meaning is made explicit by the Malbim in his Morning hind.