Seven Uses of “Se” in the Spanish Bible

April 6, 2019 — Leave a comment

One of the most challenging aspects of Spanish grammar is understanding the many different uses of the pronoun se. Using several grammar books and the search capabilities of BibleWorks 10, I have compiled several examples of seven different uses of se in the Bible.

Reflexive Se

R60 Numbers 30:3 Mas la mujer, cuando hiciere voto a Jehová, y se ligare con obligación

KJV Numbers 30:3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the LORD, and bind herself by a bond

R60 Luke 16:19 Había un hombre rico, que se vestía de púrpura y de lino fino

KJV Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen

R60 Revelation 18:7 Cuanto ella se ha glorificado

KJV Revelation 18:7 How much she hath glorified herself

 

Process Se1

R60 Matthew 25:5 Y tardándose el esposo, cabecearon todas y se durmieron.

KJV Matthew 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

R60 Acts 11:21 Y la mano del Señor estaba con ellos, y gran número creyó y se convirtió al Señor.

KJV Acts 11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

R60 1 Peter 1:24 La hierba se seca, y la flor se cae;

KJV 1 Peter 1:24 The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

 

Impersonal Se

R60 Ecclesiastes 6:10 Respecto de lo que es, ya ha mucho que tiene nombre, y se sabe que es hombre.

KJV Ecclesiastes 6:10 That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man:

R60 Isaiah 45:24 Y se dirá de mí: Ciertamente en Jehová está la justicia y la fuerza;

KJV Isaiah 45:24 Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength:

 

Passive Se

R60 Ecclesiastes 7:21 Tampoco apliques tu corazón a todas las cosas que se hablan

KJV Ecclesiastes 7:21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken;

R60 Matthew 10:29 ¿No se venden dos pajarillos por un cuarto?

KJV Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?

 

Indirect Object Pronoun Se

R60 Genesis 38:18 Entonces Judá dijo: ¿Qué prenda te daré? Ella respondió: Tu sello, tu cordón, y tu báculo que tienes en tu mano. Y él se [‘to her’] los [‘them’] dio.

KJV Genesis 38:18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her.

R60 2 Kings 10:7 Cuando las cartas llegaron a ellos, tomaron a los hijos del rey, y degollaron a los setenta varones, y pusieron sus cabezas en canastas, y se [‘to him’] las [‘them’ = the heads] enviaron a Jezreel.

KJV 2 Kings 10:7 And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel. 

R60 Mark 9:19 Y respondiendo él, les dijo: ¡Oh generación incrédula! ¿Hasta cuándo he de estar con vosotros? ¿Hasta cuándo os he de soportar? Traédmelo. 20 Y se [‘to him’] lo [‘him’] trajeron;

KJV Mark 9:19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him:

R60 John 2:8 Entonces les dijo: Sacad ahora, y llevadlo al maestresala. Y se [‘to him’] lo [‘it’ = the wine] llevaron.

KJV John 2:8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

R60 Acts 7:4 Entonces salió de la tierra de los caldeos y habitó en Harán; y de allí, muerto su padre, Dios le trasladó a esta tierra, en la cual vosotros habitáis ahora. 5 Y no le dio herencia en ella, ni aun para asentar un pie; pero le prometió que se [‘to him’] la [‘it’ = the land] daría en posesión

KJV Acts 7:4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. 5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession

 

Reciprocal Se

R60 2 Kings 14:11 Pero Amasías no escuchó; por lo cual subió Joás rey de Israel, y se [‘each other’] vieron las caras él y Amasías rey de Judá, en Bet-semes, que es de Judá.

KJV 2 Kings 14:11 But Amaziah would not hear. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah looked one another in the face at Bethshemesh, which belongeth to Judah. 

R60 Psalm 85:10 La misericordia y la verdad se encontraron; La justicia y la paz se [‘each other’] besaron.

KJV Psalm 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

 

Unplanned or Unexpected Occurrence/ “No-Fault” Se2

R60 Deuteronomy 22:3 Así harás con su asno, así harás también con su vestido, y lo mismo harás con toda cosa de tu hermano que se le perdiere y tú la hallares;

KJV Deuteronomy 22:3 In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found

R60 Isaiah 5:27 No habrá entre ellos cansado, ni quien tropiece; ninguno se dormirá, ni le tomará sueño; a ninguno se le desatará el cinto de los lomos, ni se le romperá la correa de sus sandalias.

KJV Isaiah 5:27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:

R60 Acts 12:7 Y las cadenas se le cayeron de las manos.

KJV Acts 12:7 And his chains fell off from his hands.


1 “The Process Se” (Pasajes Lengua Quinta Edición, 241).

2 “No-Fault” Se Constructions The passive se construction is also used with a group of Spanish verbs to indicate unplanned or unexpected occurrences” (Pasajes Lengua Quinta Edición, 270).

Rajesh

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