In contrast to samech, shin and sin are very common, but the grammatical use of shin is comparatively rare. Do we perceive its grammatical usage in Ruth? It is the weakest player on the first 11. It's curious that S in English is a common indicator of possessive and plural, but shin in Hebrew plays only one role as prefix though with several glosses - also, and 'that' which seems at first to be an abbreviation of the relative pronoun asher (very common in later Rabbinic writings - note the frequency here). BDB (p 979) thinks is is an original demonstrative particle. It qualifies for the first team - and it's a better fit than tet as the candidate to fill out the split of the alefbet in two equal halves that Saadya suggested.
Shin as a relative particle does not occur in Ruth but does in several Psalms and other parts of the wisdom literature. E.g. Psalm 122:3-4
Saturday, March 13, 2010