Gen 3:24 (Cherubim)

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Fri Jan 7 12:44:34 EST 2000

It's worth pointing out in this regard that the Hebrew MAL'AKH has 
been borrowed into Arabic and thence into many other languages, but 
only, I think, in the sense of an angelic being and not as a human 
messenger. Also the aleph has been dropped in Arabic so the word 
appears to come from the root MLK = "king" (found in Arabic as well as 
Hebrew). This Arabic usage may postdate the Vulgate but is probably 
not dependent on it. I guess the same happened as in Latin, only the 
distinctive meaning of the word was borrowed from Hebrew or Greek, as 
both languages had perfectly good other words for a human messenger.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Gen 3:24 (Cherubim)
Author:  <lewreich at> at Internet
Date:    07/01/2000 01:02


> Malachim are messangers and could be regarded as angelic.

As I understand it, quite literally.  *Mal'akh* in Hebrew means 
messenger, and in the Hebrew Bible it is used to describe 
messengers who are clearly human as well as those who might be 
understood as celestial.  According to the Anchor Bible Dictionary
article on the subject, it is from the the translation of mal'akh in the 
LXX as *aggelos* that the English word "angel" derives, and both
words as terms describing functions can refer equally to human or 
angelic beings.  The article also states that it is only with the 
Vulgate that a systematic distinction was made between angelic 
emissaries (Lat. angelus) and human ones (Lat. nuntius).

Lewis Reich

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