Cindy Smith cms at
Fri Sep 1 17:44:39 EDT 2000

>From:	MX%"barre at"  1-SEP-2000 06:47:16.41
>To:	MX%"b-hebrew at"
>Subj:	Israel

>What does "Israel" literally mean, please?

I believe it means "one who struggles with God."  It comes from
Exodus 32:25-33 where Jacob struggles with a man all night long, and 
when he could not prevail against Jacob, he said, "You shall not 
longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel, because you have 
contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed" (v 29).  
Jacob believed he saw God but Hosea 12:5 explicityly calls him an 
angel.  This is folk etymology, however, which is common in the Old 
Testament.  Yisra, in this folk etymology, comes from sarita,
"you contended" and El means God.  I leave it to the experts to decide 
what the name Israel means in scholarly etymology.


>L.M. Barre, Ph.D.
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Cindy Smith				   Spawn of a Jewish Carpenter
GO AGAINST THE FLOW! \\ _\\\_     _///_ // A Real Live Catholic in Georgia
cms at       >IXOYE=('> <`)=  _<<  "Delay not your conversion  
cms at  ///       \\\  \\   to the LORD, Put it not off 
cms at				     from day to day" Ecclus/Sira 5:8

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