meaning of golem

Ben and Jo Crick ben.crick at
Tue Sep 10 08:48:39 EDT 2002

On Tue 10 Sep 2002 (20:55:38 +1000), ansteyfamily at wrote:
> BDB gives the meaning of golem in psa 149:16 as "embryo" but would the
> author have known about embryos? Any other suggestions for the meaning
> here of this hapax? And do you think it is related to galam "to fold up",
> gelom "large garment", both also hapaxes?
 Dear Matthew,

 I assume you mean Psalm 139:16. This is a L:DaWiD psalm, attributed to the
 sweet Psalmist of Israel (2 Samuel 23:1). The context of verses 13-16 makes it
 clear that the unborn fetus or embryo is intended. Compare Ecclesiastes 11:5.

 Verse 15 compares the dark and mysterious womb with the dark and mysterious
 nether world.

 Root G-L-M seems to mean "rolled up"; a reasonable description of the unhorn
 child in the "fetal position".

 FWIW, the Septuagint has AKATERGASTON MOU for GoL:MiY. If KATERGAZOMAI is to
 finish doing something, then AKATERGAZOMAI would be not to have finished
 something; so "my unfinished or unformed [body]" seems to be the meaning.
 Aramaic GoL:Ma is an "unfinished vessel", or so I'm told.


 Revd Ben Crick BA CF, and Mrs Joanna (Goodwin) Crick
 <ben.crick at>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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