[b-hebrew] Yachid: together with or one?

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Sun Sep 14 02:07:47 EDT 2003

Dear All:

Recently on a discussion board, the question concerning echad )XD and yachid YXYD came up (again) asking why one was used in the Shema and the other not. That caused me to relook at the uses of yachid.

Yachid is used about a dozen times in Tenakh. According to dictionaries, it is from the root YXD which, as far as I can tell, means “to be together with”. If so, then it is related to YXD or YXDW which mean “together (with)” or often best translated merely “with”. If the etymology is correct, that already casts doubt that YXYD means “one”, “only one” or as some like to assert, “indivisible one”.

That meaning is further weakened when I looked at its uses. Genesis 22 Isaac is repeatedly called Abraham’s YXYD son, but Abraham already had another son, one who was already blessed by God. In Judges 11:34 it describes Yiptach’s daughter, but if it meant only daughter, why does the verse then proceed to say that Yiptach didn’t have any other sons or daughters?

Instead of “one”, could this refer to a person with whom one lives? Isaac was the son who inherited Abraham’s position and wealth, therefore he stayed living with his father. Ishmael was already living apart. Was Yiptach’s daughter different from Isaac?

But recently I had an experience that illustrated the point. I was at the bedside of a very close friend when he breathed his last. I found it emotionally devastating. I had had other people close to me die, but I was not present when they died. When I was present to see his effort to breathe fail, then watch his heart stop, I was not prepared for the intensity of the grief. When I looked at Jer 6:26, Am 8:10 and Zec 12:10, I was reminded of that grief and its intensity. Yachid again seems to indicate someone “together with” where the grief is very intense.

Any thoughts?

Karl W. Randolph.
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