[b-hebrew] Genesis 3:15 and order of ideas

Revdpickrel at wmconnect.com Revdpickrel at wmconnect.com
Tue Dec 21 20:55:12 EST 2004

In a message dated 12/21/2004 7:15:54 PM Central Standard Time, 
mshulman at ix.netcom.com writes:

> If one interprets when translating one can make a verse mean anything. The 
> word 'conceive' is not there.  The problem of the language implying the 
> female having 'seed' led to a number of interesting comments by the Rabbis.

"zara, in both its verb and noun
Transliterated: zara'  

Text:  "to sow, scatter seed, make pregnant." Common throughout the history 
of the Hebrew language, this root is found in various Semitic languages, 
including ancient Akkadian. The verb is found approximately 60 times in the Hebrew 
Old Testament. It occurs first in Gen. 1:29 in the summary of the blessings of 
creation which God has given to mankind: "... In the which is the fruit of a 
tree yielding seed...." 
In an agricultural society such as ancient Israel, zara' would be most 
important and very commonly used, especially to describe the annual sowing of crops 
(Judg. 6:3; Gen. 26:12). Used in the figurative sense, it is said that Yahweh 
"will sow" Israel in the land (Hos. 2:23); in the latter days, Yahweh 
promises: "...I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of 
man, and with the seed of beast" (Jer. 31:27). Of great continuing comfort are 
the words, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy" (Ps. 126:5). The 
universal law of the harvest, sowing and reaping, applies to all areas of life and 
A good example of the need for free translation of the inherent meaning 
rather than a strictly literal rendering involves zara, in both its verb and noun 
forms. This is found in Num. 5, which describes the law of trial by ordeal in 
the case of a wife accused of infidelity. If she was found innocent, it was 
declared: "... She shall be free, and shall conceive [zara] seed [zera]" (Num. 
5:28). This phrase is literally: "She shall be acquitted and shall be seeded 
seed," or "She shall be made pregnant with seed." 
An Old Testament name, Jezreel, has been connected with this root. Jezreel 
("God sows") refers both to a city and valley near Mt. Gilboa (Josh. 17:16; 2 
Sam. 2:9) and to the symbolically named son of Hosea (Hos. 1:4)."

Doug Pickrel
Tejas Valley
San Antonio, TX

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