[b-hebrew] Benjamin

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Jul 2 16:28:21 EDT 2004

On Friday 02 July 2004 10:33, Harold R. Holmyard III wrote:
> Dear Dave,
> >?? I thought the "on" in this verse meant "sorrow," as in "son of my
> >sorrow/distress," and Jacob chose to give him a less depressing name.
> HH: The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew agrees with you, and tags the
> word in Gen 35:18 as )NH ("oneh"), meaning "distress," "mourning," or
> "weariness." That is the interpretation I have always heard, but I
> was trying to look at it from others' perspectives. The text in
> Genesis has )WoNiY, so it certainly seems capable of being a suffixed
> form of either the word )WoN ("strength") or )fWeN ("trouble,
> distress"), as well as the term chosen by DCH.

OK, that makes sense.  I don't have DCH, but Holladay (a condensation of KB) 
lists )OWNIY separately as an unattested root, plural )OWNIYM, defines 
"lamentation for the dead, mourning" and references Gen 35:18.  It would 
appear, as the expression goes, that you pays your money and you takes your 
pick, and a good case can be made either way.  The fact that Jacob rejected 
the name in favor of something else tips the scale in favor of Holladay's 
rendering, at least for me.

Dave Washburn
Learning about Christianity from a non-Christian
is like getting a kiss over the telephone.

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