[b-hebrew] BO and BO)

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Wed Aug 8 12:19:16 EDT 2007


I am often asked about the close resemblance of Hebrew BO, ‘in him, by him’, 
as in Genesis 41:38 “one in whom [BO] is the spirit of God”

אִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים בּוֹ

and BO), ‘come’, as in Genesis 39:16 “until his master came [BO)] home”

עַד-בּוֹא אֲדֹנָיו אֶל-בֵּיתוֹ

This is my answer: The essential part of both BO and BO) is the Hebrew 
existence marker, or fundamental concept, AB-BA, corresponding to the 
English substantive ‘be’, and represented by the letter B. The O sound in 
both is the compacted Hebrew personal pronoun HU. Thus both BO and BO) are 
the compound ‘be-he’, but whereas in BO the existence marker BA is for the 
property present in the person referred to as O, in BO) the existence marker 
BA is for the body of the person referred to as O.

Both are related to the Hebrew POH, ‘here, exists at this point’.

Isaac Fried, Boston University 

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