[b-hebrew] The Name "Simeon"

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Sat Dec 8 17:50:09 EST 2007


1. I write all my mail [on a Mac G4] in Helvetica size 12. I think  
the problem lies in your [mine?] mail settings, or possibly in the b- 
Hebrew transmission. In fact, your last list appears on my screen  
half in tiny letters [size 9?], until paragraph 4, at which point it  
reverts to size 12, methinks.
2. I am sorry that I have to disagree with you but I detect no  
distinction whatsoever between RA(AB and R(ABON [as between KE$EL and  
KI$ALON]. They are both rendered into English as 'famine'. I fail to  
see how R(ABON, 'hunger', is the "fulfilment" of RA(AB, 'hunger'.
3. I am not interested in the etymological investigation of the name  
$IM(ON. The ON in $IM(ON means nothing to me. Proper names need not  
be words. Mention of the name just recalled to our minds the "suffix"  
-ON in Hebrew nouns.
4. I brought the example of RA(AD (Ex 15:15) - R(ADAH (Isa 33:14)  
because it is entirely analogous to RA(AB - R(ABON, except that the  
"suffix" here is -AH instead of -ON. In fact, the NAB translates both  
RA(AD and R(ADAH as 'trembling', as it translates both RA(AB and R 
(ABON as 'famine'. Now, R(ADAH is "feminine" by default not by  
design, it is not the -AH that merely turns PAR, 'bull' into PARAH,  
'cow, PAR-she'. I know that the feminine marker -AH = HI) is still  
used now for the sake of semantic cleavage as in YAM, 'sea', YAMAH  
[pronounced yamAH, as opposed to YAMah, 'westward'], 'lake'.
5. I can hardly relate to the word "fulfilment" in this context, even  
though I have an inkling as to what you mean by it.
6. What I am saying is actually so simple and obvious [at least to  
me] that you may be overlooking it, searching in it some deeper  
meaning. Let's take RA(AD - R(ADAH first as they are of a more  
concrete nature. The progenitor of these words is the root R(D. It is  
of great generality and constitutes the genetic semantic nucleus so  
to speak of all the words derived from it. By adding A-A we obtain  
the pronounceable RA(AD. With a qamatz-patax and a stress on the  
second syllable it is 'trembled', but with a patax-patax and a stress  
on the first syllable [as I pronounce it] it is 'trembling'. But this  
situation is wanting in clarity. We want to say "it is a thing having  
the property embodied in the root R(D". So we say shortly R(AD HI),  
with HI) identifying the thing, namely the state of trembling, ---> R 
(AD-AH. The same is true for -ON and -UT, etc..
7. Of course, we know to distinguish between R(AD-AH, 'trembling, R 
(AD-it-is' and RA(AD-AH, 'RA(AD-she, she trembled'. We know also that  
RA(AD-U is 'they trembled, tremble-U', and that TI-R(AD is 'you  
[will] tremble, TI-tremble'. etc.
8. I may take up your suggestion.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Dec 7, 2007, at 1:16 PM, <pporta at oham.net> <pporta at oham.net> wrote:

> Isaac,
> First, would you be so kind to make the fonts of a part of the  
> mails you send display in a greater size on my screen?  I feel the  
> letter body is too small, even if your intention at doing so is to  
> differentiate the authoring of mails.
> Then,
> 1. R(ABON (Psa 37:19), famine, time of hunger, is indeed the  
> fulfilment or RA(AB, hunger. It means hunger (otherwise a somewhat  
> theoretical concept, mainly if one can eat so much as he wants  
> to...) has been or become real, true, really felt by people.
> 2. The difference between RA(AD (Ex 15:15) and R(ADAH (Isa 33:14)  
> has, to my sense, nothing to do with the issue posted by Jim. These  
> are two versions of the same: one is masculine and the second is  
> feminine. They mean the same. This is a phaenomenon we find in most  
> languages. Surely there are some cases in English.
> 3. What you write on suffixes (-ON, -IT, -N)... has nothing to do  
> with the issue now in discussion...
> 4. And finally. You write:
> It is my understanding that what you mean in "the fulfilment of the  
> key concept of the word they come from" is that it turns a root  
> into a noun or a "thing".
> Yes, it is so.
> and you write as well:
> If so, then you are near agreeing with me that it is a (compound)  
> personal pronoun.
> You should explain with the greatest detail this assertion, Isaac.
> People on this list -me included--  do not understand this!
> The final -ON in Shim'on is a (compound) personal pronoun?    
> Please, explain this in such a manner that all of us become able to  
> understand it!
> If you were able to make the listers of b-hebrew understand what  
> you mean by these words then this ambiance or feeling of opposition  
> against your theory --I think the opposition is against your theory  
> and not against your person-  would become much lesser!
> Perhaps it would be good you give your explanation not in an only  
> mail but acting by steps: distributing your answer into two or  
> three -or even four-  mails along...
> You must agree that if people do not understand your theory... then  
> people see most of your mails as a hindrance rather than to be  
> welcome...
> I heartly suggest you to do so!
> Pere Porta
> Barcelona (Spain)
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Isaac Fried
> To: <pporta at oham.net>
> Cc: b-hebrew Hebrew
> Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 4:18 PM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] The Name "Simeon"
> Pere,
> You are saying:
> "The end syllable -ON is a quite usual end in biblical Hebrew and  
> in today
> Israeli Hebrew as well. It is that of several masculine nouns that  
> usually
> mean the fulfilment of the key concept of the word they come from."
> But, do you find any difference between RA(AB, 'hunger', as say in  
> Genesis 12:10, and R(AB-ON of Psalms 37:19? Or for that matter, RA 
> (AD, 'trembling', of Exodus 15:15 and R(ADAH of Isaiah 33:14?
> It is my understanding that what you mean in "the fulfilment of the  
> key concept of the word they come from" is that it turns a root  
> into a noun or a "thing". If so, then you are near agreeing with me  
> that it is a (compound) personal pronoun.
> in spoken Hebrew the "suffix" -ON is also occasionally used to  
> suggest lesser size, for example GAG, 'roof', GAGON, 'a roofling, a  
> rack', as over the entrance to the house or the car port. Also the  
> "suffix" -IT [in my opinion the compound HI)-AT. Females are  
> smaller than males?] is occasionally used for this purpose, for  
> instance, KOS, 'drinking glass', KOS-IT, 'small liquor glass', as  
> in We lifted a KOSIT for the new year.
> The "suffix" -AN is reference to an agent [as the English -er is]  
> as in GAN-AN, 'gardner'.
> Isaac Fried, Boston University
> On Dec 7, 2007, at 12:36 AM, <pporta at oham.net> <pporta at oham.net>  
> wrote:
>> Dear Jim,
>> With a quite constructive mind and with no intention of denying  
>> you may be
>> right in some sense, I would argue this against your analysis:
>> 1. The word "Shim'on" lacks the aleph of "sana'", to hate. It  
>> consists only
>> of the very consonants of "shama'", to hear, plus a final -ON.
>> If you theory is true and sure... should not this aleph be part of  
>> the name
>> "Shim'on"?
>> 2. The end syllable -ON is a quite usual end in biblical Hebrew  
>> and in today
>> Israeli Hebrew as well. It is that of several masculine nouns that  
>> usually
>> mean the fulfilment of the key concept of the word they come from.  
>> In no way
>> I see it is the N of "saNa'", to hate
>> _________
>> Now, in a little more detail:
>> About 1. How do you explain that the aleph of "sana'", to hate,  
>> does not
>> appear in the name "Shim'on"?
>> About 2.
>> a. YitrON, profit, outcome (Ecc 2:11), of "yatar" (this form not  
>> found in
>> the Bible but many other forms of this verb are found...), to  
>> remain over.
>> b. (K')pitrON, (as) interpretation (Gn 40:5), of "patar" (Gn  
>> 40:22), to
>> interpret
>> c. (w')xesrON, (and) lacking (Ecc 1:15), of  "xaser", to lack (1Ki  
>> 17:16)
>> d. zikarON, memorial (Ex 17:14), of "zakhar", to remember (Ec 9:15)
>> And in modern Hebrew:
>> e. shiltON, government
>> f. gizrON, etimology
>> g. kisharON, skill....
>> h. and....... many others.
>> What can you say as a replay to these main two points that defy your
>> analysis?
>> Pere Porta
>> Barcelona (Spain)
>>> Most of this clever Hebrew wordplay is missed if one simply says,  
>>> as do
>>> the
>>> scholarly books I have consulted, that “Simeon” is a play on the  
>>> word
>>> shama’/“
>>> heard”.  Yes, that is in part true, but it misses the most exciting
>>> aspects
>>> of what the author is doing with the name “Simeon” here.  S-M- 
>>> N/“Simeon”
>>> reflects both S-M/shama’/“heard” and S-N/sana’/“hated”.  S-M + S-N =
>>> S-M-N.
>>> The word “heard”, standing alone, tells us almost nothing about  
>>> Simeon.
>>> But
>>> the words “heard, hated” deftly summarize Simeon’s future life.   
>>> Simeon
>>> that his full-sister Dinah had been with young Shechem, and  
>>> Simeon HATED
>>> the
>>> men of Shechem for that.  Simeon HEARD Joseph’s dreams, which  
>>> seemed to
>>> foretell
>>> that Joseph would rule over his older half-brothers, and Simeon  
>>> Joseph
>>> for that.  In both cases, it is precisely Simeon who is the  
>>> ringleader in
>>> killing the men of Shechem, and in almost murdering young  
>>> Joseph.  “Heard,
>>> hated.”
>>> As we are beginning to see, the sophisticated multiple puns on  
>>> the names
>>> of
>>> Jacob’s 12 sons deftly foreshadow what these sons then do in the  
>>> rest of
>>> the
>>> text.
>>> The key here is to focus on the true Hebrew consonants, and the  
>>> precise
>>> order
>>> of these key consonants.  It is also important to realize that  
>>> sometimes
>>> similar, rather than identical, consonants are used in the  
>>> punning done by
>>> the
>>> author of the Patriarchal narratives.
>>> To view “Simeon” as merely being a play on the word shama’/“heard”,
>>> nothing
>>> else, is to miss much of the brilliant Hebrew wordplay in the  
>>> Patriarchal
>>> narratives.  ShaMa’ + SaNa’ = SiMeoN.  S-M + S-N = S-M-N.  It’s  
>>> right
>>> there, if
>>> we will simply look at the key consonants that appear, and the  
>>> precise
>>> order
>>> in which they appear, in the text of Genesis 29: 33.  That’s the  
>>> way the
>>> author
>>> of the Patriarchal narratives does puns.  It’s a vital key to
>>> understanding
>>> what the author is trying to tell us in the Patriarchal narratives.
>>> Jim Stinehart
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