[b-hebrew] The Name "Simeon"

pporta at oham.net pporta at oham.net
Sun Dec 9 00:57:29 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.


till very recently (say one week) the letter size of your mails displayed quite normal on my screen. I changed nothing in my mail settings...  Did you change anything in yours?

  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:


    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.


    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"


      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 

        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 
        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 

        Pere Porta
        Barcelona (Spain)

          Most of this clever Hebrew wordplay is missed if one simply says, as do 
          scholarly books I have consulted, that “Simeon” is a play on the word 
          heard”.  Yes, that is in part true, but it misses the most exciting 
          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 = 
          The word “heard”, standing alone, tells us almost nothing about Simeon. 
          the words “heard, hated” deftly summarize Simeon’s future life.  Simeon 
          that his full-sister Dinah had been with young Shechem, and Simeon HATED 
          men of Shechem for that.  Simeon HEARD Joseph’s dreams, which seemed to 
          that Joseph would rule over his older half-brothers, and Simeon HATED 
          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, 

          As we are beginning to see, the sophisticated multiple puns on the names 
          Jacob’s 12 sons deftly foreshadow what these sons then do in the rest of 

          The key here is to focus on the true Hebrew consonants, and the precise 
          of these key consonants.  It is also important to realize that sometimes
          similar, rather than identical, consonants are used in the punning done by 
          author of the Patriarchal narratives.

          To view “Simeon” as merely being a play on the word shama’/“heard”, 
          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 
          in which they appear, in the text of Genesis 29: 33.  That’s the way the 
          of the Patriarchal narratives does puns.  It’s a vital key to 
          what the author is trying to tell us in the Patriarchal narratives.

          Jim Stinehart

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