[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Thu Oct 11 09:29:12 EDT 2007


You are saying:
"...this does not mean that every time someone says "seven", he  
really means "plenty"".
I am saying He surely does. $EBA(, 'seven', is the number of plenty.  
A cat that has seven lives has plenty of lives in it. The root $B( is  
related to the root SB( [with sin], 'satiate'.
$B( is a member of the family of roots: SB), CB), CB(, $BH, $P(, $PH,  
CP(, TB(, YP(, CBH, $W(, $WH. Hebrew does not make sense without the  
understanding that its roots slightly mutate and relentlessly spread  
out to produce new roots of new shades of meaning. This is the  
essence of Hebrew etymology.
The common Hebrew word $IPU(A that you mention means 'piled up'. The  
word HA-$PA(-AH means 'influence'. $IPU(A is like ZAW-IT, 'corner' ,  
as in Psalms 144:12. Notice the interesting relationships among ZW,  
ZB, CW, CB, and also DW, DB, TB, TW, TP, SB, $B, CP, $B, $P. Thus,  
ZAW-IT is a CAB-IT, 'a swelling, an appendage, an inflation'  
extending or jutting out.
I tend to think that $ABAT, 'sabbath', is essentially $AB(-AT, 'the  
seventh day'. It is, of course, also the day of rest.
You are right in saying that biblical etymology of names is  
etiological or suggestive since the meaning of a name is open to  
various interpretations and different associations. There are various  
simple ways of explaining the name )ADAM apart from saying that it  
"comes from" )ADAM-AH, 'earth'.
There must be a simple, concrete, folk explanation for the name BEER- 
$EBA(. It is unlike the new Israeli town names KIRYAT-SHMONAH, 'the  
town of the eight' and MA(ALE(H-HAXAMISHAH, 'the steep of the five'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Oct 11, 2007, at 1:05 AM, Yigal Levin wrote:

> Isaac,
> Gen. 21:28-31 gives not one but two perfectly reasonable  
> explanations for
> the name Beer-Sheva, both based on the meaning(s) of the word Sheva (
> $eba( ). While both reasons could be and very likely are  
> etiological, what
> reason could you have to propose a third meaning, for which you  
> have to
> assume that "sheva" is "really" "shefa". Even if (and that's a big  
> "IF")
> there is some connection between the words $B( "oath" or "seven"  
> and $P(
> "plenty" (and how about "decline"?), this does not mean that every  
> time
> someone says "seven", he really means "plenty".
> Yigal Levin
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Isaac Fried" <if at math.bu.edu>
> To: <JimStinehart at aol.com>
> Cc: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 6:43 AM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1
>> Jim,
>> Indeed, biblical geography is uncertain because of the generic nature
>> of the biblical place names. Every significant place of worship could
>> be QADE$ [AL-QUDS]. It appears to me that Beersheba is BEER-$EBA(,
>> with $EBA( meaning 'plentiful, abundant', as $EPA( of Deuteronomy
>> 33:19 is. Possibly other plentiful wells supplying generously were so
>> called.
>> Isaac Fried, Boston University
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