[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Oct 13 18:26:22 EDT 2007

On 10/12/07, Yigal Levin wrote:

> The theory that the word "negev" is derived from the verb "nageb" (NGB)
> meaning "to wipe" - a place that is "wiped dry" is only that - a theory
> which may or may not be correct. In any case, "Negev" is NEVER used of any
> desert other that the Beer-sheva - Arad basin.

I am not sure who suggested that the word "negev" is derived from the verb
"to wipe."  NGB is "to wipe" in Bava Matsia (Jastrow), but it is also "dry" in
a much wider array of cognates.  Most likely, "dry" came from "wipe" and not
the other way around.  I admit that I did not properly look up
evidence prior to
this suggestion, although having looked up HALOT I suggest you do too.
It provides the very suggestive Joshua 15:19 as an example of its meaning
"dry land."  It also refers to cognates in Mishnaic Hebrew, Jewish Aramaic,
Syriac, Neo-Aramaic, and Samaritan meaning "to be dry", and in Soqotri "to
dry up."  On Jewish Aramaic, see

בגנ (a/a) vb. to dry up (SA נגב Ham 461:64, MH נגב Moreshet,
Lex 220+) Pe. ונגב נהרא the river dried up Git 49a(25);
דייגב נהרא ib. 27; קברייל נגב the Q.-river dried up
MQ 80a(54); נגבו מיא TN Gen 8:13 [H וברח ]; נגבו אפיה דארעא
the surface of the earth dried up ib.; part.pass. כד הוא נגיב
when (the bean) is dry Kil 31c(35) // Sab 7b(15); נגיבה
TN Lev 7:10 [H חרבה]; וצואת קטן נגיבה dry excrement
of a minor AZ 40d(30)

Pa. id.: part.pass. מנגבה TNGl Lev 7:10 [---> pe.]

see also here:

In light of the many cognates, and in light of Joshua 15:19,
"ngb" = "dry land" may be only a theory, but it is also a very
compelling theory and one that has to be answered if someone
suggests that "ngb" refers to a very fertile land.

Yitzhak Sapir

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