[b-hebrew] Interchangeable letters

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Oct 25 12:58:17 EDT 2007


On 10/25/07, Isaac Fried <if at math.bu.edu> wrote:
> Karl
> SRX [with sin] is not, at least in my opinion, "running to and fro",

You need to be more careful, there is no %RX found in Biblical Hebrew,
the closest there is is %RK, used only once in Jeremiah 2:23. Other
dictionaries give the meaning of running to and fro, or back and
forth, and I see no reason to contradict them.

> .... and SRX
> is not "overhanging, such as draping over the edge (of a bed) or of the
> excess cloth overhanging the backside of the tent". To wit: Amos 6:4
> U-SRUXIM (AL (AR$OTAM, in which SRUXIM is translated as 'lounge, stretch,
> sprawl', not hanging over their couches.

But this is exactly the picture that I get from the verse, that these
people are just lounging around, sprawled out on their beds with arms
and legs overhanging and drooping to the floor.

> I want to tell you in the friendliest manner that in my opinion you are
> making the ultimate mistake in considering Hebrew in a narrow
> dictionary-like manner. Hebrew, unlike English, has a root system that is
> subtly, but quite clearly, intermeshed. By ignoring this and isolating a
> root to the restricted confines of a dictionary translation-definition you
> miss the grand panorama of the Hebrew power of allusion and intimation.
> Notice how clever the prophet is in Jeremiah 2:23: BIKRAH QALAH M-SAREKET
> DARAKEHA, playing upon the essential identity of the roots DRX and SRX.
> Observe how it is almost M-DAREKET DARAKEHA.
> He who fails to see the inherent affinity of DRX, ZRX, TRX, YRX, SRX, CRX,
> is seeing only the outer shell of Hebrew, and even this only in black and
> white.
> Isaac Fried, Boston University
Isaac, I have been accused of practicing the etymology error precisely
because I make use of roots and derivatives to help me understand
words. I find that practice quite helpful.

On the other hand, just because words sound similar does not mean that
they are from the same root. In looking at a traditional dictionary
where all words were listed according to their proposed roots, I found
plenty of times based on meaning that there was no evidence that a
proposed derivative was based on a listed root. It is very possible
that some nouns and other words were never connected to a root. And
how many words were loan words from other languages, and therefore did
not fit the root and derivative system? That question would even
extend to some verbs and roots could be adopted from other languages,
therefore not fit your scheme.

What you need is documentary evidence, and so far all I and others on
this list have seen is speculation.

Karl W. Randolph.

> On Oct 24, 2007, at 1:44 AM, K Randolph wrote:
> Isaac:
> On 10/23/07, Isaac Fried <if at math.bu.edu> wrote:
> Yigal,
> Here is something else worth thinking about. How are we to understand
> the meaning of the root SRK [with sin] of Jeremiah 2:23 in
> relationship to its derivative SROK, 'thong, strap, lace', if not via
> SRX of Exodus 26:12-13 and Amos 6:4?
> Isaac Fried, Boston University
> %RK has the idea of running to and fro, which is what a shoestring
> does over the top of a foot, hence %RWK.
> SRX (two letters different) has the idea of overhanging, such as
> draping over the edge (of a bed) or of the excess cloth overhanging
> the backside of the tent.
> So how does the latter help with understanding the former?
> Karl W. Randolph.

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