[b-hebrew] "Rope Imagery" in Biblical Hebrew

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Sat Dec 13 18:00:51 EST 2008


(TR of proverbs 27:6 is possibly 'superfluous, excessive'.
YTR is also 'extensive, extended' and is a variant of Y$R 'linear,  
expanded, spread out' (from which is MI$OR, 'plane') as is YETER  
'cord, chord'.
XBL is also a variant of GBL, 'accumulate, enclose', and hence GBUL,  
It is a fundamental (alas a very common) mistake to look for  
"horizontal" relationships among different Hebrew words derived from  
the same root, say, XEBEL, 'region', XEBEL, 'rope', XEBEL,  
'upheaval', XEBEL, 'expropriation', TAXBULAH, 'devise'. A region is  
certainly not something "roped in".

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Dec 11, 2008, at 2:45 PM, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:

> Isaac:
> You wrote:  “The root YTR is in my opinion a variant of the roots  
> (TR, ($R,
>  'replete, plenty'.  I hold it a basic tenet of Hebrew etymology  
> that every
> root
>  containing the letter L, such as XBL, refers to a state of  
> elevation or
> extension, and that every root that contains the letter R, such as  
> XBR, refers to
> a state of aggregation or dispersion.”
> (TR means “to be abundant”, and ($R means “to make rich”.  Originally,
> those were good, positive words.  (The fact that (TR is used at  
> Proverbs 27: 6 to
> excoriate an enemy’s “abundant” kisses as being deceitful does not  
> override
> the fact that (TR/“abundant” is basically a positive, good word.)
> How did one create “abundance”/(TR and get “rich”/($R, while living  
> in a
> tent in rural Canaan in the Patriarchal Age?  Why, by using a  
> “rope”/YTR,
> naturally, to rig one’s tent, to deal with one’s animals, for all  
> manner of
> agricultural activities, and at times even to “rope” off the  
> boundaries of one’s
> space against others.  The greatest technological innovation  
> enjoyed by the
> first Hebrews, living in tents in rural Canaan, was manufactured,  
> twisted “rope”,
> made from local flax.  The specific word for that type of “rope” is  
> XBL,
> which we have yet to examine in detail.  But a second word for rope- 
> like items,
> including real “rope”/XBL, but also including a “cord” that may  
> have simply
> been a vine, and a “bowstring” that may have been fashioned from an  
> animal’s
> tendon, was YTR.
> I am trying to show that the positive “rope imagery” eternally  
> embedded in
> the very language of Biblical Hebrew is really quite stunning.  We  
> have seen
> this first at Genesis 49: 3, where “rope”/YTR is equated with “natural
> superiority, excellence”/YTR.  When we get to “rope”/XBL, we will  
> see manufactured,
> twisted real “rope”/XBL being equated with land and divinely-approved
> inheritances of large regions of land.
> My point is that the rural Bronze Age Canaan beginnings of Biblical  
> Hebrew
> are right there, eternally on display, if we will just take  
> seriously this
> magnificent, positive “rope imagery” embedded in the very language  
> of Biblical
> Hebrew.  There’s not much in Biblical Hebrew from urban  
> Mesopotamia, and
> amazingly little from the colorful culture of neighboring Egypt.   
> No, Biblical Hebrew
> is by its very nature proudly rural Canaan all the way, a virgin  
> pure west
> Semitic language.  And very enamored of “rope”.
> You may well be right that “rope”/YTR is related to (TR/“abundant”  
> and ($R/“
> rich”.  What I’m saying is that all those fine concepts were linked  
> to “rope”
>  by the early tent-dwelling Hebrews in rural Canaan.
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
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