[b-hebrew] The root SLH

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Fri Jan 4 01:35:07 EST 2008


Of course we all “know” [more or less] what XALAH means by context and 
universal experience, yet you did not tell me what it means. Unfortunately, 
all you give me is translation --- the replacement of one vague word in 
Hebrew by two ambiguous and doubtful words in English. Without precise 
knowledge, you will agree with me, there can be no meaningful discussion of 
the semantic affinity of GALAH and XALAH. We need to understand, or try to 
understand, what the ancient Hebrews concretely meant by saying that someone 
is XOLEH. To see more on the equivalence of GLL, HLL, XLL, KLL, QLL see my 
posting from September 6, 2007.

What I mean by the ‘equivalence’ of D, Z, T, Y, S, C, $, T is that they are 
all ‘essentially equal’. If you replace in a Hebrew root, say, D by, say, C, 
then you get a new root of the same “family”, or same basic meaning as the 
original. Since we are not dealing here with sharp and clearly delineated 
mathematical objects the meaning of ‘equal’, ‘close’, ‘same’ [imagine my 
dillema facing students who keep pestering me with the question if the test 
is going to be THE SAME as the homeworks], and so on, must be understood in 
the more general sense of what we agree and understand to be so.

Examples do it all. Take for example 1 Kings 5:22-23

וַיִּשְׁלַח חִירָם, אֶל-שְׁלֹמֹה לֵאמֹר שָׁמַעְתִּי אֵת אֲשֶׁר-שָׁלַחְתָּ 
אֵלָי אֲנִי אֶעֱשֶׂה אֶת-כָּל-חֶפְצְךָ בַּעֲצֵי אֲרָזִים וּבַעֲצֵי 
בְרוֹשִׁים עֲבָדַי יֹרִדוּ מִן-הַלְּבָנוֹן יָמָּה וַאֲנִי אֲשִׂימֵם 
דֹּבְרוֹת בַּיָּם עַד-הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר-תִּשְׁלַח אֵלַי וְנִפַּצְתִּים שָׁם 
וְאַתָּה תִשָּׂא

How did the ancient Hebrews know what the rare word DOBR-AH means, even if 
they had possibly never heard it before? First, King Solomon was a wise and 
practical man [as are we] who understood the logistics of transporting 
several hundred large tree trunks from the cedar forests of the Lebanon to 
Jerusalem, and would have done the same inventive and sensible thing Xiram 
proposed to do. But he had also a keen, discerning, and sensitive ear, not 
spoiled yet by dictionaries and the like, to the language and could 
understand right away the choice of this technical word DOBRA-AH. His 
intuition told him within a microsecond of the equivalence of


Then his mind picked out TOBRA-AH, [recall TABUR of Judges 9:37], COBRA-AH 
[recall CIBUR, ‘heap’ of 2 Kings 10:8], $OBR-AH [recall the two SEBER of 
Isaiah 30:14 and Genesis 42:1], TOBR-AH [recall the mountain name TABOR of 
Psalms 89:13], and he got it right away that DOBRA-AH is a pile, or a 
collection, or an assembly, [COBRA-AH CBUR-AH or TOBR-AH TBUR-AH or $OBR-AH 
$BUR-AH] of floating tree trunks, certainly bound together by ropes.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <pporta at oham.net>
To: "Isaac Fried" <if at math.bu.edu>
Cc: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 7:38 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] The root SLH

> Pere,
> I will give you a detailed answer, but first explain to me (no traslations
> and no converses please!) what you think XALAH, 'ill', means.
> __________
> We should study in detail the 75 issues in the Bible where verb XALAH 
> appears (in all forms and conjugations).
> But taking as a model 1K 17:17, where a boy XALAH and ... died, I think 
> XALAH means (in qal) "to be weak, sick", as we read in dictionaries.
> Now, I think all of us know (either in theory or in practice) what "to be 
> weak, sick" means: so no need of explanations on this...
> Pere Porta 

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