[b-hebrew] Interchange of L/lamed with R/resh in Biblical Hebrew

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Mon Jun 23 12:30:28 EDT 2008


I think that the bible uses here the obscure, only once appearing,  
verb (AQAD [related to )AGAD, 'unified, held together', and used here  
supposedly instead of QA$AR or ASAR] intentionally to further  
obfuscate an absolutely minimal tale.
There is (AQOD, for a coloring pattern on sheep, as in Genesis 30:39  
and Genesis 31:10, and the the place name BEIT (EQED HA-RO(IM of 2  
Kings 10:12-14, both not easily related to 'bind'.
At the time of this event Abraham was a very old man and Isaac a  
fully developed NA(AR. Biblical time scales are not easy to figure  
out, but the fact of the matter is that Isaac was strong enough to  
carry uphill and to quiet a distance the full load of firewood needed  
to burn a goat. So how did this old man succeed, all by himself, in  
binding his son and placing him on the altar? Did Isaac play along,  
or did the old man stealthily sneak upon him with a rope, previously  
used to bound the kindling, during sleep? Was there a struggle or did  
the old man stun him first with a stone to the head? And why did he  
place Isaac upon the altar before slaughtering him?
But these questions are not for us. We want to just try and figure  
out what (AQAD means. The context here is not helpful as there is  
actually barely a coherent context here. So we replace the D by an R  
and have (AQAR, suggesting that all we can say about what Abraham did  
is that he held is son still [literally "planted" him] upon the altar  
above the firewood.
(AQAD = bound is no more than imagination working overtime,  
"cognates" not withstanding.
Just for the sake of interest. In Rembrandt's famous depiction of the  
(AQEDAH, which can be seen here
Isaac is not shown bound, at least not by the feet.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jun 22, 2008, at 11:43 PM, David Kummerow wrote:

> I would have thought that the more natural semantic antonym of `QR "to
> uproot" would be NT` "to plant". There is nothing "obvious" about your
> contrary claim. It makes little sense to have Isaac "planted" into the
> alter. In any case, from memory I think that `QD is not so obscure in
> that there are common cognates meaning "to tie, bind". There is  
> nothing
> lame about an English rendering "tied up" or "bound" if that is indeed
> the case.
> Regards,
> David Kummerow.
>> Jim,
>> The letters L and R don't "interchange". In my opinion the letter L
>> indicates elevation and the letter R dispersion/aggregation. Every
>> Hebrew root containing the letter R refers to a material state of
>> several bodies, such as (RM for a heap of grain versus (LM for
>> something tall and massive.
>> Some jump on this supposedly L-R interchangeability to relate Hebrew
>> and Indo-European words, for instance KAPTOR of Exodus 25:33 to the
>> Latin word capitulum. See: Vernes, Maurice: Les Emprunts de la Bible
>> Hebraique au Grec et au Latin, Ernest Leroux, Paris, 1914, pages  
>> 68-69.
>> Often, the substitution of R for another letter sharpens the meaning
>> of a word otherwise obscure. Take for instance the rare verb (AQAD of
>> Genesis 22:9, lamely translated by the NAB as 'tied up', and by the
>> JPS bible as 'bound'. Obviously it is the opposite of (AQAR, 'tore
>> away'.
>> See more in my book at www.hebrewetymology.com
>> Isaac Fried, Boston University
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list