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

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Jun 23 13:10:18 EDT 2008

Isaac Fried:
Since it is directly on point, please contrast ayin-qof-resh at Genesis 22: 9 
with ayin-qof-lamed at Habakkuk 1: 4.  The two words are the same in 
unpointed Hebrew, except that one ends with a resh, whereas the other ends with a 
Ayin-qof-lamed is usually said to mean bent, twisted, bent out of shape, 
crooked, crooked justice.
Both of these words seem to embody the concept of “bind, twist”, in a 
negative context.
Does ayin-qof-resh reflect northern Canaan in the Late Bronze Age?  Either 
over time the R/resh softens to L/lamed, or because of dialectal differences 
between northern Canaan vs. southern Canaan, in the mid-1st millennium BCE we 
see, coming out of Jerusalem in southern Canaan, ayin-qof-lamed.  The resh/R has 
become lamed/L.
This seems to me to be a perfect example of exactly the point I am trying to 
Doesn’t it seem logical that a resh/R in northern Canaan in the Late Bronze 
Age may come out, centuries later and much farther south (in Jerusalem), as a 
That’s precisely the question I am raising.  I think you have come up with a 
6th example here of this phenomenon, to go along with the 5 examples I cited 
in my original post.
Please contrast ayin-qof-resh at Genesis 22: 9 with ayin-qof-lamed at 
Habakkuk 1: 4.
P.S.  In the binding incident, Abraham is age 65 regular years, and Isaac is 
age 15 regular years.  Isaac at first glance might seem a bit naïve and 
passive for being a young adult age 15 regular years, but that perfectly fits his 
character.  Abraham is old, but Abraham is still in good physical shape at this 
point (though not for much longer;  old Abraham ages quickly after Sarah’s 
death, which occurs a few years after the binding incident).  At the time of the 
binding incident, Abraham is age 130 “years”, in terms of the 6-month “years”
 in which all characters’ ages are set forth in the Patriarchal narratives.  
The numerical symbolism here is that in the Patriarchal narratives (though not 
the case generally in the ancient world), the number 13 is an inauspicious 
number.  Abraham is age 13 tenfold, that is, age 130 “years”, in 6-month “years”
.  That is the equivalent of age 65 regular years.  We are not explicitly 
told Abraham’s exact age in so many words here in the text, but the foregoing 
analysis fits perfectly with everything that we are told throughout the 
Patriarchal narratives.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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