if at math.bu.edu
Fri Mar 28 18:15:21 EDT 2008
SARAY as a Hebrew WORD means 'my princes', but SARAY as a NAME is of
an unclear meaning and provenance --- a name is not a word. I said
that confronted with the choice of writing the name with a samek or a
sin [the question of the divergence and the sounding of sin/shin
aside] the editor decided to write it with a sin since סרה with a
samek LOOKS bad and שרה with a sin LOOKS good.
Likewise, confronted with the choice of waw versus beth in writing
the name (ESAW of Genesis 25:25, the editor opted for waw to avoid
the too obvious "grassy" look of (ESAB. Yet it is hinted to us there
that he was indeed born as hairy as a field after the first rain.
A present day example. No sane Hebrew parent would dare register his
daughter's name as ZIBAH, 'gonorrhea', but ZIWAH is considered a
lovely girl's name.
Isaac Fried, Boston University
On Mar 28, 2008, at 11:45 AM, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:
> Isaac Fried:
> You wrote: “If you question the Masoretes' pointing of the name
> SARAY, then
> should, by the same logic, question also the editor(s) of the Hebrew
> bible on his choice of the letter sin. After all, the name of the
> first lady was not copied from a birth certificate. We easily imagine
> that when confronted with the choice of samek versus sin he readily
> discarded the odious samek-resh for the noble sin-resh, making her an
> instant princess.”
> I thought that you and I had agreed that neither “Sary” (sin-
> resh-yod) nor “
> Sarah” means “princess”.
> 1. “Sar” (sin-resh) means a male “top official” of a king
> or pharaoh.
> When applied to human beings, “sar” does not mean “prince”.
> A “prince” is a
> son of a king who is a potential heir of the king. A “sar”, by
> contrast, is a
> minister or officer or commander, etc. appointed by the king, and
> having no blood relation to the king.
> 2. One meaning of “sary” (sin-resh-yod) is a plural form of
> “sar”, meaning
> more than one male “top officials” of a king or pharaoh.
> “Sary” does not
> mean “princes” when applied to human beings. At Genesis 12: 15,
> it certainly
> is not Pharaoh’s sons who are recommending that Abraham’s wife
> be brought
> into Pharaoh’s household. No, we are dealing with “top
> officers” of Pharaoh who
> are probably not related to Pharaoh by blood.
> 3. A second meaning of “Sary” (spelled sin-resh-yod, but
> perhaps properly
> pronounced "Sarai") is a woman’s name, that is a play on the
> underlying root
> word “sar”. It means a woman who is strong-willed and assertive
> like “top
> officials”/sary of a king or pharaoh. “Sary” does not mean
> princess when applied
> to a human being. Abraham’s wife was not the daughter of a king,
> so she was
> never a “princess”. Her key relationship is as a wife (to
> Abraham), not as a
> I do not see any usage of these words in the Patriarchal narratives
> to the above analysis.
> Abraham’s wife was never a “princess”. Neither of her names
> means “princess
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
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