[b-hebrew] $ADAI

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Fri Mar 28 18:15:21 EDT 2008


Jim,

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
> you
>  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  
> usually
> 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
> daughter.
>
> I do not see any usage of these words in the Patriarchal narratives  
> contrary
> 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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