[b-hebrew] Lexical question

Ishinan ishinan at comcast.net
Thu Jul 30 23:15:16 EDT 2009

Karl W. Randolph. wrote:

To All: Recently I went through an exercise in lexicography, so I thought I'd share what I did.

As I was reading through Proverbs 28:15 for the nth time, reading DB $WQQ, I finally said "This is enough! This doesn't really mean that." What I referred to was the term $WQQ, which can be either from $WQ or $QQ. Yet when I looked at dictionaries, both terms seem to have almost the same meaning, centering around pouring out.

The first step was to research bears a bit. What I found out is that bears spend almost all their time either sleeping or foraging for food. And when they are foraging for food, watch out! They are dangerous. That little human may just be that tasty treat that helps get enough energy to wake up after hibernation. Now I don't know about ancient Israeli bears, but if they were anything like northern European bears, humans were considered fair game. The picture I got from the verse is of a bear padding about, looking for food.

Notice, I am not looking at the bear as a subject, but as an actor, concentrating on his actions.

The next step was to look up $WQ and $QQ in a concordance. Under $WQ, I found Joel 2:24 and 4:13, both in the Hiphil where wine/oil presses cause the fluids to come out. Hence the idea of pouring listed above.

All the other uses which from form appear to be Qal, Piel or Pilel were of people, locusts and other legged creatures. The contexts indicate that these subjects were out and about, usually for the purpose of acquisition, such as through purchase, foraging and/or looting.

Looking at one derivative, $WQ meaning city street lined with shops and stalls, I get a picture of people wandering around the stores getting their supplies. Again the idea of being out and about.

So the final conclusion I draw is that the verb refers to being out, usually for the purpose of acquiring stuff.

Previously I had not listed $WQ "shin (leg)" as a derivative of the same root as the verb $WQ, because I could not see the meaning connection between "pour" and "shin". The connection of a shared form is not enough to show a shared etymology, at least not in my mind. I need to see a meaning connection as well. But now, when I see a verbal use indicating creatures with legs being out and about, i.e. "legging around", now I see a meaning connection as well. Only now am I able to recognize an etymological
connection as well.

In closing, my revised dictionary listing now says:

???? to be out, often for the purpose to acquire stuff, through foraging, purchase or looting ? ???? being out and about ? being all over the place (like locusts in a field) Is 33:4 ??, ????, ??? shin (bone) (? the idea of being out, walking around "legging about"), an animal's right rear leg given as part of a feast to show honor, ???? ?? ??? idiom, meaning "dead", for people who lie with their legs so twisted can only be dead, it is very uncomfortable for the living, ???? city street lined with stalls and stores ? market where people are out and about among the sales stalls and stores to acquire stuff

(I hope all the symbols come through.)

Since I just went over this definition during this week, the steps are still fresh in my mind and I thought it might be of interest to others just where I get my definitions from. Most of the times, however, I have no problem with the dictionary meanings I found in other dictionaries, so I use those.

What do you all think?

Ishinan:  My suggestion is to apply the comparative method among other daughter Semitic languages (such as Akkadian, Ugaritic, Arabic,  Ge?ez, etc.) to your examples.  Consult the respective Proto-Semitic etymologies.  You'll actually discover that the  examples you gave above are homonyms. 

I have found that sometimes the entries in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible can be misleading. 

For example:

7783 shuwq  overflow, water. 
7784 shuwq shook street. 
7785 showq shoke the (lower) leg/shin.

These are not related. Hope this helps.

Best regards,

Ishinan B. Ishibashi

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