[b-hebrew] Zeloph-ehad or THE NOBLE ONE

Ishinan ishinan at comcast.net
Sun Dec 26 17:21:40 EST 2010

 FRED BURLINGAME wrote: Hello all: The etymology of this name = strong's 6738 + 6343? "shadow of fear?" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Daughters_of_Zelophehad.jpg Any suggestions would be welcomed. --------------------------------------------------ISHINAN: Based on my research of Saadia Gaon (Sa`yid bin Yuwsuf al-Fayyuwmiy) 

I would translate " Zeloph-ehad"  as the "ONE"(ehad)  of "NOBLE" "GENEROUS ORIGIN" and/or of PURE RACE (S.lph tselph or Zeloph) cf. Arabic S.aliyb; root of  S.LB ; primary sense: hardy, strong and sturdy. Unfortunately, the suggestion offered above has nothing to do with shadow or fear! 

BTW. This is not the first time that B Hebrew compound words, including initial  "ts + l" letters, have been often  misread and mistranslated as "shadow." Consequently, this has led to unintended confusion. 

(For those interested in familiarizing themselves with  Sa`diyah's work (Saadia Gaon), I suggest reading "The  Zikkaron la-Rishonim we-gam la-Aaronim. Studien und Mittheilungen aus der St. Petersburg Kaiserlichen Bibliothek. 5 vols. St. Petersburg, 1879-82. Studien contains biographies and works of Saadia Gaon, from manuscripts in the St. Petersburg library, annotated by Albert Yakovlevich Harkavy.) 


FYI . Sa`diyah is one of the founders of comparative Semitic philology and the establishment of a new school of Biblical exegesis.  He is also well known  to have written extensively in Arabic. His explanation of the Hebrew vocabulary by the Arabic, particularly in the case of the favorite translation of Biblical words by Arabic terms having the same sound, has been in great part preserved in many Arabic sources. 

Hitherto, the position assigned to Sa`diyah in the oldest list of Hebrew grammarians has not been challenged even by the latest historical investigations. Yet, in my opinion, there is an obvious underutilization of his works by the majority of members in this HB group in favor of Greek and Aramaic translations  (with the exclusion of RANDALL BUTH, I might stress). 

Best regards

Ishinan Ishibashi

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