[b-hebrew] Fw: Re: Names of Rachel's Second-Born Son

Will Parsons wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
Fri Sep 30 19:14:55 EDT 2011

On Thu, 29 Sep 2011 08:20:25 -0700, "Bryant J. Williams III" <bjwvmw at com-pair.net> wrote:
> Dear Jim,
> ...
> Below is an article from Dr. Claude Mariottini regarding the left-handedness
> of Benjamin.
> Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
> http://claudemariottini.org/2011/09/29/left-handedness-in-the-hebrew-bible/
> Left-handedness in the Hebrew Bible by Claude Mariottini
> ...
> The following comments were taken from John Peter Lange, A Commentary on the
> Holy Scriptures, vol. 4 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1871), 73-74.
> ...
> Jamin came to signify "good fortune," only because it designated the right
> side.  The inhabitants of the Holy Land had the sea (yam) on the right,
> hence called that side jamin, literally, "sea-side"; and the highlands of
> Aram on the left, hence semol, "the left." Different nations derived their
> expressions for right and left from conceptions peculiar to themselves.

I find this association of _jamin_ with "sea-side" phonetically suspect,
seeing that ימינ/yamin has no daghesh in the mem, whereas ימ/yam(m) does.
The presence of an underlying geminated mem in yam/yamm is corroborated by the
Arabic ﻳﻢ/yamm (with a tashdid, corresponding to Hebrew daghesh forte, over
the mim).  Also, I think it's most natural to orient (note the meaning of the
Latin etymon!) oneself by facing in the direction of the rising sun, by which
the "right" would be South, though it's certainly possible to consider the
direction of the highest point of the sun to be the reference point, in which
case the West would be the "right".

William Parsons

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