[b-hebrew] SLM: Jacob's "ladder"

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Nov 27 10:19:51 EST 2012


 
David Kolinsky suggested SLH as a way to understand  SLM.  But SLH, per 
Psalm 119: 118  and Lamentations 1: 15, means “trodden down”.  That doesn’t 
fit Jacob’s ladder at  all.  At Job 28: 16, 19, SLH means  “to value”, which 
may entail the concept of “weighing” something in order to  “value” it.  
But that does not help  explain how the angels moved between earth and the 
gate of heaven.  I don’t see where in the Bible SLH means  “to draw up and 
away”. 
Isaac Fried suggested CLM as a way to understand  SLM.  CLM means “image”. 
 It’s neither “tall” nor “massive”, and  it’s hard to see how an image 
would help angels move between earth and the gate  of heaven. 
More interesting is that in responding to a suggestion of  David Kolinsky, 
Isaac Fried said:  “It is possible that SULM is plural for SAL,  'basket', 
and that SULAM is kind of a basket  elevator.” 
That at least is a possibility.  But one wonders why “baskets” in the  
plural would imply the odd concept of a “basket elevator”, without further  
explanation.  And to me, (LH implies  taking active steps to “go up”, rather 
than being passively raised up by a  basket, and YRD likewise implies taking 
active steps to “go down”, rather than  being passively lowered in a 
basket.  Are those the two verbs we would expect to see at Genesis 28: 12 if  
angels were riding up and down in baskets? 
Rather than a mechanical notion of a “basket  elevator”, I see Hebrew SLM 
as more likely deriving from the Hurrian common word  $ilum, meaning “
something that allows  (pleasant) relations to occur”, or “bridge” (used in a 
metaphorical, non-literal  sense), or perhaps best:  “gateway”. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois
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