[b-hebrew] The Name "Esau"

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Wed Aug 28 11:45:57 EDT 2013

The editor of Genesis new very well what עשו means. He even  
resorted to
a little sly visual obfuscation by writing ayin for aleph, and waw  
for bet,
to turn the alien אשאב or אישאב into עשו, a clever  
spelling modification to
take both the eye and the mind away from idols and into thinking  
about עשב 'grass'.

The theophoric איש I$ is very common, as in ישמעאל I$MAEL,  
$IMON, אכיש AKIY$, כמוש KMO$ (KMO-I$?), and many more.

Likewise the theophoric אב AB.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Aug 28, 2013, at 10:13 AM, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:

> “Esau. There is an odd displacement of etymology in the naming  
> sentence [Genesis 25: 25], perhaps because the writer was not sure  
> what ‘Esau’ actually meant.”  Robert Alter,  
> “Genesis” (1996), p. 127.

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