[b-hebrew] The Name Abraham

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Sun Mar 10 13:54:11 EDT 2013

UriHurwitz set forth a nice explanation of the birth name “Abram”, but made noattempt to explain the divinely-changed name “Abraham”:  )B R HM. Prof. Yigal Levin then wrote in response:  “Uri, While this isprobably true for the name Abram, how do you explain the He in Abraham? Doesthe word "raham" have any meaning?”
But that is not the rightquestion.  Rather, the right question toask is:  How do you explain the resh/R inthe name “Abraham”?  )B means “father”,and per Genesis 17: 5, in this divinely-changed name )B is a rare reference toa human father, rather than here being a theophoric.  -HM is also self-explanatory per Genesis 17:5, as it refers to a “multitude”.  Infact, Genesis 17: 5 explains the divinely-changed name “Abraham” perfectly,  i-f and only i-f  the resh/R in the middle ofthat name is a theophoric.  If resh/R inthe middle of the name )B R HM is a generic reference to the divine, thenGenesis 17: 5 has this name exactly right and is essentially self-explanatory:  “human father, per the divine Will, of amultitude”.
In my controversial opinion,a Hebrew author who is capable of portraying heroic Joseph as adopting Egyptianclothes, speaking fluent Egyptian, marrying an Egyptian wife who is thedaughter of an Egyptian priest of Ra from On, whose Egyptian master also has aname that honors Ra [spelled resh/R], and who as Pharaoh’s vizier confiscates agreat deal of valuable land along the Nile River for Pharaoh at firesaleprices, is capable of using resh/R as a generic theophoric in Abraham’sdivinely-changed name.  Just like theportrait of Joseph in Egypt, it makes us all nervous as the Egyptian connectionis far too strong for our liking today, but that’s the way it was in thePatriarchal Age.
Genesis 17: 5 is self-explanatoryas to the meaning of )B R HM, once one realizes that the interior resh/R thereis used as a generic theophoric.  
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois
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