Untangling Hebrew

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Two Kings

Name studies are always fascinating, and there's always more than meets the eye with Hebrew names. From Adam (meaning man, dirt) and Chavah (or Eve, meaning life) to the kings Sha'ul (or Saul, "asked", from which we get the saying, be careful what you wish for; you just might get it :)), David ("beloved"), and Shlomo (or Solomon, "his peace").

This study looks at the next two kings, Jeroboam ירבעם (YIRAV'AM) and Rehoboam רחבעם (R'KHAV'AM. Jeroboam is the man who took over ten tribes from Rehoboam, after Rehoboam refused to diminish the heavy taxes and labor which Solomon had imposed on Israel.

Jeroboam is composed of two words. עם 'AM which means "people", and ריב RIV which means "to grapple, to contend" and as a noun means "quarrel or dispute". So his name means "the people will contend". He was the leader of the delegation which requested a lighter burden from Rehoboam.

Rehoboam is also composed of two words. עם again and רחב RACHAV which means "broaden or make large". His name means "a people made large". However what he made large was the burden on the people, and his people were lessened immensely, as he was left with only Judah and Benjamin.

רחב is related to רחוב R'CHOV which means "street". Pl. רחובות


Anonymous Anonymous said...

if only our politicians will have names that show clearly what they are up to

7:14 PM  

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