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Re: Biblical Hebrew

From:Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Date:Thursday, August 15, 2002, 16:38
On Thursday 15 August 2002 11:05, Andy Canivet wrote:
> I was told not so long ago that the word that appears typically as "Mercy" > in modern English versions of the Bible are translated from an old Hebrew > word that orignally meant "womb-like" (which could somewhat fundamentally > change how the text is interpreted). Can anyone confirm or deny this? I > don't know what the actual Hebrew word was supposed to be; only the > meaning.
Sure; one word for mercy (although relatively rare, compared with "hesed" "grace, loving-kindness") is racham, although in general it has connotations of "to have compassion" or "cherishing." The specific word for "womb" (as opposed to "belly") is rechem. It's not quite clear whether which word derives from which; scholars? In any case, the extension is clearly understandable if you've been around expectant mothers. Think tender, caring, expectant, loving, motherly, and there you go. And even if its just a coincidence, it's a very nice one. As for interpretation problems, not likely. For instance, take Genesis 43:14 "And God Almighty give you mercy before the man..." You plainly cannot insert "womb" in place of "mercy," especially since Jacob is talking to his sons, who are about to go off to see the Egyptian prime minister (Joseph). :) As usualy, context disambiguates. :Peter


John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Dan Sulani <dnsulani@...>