Tuesday, 13 April 2010

More Hebrew

The word for compassion comes from the root word which means womb

there is another word for womb that is like belly
but sometimes this word which can also be translated mercy is used

so what is the relation between compassion and womb?

for example:

here - Genesis 30:22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.

and here - Genesis 29:31 When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.

is the word for compassion/womb

but here - Genesis 25:24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb.

and here - Genesis 30:2 Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"

is the word for belly/womb

John - any help?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting indeed!

I'm not totally sure what to make of it. A study of all the passages could be fruitful...

the two words are used interchangeably for the meaning 'womb' this can be seen to some degree in the chiastic/poetic structures which is typical for BH poetry (e.g. see job 3.11, job 31.15, ps 22.11)

רחם 'womb' as a noun cannot be taken to mean belly in the digestive sense, but is wholly related to childbearing,
the verb of the same root, רחם, seems to have connotations of 'being soft' or 'being gentle' as female characteristics and thus crossing over to meaning 'being compassionate'

one interesting detail is that in the simple form רחם ,(in the qal) the verb means 'love' but in the intensive form (in the piel) the meaning is to have compassion.
so compassion is intensive love...

בטן has a wider use. except for womb it can also mean 'body' as opposed to soul(ps 31.10), and 'abdomen'/'belly'

hebrew also seems to have the belly (not the head) as the place where we think (gut instinct!Pr 22.18)

have any other thoughts as to deeper implications?