סֶמֶל SEMEL, Deut. 4:15-18

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Isaac Fried
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Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

סֶמֶל SEMEL, Deut. 4:15-18

Postby Isaac Fried » Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:34 pm

We read there
וְנִשְׁמַרְתֶּם מְאֹד לְנַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם כִּי לֹא רְאִיתֶם כָּל תְּמוּנָה בְּיוֹם דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֲלֵיכֶם בְּחֹרֵב מִתּוֹךְ הָאֵשׁ. פֶּן תַּשְׁחִתוּן וַעֲשִׂיתֶם לָכֶם פֶּסֶל תְּמוּנַת כָּל סָמֶל תַּבְנִית זָכָר אוֹ נְקֵבָה. תַּבְנִית כָּל בְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר בָּאָרֶץ תַּבְנִית כָּל צִפּוֹר כָּנָף אֲשֶׁר תָּעוּף בַּשָּׁמָיִם. תַּבְנִית כָּל רֹמֵשׂ בָּאֲדָמָה תַּבְנִית כָּל דָּגָה אֲשֶׁר בַּמַּיִם מִתַּחַת לָאָרֶץ
NIV: "You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below."
סָמֶל SEMEL, 'symbol', which is clear as to what it represents here, is from the isolated root SML, of very few relatives. The only two relatives I can think of are שׂמאל, 'left', and עמל, 'toil'.
Still, we may analyze the root by considering it as consisting of the three uni-literal roots ס-מ-ל which are short for
סאה, סעה, נשא, 'lift'.
מאה, 'massive'.
עלה, 'elevate'.
So, סָמֶל is essentially a lofty and massive realistic, material, or substantial, thing.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 862
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: סֶמֶל SEMEL, Deut. 4:15-18

Postby Isaac Fried » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:35 am

Ah, and not to forget שִׂמְלָה SIMLAH, 'a put-on, a don-on, a coat, a dress, a suit'. Literally a שׂם-על-היא.
Related to מעיל = מ-ע-היא-ל, MIYL, of the root על AL, 'up, over'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University


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