בְּלִיָּעַל BLIYA'AL, Deut. 13:14

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Isaac Fried
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בְּלִיָּעַל BLIYA'AL, Deut. 13:14

Postby Isaac Fried » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:01 pm

The word appears dozens of times in the HB in the sense of 'evil, vile, corrupt' (German übel), as in Ps. 41:9(8)
דְּבַר בְּלִיַּעַל יָצוּק בּוֹ
KJV: "An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him"
NIV: "A vile disease has afflicted him"
Common wisdom suggests (followed often by a question mark) that בליעל = בלי-יעל 'no good, of no value'.
I suspect it is rather of the theophoric name
בליאל = בל-היא-אל = בעל היא-אל = בליעל
affirming the divinity, that he is an אל EL, of בל BEL or בעל BA'AL, the god-goat of the ancient canaanites, deformed in derision into בלי-אל.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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

Re: בְּלִיָּעַל BLIYA'AL, Deut. 13:14

Postby Isaac Fried » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:28 pm

I am recalling also the name עֲדִיאֵל = עד-היא-אל of 2Ch. 4:36. And also the name יְשִׂימִאֵל = ישים-היא-אל of the same verse.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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

Re: בְּלִיָּעַל BLIYA'AL, Deut. 13:14

Postby Isaac Fried » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:20 pm

Also אֲבִיאֵל = אב-היא-אל of 1Sam. 9:1.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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

Re: בְּלִיָּעַל BLIYA'AL, Deut. 13:14

Postby Isaac Fried » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:31 pm

These are also of interest:
אֲבִיאֵל =אב-היא-אל 1Sam. 9:1
אֲבִיהוּא = אב-היא-הוּא Ex. 6:23
אֲבִידָן = אב-היא-אדן Nu. 1:11

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: בְּלִיָּעַל BLIYA'AL, Deut. 13:14

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:40 am

In Ex. 32:4 we read
וַיַּעֲשֵׂהוּ עֵגֶל מַסֵּכָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלֶּה אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל
NIV: "and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, These are your gods Israel"
What prompted them to insist on the shape of a calf? Is it because of this:
עֵגֶל egEL, אֵלֶּה ELeh, אֱלֹהֶיךָ ELoheka, יִשְׂרָאֵל israEL ?

Even Aaron is evasive (and apologetic) about it. See Ex. 32:24
וָאֹמַר לָהֶם לְמִי זָהָב הִתְפָּרָקוּ וַיִּתְּנוּ לִי וָאַשְׁלִכֵהוּ בָאֵשׁ וַיֵּצֵא הָעֵגֶל הַזֶּה
NIV: "So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf"
The calf "just came out"!

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: בְּלִיָּעַל BLIYA'AL, Deut. 13:14

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:06 pm

The just mentioned עֵגֶל EGEL, 'calf', is from the root עגל, 'bend, curve up, arch, be tall, be big', as a bent arc rises above its flat or straight position.
From this root we have also the מַעְגָּל = מה-עגל, 'that which is curved', as in 1Sam. 26:5
וְשָׁאוּל שֹׁכֵב בַּמַּעְגָּל וְהָעָם חֹנִים סְבִיבֹתָו
NIV: "Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him."
Also עָגֹל = עג-הוּא-ל, 'round, circular', as in 1Kings 7:23
וַיַּעַשׂ אֶת הַיָּם מוּצָק עֶשֶׂר בָּאַמָּה מִשְּׁפָתוֹ עַד שְׂפָתוֹ עָגֹל סָבִיב וְחָמֵשׁ בָּאַמָּה קוֹמָתוֹ וְקָו שְׁלֹשִׁים בָּאַמָּה יָסֹב אֹתוֹ סָבִיב
KJV: "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about."

The root עגל is a member of the intimate family of roots
אגל, אהל, אחל, אכל
עגל, עכל, עקל

and from the kindred root עקל we have the מְעֻקָּל מ-ע-הוּא-קל, 'that which is crooked, that which is distorted', as in Habakuk 1:4
עַל כֵּן תָּפוּג תּוֹרָה וְלֹא יֵצֵא לָנֶצַח מִשְׁפָּט כִּי רָשָׁע מַכְתִּיר אֶת הַצַּדִּיק עַל
כֵּן יֵצֵא מִשְׁפָּט מְעֻקָּל

NIV: "Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted."

In today's spoken Hebrew: עִקּוּל is 'bend, curve, turn', as in עִקּוּל בדרך, or otherwise it is, 'seizure, confiscation' of property.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: בְּלִיָּעַל BLIYA'AL, Deut. 13:14

Postby Isaac Fried » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:46 am

Here are some more names with the devotional declarative היא-אל, 'he is a god'.
גַּדִּיאֵל Nu. 13:10
מַלְכִּיאֵל Gen. 46:17
עֻזִּיאֵל Ex. 6:18
שְׁלֻמִיאֵל Nu. 1:6
גַּמְלִיאֵל Nu. 1:10
צוּרִיאֵל Nu. 3:35
גַּדִּיאֵל Nu. 13:10
עַמִּיאֵל Nu. 13:12
חַנִּיאֵל Nu. 34:23
עָתְנִיאֵל Josh. 15:17
אַשְׂרִיאֵל Josh. 17:2
עַדְרִיאֵל Sam.(2) 21:8
דָּנִיֵּאל Ezek. 14:14
אוּרִיאֵל Ch.(1) 6:9
אֱלִיאֵל Ch.(1) 6:19

גַּדִּיאֵל = גד-היא-אל is possibly from גדי, 'young goat', as in Gen. 27:9, while דָּנִיֵּאל = אדן-היא-אל.
שְׁלֻמִיאֵל = שלוּם-היא-אל is interesting. שלם is found the name שלמה, King David's son from Batsheba, and also in ירוּשלם = עירוּ-שלם.
By the fact that in German schlimm, is 'bad, poor', the name acquired, via Yiddish, the derisory form schlemiel, 'hapless, clumsy, unlucky,' common today as שלוּמיאל and שלוּמיאליוּת, 'ineptitude.'

Isaac Fried, Boston University


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