מַחֲרִישׁ Gen. 24:21

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Isaac Fried
Posts: 1771
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

מַחֲרִישׁ Gen. 24:21

Post by Isaac Fried »

We read there
וְהָאִישׁ מִשְׁתָּאֵה לָהּ מַחֲרִישׁ לָדַעַת הַהִצְלִיחַ יהוה דַּרְכּוֹ אִם לֹא
NIV: "Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful"
KJV: "And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not"
in which מַחֲרִישׁ = מה-חר-היא-ש is from the root חרש, a member of the Hebrew root family
גרד, גרז, גרט, גרס, גרש
הרס
חרד, חרז, חרט, חרס, חרץ, חרש
כרס, כרץ, כרש, כרת
קרד, קרס, קרץ, קרש

and we conclude that the essential meaning of החריש is הכרית, 'cut off the flow of sound.'

Isaac Fried, Boston University
Isaac Fried
Posts: 1771
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: מַחֲרִישׁ Gen. 24:21

Post by Isaac Fried »

The act חרש, as are the related כרת, קרש and חרץ, is, 'cut, sever', but the kindred חרץ appears also in the sense of 'detach, break away, loosen, release, free'; to be able to tear away and surge forward, as in 2Sam. 5:24
וִיהִי בשמעך (כְּשָׁמְעֲךָ) אֶת קוֹל צְעָדָה בְּרָאשֵׁי הַבְּכָאִים אָז תֶּחֱרָץ כִּי אָז יָצָא יהוה לְפָנֶיךָ לְהַכּוֹת בְּמַחֲנֵה פְלִשְׁתִּים
NIV: "As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army"
A similar usage of חרש is found in Jonah 4:8
וַיְהִי כִּזְרֹחַ הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וַיְמַן אֱלֹהִים רוּחַ קָדִים חֲרִישִׁית וַתַּךְ הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ עַל רֹאשׁ יוֹנָה וַיִּתְעַלָּף וַיִּשְׁאַל אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ לָמוּת וַיֹּאמֶר טוֹב מוֹתִי מֵחַיָּי
KJV: "And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live"
Here חרישית is likely חריצית, 'tearing away, free to race'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University
Isaac Fried
Posts: 1771
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: מַחֲרִישׁ Gen. 24:21

Post by Isaac Fried »

The related קרץ is interestingly used in Hebrew in the sense of 'wink', flutter the eyelids as a wing to signal an irony, as in Proverbs 6:13
קֹרֵץ בְּעֵינָו מֹלֵל בְּרַגְלָו מֹרֶה בְּאֶצְבְּעֹתָיו
NIV: "who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers"
Hebrew describes this act as a slitting the eyelids, or as a tearing apart of the eyelids.

Isaac Fried, Boston University
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