אֲלֻמָּה Gen. 37:7

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

אֲלֻמָּה Gen. 37:7

Post by Isaac Fried »

We read there
וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי וְגַם נִצָּבָה
KJV: "For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright"
אֲלֻמָּה, 'bundle, heap, stack, sheaf', is from the root אלם containing the letter ל L of being elevated, and the letter ם M of being massive and bulky.
Indeed, from the same root we have also the אוּלָם 'vast and tall hall', of 1Kings 7:7
וְאוּלָם הַכִּסֵּא אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁפָּט שָׁם אֻלָם הַמִּשְׁפָּט עָשָׂה וְסָפוּן בָּאֶרֶז מֵהַקַּרְקַע עַד הַקַּרְקָע
NIV: "He built the throne hall, the Hall of Justice, where he was to judge, and he covered it with cedar from floor to ceiling"
The root אלם may refer also to an inert, sluggish, lethargic, stagnant, languid or listless body as in Isaiah 53:7
נִגַּשׂ וְהוּא נַעֲנֶה וְלֹא יִפְתַּח פִּיו כַּשֶּׂה לַטֶּבַח יוּבָל וּכְרָחֵל לִפְנֵי גֹזְזֶיהָ נֶאֱלָמָה וְלֹא יִפְתַּח פִּיו
KJV: "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth"
Also from this root: אלמן, אלמנה, אלמוני

In post biblical Hebrew אַלִּים is 'strong, forceful, bully, violent', as in the often invoked Aramaic saying כל דאלים גבר, "the forceful wins".

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

Re: אֲלֻמָּה Gen. 37:7

Post by Isaac Fried »

We notice how close אלם is to מלא, 'full, complete', as in Gen. 29:21
וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל לָבָן הָבָה אֶת אִשְׁתִּי כִּי מָלְאוּ יָמָי
NIV: "Then Jacob said to Laban, Give me my wife. My time is completed"
KJV: "And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled"
Also to מוּל, 'opposite, against, before (be-fore)', as in Ex. 34:3
גַּם הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר אַל יִרְעוּ אֶל מוּל הָהָר הַהוּא
KJV: "neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount"
NIV: "not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain"

Isaac Fried, Boston University
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