Hebrew Research Center
June, 2004 Issue #004
Word of the Month – Eder
Name of the
Month – Abraham
of the Month – Book Names?
Biblical Word of the Month - Eder
By: Jeff A. Benner
Continuing the Hebraic view of "order" we will
examine the Hebrew root עדר ('eder - the apostrophe
represents the silent letter ayin). Again we see the parent root דר
(DR) meaning order in this word.
"And as for all the hills which used to be hoed with a hoe, you will
not come there for fear of briers and thorns; but they will become a place
where cattle are let loose and where sheep tread" (Isaiah 7:25). In
this passage the "to be hoed" is the Hebrew verb עדר meaning "hoe", "rake" or "dig.
The concept behind this word is the cultivating of a field, the removal of the
weeds so that a crop can grow. This action is seen as bringing the field into
order. The noun מעדר (m'ader) is formed by
placing the letter מ in front of the root; this is a common way of building a
noun out of a root. When a root has this new letter placed in front of it, it
means "what ...." (What does the action of that root). In this case
it means "what hoes" and can be any implement used in hoeing, raking
Removing what is unnecessary brings about order. In the case of a field it is
the removal of the briers and thorns. In the case of a battle it is the removal
of fear which is seen in I Chronicles 12:33. "Of Zebulun, such as were
able to go out in the host, that could set the battle in array, with all manner
of instruments of war, fifty thousand, and that could order the battle array,
and were not of double heart". In this passage the word עדר is translated as "order the battle array". The
phrase "not of double heart" (b'lo lev v'lev - with no heart and
heart) means "no fear" in the sense that part of their heart was set
on what was at home and the other heart was set on the battle. They were able
to totally focus with their whole heart on the battle. They had removed all
that could hinder them from the coming battle.
This concept of removing what is unnecessary in order to bring about order can
also be seen in the Flood account. The world was full of sin and in order to
bring about order again, the flood came to "weed out" the bad and
begin again with a new crop, Noah and his family.
of the Month - Abraham
By: Jeff A. Benner
Abraham was originally named by his father as אברם (Abram) and later changed to אברהם by God. As every Hebrew name has a meaning, always
related to the character of the person, it is important to know what their
names mean. In the case of Ya'acov (Jacob - he grabs the heel) it was changed
by God to yisrael (Israel
- turns the head of God). As there was a change in character, there is also a
change in the name.
While many suggest that Abram means "exalted father" and Abraham
means "father of a multitude", both names in fact mean exactly the
same thing "father lifted up" or "exalted father". The
beginning of both names is אב (AB) meaning
"father". The "ram" in Abram is דם
meaning "lifted", a parent root. The "raham" in
Abraham is רהם also means
"lifted", a child root derived from the parent root Mr.
It does not make much sense to change a name if the new name means the same
thing. This is why many attempt to make a change in meaning. But, to understand
the real meaning behind a name change is important for understanding why God
changed his name and the names of others such as Jacob to Israel.
In Genesis chapters one and two we have the naming of all of creation. We find
that Adam named Eve, his children and all of the animals, while God named the
light, darkness, sky and land. From this we find something very interesting.
Adam had authority over his wife, children and the animals, while God has
authority over the light, darkness, sky and land. If you have authority over
something, you have the right and responsibility to name it. Abram was named by
his father Terah, the one who had authority over him. But, when Abram left his
father's house and headed out on his own, God, who respected the authority of
Terah previously, now takes the role of his authority and changes his name
indicating a change in authority, not necessarily a change in character.
We see the same scenario with Jacob, who after leaving his father's house had
his name changed by God to Israel.
Jacob not only had a change in authority but also in character.
By: Jeff A. Benner
Q: What do the Hebrew names of
the books of Torah mean?
A: The English names of the
Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy come from the Greek
names of the books. Genesis means origins, Exodus means coming out, Leviticus
from the Levites, Numbers from the numbers of the tribes and Deuteronomy means
second law. While the Greek names are derived from what the book is about, the
Hebrew names are the first principle word of the book. Bereshiyt means "in
the beginning", Shemot is "names", Vayikra is "and he
called", bemidvar is "wilderness" and devariym is
"words". While the Greek name for these five books is pentetuch,
meaning five, the Hebrew name is chumash, also meaning five but in Hebrew. They
are also called the "Torah" (usually translated as law but meaning
"teachings") because contained within these five books are the
"teachings" of God to Israel.
Copyright © 2004
Jeff A. Benner
Ancient Hebrew Research
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