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Taboo חרם

(2,155 words)

Author(s): M. Malul
I. Name ḥērem occurs 29 times in the OT (Lohfink 1982:193–195, for distribution) and has been variously translated ‘ban’, ‘excommunication’, ‘taboo’, ‘a consecrated or contaminated object/person’. It appears in Jewish Aramaic as ḥirmāʾ, in Syriac as ḥermāʾ, and in Arabic as ḥaram, meaning ‘a consecrated and prohibited area’. (Note also Arab. ḥarı̄m ‘wife’, ‘harem’, Nabataean mḥrmh ‘sanctuary’, Sabaean mḥrm ‘sanctuary, temple’.) Grammatically, Brekelmans (1959:43–47) understood ḥērem to be a noun expressing a quality, like qōdeš and ḥôl. Others see it as …

Terror of the Night פחד לילה

(1,878 words)

Author(s): M. Malul
I. Name Paḥad laylâ is hap.leg. in the OT, in Ps. 91.5, where it appears in close conjunction with several terms referring to various demons (see below). Another combination of the word paḥad, lit. ‘terror, dread’, and laylâ, lit. ‘night’, occurs in Cant. 3.8 where it also refers to a certain type of demon (see already the Targumîm and Krauss [1936] for references to other rabbinical sources). See also Deut. 28.66. The understanding of paḥad in Ps. 91.5 as ‘terror’ is not the only one. M. Dahood has suggested e.g. the meaning ‘pack (of dogs)’ on the alleged basis of Ug. pḫd ( Psalms II [AB 1…

Strong Drink שׁכר

(956 words)

Author(s): M. Malul
I. Name šēkār occurs 23 times in the Bible, nearly always in conjunction with yayin ‘wine’, the two forming a kind of hendiadys which means ‘an intoxicating wine’ (similarly combined in Ugaritic, see RSP 1:209, no. 248). Only in two cases does šēkār occur alone: Num. 28.7; Ps. 69.13. The noun šēkār is derived from šākar ‘to intoxicate, become intoxicated’ (see, e.g., 1 Sam. 1.13–14; Jer. 25.27; Jer. 48.26; Prov. 31.4–7). šēkār denotes a strong and intoxicating drink (thus also the LXX and Philo; and the Tgs. to Num 6:3; 28:7: “old wine”; to Lev. 10.9: mĕrawê ‘intoxicating d…