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First-Born of Death בכור מות

(2,218 words)

Author(s): T. J. Lewis
I. Name Though the deity Mot (‘Death’) occurs frequently in Canaanite and Israelite lore, the expression bĕkôr māwet (translated either ‘First Born of Death’ or ‘First Born Death’) occurs only in Job 18.13 in a context having to do with death and disease. The Hebrew term bĕkôr (fem bĕkîrâ) clearly refers to the first-born (human or animal) as does the majority of cognate terms (cf. Aram. bûkrāʾ, Ar. bikr, Eth. bakwr, OSA bkr, Ug. bkr). In contrast, the Akk. cognates bukru (‘son, child, offspring’) and bukurtu (‘daughter’) refer primarily to deities (rarely to humans) a…

Teraphim תרפים

(4,271 words)

Author(s): T. J. Lewis
I. Name The word tĕrāpîm is found 15 times in the Hebrew Bible, occurring only in the plural even when it denotes one image (1 Sam. 19.13, 1 Sam. 16; cf. A. R. Johnson, The Cultic Prophet in Ancient Israel [Cardiff 1962] 32 n. 3, who suggests that some forms of the plural may be occurrences of the singular with mimation). For the most part the Septuagint translators chose to simply transliterate the term, yet on occasion they associated it with idols ( eidōlon;Gillulim) or a carved image ( glyptos). There is even some attempt to connect it to healing (Hoffner 1968:61 n. 2). The Targumic ma…

Dead מתים

(5,857 words)

Author(s): T. J. Lewis
I. Name The Hebrew Bible uses the word mēt/mētîm to refer to the dead as well as the related term rĕpāʾîm‘Rephaim’. Several words ( nepeš mēt, nepeš ʾādām, peger, gĕwiyyâ, nĕbēlâ, mappēlâ, gûpâ) are used to refer to the corpses of humans and/or animals. On occasions, the word ʾĕlōhîm, literally ‘gods’, is used to denote the preternatural character of the dead (cf. 1 Sam. 28.13; Lewis 1989:115–116). Shades of the dead are referred to by such terms as ʾôb/ʾōbôt (Spirit of the dead) and yiddĕʿōnî/ yiddĕʿōnîm (‘knowing ones’?) (Wizard). The exact etym…