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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Hebrew word: אש
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Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary

אש

The noun אש ('esh), meaning fire, may be feminine or masculine. It's unknown where this noun may come from, but some scholars propose it's from a root אנש ('anash), which isn't used in the Bible but which in cognate languages means to be sociable or friendly.

The noun occurs in the Bible about 375 times, in various meanings and contexts:

  • As literal fire, to cook or bake on (Exodus 12:8), or to refine metal with (Exodus 32:24).
  • Literal fire, as instrument of destruction (Exodus 22:5, Joshua 11:6).
  • Altar fire (Leviticus 10:1, Numbers 3:4).
  • Supernatural fire pertaining to theophanies (Exodus 3:2, Nehemiah 9:12).
  • The wrath of YHWH (Psalm 89:46, Isaiah 66:15).

This masculine noun yields one derivative, namely the feminine noun אשה ('ishsheh), meaning fire offering. Some scholars insist that the word for fire-offering is not derived from the noun for fire but from something else. Perhaps from a theoretical verb אשה (ashah), which would mean to give, and which occurs as such in Arabic.


Associated Biblical names

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