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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Old Testament Hebrew word: חלף

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Dictionary/ht/ht-l-pfin.html

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary

חלף

The verb חלף (halap) describes a swift transition; a quick passing through or over (in Arabic this verb is the root of the familiar title Caliph, which describes the fleeting occupant of an eternal office).

Our Hebrew verb may describe a hurried traversal of territory by men (1 Samuel 10:3), a flood (Isaiah 8:8) or wind (Job 4:15). Rather more literally, Jael drove a peg through Sisera's temple (Judges 5:26), and Zophar foresaw the wicked swiftly skewered with bronze (Job 20:24).

Our verb may describe a passing over or passing away: of days (Job 9:25), of rains (Song of Solomon 2:11). With grim disdain, Isaiah reported of earthlings stepping lightly over divinely ordained boundaries (24:5). But our verb may also emphasize exchange in the sense of renewal: grass may sprout anew (Psalm 90:6), clothes may be swapped (Genesis 41:14), wages may be altered (Genesis 31:7).

Our verb comes with the following derivatives:

  • The masculine noun חלפ (helep), meaning exchange or "in return for" (Numbers 18:21 and 18:31 only).
  • The masculine noun חלוף (halop), which describes something or someone that passes through, over or away. This word occurs only once, in Proverbs 31:8, in the heart-breaking term "sons of transience".
  • The feminine noun חליפה (halipa), meaning a change or exchange (Genesis 45:22, Job 14:14, Psalm 55:19).
  • The masculine noun מחלף (mahalap), which technically would denote an agent or place of change or passing through. Its sole usage suggests that this word describes a kind of utensil; perhaps a brush or scraper of some sort. Ezra 1:9 speaks of 29 of those things, among dishes and bowls.
  • The feminine equivalent of the previous: the noun מחלפה (mahalapa), which denotes something to do with hair (perhaps a braid or some kind of ornamental comb). The judge Samson had seven of them (Judges 16:13 only).

Associated Biblical names