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

חנך

Some scholars (HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament) say there are two different roots חנך (hanak) - one having to do with mouth and the other with dedicate or inaugurate - while others (BDB Theological Dictionary) insist that there's only one super-root of which the meaning was lost. According to BDB, the super-root חנך (hnk) also pops up in cognate languages, but not so that a meaning can be extracted. Its derivatives are:

  • The masculine noun חך (hek), meaning mouth (Job 29:10, Proverbs 5:3). Another, more common word for mouth is פה (peh).
  • The verb חנך (hanak), meaning to inaugurate, train or dedicate. BDB says that this verb came from the preceding noun, through the custom of midwives rubbing the palate of a child with chewed dates. This to teach them to suck. The verb is used in the sense of to train (Proverbs 22:6) and to dedicate (1 Kings 8:63).
  • The adjective חניך (hanik), meaning trained or experienced (Numbers 26:5 only).
  • The feminine noun חנכה (hanukka), meaning dedication (Psalm 30:1, Numbers 7:10, Nehemiah 12:27). This noun returns in the name of the Feast Of Dedication: Hanukkah (John 10:22).
  • The feminine noun חכה (hakka), meaning hook, and specifically a hook fastened in a jaw; a fish hook (Job 40:25, Isaiah 19:8).

Associated Biblical names

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