Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
There are four different roots חרשׁ (harash), one חרשׂ (haras) and one חרס (haras), which appear to be all unrelated:
The root חרשׂ (haras) isn't used as verb in the Bible, but in cognate languages it means to scratch, irritate or lacerate. Its extant derivations are:
- The masculine noun חרשׂ (heres), meaning earthenware (Leviticus 6:21, Jeremiah 32:14) or a fragment of earthenware (Isaiah 30:14, Job 2:8).
- The masculine noun חרס (heres), denoting an eruptive disease characterized by itchy skin irritation (Deuteronomy 28:27). Note the alternation between the letters שׂ (sin) and ס (samekh), and also note that our noun is identical to the noun חרס (heres), meaning sun (see below).
- The feminine plural noun חרסות (harsit) or חרסית (harsit), meaning potsherds (Jeremiah 19:2). This word occurs only in the name of one of the gates of Jerusalem: the potsherd gate.
The root חרס (hrs) doesn't occur as verb and its meaning is unknown. Its sole extant derivation is the masculine noun חרס (heres), which is an unusual word for sun. It's used only in Job 9:7 and Judges 14:18, and in a few names. The regular word for sun is שׁמשׁ (shemesh).
The root-verb חרשׁ (harash I) means to engrave or more general: to cut into something. It's used for metal work (Genesis 4:22, 1 Kings 7:14) or engraving on a tablet (Jeremiah 17:1), for plowing (Deuteronomy 22:10, 1 Kings 19:19), or devise (1 Samuel 23:9, Proverbs 3:29). Its derivations are:
- The masculine noun חרשׁ (harash), which denotes the person doing the verb: an engraver or metal worker (Deuteronomy 27:15), a wood worker (2 Samuel 5:11), a stone worker (2 Samuel 5:11), a gemstone engraver (Exodus 28:11), and - only once - someone skilled in destroying things (Ezekiel 21:31).
- The feminine noun חרשׁת (haroshet), meaning a carving (Exodus 31:5).
- The masculine noun חרישׁ (harish), meaning plowing or plowing time (Genesis 45:6, 1 Samuel 8:12).
- The feminine noun מחרשׁה (maharesha) or מחרשׁת (mahareshet), meaning ploughshare (1 Samuel 13:20).
The root-verb חרשׁ (harash II) means to not speak, to be silent (Genesis 24:21, Psalm 35:22), or to be deaf (1 Samuel 7:8, Micah 7:16). Its derivations are:
- The adjective חרשׁ (heresh), meaning deaf (Exodus 4:11, Isaiah 29:18).
- The masculine noun or adverb חרשׁ (heresh), meaning silently or secretly (Joshua 2:1).
The root-verb חרשׁ (hrsh III) isn't used in the Bible and its meaning in unknown. Its sole extant derivative is the masculine noun חרשׁ (horesh), meaning wood or wooded height (Isaiah 17:9, Ezekiel 31:3).
The root-verb חרשׁ (hrsh IV) is also not used and its meaning is also unknown. Its sole surviving derivative is the masculine noun חרשׁ (heresh), denoting some kind of magic art (Isaiah 3:3 only). This word occurs all over the Semitic language area, with meanings that have to do with black arts.