Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The root-verbs חצה (hasa) and חצץ (hasas) are obviously related, both by form and meaning:
The root-verb חצה (hasa) means to divide. In Arabic this verb describes the happiness a wife shares with her husband, but in Hebrew this verb means to divide (Genesis 32:8, Numbers 31:27) or to halve (Psalm 55:23; although this particular instance may be a denominative verb from the derived masculine noun, says BDB Theological Dictionary). This verb's derivatives are:
- The feminine noun חצות (hesot), meaning division or middle (Exodus 11:4, Job 34:20).
- The masculine noun חצי (hasi), meaning half (Exodus 24:6, Numbers 15:9) or middle (Exodus 12:29, Ruth 3:8).
- The similar masculine noun חצי (hesi), meaning arrow (1 Samuel 20:36, 2 Kings 9:24). The regular word for arrow is חץ (hes, see the next root-verb).
- The feminine noun מחצה (mehesa), meaning half (Numbers 31:43 only).
- The feminine noun מחצית (mahasit), meaning half (Exodus 30:13, Leviticus 6:13) or middle (Nehemiah 8:3).
The root-verb חצץ (hasas) also means to divide. This root-verb doesn't occur very often in the Bible; a mere two times: Proverbs 30:27 and Job 21:21. But its derivatives occur more frequent:
- The masculine noun חצץ (hasas), meaning gravel (as divided, comminuted, proposes BDB Theological Dictionary). This noun occurs twice: Proverbs 20:17 and Lamentations 3:16.
- The masculine noun חץ (hes), meaning arrow. This noun occurs 56 times in the Bible, often in the literal sense of arrows being shot during a military effort (2 Chronicles 26:15, Isaiah 5:28). Once arrows are used in some kind of divination ritual (Ezekiel 21:21), and often arrows are symbols for the words or acts of wicked people who seek to fell the righteous (Psalm 11:2, Psalm 57:4, Jeremiah 9:7; also see Ephesians 6:16).
Why arrows were known by this word is not clear, and none of the consulted sources hints at an explanation. Perhaps because the arrow was the smallest of weapons, or because an arrow is placed on the middle of a bow. It may also be because one soldier would shoot multiple arrows, and his singular force of attack would be divided over his many arrows.
- The denominative verb חצץ (hasas), meaning to shoot arrows. This verb occurs one time, in Judges 5:11.