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

לבן

The root-verb לבן (laben) means to be or become white. It's mostly used figuratively, in an ethical sense; to purify (Daniel 11:35, Isaiah 1:18), but also literally becoming white (Joel 1:7).

This verb's derivatives are:

  • The adjective לבן (laban), meaning white. In our modern sense of symbolism, white is often associated to goodness and black to badness but in the Bible this difference is far less pronounced. In the Bible, whiteness may simply be a hue (Genesis 30:35), and it may denote moral purity (Psalm 51:7; washed "whiter than snow") but it's also the color of judgment (Joel 1:7) and skin disease such as leprosy (Leviticus 13, Numbers 12:10, where Miriam turns leprous and "white as snow").
  • The feminine noun לבנה (lebanah), meaning moon (Song of Solomon 6:10, Isaiah 24:23).
  • The feminine noun לבנה (lebonah) or לבונה (lebonah), meaning frankincense (a white powder; Exodus 30:24, Jeremiah 6:20).
  • The masculine noun לבנה (lebneh), meaning poplar (Genesis 30:37 and Hosea 4:13).
  • The feminine noun לבנה (lebenah), meaning brick (Genesis 11:3, Ezekiel 4:1, Exodus 24:10).
  • The denominative verb לבן (laban), meaning to make bricks. The latter two are used in succession in Genesis 11:3, where the tower builders say, "Let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly".
  • The masculine noun מלבן (malben), meaning brick-mould (2 Samuel 12:31) or quadrangle (Jeremiah 43:9).

Associated Biblical names

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