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

פשח  פוש  פצץ  פוץ

The four forms פוץ (pws), פצץ (pss), פוש (pws) and פשח (pshh) appear to be curiously symmetrical. None of the sources used reflects or even mentions this, possibly because an alternation between the letters ש (sin/ shin), צ (tsadeh) and ח (heth) isn't common in Hebrew. Still, their respective meanings quite obviously overlap:


פוץ I

The root-verb פוץ (pus I) means to be dispersed or to scatter. This is the verb with which the original divergence of populations is described after the flood of Noah (Genesis 10:18). The prophets use this verb lavishly to indicate the fate of the disobedient: they will seize to be a nation and will be dispersed among the nations (Ezekiel 22:15). Our verb is frequently used to indicate a scattering of armies (2 Samuel 18:8, 2 Kings 25:5).

The derivatives of this verb are:

  • The masculine noun מפיץ (mepis), meaning a scatterer or disperser (Nahum 2:2 and Proverbs 25:18 only).
  • The enormous feminine plural noun ותפוצותיכם (oteposotikim), which is probably a plural of the noun תפוצה (teposa), meaning dispersion (Jeremiah 25:34 only).
פוץ II

The root-verb פוץ (pus II) means to flow or overflow. It's used twice in the Bible, once to describe flowing springs (Proverbs 5:16) and once to describe overflowing cities (Zechariah 1:17). There appear to be no derivatives of this verb used in the Bible.


פצץ

The verb פצץ (pasas) means to break apart or scatter. It occurs only twice, in Jeremiah 23:29 ("My Word is like fire, it scatters rock") and Job 16:12 ("I was at ease but He scattered me").


פוש I

The root-verb פוש (push I) probably means to spring about. It's used two or three times: In Habakkuk 1:8 this form occurs, but sources and translations seem to unanimously assume that this instance has more to do with פוץ (pus II), meaning to overflow. The two other instances of פוש (push) occur in Jeremiah 50:11 and Malachi 4:2, and both contexts tell of calves that gambol about. It takes no great poetic leap to liken darting calves to either a gushing spring or else the act of scattering.

פוש II

The root-verb פוש (push II) appears to be neatly parallel with פוץ (pus I), and means to be scattered. This verb occurs only once, in Nahum 3:18.


פשח

The verb פשח (pashah) means to tear in pieces. It occurs only twice, in 1 Samuel 15:33 ("and Samuel hewed Agag to pieces") Lamentations 3:11 ("He torn me to pieces")


Associated Biblical names

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