Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
קצץ קצע קצה
Roots of the kindred forms קצץ (qss), קצע (qs'), and קצה (qsh) all have to do with an abrupt severing or ending:
The root-verb קצץ (qasas) means to remove by cutting off, and is used mostly to describe the severing of body parts (Deuteronomy 25:12, Judges 1:6-7, 2 Samuel 4:12), and the cutting to pieces of items of metal for transport (2 Kings 24:13, 18:16).
This root's derivatives are:
- The masculine noun קץ (qes), meaning end. This noun is mostly used to indicate the end of a certain period and that usually in a context of judgment, or the end of time itself (Genesis 8:6, Amos 8:2, Daniel 9:26). On rare occasions it denotes the end of something in a spatial sense (2 Kings 19:23, Ecclesiastes 4:16).
- The adjective קיצון (qison), meaning outermost or at the end. This adjective is only used to describe the end of the tabernacle's curtains (Exodus 26:4, 36:11).
The root-verb קצה (qasa I) also means to cut off. It occurs a mere five times in the Bible (Habakkuk 2:10, 2 Kings 10:32, Proverbs 26:6) but scholars suspect two of these occurrences (Leviticus 14:41 and 14:43) to be covert expressions of the verb קצע (qasa'; see below). The derivations of this verb all mean end, without much mystery to them:
- The masculine noun קצה (qaseh), meaning end (Judges 6:21, Exodus 26:5) or border (Numbers 11:1, 1 Samuel 9:27) or in the sense of "from end to end": "the whole of" (Genesis 47:2, Jeremiah 51:31).
- The feminine and masculine noun קצה (qasa), also meaning end (Exodus 25:19, Isaiah 40:28) or "the whole of" (Judges 18:2, 1 Kings 12:31).
- The masculine noun קצה (qeseh), meaning end (Isaiah 2:7, Nahum 2:10).
- The masculine noun קצו (qasu), meaning end or boundary (Psalm 48:10, Isaiah 26:15).
- The feminine noun קצת (qesat), is used only in constructs that denote and end or corner of something (Exodus 38:5), or "at the end of" (a time; Daniel 1:5) or "from the end of", meaning "some of" (Nehemiah 7:69).
The root קצה (qasa II) isn't used as verb in the Bible (if we insist it would have existed separate from the previous verb). It appears in Arabic with the meaning of to decide or decree. Its sole extant derivative is the masculine noun קצון (qasin), which denotes a man who holds a position that allows him to rule or make decisions. This noun occurs twelve times in the Bible (Joshua 10:24, Isaiah 3:6, Micah 3:1).
The verb קצע (qasa' I) means to scrape or scrape off. It's used only once in the Bible, in Leviticus 14:41. This verb comes with two derivatives:
- The feminine noun קציעה (qesi'a), meaning cassia, a kind of sweet smelling cinnamon powder, harvested by scraping it off from trees. This word too occurs just once in the Bible, in Psalm 45:8. It is also identical to the name Keziah.
- The noun מקצעה (maqsu'a) denotes a scraping tool (Isaiah 44:13).
Then there is identical root קצע (qs' II), which occurs all over the Semitic spectrum. BDB Theological Dictionary reports relations to various cognates, meaning cut off, break off, and a noun that means "a place where something is cut off or ends abruptly". In the Bible this root yields one noun and a denominative verb:
- The verb קצע (qasa') probably means to be cornered or to be set in corners. It occurs three times in the Bible, in Exodus 26:23, 36:28 and Ezekiel 46:22.
- The verb appears to be derived from the masculine noun מקצע (miqsoa'), meaning a place of corner structure. BDB adds: as place of cutting off. It occurs a little over a dozen times, usually in texts that deal with building: Exodus 26:24, Nehemiah 3:19, Ezekiel 41:22
Linguists probably arrived at the existence of two separate roots by looking at other languages, but these two verbs are really not all that far apart. In fact, scraping occurs at the end of something, not in the middle of it.