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

סרר  סור

The two verbs סרר (sarar) and סור (sur) are closely akin in form and are obviously related in meaning, so much even that it's not always clear from which of the two the noun סרה (sara) derives:


סרר

The verb סרר (sarar) means to be stubborn or rebellious, and is a semi-pseudonym of the verb מרד (marad), in the sense that the latter denotes mostly the act of rebellion while our verb סרר (sarar) mostly conveys the attitude.

Our verb occurs about a dozen times, mostly describing Israel's rebellious attitude towards YHWH (Psalm 78:8, Isaiah 30:1, 65:2, Jeremiah 5:23, Hosea 4:16). Mosaic Law prescribed that a rebellious son had to be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 21:18) and Solomon told of a rebellious woman who went out to seduce a young man (Proverbs 7:11).

This verb's derivatives are:

  • The adjective סר (sar), meaning stubborn or rebellious (1 Kings 20:43, 21:4-5 and Jeremiah 6:28 only).
  • The feminine noun סרה (sara), meaning rebellion. This noun is generally grouped under the root סור (sur), see below, but in most instances of its half-a-dozen occurrences a relation with our verb סרר (sarar) seems more plausible: Deuteronomy 13:5, Isaiah 1:5 and 31:6, Jeremiah 28:16 and 29:32.

סור

The verb סור (sur) means to turn aside. It's used almost 200 times, with the following nuances:

  • To turn away from the route or course one was travelling (Genesis 19:2, 1 Samuel 6:12, Ruth 4:1).
  • To go away or depart from view or previous position (frogs from Egypt: Exodus 8:8; the Shekinah from the tabernacle: Numbers 12:10; the sword from the house of David: 2 Samuel 12:10).
  • To be removed (of lifeless things: staves from the Ark: Exodus 25:15; pagan high places from Israel: 1 Kings 15:14; Assyria's yoke from YHWH's mountains: Isaiah 14:25).
  • To come to an end, that is: to be removed from relevance (Amos 6:7, Isaiah 11:13).

Note that on rare occasions the verb סור (sur) may be spelled as שור — or rather: it's assumed that this spelling indeed refers to our verb סור; see for instance Hosea 9:12 — which makes it seem akin to the root-group שור (shur).

This verb's sole derivative is the feminine noun סרה (sara), meaning a turning aside. This exact same word mostly means rebellion (taken from the verb סרר, sarar), but on at least one occasion it may denote a formal legal infraction (Deuteronomy 19:16).


Associated Biblical names

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