ע
ABARIM
Publications
Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Hebrew word: צהר
Please help us financially

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary

צהר

The root צהר (shr) isn't used as verb in the Bible. Scholars generally tend to think that this root had to do with being clear or bright or else to "appear," but this is dubious. Judging from the consistency of its derivatives, this root has to do with being at the highest of multiple degrees of elevation. Its extant derivatives are:

  • The masculine noun צהר (sohar), meaning noon or midday; the time of the day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky (Genesis 43:16, 1 Kings 18:29). This same word is used to express the highest degree of merriment (the opposite of gloom; Isaiah 58:10) or justice (Psalm 37:6).
  • The identical noun צהר (sohar), now meaning roof (Genesis 6:16 only). Scholars generally link this root to being bright, and thus assume that this (a) is a different word, and (b) has to do with a window in the ceiling. This is quite nonsensical. Our root simply denotes a highest point. This noun and the previous one are the same.
  • The masculine noun יצהר (yishar), denoting fresh olive oil; the unprocessed product of the olive tree. Scholars tend to think that this oil was named such because of its bright appearance but it's probably because it came from olives that were ripe (high). A similar connection between elevation and ripeness of fruit occurs in the root רמם (rmm II). Together with grain and new wine, this oil was one of three agricultural products guaranteed by YHWH on the proviso that the people would adhere to the covenant (Deuteronomy 7:13). At the end of his mysterious vision of the golden Menorah, Zechariah sees two olive trees at either sides of the lampstand, and is told that these are the two sons of "fresh oil" who stand by the Lord of the whole earth (Zechariah 4:14). It's probably more likely that in this case our word is a regular third person tense of the root-verb צהר (shr), and that these two are not the two sons of fresh oil, but rather the two sons of He Who Is Being Most High (and this might even be intended as a proper name comparable to Izhar, and is rather a play on Elyon than on the olive tree).
  • The denominative verb צהר (sahar), literally meaning "to do the thing with the high things," but simply to press oil by implication (Job 24:11 only).

Associated Biblical names

Please help us