Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The two forms יצא (ys') and צאן (s'n) look like they are closely connected, either etymologically or grammatically, and their meanings are also in each other's vicinity. Of similar form but differing meanings are the three roots צנן (snn):
The verb יצא (yasa') is one of the most occurring verbs in the Bible. It means to go, and specifically to go out or forth (Genesis 31:33, 2 Samuel 11:8, Micah 4:10). Its opposite is the verb בוא (bo') meaning to come.
The difference between these two verbs lies not simply in the direction of motion relative to the observer, but rather in a motion relative to either a focal point on one end or a state of dispersal on the other. The verb בוא (bo'), to come, is predominantly used to describe a motion away from being all over the place or considering various options, and toward one specific place or one final decision. The verb יצא (yasa'), to go, is predominantly used to describe a motion away from the focal point (being perhaps a point of origin or pause) and towards the wide blue yonder where everything is possible (Genesis 24:50, 1 Kings 5:13, Isaiah 28:29).
In Hebrew, when the sun sets it comes, and when it rises it goes. Hence the east is a place of going and the west is a place of coming. Hence the east has to do with past and the west has to do with future.
This verb's derivatives are:
- The adjective יציא (yasi'), meaning forth coming. It's used only in 2 Chronicles 32:21.
- The masculine noun צאצא (se'esa), meaning offspring (Job 31:8, Isaiah 22:24) or produce (Isaiah 34:1). This word occurs only in plural.
- The masculine noun מוצא (mosa'), denoting a place, agent or act of going out: a going forth (2 Samuel 3:25, Hosea 6:3), an utterance (Deuteronomy 8:3, Jeremiah 17:16), a source or spring of water (2 Kings 2:21), a place of departure (Numbers 33:2), a mine (Job 28:1). This is also the word for sunrise (Psalm 19:6) and thus east (Psalm 75:6).
- The feminine noun מוצאה (mosa'a), which is the feminine equivalent of the previous noun. It's used only twice, and always in plural: once of the going-forths of the Messiah (Micah 5:1) and once in the meaning of a latrine, that is the place of evacuation (2 Kings 10:27).
- The feminine noun תוצאה (tosa'a) denoting a full collection of out-goings of sorts. It's used to describe the outer reaches of a territory (Joshua 16:3), the outskirts of a city (Ezekiel 48:30), the furthest reaches where life can develop into (Proverbs 4:23), and the furthest reaches of death (Psalm 68:20).
Possibly related to the above is the ubiquitous masculine and feminine collective noun צאן (so'n), denoting a flock of small cattle like sheep, goats or a mix of these (Genesis 30:31, 1 Samuel 25:2, Nehemiah 5:18, Amos 6:4).
Throughout the Bible the image of a wandering flock is used in similes (Ezekiel 36:37, Job 21:11, Psalm 49:14) and metaphors (2 Samuel 24:17, Psalm 100:3, Zechariah 11:7).
Twice in the Bible a by-form of צאן (so'n) occurs, namely צנא (sone') in Numbers 32:24 and צנה (soneh) in Psalm 8:8
The root צנן (snn I) doesn't occur as verb in the Bible but its derivatives are:
- The masculine noun צן (sen), probably meaning thorn or barb. This noun occurs only twice and seems to form a confined space, either to hide in or else to be caught in (Proverbs 22:5, Job 5:5).
- The feminine noun צנה (sinna), also probably meaning hook or barb (Amos 4:2 only).
- The masculine noun צנין (sanin), meaning thorn or prick (Numbers 33:55 and Joshua 23:13 only).
The root צנן (snn II) also doesn't occur as verb in the Bible but in Aramaic it means to be cold. Its sole extant derivative is the feminine noun צנה (sinna), meaning coolness (Proverbs 25:13 only).
The root צנן (snn III) also doesn't occur as verb in the Bible but a comparable verb in Arabic means to keep or preserve. Its derivatives are:
- The feminine noun צנה (sinna), denoting a large, whole body covering shield (1 Samuel 17:7, 2 Chronicles 11:12, Ezekiel 26:8). Another word for shield is מגן (magen), which denoted a smaller hand shield.
- The feminine noun צנצנת (sinsenet), meaning jar (Exodus 16:33 only).