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Meaning and etymology of the Hebrew name Abraham




Abraham Abraham



Abraham is the famous arch-father of all all believers (Romans 4:11, Galatians 3:7). God cuts the covenant with Abraham of which Jesus is the fulfillment (Genesis 15, Galatians 3:7, 16, 29).

The Abarim Publications Editorial Team looked on dozens of web sites and countless hard-copies and all but a few merrily report that the name Abraham comes from the Hebrew words ab and hamon and means Father Of A Multitude. That these two words contain no R seems not to bother anyone.
The verbal explanation of Genesis 17:5 is hard to trace etymologically, as the new element rhm (rhm) does not exist in Hebrew. Perhaps God is suggesting that something unique is happening to Abram. There are some other words in Hebrew that are used only once, and are often highly significant.
The phrase "father (of) many nations" reads ab-hamon-goyim (ab-hamon-goyim), and that doesn't sound like "Abraham" at all (as mentioned, no R).

Whatever the name Abraham may mean, it certainly is not a compound of ab and hamon and certainly does not mean Father Of A Multitude. The Jewish Encyclopedia merrily states that "The form 'Abraham' yields no sense in Hebrew," but that displays boldness of the other side of the spectrum. The change from Abram to Abraham is accompanied by the initiation of the covenant of which the Messiah is the final result. It's impossible to defend that God would link a sign of no sense to an event that profound.

The only change from Abram to Abraham is the addition of the letter heh after the rosh, and, much to our amazement, we see the verb brh (brh ; means to cut a covenant!) emerge in the heart of the new name. But, though certainly pleasing to a poetic eye, this may be a long shot. And to shoot even longer: Perhaps the new name is now a compilation of the words abar (abar), meaning to fly, from the root abar (abr) that has to do with flying and the flight of birds, plus the word hemma (hem), which is the third person plural independent nominative pronoun, or simply "they": Fly They Will! It's not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, but since God has wings (God has no body and thus also no wings, but He does have an attribute that anthropomorphized results in wings; Psalm 36:7) man made in His image should have wings too, or at least when we're done growing.

The word from the "many nations" part mentioned above, and which is favored by many, hamon (hamon) denotes a multitude in the sense of a large, specifically noisy crowd. This word comes from the verb hama (hama), cry aloud, make noise. If the segment hemma comes indeed from hama, it denotes massive noise much rather than simply a multitude.
BDB Theological Dictionary concludes a troublesome paragraph by quoting J. Halévy's Revenue des Études Juives, which states that abar is in fact abir (abir c, abbir), meaning strong one, denoting strength or leadership in a man. And hemma comes from hama, but is never used anywhere in Scriptures. And it means multitude...(?)

If the name had been Abraham it would have meant Chief Of A Multitude. But now that the name is Abraham it means Flight 'n Noise, or Fly They Will, with at the heart of it the letter heh to claim Abraham as Hebrew arch father and forming the verb brh (to cut a covenant) which states the reason for the name Abraham.

The Hebrew name Abraham may very well be the most extraordinary name ever constructed.

Additional note: Very few people realize that Shem, the son of Noah, outlived Abraham by 25 years. See for an explanation of this the name Shem.







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