Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The verb אור ('or) means to be light or to give light; shine. The Bible uses this verb in all the expectable ways (sunlight, daylight etcetera) but often also metaphorically. Many Biblical light-metaphors have been incorporated into our own language, such as the light of understanding or wisdom. Even a lit-up face comes from the Bible (Job 29:24, Numbers 6:25, Ecclesiastes 8:1).
This verb's derivatives are:
- The masculine noun אור ('or), meaning light. Like the verb, this noun is used in all expectable ways, from the light of creation (Genesis 1:3) to the light of the sun (Isaiah 30:6), the light of instruction (Proverbs 6:23), the light of one's face (Proverbs 16:15), and the light of God (Psalm 4:6, Isaiah 10:17).
- The feminine equivalent of the previous masculine noun: אורה ('ora). This noun is a late invention, and occurs sparsely in the Bible (Psalm 139:12, Esther 8:16, Isaiah 26:19 only).
- The identical noun אורה ('ora), which denotes some kind of herb, probably with bright flowers or something like that. This noun occurs only in 2 Kings 4:39.
- The masculine noun אור ('ur), meaning flame (Isaiah 50:11, Ezekiel 5:2).
- The masculine noun מאור (ma'or), which is the Bible's common word for any agent of light: stars (Genesis 1:14), lamps (Exodus 35:14), the eyes (Proverbs 15:30), and the face or presence of God (Psalm 90:8). Note that the very common words for sun and moon do not occur in Genesis 1:14-19, and here at Abarim Publications we suspect that the fourth day, the Day of Lights, is not specifically about the sun, moon and stars (see our survey of Genesis 1).
- The feminine noun מאורה (me'ura), a curious word which only Isaiah uses as something that belongs to a viper and to which a child will stretch out its hand without risk (Isaiah 11:8). Traditionally, this word is interpreted as the viper's den but that doesn't seem to cut it. Since the masculine version of this word may denote a person's eyes, perhaps Isaiah had the snake's fiery stare in mind.