Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The root group שחר (shhr) has two members, whose meanings appear to be each other's opposites: one means to be black and the other has to do with the rising sun. But what this suggests is that the first root doesn't simply refer to a matt and deep blackness but rather to a glossy, shiny kind.
The verb שחר (shahar I) means to be black. This verb occurs in the Bible only in Job 30:30.
Derived nouns are:
- The masculine noun שחור (shehor), meaning blackness (Lamentations 4:8 only).
- The adjective שחר (shahor), meaning black; of hair (Leviticus 13:31), of skin (Song of Solomon 5:11), or of horses (Zechariah 6:2).
- The feminine noun שחרות (shaharut), meaning blackness of hair (perhaps literally: dawn of youth, relating it to shahar II — Ecclesiastes 11:10 only).
- The adjective שחרחר (sheharhor), meaning blackish (Song of Solomon 1:10 only).
What the unused root שחר (shhr II) may have meant can't be established, but all its extant derivatives have to do with dawn:
- The masculine noun שחר (shahar) means dawn. Dawn rises (Genesis 19:15), it has wings (Psalm 139:9), and it has eyelids (Job 3:9). The dawn even has a womb (Psalm 110:3) and a son (Isaiah 14:12 - some traditional translations have transliterated the Latin interpretation and arrived at the "name" Lucifer; also see our article on the name Helel); taken by many to refer to satan but that seems without fundament. There was even a god named Shahar, which is referred to in ancient texts, and some scholars insist that this deity shows up in the Bible's most troubling dawn-texts. But that remains conjecture.
- The denominative verb שחר (shahar) probably originally meant to look for dawn, which is figurative for to seek either early in the day - at dawn; at first light; at first opportunity - or diligently or earnestly. Obviously, only the things we look for in all diligence or eagerness, make it to our day-planner under "right after getting up". Most often the object of this earnest seeking is God (Job 8:5, Psalm 63:1, Isaiah 26:9).