Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The verb טבח (tabah) means to slaughter, butcher, slay, or kill. The basic meaning of this root is to "deliberately slaughter or butcher an animal for food" (says HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament). Metaphorically the verb is used to indicate the preparation of wisdom for foolish mankind (Proverbs 9:2), or the description of a foolish young man's fate when he nears a prostitute for the wrong reasons (Proverbs 7:22). The verb is usually subject to the element of planning (Jeremiah 11:19), and used for the sacrificial slaughter, eventually even the Messianic offering (Isaiah 53:7), and the release of all nations (Isaiah 34:2).
The derivatives of this verb are:
- The masculine noun טבח (tebah), meaning a slaughtering or a slaughter (Genesis 43:16, Isaiah 34:2, Jeremiah 50:27).
- The feminine noun טבחה (tibha), denoting that what is slaughtered; slaughtered meat (1 Samuel 25:11, Psalm 44:22).
- The masculine noun טבח (tabbah) originally meaning butcher or cook, but this original usage occurs only in 1 Samuel 9:23. The other dozen-plus instances of this noun denote guardsmen or body guards (Genesis 37:36, Jeremiah 39:9). BDB Theological Dictionary suggests this dual meaning evolved because the profession of guardsmen evolved from that of the company cook. In a primitive society, where only the cook remains in camp while the others take off to herd or hunt, this multitasking makes perfect sense. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, on the other hand, proposes that the body of guardsmen that customarily surrounded a bigwig also customarily took care of the executions of any wrongful accosters. Makes sense too.
- The feminine noun טבחה (tabbaha), denoting a female cook. This word occurs only once in the Bible, and that in plural: 1 Samuel 8:13.
- The masculine noun מטבח (matbeah), denoting the place of slaughter. This noun also occurs only once in the Bible, in Isaiah 14:21.