Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
Various lexicons list two roots יער (y'r), but both these roots are unused in the Bible, and some scholars (BDB Theological Dictionary generously volunteers) suggest that there aren't two but one root. This unified root would then denote roughness or porousness:
Of root I comes the masculine noun יער (ya'ar), the common Hebrew noun for forest or thicket. Forests in the Bible supply wood for building (Joshua 17:15, 1 Kings 7:2), hide fugitives (1 Samuel 22:5), house wild beasts (Amos 3:4, Micah 5:7), and serve as symbol for uncultivated wilderness; i.e. an invading state of chaos (Micah 3:12). That's possibly why Psalm 29:9 is considered to contain such a strong statement: The voice of YHWH strips the forests bare. And similarly, Isaiah invites the trees of the forest to shout for joy at Jacob's salvation (Isaiah 44:23).
The other root isn't used as a verb in the Bible, but yields the following derivations:
- The identical masculine noun יער (ya'ar), meaning honeycomb (1 Samuel 14:25-26, Song of Solomon 5:1 only).
- The feminine variant יערה (ya'ra), also meaning honey comb (1 Samuel 14:27 only).
Perhaps these two roots, or rather these three nouns, are related because all denote a solid unit that consists of many different entities that contain energetic nutrients, either fruits or honey. And both are patrolled by ferocious animals.