Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The important noun ירך (yarek) describes the genitalia of both men and women (in English translations often needlessly euphemized as "thigh" or "loins"). It's unclear where this noun comes from but an excellent candidate is the verb רכך (rakak), to be tender or soft (see below).
In Hebrew, masculinity describes the tendency toward individuality and thus to competition, whereas femininity describes the tendency toward collectivity and thus to cooperation. That means that all human individuals in their natural state are masculine, but also that any human collective is feminine. One's physical constitution strongly influences one's mental constitution (particularly the emotional part), but does not perfectly determine it (particularly the logical part). Especially in a society such as ours, where people's identities are determined by their reasonable qualities rather than their physical and emotional qualities, not all men are masculine and not all women feminine.
Our own private mental gender depends rather on which side of human existence we draw our identity from: from our desire to be individual (male) and thus to compete until ultimately even a shared language has evaporated and we're back in the caves, or from our desire to be a collective (female) and thus to cooperate until ultimately we can read each other's minds. When our world was primitive, there was very little femineity, and all femineity was a slave to masculinity. In the world to come, humanity will be feminine, but no one will be slave, since all cooperation must be voluntary and thus be based on individual freedom (Galatians 5:1).
In the Hebrew symbolic superstructure of the Bible, the male genitalia correspond to the man's will (or extravert desire), whereas the female genitalia correspond to a woman's will (or introvert desire). Casual intuition might dictate that the male ירך (yarek) and the female ירך (yarek) should fit together like two puzzle pieces, but anyone who's ever achieved successful union will attest that it's actually quite complicated, and that copulation is essentially a psychological act much rather than a physical one. The reason for all this is that males and females experience copulation widely different, and this is because masculinity and femineity are not, as is often supposed, the two extremes of one single spectrum, but rather two wholly different realities that don't intersect at all. When these two realities indeed manage to form a single continuum, they do so via a "wormhole" whose ends are located at completely different functional parts of the two unconsolidatable realities.
It takes some getting used to but in Hebrew, masculinity and femineity relate like seeing (what eyes do) and walking (what legs do), and the two are not linearly related, but only through a convoluted set of recursive feedback loops: When a person is standing still, the eyes (male) enjoy their elevated perspective because the legs (female) hold the person upright. When the person is walking, the legs (female) walk towards what the eyes (male) see.
Eyes always work as one, and confirm each other like corroborating witnesses. Their job is to survey the external environment and come up with a unified course of action. This is why men, generally, don't deal well with disagreement, and regard deviation with mockery, meet it in war, or are swept up by it into madness.
Legs, on the other hand, are as one only when standing, but are each other's complementary counterpart when walking. Legs are not equipped to bother about anything that's not within their present stride, and only concentrate on keeping the rest of the body balanced on top of them, and that includes compensating for any shift in the body's center of gravity that occurs whenever the arms decide to pick up and carry something foreign and heavy. This is why women, generally, thrive on disagreement and embrace diversity and coach it into productivity.
All of this explains why a father (אב, 'ab) is a completely different animal than a mother (אם, 'am). And it also explains why in the Bible, the whole range of human infirmity is often collectively referred to with the term "the lame and the blind" (עור ופסח, 'iwwer wa piseah). This proverbial term does not merely refer to people who are actually lame or blind, but sums up everything that might be wrong with a person in two main categories: (1) having too little of some essential thing (namely internal strength), and (2) having too much of some completely different essential thing (namely an external protective covering; the word for blindness derives from the word for skin).
All this means that masculinity and femineity exist as two wholly separate realms, with each their unique center of healthy perfection, the deviation of which uniquely leads to either lameness (too feminine) or blindness (too masculine). When a couple (that's a male and a female, not necessarily a man and a woman) has one of those recognizable quarrels, it's essentially a lame person and a blind person arguing about the next course of action. To come to any kind of consolidation, the blind person must force himself to become less insensitive and open his eyes, whereas the lame person must force herself to become less indecisive and get up off her but. All this is of course much easier said than done, because a blind person speaks only in words, whereas a lame person only feels in feelings. The blind person somehow must find some wordless way to make the lame person feel less weak. And the lame person must somehow intuit the right words to make the blind person feel less stupid.
Still, the essence of masculinity is having too much external vulnerability and desiring to lessen it, whereas the essence of femineity is being short of internal strength and desiring more of it. To a man, copulation feels like a means to being less vulnerable to the outside world, whereas to a woman copulation feels like a means to being stronger from within. When copulating, the man is hiding from the world, whereas the woman is standing up in it (Song of Solomon 2:10).
During copulation, the man's signature awareness of the environment transposes wholly into the sensations of his penis, which means that his consciousness is now entirely inside the woman (Jeremiah 31:22). The woman, in turn, relinquishes all her skeletal strength, until her entire internal strength derives from that single "bone" of her husband's penis (see our article on the adjective ασθενης, asthenes, strengthless). The whole endeavor culminates when the husband experiences a phase transition, turns partly liquid and pours out his spirit into the woman (see our article on the verb ορεγω, orego, to reach for, or "to try to cross the line"). The woman, in turn, responds with great orgasmic joy that helps the wandering seedlings find the ovum.
All this is of course described in great detail in the story of the tabernacle (a.k.a. the tent of meeting; Israel's national vulva), the Ark of the Covenant (ovum; Matthew 5:17), its joyful transportation under David (female orgasm), God's outpouring of the Holy Spirit (male orgasm), and finally Jesus' resurrection (conception; see our article on Stephen for more details) and his so-called "Second Coming" (parturition), which is not a "coming" because he never left (Matthew 28:20, Luke 17:21, Romans 8:22).
Besides the miracle of ancient people somehow having modern knowledge, these things also explain that males and females cannot understand each other by simply extending their own defining constitutions, experiences or senses of reality: no child is ever born as a mere extension of either a male or a female. And this goes far beyond sexual reproduction:
Many a man has bewailed the fact that an argument with a woman is never about what the argument is about. And likewise, many a woman has bemoaned her observation that a man will notice a flea on the horizon but not the barn he's leaning on.
Everybody knows that money makes the world go round, but few comprehend that rich people are rich because they exist within a sustaining human network, and the money is really a side effect of that. Yet when poor people make demands of rich people, they invariably ask for money. Should rich people indeed give poor people money, this money will cause the recipients to become even more distantiated from whatever few human connections they had. That will make them even more miserable and destitute than before, while the actual money returns like a boomerang to the rich people (this curious monetary gyroscopic effect is often observed when people win the lottery).
Likewise, emotionally distraught people invariably demand "answers" that might console them. But their condition is caused by the disarray of their knowledge and more knowledge will only cause greater disarray and thus more discomfort. This is why the folks with all the answers (and yes, these folks exist) don't publish these answers on the evening news but rather help the angry people to first sort out what they already know, ditch the nonsense and unify what remains.
When a male tells someone to take out the trash, he does that to assert the relativity of their social ranks. When a female tells a male to take out the trash, she does that to avert the male's fleeting attentions to her entire situational complex (not just the trash). When a female tells another female to take out the trash, she does that to include a socially awkward sister into the broader goings on. Someone who merely wants the trash gone, simply takes out the trash.
All this accounts for the many metaphors that are obviously poetic depictions of a man's "readied will":
- Being "stiff-necked" (Deuteronomy 31:27), which literally means "having a hard dripper", as this term combines קשה (qasha), to be hard, and ערף ('arap), to drip or droop.
- Being "hard of heart" (Joshua 11:20), which combines חזק (hazaq), to become firm, with לב (leb), heart (and the "heart" was the one that was supposed to be circumcised: Deuteronomy 10:16);
- Ezekiel 23:20 famously speaks of Oholibah's lovers, "whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses" (in the generous translation of the NIV). This statement combines the words בשר (basar), flesh (or glad tidings), with זרם (zaram), to flow forth from or out of. In the Biblical world, donkeys transported individual merchants and their goods, and were as proverbial as our modern pickup trucks, and horses transported soldiers and were as proverbial as our modern jeeps. Instead of concern for the equine reproduction apparatus, Ezekiel much rather expressed something alike Jesus' statement that: "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water'" (John 7:38).
Particularly, the male's individual will had to be curbed to produce our modern world of cooperation and neighborly respect, which largely explains circumcision — for a lengthy look at this, see our article on the Greek noun περιτομη (peritome), circumcision.
Most directly, our noun ירך (yarek) describes the organs where offspring proceeds from (Genesis 46:26, Exodus 1:5, Judges 8:30), but a man's reproductive toolkit is also the seat (or at least the indicator) of his most direct intentions and essential will, particularly in relation to his progeny. When Eliezer left for Paddan-aram to obtain a wife for Isaac (Genesis 23:10), he left with all the "virtue" (טוב, tob) of his master in his hand (יד, yad). That same hand he had, just a moment earlier, placed on Abraham's ירך (yarek), to signify that this hand of his would always be in compliance with the will of his master (23:9).
In Exodus 28:42, YHWH gives instructions for protective briefs that were to envelop the priestly body from מתנים (motnayim), lower back, to ירך (yarek), which also suggests that the priests would be exposed to something that had the potential to fry their wills. In Judges 15:8 we read how Samson beat the Philistines upon their ירך (yarek), or into submission (perhaps even from רכך, rakak; see below), and for that same reason, people would beat their ירך (yarek) in times of great consternation, literally to subdue their wills until their desires matched what actually and realistically could be had (Jeremiah 31:19).
Similarly, Ezekiel 21:12 reads: "They are surrendered to the sword along with my people, therefore strike your ירך (yarek)", which additionally ties into the notion that the ירך (yarek) was also where soldiers would put their sword; not "on their right hip", as some translations propose, but rather so as to "weaponize their will", as a man's sword is rather obviously an extension of his will (Exodus 32:27, Judges 3:16).
Even God has a ירך (yarek), which is where he keeps his sword (Psalm 45:3, and note that Psalm 45 is titled "a song of love"). Paul helpfully explains that the "sword of the Spirit" equals the "the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17), which derives from the idea that Israel is feminine (all peoples are; see אמם, 'amam), and her "desire", or national vulva, is the tabernacle in which the Father deposes his "pillar of smoke" (also see our article on כבד, kabed, the you-know-what, euphemized as "glory", of the Lord).
Comparable human "pillars of smoke" are depicted in the Song of Solomon, in the scene that reviews the wedding procession: pillars of smoke coming up from the wilderness, with each man having sworded his ירך (yarek) as agent of the dread of night (Song of Solomon 3:6-8). See our article on the Greek word καπνος (kapnos), smoke, for a look at the cognitive equivalents of fire, burning and the production of smoke.
In that same vein, when Jacob wrestled with the angel, the latter struck the former on the כף־ירך (kap-yarek) and dislocated it (Genesis 32:25). This scene has traditionally been interpreted to refer to the socket of Jacob's hip joint and some related sinew, but there is no logic, historical, scriptural, etymological, exegetical or even dietary basis for this interpretation. Instead, the word כף (kap) describes an open hand, and is the opposite of יד (yad), a clenched fist. The latter is obviously a sign of bundled anger and masculine will, whereas the former signifies surrender, receptivity, cooperation and even hope. The whole key to this scene is that father Jacob started out as an individual and thus masculine, but was changed into Israel, a people and thus feminine. Or perhaps more precise: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the God of three generations of wise men, whose individual insights, resolve and leadership made them able to carry the God-given covenant. In Jacob, the burden of the covenant was transferred from the shoulders of one man (male) to the interwoven network of shoulders of many men: Israel (female). In exactly the same way would the cross of Christ be transferred from the shoulder of Jesus (male; see Isaiah 9:6) to the interlocked shoulders of the Body of Christ (female; see Matthew 16:24, 2 Corinthians 11:2, 1 Corinthians 6:2).
In Song of Solomon 7:2, the Groom considers the "hollow" of the Bride's ירך (yarek). The word for "hollow" comes from a verb that means to turn away, and emphasizes the introverted nature of a woman's ירך (yarek), as compared to the extravert male version. A woman's body's chemical equilibrium reacts to her partner's particular semen to prepare for a potential fetus that her unaided immune system would reject as a foreign object (this is called seminal signaling). Research on this novel topic is still rather sketchy, but the chances are excellent that woman's body goes through a considerable reset when another partner's semen is introduced. The Israelites appear to have had the means to gauge that. A woman suspected of adultery was forced to consume a "bitter water", which would do nothing when the woman had been faithful but cause chemical upheaval to both her womb and ירך (yarek) if she had been unfaithful (Numbers 5:21-27).
The story of Abraham's departure from Ur is the story of the breach between what would become Zarathustrianism and what would become the Biblical model. Zarathustrianism is known for its radical dualism, which dictates that reality results from the eternal battles between opposites: good versus evil, light versus dark, and so on. The Hebrew model obviously acknowledges good and evil, and light and dark, but considers neither them as opposites nor reality to emerge from their eternal conflicts. To the Hebrews, reality arises not from competition but from confirmation (Matthew 18:20), darkness is not the opposite but the absence of light, and darkness and light relate like emptiness and fullness, not like two equal and opposing forces. Darkness is not the opposite but the absence of light, just like ignorance is the absence of knowledge, foolishness the absence of wisdom and hate the absence of love. Likewise, good and evil, whatever these may be, are not opposite forces and do not emanate from two opposing sources, but stem from the same single Creator (Isaiah 45:6-7).
The Creator is entirely expressed in his creation, but the two meet only in Christ. Likewise, the soul is entirely expressed in the body, but the two meet only in the ירך (yarek). Limbs have bones in them and are controlled by the man's will. His internal organs (and intuitions and dreams) have no bones in them and are not controlled by his will. A man's ירך (yarek) is both an external organ and an internal one, both imbued with will (when erect) and void of it (when flaccid). A man's ירך (yarek) is his most vulnerable spot, and it exists in a kind of existential limbo between his emotional being and his physical being; a whole part of both and so in a unique state of existence that is both entirely mental and entirely physical, without conflict or seams or incompleteness in either world.
A man's face is his most external and public side. His face is to his body what a surrounding wall would be to a city. In that same metaphor, the man's ירך (yarek) is like the governor's building at the heart of the city, where the whole city is centered on and where the whole city is directed from. Going further inward from the outer wall of that inner building, the man's mind begins, and his ירך (yarek) is the outermost edge of the governing council of reason that is centered upon the man's radiant centermost defining thought (or echoing darkness in case the man doesn't know what defines him, which happens).
Most basically, our noun ירך (yarek) describes the place where two separate but wholly interlaced states of reality meet and are essentially the same: where the mind meets the body, where man meets woman, where God meets mankind, where heaven meets earth. It's where there is no separation between mind and body, or man and woman, or God and man, or heaven and earth, but everything exists all at once and as the same (Galatians 3:28; also see our article on the noun διακονος, diakonos, which describes a professional "match-maker" between these separate realities).
The inner body is associated with both the mind and with the digestive system, which explains why the tabernacle's altar too came with a ירך (yarek), which in this case appears to describe a funnel or covering hood that collected (צפה, sapa) the exhausts and directed it up and out for all to experience (Exodus 40:22, Leviticus 1:11, 2 Kings 16:14). The tabernacle's southern end (ימן, yamin) is also associated with collecting (see the name Kohath) but of incoming elements rather than outgoing ones; rather a marshalling area than a place for collecting wastes and exhaust. The Menorah too was equipped with a ירך (yarek), which perhaps was simply an ash tray, or even the place where the branches met the main trunk (Exodus 25:31, Numbers 8:4).
Our noun ירך (yarek) comes with a derivative, or perhaps a twin that simultaneously derived from the same verb רכך (rakak; see below):
The noun ירכה (yareka) is the feminine version of the previous, but it doesn't simply mean female ירך (yarek) because both the male and the female genitalia are known by the same masculine noun — the rule is that body parts of which we have one are described by masculine words and body parts that come in pairs are described by feminine words. But what our word does mean has never been properly explained.
Our mystery noun ירכה (yareka) occurs about two dozen times in the Bible and always as a generic term for a kind of geographic or social terrain or particular goings on. Its singular form occurs only once, in Genesis 49:13, which reads "His [Zebulun's] yareka shall be toward Sidon". All other occurrences of our noun occur in the dual construct state, although it should be remembered that the difference between the dual and regular plural forms of our noun ירכה (yareka) didn't exist until the Masoretes invented it in the middle ages.
The standard formula in which our word appears in its plural form is: "The yarekot of some location": the yarekot of the hill(s) of Ephraim (Judges 19:1, 19:18), the yarekot of Lebanon (2 Kings 19:23 = Isaiah 37:24), the yarekot of some cave (1 Samuel 24:3), of a house (Psalm 128:3, Amos 6:10), of the north (Isaiah 14:13, Ezekiel 38:6, 38:15, 39:2), of the pit [of Sheol] (Isaiah 14:15, Ezekiel 32:23), of the earth (Jeremiah 6:22, 25:32, 31:8, 50:41), of a ship (Jonah 1:5).
And that leaves translators to resort to educated guesses. Older translations (KJV, Young) tended to euphemize our noun ירך (yarek) as "thigh" or "hip" and subsequently figured that our feminine version referred to the "side(s)" of hills, caves and countries. Others (JSP, ASV, Darby) recognized the private nature of one's privates and translated our feminine version with "innermost parts" or "recesses". Clearly realizing that these euphemistic improvements wildly violated the integrity of the texts, the more modern NAS and NIV translated our word with "remote areas".
But with equal measures of fantasy, our word could have referred to "swampy areas" or "hollow areas", and the single most prominent objection to this entire line of thinking is that private, backward and remote areas don't attract the attention they get in Scriptures. These parts aren't the shameful parts of modern prudence but rather those parts where a society's government meets society's population, the parts of which Paul writes: "those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable whereas our more presentable members have no need of it" (1 Corinthians 12:24).
Here at Abarim Publications we guess that our word ירכה (yareka) describes what in modern times became known as the barony (or in case of Jonah's ship: the petty officers): the lowest nobility and smallest property owners. These are the folks who own the smallest plots of land upon which the working class lives and labors. These barons are quite literally one with these working class people: they eat and sleep with them and work side by side with them. In our modern world, the barons are our managers and small business owners. We call them by their first names because they are folks just like us, with cars like ours and houses like ours. They eat their lunch in the same lunch room as we do, and their kids go to school with ours. They scratch their heads just like we do, and try to make ends meet just like us. Sometimes, when times are bad, they end up with less money in their pocket than we do.
But they also congregate in their own baronial councils, and these councils are for property owners only and are not accessible to members of the working class. These baronial councils exist for the baronial class to discuss the state of affairs in the economic neighborhood, to review the health and wishes and concerns of their working class colleagues and friends (and their own young children), and to calculate and plot the course to take in order to keep the working class cohesive, happy and productive. But most crucially, these councils themselves produce representatives, which in turn congregate into senates, who in turn report to the king, whose sole concern is not the cohesion of the working class but the objective of the machinery of state: the ultimate port of call toward which the set course must ultimately lead. The barons govern the daily lives of the working class but the considerations and directives that come from the higher uppers determine the structure and evolution of society at large.
In every complex society, the baronial stratus exists precisely in between the governing stratus and the laboring stratus, and its function and natural emergence in any naturally evolving society is told of in Genesis 1:6-19. All this suggests that the ancients were substantially superior to us moderns in understanding man's individual nature, and the nature of his societies. It also demonstrates that the ancients were aware of the basic distribution of matter in the universe, and knew that beyond the visible stars (the barony that governs the daily lives of the earthly working class; Genesis 1:15) there exists an entire structure (of black holes, dark matter and dark energy) that is invisible from earth but which determines the structure and evolution of the universe at large.
This in turn suggests that in the same way that our "soul" keeps our body together, so keeps "dark matter" our galaxy together. Contrary to the perception of recent traditions, the Bible holds that life, like electricity, is not a substance but a condition, whose substance is light (or more general: electromagnetism). Life, like electricity, is inherent to all matter, and exists as much in atomic dust as in black holes. But souls, like flashes of lightning, emanate from matter at certain states of high complexity, which means that black holes are as alive as we are, and it also means that dark matter and dark energy may be essentially psychological rather than physical, and could explain the traditional idea of a heaven filled with souls and angels and such.
A "soul" may therefore be nothing more than a hardy scoop of matter, whose atomic elements interact in such a complex way that they exceed some critical level and enter a next level of existence. How, exactly, nature does it is obviously not clear to science today, but it's equally obvious that somehow living atoms regularly find themselves in a web of such complex interactions that they form a living cell. Singular cells, in turn, may congregate into a colony of specialized symbionts and finally evolve into a multicellular organism with, again, a singular soul. Likewise, very early humans, who are really just animals, may congregate, specialize, create languages and art and form a singular collective culture from which each individual in turn derives their individual mind.
Exactly how it works is an admitted enigma but that it works is rather plain to see. Life, apparently, exists all around us, like an atmosphere whose high concentrations of energy form individual souls like tornadoes: whirlwinds that essentially consist of air but which pick up dust so that they become localized beasts, which in turn absorb and excrete as they go along their path of destruction. And when their local spikes of energy wane and they begin to fade, they drop below that critical level and fall apart. Their air returns to the atmosphere that it had never stopped being part of, and its dust falls back to the earth that it had never stopped being part of.
All this also suggests that in the same way that our physical body can reach out and appropriate a physical object or food item, so our mind can reach out into its environment and grab hold of a spiritual object or entity (1 Corinthians 15:44). Our own mind directs our own body, but with the right choice of words, our mind may direct someone else's bodily activities as well. Whether mental signals may travel through a mental kind of continuum as well as physical signals do through air, is unknown at this time, since we moderns don't even have the technology to measure the substance of mind. We'll possibly have to learn a whole new kind of language for that. But these things should probably not be associated with the classical ideas of telekinesis and telepathy, but rather with the equivalence of energy and information (see Shoichi Toyabe et.al. on Jarzynski equality).
Science can't study what it can't measure, and strings of failed attempts to measure the soul has brought general science to abandon the idea all together. But now it seems that souls are certainly measurable if we know what to look for. The presence of a soul can be determined from the observable behavior of matter: when matter acts in a way that can't be explained from the natural laws of thermodynamics. Of course this requires a complete understanding of the laws of physics, but until we develop the technology to measure soul directly, this method will have to do.
All this also means that the only way for our modern human world to survive is to follow the natural law that governs the natural evolution of all complex systems. The general working class should stop their absurd obsession with their formal governments (just let them be; obey and ignore) and instead form local "guilds" (or in modern terms: associations and NGOs), like cultural and economic "tornadoes" in which every individual can freely discuss their own perspectives and their own concerns with their neighbors and peers (Exodus 18:19-23). When these peers reach a consensus (not a formal but a dynamic consensus, not based on a static statement or list of rules but rather on a network of freely resonating members who are so in tune with each other that they can react as one to any kind of situation or input), these guilds will be able to produce a representative who is mature enough to convey the consensus of the local guild rather than his own initial position. These representatives will naturally find each other in some super-guild (a fifth-day creature), where the whole process begins again. This goes on until the entire world has reached a dynamic consensus (that's the sixth day), and consists of a working class that is seamlessly unified with and intimately known by its ruling class (Genesis 1:26-28).
In the words of a modern sage: the job of formal governments is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it. The virtue of a government can be known by this sign: that it cherishes associations of entrepreneurs and NGOs with the love of parents for their children, and that it protects them where it can and allows them freedom from all sorts of duties. The virtue of the working class can be known by its eagerness to form them. A true democracy allows everybody with applicable capacities to be a dynamic node of a life-sized, multi-dimensional living government. Voting between two candidates once every four years is homeopathic pseudo-democracy. It blinds the dazed and drains the mind, and is specifically designed to generate the greatest possible distance between society and democracy. A nation exists from the dialogue between its people. The purpose of a government is to facilitate that dialogue. A nation that confuses itself with its formal government is a doll in the hands of a toddler.
The verb רכך (rakak) means to be tender or soft. The third person singular form of this verb is ירך (yarek), meaning it shall be soft or weak, and is identical to the noun ירך (yarek), which we discuss above. This form occurs in Deuteronomy 20:3, Isaiah 7:4 and Jeremiah 51:46, and perhaps Judges 15:8.
Both our verb רכך (rakak) and the noun ירך (yarek) are closely associated to the heart, since it was the heart that was supposed to be circumcised (Deuteronomy 10:16, Acts 7:51). Our verb speaks of weakness or softness of the heart in the sense of being timid and fearful (Isaiah 7:4, Jeremiah 51:46) or contrite and penitent (2 Kings 22:19). Psalm 55:22 reads tellingly: "His speech was smoother than butter, but his heart was war; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords."
From this verb derive:
- The adjective רך (rak), meaning tender or soft, particularly in the sense of being immature; of the flesh of a calf (Genesis 18:7), of naivety of vision (Genesis 29:17), of children (Genesis 33:13), of a fresh twig (Ezekiel 17:22), of pleasant small-talk that leaves no burden (Job 41:3), or a gentle reply that averts anger (Proverbs 15:1).
- The masculine noun רך (rok), meaning tenderness (Deuteronomy 28:56 only).
- The masculine noun מרך (morek), meaning weakness, and particularly weakness of heart (Leviticus 26:36 only).