Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The verb יסד (yasad) probably has to do with a Semitic root that occurs in Aramaic as סדד (sadad), meaning to join. In Hebrew the verb יסד (yasad) means to assemble into the foundation of something even more elaborate. This word may describe the beginning of a societal structure such as a temple (Ezra 3:6, Haggai 2:18), a government (Isaiah 14:32, Song of Solomon 5:15), a city (1 Kings 16:34) or a nation (Exodus 9:18), but it may also describe its ruling core: a council (Psalm 2:2) or confederation (Psalm 31:13). Our verb may translate as to organize or even to collectively order (Esther 1:8).
Note that in Hebrew the idea of building a spiritual house from living stones (1 Peter 2:5) requires very little metaphoric momentum and is wholly native to the Hebrew language. The Hebrew word for son is בן (ben), אב ('ab) means father, אבן ('eben) means stone and the verb בנה (bana) means to build. In the Hebrew mind, walls, houses and cities are built as much from bricks as from living people, and neither is a figurative image of the other. In Hebrew it's all the same.
From our verb derive:
- The masculine noun יסד (yesud), meaning assemblage. This word occurs only in Ezra 7:9, where it describes the beginning of the formation of a council that discussed the feasibilities and details of a return from Babylon to Canaan.
- The feminine or masculine noun יסוד (yesod), meaning foundation or base: of cities (Micah 1:6), nations (Ezekiel 30:4), men (Job 4:19), the righteous (Proverbs 10:25), the altar (Exodus 29:12).
- The feminine noun יסודה (yesuda), meaning a thing founded (Psalm 87:1 only).
- The masculine noun מוסד (musad), meaning foundation-laying; the act of laying a foundation (Isaiah 28:16, 2 Chronicles 8:16 only).
- The feminine noun מוסדה (musada), meaning foundation or assembly (Isaiah 30:32 and Ezekiel 41:8 only).
- The masculine noun מוסד (mosad), also meaning foundation or assembly. This is the word used in phrases such as the "foundations of the earth" (Micah 6:2), which or course does not speak of pillars that uphold the flat earth but rather the assembly of all living things, or the "ancient foundations" (Isaiah 58:12), which speaks of the earliest governmental structures of mankind. Note that this noun is also the source of the name Mossad, belonging to Israel's intelligence agency.
- The masculine noun מסד (massad), again meaning foundation (1 Kings 7:9 only).
Doubtlessly a by-form of the previous, the verb סוד (sud) is not used in the Bible but its derived noun סוד (sod) occurs nearly two dozen times.
The noun סוד (sod) describes a gathering of men who seek union trough discourse and deliberation, from a formal council (Psalm 111:1) to a band of violent schemers (Genesis 49:6, Psalm 64:2), a group of intimate friends (Job 19:19) or youngsters (Jeremiah 6:11) or the planning committee of merriment (Jeremiah 15:17).
Since the topics discussed by a council tend to be sensitive, our word is frequently grouped with words that mean secret: secret counsel (Job 15:8, Amos 3:7, Proverbs 20:19).סד סדין
The words סד (sad) and סדין (sadin) are of unclear origin but although it's not clear whether they belong to the above stock or were imported from other languages, their adoption into Hebrew was probably made easier due to their association with the verb יסד (yasad).
\ Noun סד (sad) denotes a set of shackles to bind someone's feet and limit his freedom of movement (Job 13:27 and 33:11 only). It occurs in Aramaic as both סד (sad) and סדא (sada') and clearly relates to סדד (sadad), to join. This verb appears in Arabic as sadda, with the slightly broader meaning of to obstruct or block. It's Aramaic plural is סדין (sadin), which is identical to the next word.
Noun סדין (sadin) also appears all over the Semitic language spectrum and denotes a linen wrapper or cloak. This word is used three times in the Bible (Judges 14:12-13, Proverbs 31:24, Isaiah 3:23) and clearly denotes an article of wealth and thus a symbol of status. It stands to reason that this item was a signature outfit of the ruling class. Note that the word for ephod, the typical garb of priests, is בד (bad), which derives from the verb בדד (badad) means to isolate or be separate.