Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb συρω (suro) means to draw or drag, and that commonly by force or violence. It's formally unclear where this word may come from, but here at Abarim Publications we suspect that it comes from the name Syria (Συρια, Suria), and thus Assyria, and that is describes the quintessential quality that the Assyrians were known for: dragging everybody along, whether they wanted to or not. As such, our verb is an appropriative word, very much like the name Persia denotes fancy things (Persian rugs, peaches, Pharisees), Crete denotes not very fancy things (Cretans; "liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons"), Egypt denotes Gypsies and Judah denotes Jews. The Greek never called themselves Greeks (the Latins did that), but they called all non-Greeks (not merely Berbers) by the familiar adjective βαρβαρος (barbaros), or heavies (after βαρος, baros, heavy), i.e. hard-to-understand. The adjective βαρβαροφωνος (barbarophonos), or barbaro-sounding, the Greeks reserved for the Persians.
If our hypothesis is correct, and our verb συρω (suro) indeed derives from the name Syria, then it relates to Assyria (where the ten tribes of Israel were "dragged" off to) and ultimately to the Semitic verb ישר (yashar), to be straight or level, or even the noun אשר ('ashar), happiness or blessedness (Genesis 30:13: "Then Leah said, 'Happy am I! For women will call me happy.' So she named him Asher."). That suggests that the association with Asshur is not so much rooted in violent abduction but rather in social synchronicity and felicity, not unlike the very χαρις (charis), or communal joy, that is fundament to language and through which salvation comes (Ephesians 2:8).
Our verb συρω (suro), to drag, is used 5 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derives:
- Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from, down upon: the verb κατασυρω (katasuro), meaning to drag down (Luke 12:58 only). Note that law and central government is an immediate fruit of language and thus social felicity (see above). The sole Biblical context of our word is one of law enforcement.