🔼The name Beer-lahai-roi: Summary
- The Well Of The Living One Who Sees Me, The Writing For A Life Of Vision
- From (1) the noun באר (be'er), well, from the verb באר (ba'ar), to write down, (2) the particle ל (le), to, (3) the adjective חי (hay), living, and (4) the verb ראה (ra'a), seeing.
🔼The name Beer-lahai-roi in the Bible
Beer-lahai-roi is the name of the well where Hagar met the Angel of YHWH for the first time (Genesis 16:14). The Angel sends her back to Sarai. Later, when she is banned, she meets the Angel at Beersheba (Genesis 21:14).
🔼Etymology of the name Beer-lahai-roi
The name Beer-lahai-roi is a composite consisting of four segments:
(1) The Beer-part comes from the noun באר (be'er), meaning a well, which in turn comes from the verb באר (ba'ar) that means to write down:
The verb ברר (barar) essentially means to clean, purify or clarify. Usually, whatever needs to be purified is first pulverized and then sorted: the useful elements are gathered and stored, and the fluff, chaff, dust and other garbage is either blown away by wind, washed away by water, burned with fire or simply scooped up and physically dumped somewhere. In the case of metal ore, the material is heated so that the good stuff flows out and separates by its nature from the bad stuff and its nature.
Derived adjective בר (bar) means pure or clean and identical noun בר (bar) denotes a kernel of grain or corn. Noun בר (bor) denotes a kind of material that was used in the metal purification process, and identical masculine noun בר (bor) means cleanness or pureness. Feminine noun ברית (borit) denotes a kind of soap (and is spelled identical to the word meaning covenant; see below). Noun בר (bar) describes a field (perhaps a freshly plowed, cleaned and ready-to-sow one?), and the masculine plural noun ברברים (barburim) denotes a kind of bird known literally and for unknown reasons as "cleany-cleanies."
Verb באר (ba'ar) describes writing on tablets of stone. Nouns באר (be'er), באר (bo'r) and בור (bor) mean well or pit, and obviously not merely refer to physical cisterns but rather to centers of learning and information technology (because yes, writing is information technology and then as hip as blockchain is now).
Verb ברא (bara' I) denotes the creative activity of God, which (as we know from modern cosmology) predominantly has to do with giving elements the freedom to sort themselves into constructions that are deemed stable by the laws that govern creation (and which ultimately describe freedom). Noun בריאה (beri'a) denotes a creation, "an entirely new thing".
Verb ברא (bara' II) means to be fat, and since fat is essentially an organic storage of energy, this verb is in modern terms neatly explained by relativity theory. Since anything unstable falls apart when exposed to energy, only stable compounds can gain mass. Likewise, a fat guy is clearly at peace and well provisioned (and not on the run or forced to labor half starving). Adjective בריא (bari') means fat and consequently healthy and prosperous. Verb ברה (bara) means to eat. Nouns בריה (birya) and ברות (barut) mean food.
Noun ברית (berit) means covenant and occurs all over the Bible. Although it's not wholly clear how it technically relates to the above, the gist of it is clear. A covenant clears up a working relation between parties and leads to peace, prosperity and ultimately more clarity and cleanness between said parties. Note that it is spelled the same as the word for soap (see above, and see our article on Soap in the Old World).
(2) The very common Hebrew particle ל (le), which expresses a motion toward:
The particle ל (le) means to or onto and may describe a physical or mental motion toward or a behavioral effort, an evolutionary one or express determination or purpose. The name of this letter, lamed, describes a cattle prod or goad.
(3) The adjective חי (hay), meaning living, from the verb חיה (haya), meaning to live:
The verb חיה (haya) means to live and life is all about resonance between elements — molecules working together to make a living cell, cells working together to make a living organism and human minds working together to make a living nation.
Adjective חי (hay) means living and adjective חיה (hayeh) means lively. Noun חיה (hayya) means life or living thing, and may also be used to describe a vibrant community. Plural noun חיים (hayyim) literally means livings but describes the whole palet of activities a living being engages in: one's making-a-living.
(4) The verb ראה (ra'a) meaning to see or understand:
The verb ראה (ra'a) means to see, and by extension to understand. It may mean to become visible (of, say, an angel) or to become understandable (of, say, a theory). Noun ראה (ro'eh) means either seer, or prophetic vision, and noun מראה (mar'a) means either vision as means of revelation, or mirror. Nouns ראית (re'ut) and ראות (re'ut) mean a looking. Nouns ראי (ro'i) and מראה (mar'eh) mean sight or appearance. Adjective ראה (ra'eh) means seeing.
Genesis 16:13 explains the name as a result of Hagar crying out, "Even here have I looked after the One seeing me!" The whole compound carries a myriad of meanings: The Writing That Makes Life Visible; The Explanation That Shows The Image Of Life; The Well Onto Life Vision, or ...Onto The Life That Sees; or ...Sees Me.
For a meaning of the name Beer-lahai-roi, NOBSE Study Bible Name List, BDB Theological Dictionary & HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament all read a rather lame The Well Of The Living One Who Sees Me, at once illustrating the signature and disturbing inertia of Christianity, whereas the Scriptures emphasize action and journey toward. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads The Well Of The Life Of Vision.