24 March 2004

Suggested Etymology of Š-B-R Meaning to Purchase Grain or Ration Grain

By David Steinberg


Home page http://www.houseofdavid.ca/



Examples of this root are Gn 4714;  Gn 423; Gn 4157 422.5 Is 551b. It is found both as a noun and verb.


According to HALOT the verb is derived from the noun and “originally referring to breaking off a piece of silver to make a purchase.” i.e. it is derived from the common root SH-B-R.


Regarding the noun HALOT states

the etymology of the sbst. is uncertain; according to its form it is more likely to be derived from a verb than to be taken as a primary noun”.  It’s first meaning is given as “grain, including its function as an item of trade”

I wonder whether anyone had considered that the root might be a shaphel form based on the noun bar = grain i.e. literally “to make grain”. In fact, as noted in HALOT, it is once used with bar (Gn 42:3).  As a shafel it would closely compare with the root kl


okhel = food

bar = grain


šeber = marketed grain

Verb in qal = eat

Verb in qal = buy grain

Verb in hiphil = feed another person

Verb in hiphil = to offer grain for sale