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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Words



Daughter-in-law
By Jeff A. Benner
כלה kalah

We are going to begin this study with the parent root כל (kol, Strong's #3605), which means "all." From this parent root comes the child root כלל (K.L.L, Strong's #3634), which means "to make complete," but is usually translated as "perfect" and is only found in two verses in the Bible.

Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty. (Ezekiel 27:4, KJV)

The men of Arvad with thine army were upon thy walls round about, and the Gammadims were in thy towers: they hanged their shields upon thy walls round about; they have made thy beauty perfect. (Ezekiel 27:11, KJV)

Derived from this child root is the noun כללה (kal'lah, Strong's #3618), which has two related meanings at different times. In the earlier books of the Torah and the Writings, this word means "daughter-in-law."

And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law… (Genesis 11:31, KJV)

It appears that the connection between the root כלל (K.L.L, Strong's #3634), meaning "to complete," and the noun כללה (kal'lah, Strong's #3618), meaning "daughter-in-law," is that once a wife is found for a son, the family is now "complete."

In some of the later books of the Bible this word is used for a "bride" or "spouse."

Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. (SS 4:11, KJV)

Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number. (Jeremiah 2:32, KJV)




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