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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Words

By Jeff A. Benner


In today’s culture, oil symbolizes wealth. Nothing has changed over thousands of years. In the ancient cultures of the near and middle east, oil was a symbol of wealth. Oil was used in lamps for making light. Different types of oils, such as the olive oil, were used for medicinal purposes. Oil was poured on one who was taking the office of king or priest. Oil was used in offerings to Elohiym.

The Hebrew word for oil is שמן (shemen, Strong's #8081 and shamen, Strong's #8082). The verb form is שמן (shaman, Strong's #8080) and means “to be fat.” The parent root of this word is שם (shem, Strong's #8034), which is usually translated as “name” but more Hebraicly means “character.” Isn’t your character your wealth? Isn’t the character of YHWH his wealth?

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