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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Names

Ashterot-Qarnayim

By Jeff A. Benner

This place name only occurs once in the Hebrew Bible - Genesis 14:5. It is composed of two words the first being Ashterot (ash-te-rot). The ot is the feminine plural suffix, the singular form is Ashter meaning "the young one of the flock," the plural form Ashterot meaning "young ones of the flock." This is also the name of the Canaanite goddess as seen in Judges 2:13. This same goddess was called Ishtar in the Babylonian mythology and is the origin of the word "Easter". The word Qarnayim (qar-nah-yim) is also a plural word, the singular form being qeren meaning horn. The Hebrew word qeren is the origin of our English word crown. In ancient times a crown was made of "horns" and the pointed tips of the crowns we are familiar with today represent those horns. The word qeren is also a feminine word and its plural form is qarnot. Notice that the plural form of the word Qarnayim uses the yim suffix instead. The yim suffix is what is called the dual plural and is used for things that come in pairs such as hands (yadyim) or ears (az'nayim). The word qarnayim then means "two horns".

When these the two words, Ashterot Qarnayim, are combined we have the meaning "the young ones of the flock of the two horns."




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