🏷  Bible name Semitic pun · name   —   by Gerry · Jul 2021 · 396 words

The Biblical patriarch Jacob (later named Israel) is officially named after being born holding his brother’s ˁqb “heel”. However, later he supplants & deceives his own brother Esau, as the same word also means “supplanting” & “deceiving”. This is an official pun, even alluded to in the Bible text where Esau says: “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob, for he has cheated me twice?”

The word root in Jacob’s name is ˁqb, which means “following” & “heel”. Derived meanings are “tracking” & “spying”, and then “supplanting” & “deceiving”. Interestingly, Jacob also matches the “spy” meaning in the spook sense of “supplanting”, i.e. replacing actual roles in society with disguised agents.

Other similarity puns with the name Jacob can probably be found in his long story, which do not belong to this root. For example, the term ˁgb means “sex” & “lover”, and may explain the weird scene where Jacob “wrestles” with another man all night. More research is needed to find them all.

See also Jacob’s ladder.

Needless to say, Jacob’s story never took place with regard to spookery: Organized deception was not invented by a humble tent-dwelling nomad, but by a caste of already unassailable, palace-bred overlord princelings.

Hebrew, Aramaic ˁqb = Jacob, heel, track, spy, supplant, deceit

יעקב yˁqb : Yaaqob: a son of Isaac, also his descendants; From aqab: heel-catcher (i.e. supplanter) — Old Hebrew (Strong)

עקב ˁqb aqob : insidious, deceitful, tracked by footprints; crooked, polluted, fraudulent — Old Hebrew (Strong)

עקב ˁqb : steep, crooked; insidious, deceitful — Hebrew (Klein)

עקבה ˁqbh : crookedness; insidiousness — Hebrew (Klein)

עקובתנאית ˁqwbtnˀyt : cleverly — Aramaic (CAL)

עקבניו ˁqbnyw : fraud — Aramaic (CAL)

עקב ˁqb : to trace, espy — Hebrew (Jastrow)

עקב ˁqb : to follow at the heel; to circumvent, overreach; circumvented, overreached; supplanted, superseded — Hebrew (Klein)

So he said: Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me twice now. He took my birthright, and look, now he has taken my blessing. Then he asked: Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?

wyˀmr hky qrˀ šmw yˁqb wyˁqbny zh pˁmym ˀt bkrty lqḥ whnh ˁth lqḥ brkty wyˀmr hlˀ ˀṣlt ly brkh

ויאמר הכי קרא שמו יעקב ויעקבני זה פעמים את בכרתי לקח והנה עתה לקח ברכתי ויאמר הלא אצלת לי ברכה

Genesis 27:36

The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

ˁqb hlb mkl wˀnš hwˀ my ydˁnw

עקב הלב מכל ואנש הוא מי ידענו

Jeremiah 17:9

🏷  Bible name Semitic pun · name