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Thoughts of Beliya`al

Dear Beliya`al fans,
In addition to the interpretations already noted you may take into 
account beli-ya`al= without use, useless (good for anashim reqim 
upohazim; beli-ya`al= may he not arise [from the  dead], I think that one 
is attributable to N. H. Tur-Sinai; beiya`al as a form of bl` meaning to 
swallow or extremely briefly, transient (I think I heard this from M. 
Weinfeld in a lecture os his which I read last summer at the M. Held 
Memorial seminar. Held in an article in the U. Cassuto 100th anniversary 
dealt with words of transient, and swallwing was one of them, although I 
don't think he made the connection with beliya`al). THe long and the 
short of the matter is that every possible combination of the Hebrew 
consonants has been tried, and if not everyone, we mayyet e xpect that 
the remaining will be tried eventually, and that no one has yet come up 
with a convincing explanation.  If I were to work on the problem (and I 
don't think I will) I would star t with the bl` explanation of WEinfeld 
and see whether in other Semitic languages such as Akkadian we find words 
with a primary meaning of 'swallow' which have derived meanings aplicable 
to the types of persons (not only men, since Hannah is afraid that Eli 
will consider her a bat-beliya`al) so designated in BH.  As for the 
present pronounciation as if there were two words, this may be a 
secondary development of dividing a quadriliteral into two words, a 
phenomenon well known from Rabbinic exegesis (cf. abrek=ab behokhmah rakh 
Avigdor Hurowitz

On 1 Dec 1996, Marsha B. Cohen wrote:

> >>It should be noted that Belial means 'without god', or in English godless
> people.<  [Moshe Shulman]
> >You lost me, Moshe!  Belial is spelled with 'ayin, not aleph, so how do
> >you translate it that way???? [Judith Romney Wegner]
> Having just completed  a 26 page paper on" Belial" in the TNKh and the DSS, I
> have come upon no explanations or references to Belial as meaning "without god"
> with the exception of one non-academic publication ( which lacks footnote to
> determine how the author came up with "beli el" when, as Judith states, Belial
> is spelled with 'ayin.  In the Talmud, the rabbis (Sanhedrin 111b)  made a play
> on words with "beli ol (shamayim)"--"without the yoke (of heaven)," consistent
> with the ayin spelling. 
>                                            Marsha
> Marsha B. Cohen
> Graduate Student, Religious Studies
> Florida International University
> Miami, FL