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Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by Queue-94, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Queue-94 New Member

    Hi I am would like to know everything about this word. I had a discussion about Song of Solomon 5:16 (( חִכּוֹ, מַמְתַקִּים, וְכֻלּוֹ, מַחֲמַדִּים; זֶה דוֹדִי וְזֶה רֵעִי, בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָם )) and I don't want to bring up religion (ironic, I know) but I want to know if מַחֲמַדִּים can refer to a name of a person.. Or as the majority of translations have it, does it mean something "precious"?

    Can you tell me the root of this word is, what part of speech it is (and if it's a noun, how would you say noun in Hebrew?) , singular and plural forms and as extensive of a definition as you can? Maybe how it would be used in modern speech? Thank you all, I love to read and I would like as much detail as possible.
  2. origumi Senior Member

    It's plural of noun מחמד, The root is حمد Ḥ-M-D like Arabic "praise" and the name Mohammed محمد, for example. Of pattern maqtal. The Wiki link below accurately translates to "desire, desirable thing, pleasant thing, beloved, goodly, lovely, pleasant, desirable, precious ones, precious things, precious treasures, treasures, valuable".

  3. Queue-94 New Member

    (had to remove the link because it would not allow me to post with it)

    Fascinating! Thank you. So that is the meaning of the word, as "praise" is the meaning of the root in Arabic. Could מַחֲמַדִּים then function as a name in this context (Song of Solomon 5:16)? If not, what sort of things preclude this as a possibility? Context, perhaps? I am just wondering from strictly a linguistic perspective. I've seen people argue (from theological perspectives?) that this could be speaking of Mohammad. Is that at all possible from a linguistic point of view? Why or why not? Sorry if this is stretching the boundaries of the forum... (and I understand if this gets deleted)
  4. origumi Senior Member

    As Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) was authored more than 1000 years before the prophet was born, one must take such idea as a prophecy rather than simple description, and this is indeed outside the forum's scope.

    Biblical poetry is typically built on pairs of metaphors, for example "they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions". In Song of Songs 5:16 it's "His mouth is most sweet [ממתקים], he is altogether lovely [מחמדים]". So מחמדים is equivalent to ממתקים, "sweet things". Also, the form is plural. Also, while Mohammed is based a passive verb form, מחמד is a noun with nothing passive. Also, in Hebrew and Arabic (like any Semitic language) a three-consonantal root can have many forms, with different vowels, different prefixed, infixed, postfixed letters. So having Arabic and Hebrew words based on the same (cognate) root and contains the same four letters - doesn't indicate identity. Also, the difference of meaning ("praise" vs "dear"/"desired") must be old as so many words in both Arabic and Hebrew are based each of the specific meaning of the root in its language.

    Having said that, it's hard to refute religious or religin-originated ideas by lingual (or historical and alike) arguments. For example, I know some Arabs to believe that Abraham the patriarch was either Arab or at least migrated to Arabia. This has no ancient or modern factual basis, and yet one cannot change their mind.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  5. Queue-94 New Member

    Thank you kindly! Exactly what I was looking for.
  6. Albert Schlef Senior Member

    Also note that in Hebrew "pet" is חיית מחמד (/hayat mahmad/). By the same logic you could argue that an Israeli who talks about his pet dog talks about Muhammad. (Of course, this argument would be wrong --in both cases-- from the logical aspect. The religious aspect, OTOH, is something altogether different.)

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