Monday, April 18, 2022

The Hebrew verb אכל (ʾāḵal) is a common word that means "to eat." In Genesis 2:16–17, אכל (ʾāḵal) appears when Adam and Eve are told: "You may freely eat (אכל תאכל) of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eatאכל), for in the day that you eat (אכלך) of it you shall die." Though אכל (ʾāḵal) typically describes the human consumption of food, the eating described by אכל (ʾāḵal) is not limited to human activity. In Genesis 37:33, Jacob uses אכל (ʾāḵal) when he sees Joseph's bloodied robe and assumes he sees the proof of an animal attack; the text states: "He recognized it, and said, 'It is my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured (אכלתהו) him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.'" The word אכל (ʾāḵal) can also be used metaphorically. An example of this can be seen in Deuteronomy 32:42, where אכל (ʾāḵal) describes the activity of the divine sword of judgment: "I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devourאכל) flesh."