Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Hebrew noun בת (baṯ) is the word for "daughter," however, the semantic use of בת (baṯ) can vary widely. In its most straightforward usage, בת (baṯ) refers to a specific individual as seen in Genesis 30:21, "Afterwards she bore a daughter (בת), and named her Dinah." However, the term "daughter" need not always refer to a person of biological descent but can refer to a group of women as in Genesis 30:13, "And Leah said, 'Happy am I! For the women בת (בנות) will call me happy.'" In poetry, בת (baṯ) is employed to create poetic personification for a city or group of persons, seen famously in Psalm 137:8, "O daughter (בת) Babylon, you devastator!" Additionally, בת (baṯ) can describe the smaller outlying towns and villages, often called "daughters," that surround and are dependent upon larger "mother" cities; this usage is seen in Joshua 15:47, "Ashdod, its towns (בנות׳) and its villages."