Friday, March 8, 2024

The Hebrew noun עיר (ʿīyr, pronounced EAR like the body part) is the word for "city, town, or permanent settlement." The verb of the same spelling actually means "to protect," as cities offered protection from invaders usually due to their walls. Because of the wide descriptive range of its definition, the noun עיר (ʿīyr) can describe small towns as in Esther 9:19: "Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the open townsערי)." It can also refer to larger fortified cities like Jericho in Joshua 6:7: "Go forward and march around the cityעיר)." The noun עיר (ʿīyr) is also a means of referring to the collective inhabitants of a city. For example, 1 Samuel 4:13 states: "When the man came into the cityעיר) and told the news, all the cityעיר) cried out." When combined with proper names, עיר (ʿīyr) becomes another way to refer to famous cities. For example, 2 Samuel 5:7 refers to the "stronghold of Zion" in Jerusalem as "the city (עיר) of David."