Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The Hebrew noun זרע (zeraʿ ) means "seed." Typically, זרע (zeraʿ ) refers to the seeds of plants, as in Genesis 1:11: "Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed (זרע), and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed (זרעו) in it." The word זרע (zeraʿ ) can also be used to refer to grain suitable for sowing, though it is often still translated as seed. Genesis 47:24 describes how the זרע (zeraʿ ) distributed by Joseph in the seven years of famine was to be used "as seed (זרע) for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones." We see that זרע (zeraʿ ) is also used figuratively to refer to the seed of humans, often translated as "descendants" or "offspring" in such instances. Multiple examples can be found in the various descriptions of the covenant God makes with Abram, appearing as "descendants" in Genesis 9:9: "As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants (זרעכם) after you," and as "offspring" in Genesis 13:15: "I will make your offspring (זרעך) like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring (זרעך) also can be counted."