October 17, 2019

Hebrew word of the week: Teqi’ah

The root t-q-’ is mostly associated with blowing the shofar or trumpet, but a close examination of its uses shows it is much more varied. The original meaning is to “smite, push, thrust” (perhaps related to t-q-f, “attack, use force”). All the other meanings developed from that. It seems, that teqi’ah is the initial physical act of blowing, whereas teru’ah is the resulting sound part.

Selected examples: taqa’ ohel “pitch a tent”;* taqa’ yated / masmer “hammer a peg / nail” (as Judges 16:14); taqa’ stirah “slap”; taqa’ kaf “clap hands (rejoicing)”; give a handshake (as guarantor)”; taqa’ ’af “poke nose into, meddle”; teqa’ “plug, outlet”; nitqa’/ taqua’ “being stuck (in traffic, etc.)”; “being thrust.”

*The biblical place-name teqoa’ probably meant “pitched (tents), encampment” (Amos 1:1), in modern Hebrew ma’ahal (many towns began as a military camp, fort).

Yona Sabar is a professor of Hebrew and Aramaic in the department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures at UCLA