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The meaning of Abrech in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

a'-brek: Transliteration of the Hebrew 'abhrekh, in Genesis 41:43 the Revised Version, margin, of which both the origin and meaning are uncertain. It was the salutation which the Egyptians addressed to Joseph, when he was made second to Pharaoh, and appeared in his official chariot.

(1) The explanations based upon Hebrew derivation are unsatisfactory, whether as the King James Version "bow the knee," from barakh (hiphil imperative) or marginal "tender father," or "father of a king" of the Targum. The form as Hiphil Imperative instead of habhrekh, is indefensible, while the other two derivations are fanciful.

(2) The surmises of Egyptologists are almost without number, and none are conclusive. Skinner in his Commentary on Genesis selects "attention!" after Spiegelberg, as best. Speaker's Commentary suggests "rejoice thou" from ab-nek. BDB gives preference to the Coptic a-bor-k, "prostrate thyself."

(3) The most satisfying parallel is the Assyrian abarakku, meaning "grand vizier" or "friend of a king," as suggested by Fried. Delitzsch; for Babylonian laws and customs were dominant in western Asia, and the Hyksos, through whom such titles would have been carried into Egypt, were ruling there at that time.

Edward Mack


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