A Forque in the Road

Posted: August 11, 2017 in Hebrew, History, Prophets, Tanach, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Jeremiah 50:2:

“Declare ye among the nations and announce, and set up a standard…”

The translation is from JPS.

The Hebrew word for “standard” here is נס (nes).

The English word “standard” is being used here in a manner that is not up to date with today’s spoken American English, so some definition is in order. (You might say it’s a “non-standard” usage. See what I did there?)

Here, “standard” means “an object that is supported in an upright position, in particular: a military or ceremonial flag carried on a pole or hoisted on a rope” (Google).

Rashi translates nes as פורק”א, and describes it as “a sign for gathering.” What is this word?

Guessing “forque” as a transliteration, I searched that in Google and found, according to Wiktionary, that “forque” was indeed an Old Northern French word derived from the Latin “furca” meaning “gallows, beam, stake, support post, yoke.” It could also mean “pitchfork” or “forked stake,” and is the origin of the English “fork.”

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