Many times when you look up an English word in a dictionary (including in respectable dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster), the origin will lead you to Old English French, Greek or Latin, but will stop short before the true origin of thousands of words − the Hebrew Bible. I and other Hebrew teachers and scholars have often been wondering about this shortcoming on the part of the linguists who contribute their expertise to the world’s important knowledge base. I admit that more than once I doubted that this is happening just because of a lack of knowledge. I was reluctant to think that this was a matter of conspiracy rather than simple ignorance. Obviously, there are in this country and in other otherwise enlightened countries in the West, groups with agendas that don’t favor the Bible, and others that downplay the Hebrew as Biblical authority, but to think this about our prominent linguists sounds farfetched. I’d rather believe that this is happening out of simple ignorance.
Listen to the recording now and then see in your eyes the closeness of these two words: yagon − agony (just move the ‘y’ in ‘agony’ to the beginning of the word and you get the exact biblical Hebrew word)! So simple, so clear, so straightforward, so obviously of Hebrew origin.
But see, for instance, what the Merriam-Webster dictionary says about the origin of ‘agony:’
Origin of AGONY – Middle English agonie, from Late Latin agonia, from Greek agōnia struggle, anguish, from agōn gathering, contest for a prize, from agein to lead, celebrate. First Known Use: 14th century.
What do the educated linguists of Collins English Dictionary say about it? (this definition is identical to that of Dictionary.com
Word Origin and History for agony – n. late 14c., “mental suffering” (especially that of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane), from Old French agonie, agoine “anguish, terror, death agony” (14c.), and directly from Late Latin agonia, from Greek agonia “a (mental) struggle for victory,” originally “a struggle for victory in the games,” from agon “assembly for a contest,” from agein “to lead” (see act (n.)). Sense of “extreme bodily suffering” first recorded c.1600.
Here’s Apple’s bulit-in dictionary:
ORIGIN late Middle English (originally denoting mental anguish alone): via Old French and late Latin from Greek agōnia, from agōn ‘contest.’ The sense of physical suffering dates from the early 17th cent.
Well… is that so?
The real origin of agony, ‘ya•gon,’ appears 14 times in the Old Testament and 6 times in the New Testament. How, or perhaps why, did they all miss it?? Here’s the first biblical occurrence:
“And he said, ‘My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone; if harm befall him on the journey that you are to make, then shall you bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol’”