Five days ago we began a series of 12 expressions and idioms that is bound to enrich your Hebrew vocabulary, both in physical and spiritual aspects, all involving a common noun that most of us use daily without giving it too much thought. This noun is p’ri, fruit.
Today’s word is quite simple: p’ri is fruit and be•ten is womb. This is the biblical flowery definition of a baby or newborn. If you read our previous discussions of the expressions with the word fruit, you may remember that the related biblical principle of having fruit can be summed up in one sentence: one needs to work hard to yield fruit. In other words, fruit requires labor! Here’s what God says after the ancient sin:
“To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply the pain of your child bearing; in sorrow you shall bring forth children”
Having a child is definitely enjoying the fruit, yet the ancient rule is evident: a child’s coming is coupled with major labor. Literally, this is the true meaning for labor, the great event of bearing a child.
Be•ten also means belly or stomach, both in Biblical and modern Hebrew. The meaning depends on the context at which the word is used.
Here is an example of the use of p’ri be•ten in the Bible:
“It happened, when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, that the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She called out with a loud voice, and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!’”
All you need to do now is to guess how many times p’ri be•ten as ‘the fruit of your womb or ‘body’ (in the Old Testament) appears in the Bible?
You’ve got it right! Exactly nine times! Eight in the Old Testament and once (the verse above) in the New Testament.
Who says that there isn’t some kind of humor to be found between the lines of the Good Book…