The word cho•le is a masculine adjective that comes from the biblical root Ch.L.H. The feminine form is cho•la. Every verb and many nouns in Hebrew come from a core root. The biblical verb ‘to become sick,’ la•cha•lot, is more rare but appears in the Bible at least once:
‘And I Daniel fainted, and was sick several days; afterwards I rose and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.’
Unlike in modern Hebrew where there is only one meaning to la•cha•lot, ‘to become sick’, in biblical Hebrew it also means ‘to become weak’ or ‘to be wounded.’
The adjective use is more common in the Bible and there too, it also has multiple meanings including ‘a woman in labor.’
Nehemiah 2:2 we see the masculine form cho•le and it is has the same meaning as we use today, sick: ‘And the king said to me, Why is your face sad, seeing you are not ill? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very much afraid.’ Another example, this time in the feminine form cho•la, we find in Ezekiel 34:4:
‘You have not strengthened the weak, nor have you healed the sick, nor have you bound up that which was broken, nor have you brought back that which was driven away, nor have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty you have ruled them.’
Both the verbs and the adjectives of cho•le are related to the noun: cho•li, sickness, illness and diseases. The disease cholera may be related to this Hebrew origin.
‘A man to whom God has given riches, wealth, and honor, so that he lacks nothing for his soul of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a stranger eats it; this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.’
The words used here for ‘evil disease’ are ‘cho•li ra’. ‘Cho•li’ is ‘disease’ or ‘sickness’ and ‘ra’ means ‘evil’ or ‘bad’.