Uncle

I have said in the past that there was no Hebrew word for uncle. That was true before Israel spent four hundred years in Egypt.

Abraham’s brother, Haran, had three children, Milcah, Lot and Sarah. At that time it was common to refer to nephews and nieces as brothers and sisters. Lot is called Abraham’s brother and his brother’s son in scripture.

Genesis 11:27-30  Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child.

Here is a similar passage from Jasher.

Jasher 9:14 And Haran, the son of Terah, Abram’s oldest brother, took a wife in those days. Haran was thirty-nine years old when he took her; and the wife of Haran conceived and bare a son, and he called his name Lot. And she conceived again and bare a daughter, and she called her name Milca; and she again conceived and bare a daughter, and she called her name Sarai. Haran was forty-two years old when he begat Sarai, which was in the tenth year of the life of Abram; and in those days Abram and his mother and nurse went out from the cave, as the king and his subjects had forgotten the affair of Abram.

Jasher 12:44 And at that time Nahor and Abram took unto themselves wives, the daughters of their brother Haran; the wife of Nahor was Milca and the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai. And Sarai, wife of Abram, was barren; she had no offspring in those days.

It is my guess from reading scripture that it became a common practice for a man’s brother to marry one or more of his daughters. Scripture allows it. The practice kept the family close and a man always knew his daughters were being protected. Here is the Hebrew word translated uncle.

H1730
From an unused root meaning properly to boil, that is, (figuratively) to love; by implication a love token, lover, friend; specifically an uncle.
Total KJV occurrences: 61

Interesting. Reading all the verses with the word bears it out. Here is one of many excamples.

2 Kings 24:17  And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s brother(H1730) king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

In the Song of Solomon the Shulamite calls her lover using the same Hebrew word here translated as My Beloved.

Song of Solomon 2:10  My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. 

Traditionally in Patriarchy there is a special relationship between a man’s children and his siblings. It is only in recent years that the media and sin have cast this relationship in a bad light. Television and movies have gone out of their way to make even love between parents or any older adults seem disgusting to teens. Remember that both Abraham and Isaac married a niece. I am writing about a time when men were moral and of good character. Because of much sin in our society today I must emphasize that the love being discussed is between those who are of the scriptural age of accountability or deemed mature enough to be accountable.

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