Today we want to look at an example where we have to consider the relationship of noun and verb forms. When Hebrew has nouns and verbs that are built out of the same root, the interpreter must be very cautious. What is known as the “root fallacy” is the mistake of thinking that if two words share the same root, then the meanings should be drawn together with each being informed by the other. This is a fallacy because it is simply not always true that words built out of the same root overlap in meaning (consider the English “adult” and “adultery”).
Having acknowledged that, however, it must also be admitted that sometimes there is an overlap in meaning. The synchronic method that we espouse contends that when we have nouns and verbs of the same root, each need to be studied in isolation from the other and the range of meaning developed independently. Based on those studies, the interpreter may then decide whether or not the words are located in the same range of meaning. The example I would like to use is the set of words deriving from the root ‘ṣb, with our target being an understanding of the opening lines of Genesis 3:16.