by Brad Scott
At first glance you might think that this word is pretty much a no-brainer. However, there are some interesting aspects of this word that may not be so obvious. First of all, lexicographers (people who produce dictionaries) do not all agree on the exact meaning of this word itself. In virtually all Hebrew dictionaries this word is said to mean "a father of many nations" or "father of a multitude of nations". This is because of the words that follow the first occurrence of Abraham or 'averaham (אברהם).
Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 17:5Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
The word Abraham is said to be a kind of contraction of father ('av) (אב), many (hamon) (המון), and nations (goyim) (גויהם). However, there seems to be a resh (ר) missing in there somewhere. Although the text has revealed the absolute undeniable prophetic meaning of Abraham, there are some very interesting meanings found in this word. The first two letters definitely form the word father. The first three form the word 'avar (אבר), an aleph, a bet and a resh. Now we have the resh back in there. These first three letters form the word translated as wings and/or feathers of a bird. A soaring bird watching over it.
Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 40:31But they that wait upon YHVH shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Mizemor (Psalm) 91:4He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Bere’shiyt 15:6). Abraham obeyed God's charge, commandments, statutes and Torah, and therefore all who are IN HIM are blessed throughout the earth (Bere’shiyt 12:3, 26:4-5). Could there be built within the actual letters of Abraham a picture of a nurturing bird hovering over his nest, protecting and feeding his offspring?
One other interesting element to Abraham's name is that the bet and resh that lie at the heart of Abraham also lie in the heart of 'ivriy or Hebrew. Bar is the Hebrew word for purity. Abraham, IN WHOM we are blessed was the first to be called an Hebrew.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊