MooT Question Icon
What country's name means "he that fights with with God"?




Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.


A picture of a moot game

The critically-acclaimed board game MooT
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
To join our mailing list and get
free brain-twisting MooT questions sent to you irregularly,
enter your email address and then press submit.

E-Mail address:




Back to home page



Answer: Israel

The name Israel derives from the Hebrew yisra'el, he that fights with God, which in turn derives from sara, he fights, and El, God. This is the name that God gave to Jacob (and all his descendants) after their Greek-myth-like wrestling match.

Source: Genesis 32:

24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank."

Feedback


It's usually rendered "struggles with God".
swhite at & aei.mpg.de
______________________________________________________________

It's actually more like "struggles" or "wrestles" than "fights." Which of course is great food for thought, isn't it?!
gellman at & wgglaw.com
______________________________________________________________

Interesting that you chose as your translation of the Bible a version (King James, I'm supposing?) that in fact chooses to translate the operative word (sarita) as "you are a prince" from "sar" (prince), and not from the more accurate "you have struggled/wrestled/striven" from "sarah", (to strive). Also, a small footnote: the Hebrew Bible renders that verse as 29, as their numbering starts the chapter with "And Laban awoker early in the morning..." (called in Xtian versions 31:55)
turnip%% at & bcpl.net
______________________________________________________________

Copyright 1998-2009 Blair Arts Ltd. All rights reserved.