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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. abrek', אִבְרֵךְ, Sept. κῆρυξ, Vulg. Venuflecterent), a word that occurs only in the original of Genesis 41:43, where it is used in proclaiming the authority of Joseph. Something similar happened in the case of Mordecai, but then several words were employed (Esther 6:11). If the word be Hebrew, it is probably an imperative (not directly, Buxtorf, Thes. Gramm. p. 134; nor the first person future, as explained by Aben- Ezra, but the infinitive absolute used imperatively, Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 19) of בָּרִךְ, in Hiphil, and would then mean, as in our version, "bow the knee" (so the Vulg., Erpenius, Luther, Aquila, and the Ven. Gr. version). We are indeed assured by Wilkinson (Anc. Egyptians, 2, 24) that the word abrek is used to the present day by the Arabs when requiring a camel to kneel and receive its load. But Luther (subsequently) and others (e.g. Onkelos, the Targum, Syr. and Persic versions) suppose the word to be a compound of אבאּרךְ, "the father of the state," and to be of Chaldee origin. The Sept. and Samar. understand vaguely a herald. It is, however, probably Egyptian, slightly modified so as to suit the Hebrew; and most later writers are inclined with De Rossi (Etym. Egypt. p. 1) to repair to the Coptic, in which Aberek or Abrek means "bow the head" an interpretation essentially agreeing with those of Pfeiffer (Opp. 1, 94) and Jablonski (Opusc. 1, 4, 5, ed. Water). (See SALUTATION). But Origen (Hexapla, 1, 49, ed. Montfaucon), a native of Egypt, and Jerome (Comment. in loc.), both of whom knew the Semitic languages, are of the opinion that Abrech means "a native Egyptian;" and when we consider how important it was that Joseph should cease to be regarded as a foreigner [ (See ABOMINATION) ], it has in this sense a significance, as a proclamation of naturalization, which no other interpretation conveys (see Ameside, De Abrech AEgyptior. Dresd. 1750). Osburn thinks the title still appears in Joseph's tomb as hb-resh, "royal priest" (Mon. Hist. of Eg. 2. 90).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Abrech'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Abren, Peter
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