In Family, Origins Written by


Lovers have a good choice of words to describe their feelings for each other but subtle differences of all such words are ncessary to understand. The main word used by Arabians today is *ḤB (حب). The question at what point of the relationship between a man and a woman one or both transformd the feeling of admiration to love is not easily answered. *ḤB could be the primary biliteral root or could be the secondary, i.e. invented later by reversing the two letters of the biliteral root to produce *BḤ “confess something, divulge, express something publically. A triliteral from *BḤ is baḥr “sea.”

What relation could there be between confessing love and the sea?

Did love develop in an ancient area besides a sea or a large lake? Did the young and the not so young enjoy a period of food and water security that created the right condition for people to love after thousands of years of being forced to move from one area to another in search of food, water and shelter?

These and many other questions were asked as we looked into the glorious biliteral root *ḤB. Noted was another meaning for this biliteral root is “seeds, fruit,” etc.

Is this how love was triggered between a boy and a girl? One or the other offering edible seeds and fruit?

Widening the search for these and other questions ceased to be necessary when the word was identified in Akkadian. The possibility that the ‘b’ in *ḤB is a ‘p’ substitution was put at rest. Such is the conclusivity of identifying words in Akkadian:

ḫibu [dialect=8]: [Moral life → Feelings]  beloved, sweetheart, honey (darling).

Here it is in possessive:

ḫibti: my beloved (before a divine name) – not necessarily divine unless she is exceptionally sexy.

The girl is sitting next to a water hole or a lake. The boy approaches with an apple or an orange, a few figs or a few dates. If she accepts, that’s it, they can head for the nearest cave.

Something wonderful happened a few years ago. I was at a party for young boys and girls in Damascus. A friend of mine, Ahmad Abu Zainah, a well known painter, had a handsome son in the group. As we were talking, a beautiful girl approached him with a peeled apple in her open hand and she offered it to him.

K. and his daring wife have a beautiful and curious girl.

Here she is – the fruit of a fruit: And no, the image is not from Wikipedia.

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Last modified: September 2, 2017

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