Hebrew Word Studies: To Fatten

I’ve already known that intense word studies is one the ways that I connect with the Father the deepest. I haven’t taken the time to do any lately, but today I did and I am so glad!

Today I’m going to share what I learned about the word translated as “create,” as in “In the beginning Elohim created…” I wish I had gone more in depth when I wrote my paper on Genesis 1:1-5. There is even more here than I thought.

I am definitely an amateur, so if you want to correct me, please do! If you’re not as familiar, I encourage you to do some study of your own and do not simply trust what I find.

First, basic information, and then interpretation. Sources are Mechanical-translation.net and joinedtohashem.org

ברא b.r.a To Fatten

Verb: To make more substantial, fleshy or plump; to fill up.
Root: בר b.r. The plant families of grains such as wheat and barley have a cluster of seeds at the top of the stalk called “heads”. These grains were used for food for both man and livestock.
Pictograph:   is a picture of a tent but also represents the family which resides inside the tent.
The  is a picture of a head. Combined these have the meaning of “family of heads”.

Notable Related Words:
Grain – Grains grown in fields were used for meal to make flour as well as feed for livestock. The stalks of the grains were burned to make potash for making soap. What is cleaned with soap becomes white or bright.
Clean – Making bright and pure, may also mean “choice” in the sense of being clean or pure. Cleanliness from soap, moral cleanliness.
Fowl – Fed on grain become strong. –> Valiant, possessing bravery, boldness
Explain – Provide meaning
Fed.Fat – Livestock that has been fattened with grains for slaughter
Select – To choose in the sense of choosing the best piece of meat. –> Meat: The choicest meat from fatted livestock
Covenant –  A solemn and binding agreement between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action. Often instituted through a sacrifice.
Palace, Castle
Kneel – The bending at the knee to drink from a pond or present a gift. (Kneel, Knee, Present, Bend the Knee)
Thrust – To thrust a sword. (The shining flash of a sword as it is thrust.)
Overcome – To get the better of. Be successful in strength or authority. (Warrior, Owner, Mighty, Courageous)
Cross Over – To pass from one side to the other. (Other side, Wrath, Crossing One, Crossing)


Woah! That is a big word family. In Hebrew, a word is never just a word in itself, as it usually is in English. The root of the word and the other words on that system also lend itself to the interpretation of scripture. So, one step at a time.

The basic meaning of “to fatten” comes from the sense of feeding grain to livestock, but we also see that each reference to feeding grain to livestock is in the sense of preparing it for slaughter. Woah!! As I mentioned in my paper, Genesis implies that God is not creating from nothing. That is not to say He did not, but God does not story there. He starts from fattening, so there was already something to fatten. Not only that, but He is preparing the earth for sacrifice, to be used for a set-apart purpose, for His glory. And that’s only the second word of Genesis!! How cool is that? From the second word we already know the purpose of creation, to glorify YHWH.

Another meaning is to clean, to purify. As we know from the next few verses, the existing earth is filled with darkness and chaos. So this word also tells us that God cleaned up the earth, before the darkness is even mentioned! So from the second word we know that YHWH is on a cleanup mission. And not just acceptable clean, perfectly pure and bright, as well as morally clean. (I would assume you also clean animals before you sacrifice them, which hints at my first point.)

Another cool connection that seems strange at first is the connection to fowl. The deeper meaning to be gained from that connection is that fowl fed on grain becomes strong. So when Yahweh fattened creation He also made it strong. And, He gave it meaning (explain.) To me, this point by now is already obvious because the basic definition is fatten for sacrifice, which denotes its purpose. We don’t need more explanation. But then, it makes sense that explain is a related word.

Divide and select is an awesome word combination, and it makes perfect sense. In Torah Class, Pastor Tom is always reiterating that a major theme of Scripture is dividing, electing, and separating. So already from the beginning, YHWH is dividing, electing, and separating from the very act of creation! I expand on this theme in my paper.

Palace/Castle is a very interesting relation. To me, it means that YHWH is preparing his dwelling place. It is no ordinary dwelling place, but a king’s dwelling. The earth is YHWH’s palace!!

Kneeling is used as showing respect and giving gifts. Creation is not only a sacrifice for God’s purposes, but a gift to us!

Thrust…I am unsure. Maybe an attack at the enemy? If anybody else has ideas…I am open to them.

The last two relations are particularly awesome. Those more knowledgeable in Hebrew know that the last two words are used to describe the Hebrews themselves! Over comers and ones who cross over. Does this mean that YHWH is Himself the first Hebrew? Hm…I like this last idea.

So in summary – In the beginning, Elohim fattened creation for the purpose of being a set-apart sacrifice, pure and clean, for service to God, for His glory. In this, He gives meaning to creation and makes it strong, and prepares it to be His dwelling place. He gives it as a gift to us, as an attack against the enemy (thrust). And in this act of fattening, YHWH becomes (already is?) the first Hebrew.

Did you know that creation was so complex?

Shabbat Shalom!


One thought on “Hebrew Word Studies: To Fatten

  1. Pingback: Food Philosophy | Called to Wander

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