Passing Phrase -

Abir Lev

Literally: Noble of Heart
Idiomatically: Cruel / heartless / brave

Wait a minute, how could the same phrase mean something positive (Psalms 76:6) and negative (Isaiah 26:12)? The actual word "abir" simply means strong (Samuel I 41:8). Being strong or strong-minded is simply a character trait which can be used for good or for evil. Sometimes the word "abir" can refer to an animal like a horse (Jeremiah 47:3) or a cow (Isaiah 34:7). On a totally different level it can even denote God as in אביר יעקב "Abir Ya'akov," the strength of Jacob (Isaiah 49:26).

The idea of abir meaning a knight is only found in the 19th century and is used to express what we would hope to be noble actions or chivalry. For example, the Templar Knights are referred to in Hebrew as אברי ההיכל "Aberei Haheichal." Finally, in case you are hungry, the Manna was described as the bread of the strong: לחם אבירים "Lechem Abirim" (Psalms 78 24-25).

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