While studying what is means to be a seer according to 2 Kings 17:13, one of the lexicons, called Brown-Driver-Briggs, when tracing the root word, gives a couple of what seem to be Arabic cognates, then claims to translate them, but I want to confirm the meaning.

The two words are:

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The lexicon appears to indicate the words relate to being an astronomer or astrologer, but I would like to confirm that meaning.

If that is the case, in what way would being a seer in the Old Testament relate to being an astronomer or astrologer according to the Arabic language?

  • 1
    BDB lexicon often does this because Arabic and Hebrew are close relatives.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 10:01
  • @Dottard. Correct. Thanks. I just want to be sure of the meaning of the Arabic terms they give. Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 10:02
  • That is odd because, while BDB often quotes an Arabic cognate, my copy of BDB does not list any for חֹזֶה either in my printed version nor the on-line version at biblehub.com/hebrew/2374.htm Can you provide a source for this Arabic reference?
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 10:08
  • If you don't get an answer here, you could try judaism.stackexchange.com.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 10:19
  • @Dottard. Perhaps the question was a bit misleading, I am looking at the root chazzah: biblehub.com/hebrew/2372.htm I fixed the question. Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 10:29

2 Answers 2


The verbal root ḥ-z-y means “to see” in Hebrew and Aramaic. The same root exists in Arabic, but only in the active participle ḥāzin in the specialised meaning “seer”, that is: “one who can see into the future”. It is commonplace that the same root has slightly different meanings in different Semitic languages.

  • Thanks for the insight, fdb. Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 4:11

If it helps, here is the entry from, "Complete Word Study Dictionary Old Testament" by W Baker & E Carpenter.

2372. חָזָה A verb meaning to see, to perceive. This term is more poetic than the common ra'ah (7200). It refers to see God (Ex 24:11; Job 19:26; 27, Ps 11:7; 17:15); astrological observations (Isa 47:13);prophetic vision and insight (Isa 1:1; Lam 2:14; Ezek 12:27; Hab 1:1; Zech 10:2).

Thus, the Hebrew meaning includes astrological observation as suggested in Isa 47:13. However, these were false "seers". For a true "seer", one of the prophets of God, I could find no reference to astrology as part of their job description.

  • Hi, Dottard. Thanks for this. I am, however, looking for a way to translate the two Arabic terms, which BDB claims are cognates. I would normally trust BDB, but in this case, I want to make absolutely certain they are giving the correct translation of both حَزَى ( ḥazā ) and حَازٍ ( ḥāzin ). Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 7:25

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