Is there a linguistic link between the Hebrew word ﬨחﬥאים [“diseases” (Psalm 103:3b)] and חול [“whirl,dance,writhe,anguish” (Esther 4:4, “…and she writhed in anxiety (BDB: Hithpalpel))]?

1 Answer 1


The answer to this is best set out in a table.

Reference Psalm 103:3 תַּחֲלֻאָֽיְכִי Esther 4:4 וַתִּתְחַלְחַ֥ל
Lexical form תַּחֲלוּא (takhalu) = Strong's 8463 חוּל (khuwl) = Strong's 2342
Part of speech Noun Verb
Meaning "disease" "to whirl, dance, writhe, writhe in agony"
Examples Deut 29:22, 1 Chron 21;19, Ps 103:3, Jer 14:18, Jer 16:4 Gen 8:10, Deut 2:25, 32:18, Judges 3:25, 21:21, 23, 1 Sam 31:3, 2 Sam 3:29, 1 Chron 16:30, etc
Derived from Primitive Root חָלָא (khala 2470) = to be sick or diseased (2 Chron 16:12) חוּל (khuwl 2342) = "to whirl, shake or dance". This word is the primitive root itself
Related words חָלָה (khalah) = "to be weak or sick", eg, Gen 48:1, Ex 32:11, Deut 29:22, Judges 16:7, 11, 17, etc The meaning of "writhe in agony" means that this word can sometimes be used to denote a state of extreme injury or disease, eg, 1 Sam 31:3; or emotional pain, eg, Jer 4:19; or labor pains of birth, eg, Ps 29:9, Isa 26:17, 18, 51:2.

Thus, while these two words are derived from different lexical roots, the range of meaning means that in a few cases, their meanings come close to each other.

  • Very helpful - thank you.
    – ed huff
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 21:44

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