Ben (prefix) (singular ben, "son of"; plural bene, "sons of" = Aramaic bar):
This word is used in the singular or plural to express relationship of almost any kind:
(1) to a person; as such it is found as part of many compound names like Benjamin, Benhur, etc. (compare Bar);
(2) to a clan; in this connection it is found in the plural only:
"children of Israel," "children of Ammon," etc.;
(3) to a town; perhaps as place of birth ("son of Jabesh"; 2 Kings 15:10);
(4) to occupation, state of life, age, character, quality even of things;
(5) peculiarly employed in the sense of "scholar disciple" ("son of prophet"), or in phrases like "son of death," etc.;
(6) in poetry, "sons of flame" for "sparks" (Job 5:7 margin), etc. The frequent metaphorical use of the word indicates that it was rarely used to express the relation of father to son like the Arabic Ibn. Compare HPN, 64.
A. L. Breslich
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