Monday, November 12, 2007

Machir and America

Adapted from "The Tribes" by Yair Davidiy

An interesting fact is that:

Machir was the first-born son of Manasseh son of Joseph (Genesis 50:23).
Machir was the forefather of the Gileadites (1-Chronicles 2:21).
The Phoenicians are believed to have visited AMERICA. According to Barry Fell the Phoenicians named it - "The Great North Country". The Hebrew Prophets predicted that in the end time the Lost Ten Tribes would return from the "North Country" (Jeremiah 31:8). The Prophets certainly were well acquainted with the Phoenicians some of whom were in effect Israelite Tribes. The Vikings later attempted to settle in North America and named it "MARKLAND" which is believed to mean "Land of Darkness"(1). Even so, Maruk (a permutation of Machir) and Mark (in "Markland") are not dissimilar. After the Vikings, the existence of America was realised by people in Britain including fishermen from the port of Bristol. Richard Ameryk, a Bristol merchant 1470's is now claimed to perhaps have given America its name. Ameryk was of Welsh ancestry and his family name originally was "Ap-Meryk", possibly denoting "Son of Machir".
The more commonly accepted explanation is that the name "America" comes from that of the Explorer, Amerigo Vespucci (1451-1512) also called "America" and (after 1507) "America" is said to have been named in his honor. At all events, the name Amerigo or "America" is similar to Medieval appellations ("Aimerico"(2), etc.) for a Jewish Prince of southern France whose proper Hebrew name (from which the Latinised appellations were derived) was "MACHIR". The name in Hebrew was also given as "HaMachiri".
In Biblical Hebrew "HaMachiri" literally denotes "The Sons of Machir" (Numbers 26:29) but it could also connote "That which Comes of Machir" and in this case it was applied as a nickname to Machir himself and then Latinised to sound something like "America"!
The Hebrew version is difficult for untrained westerners to pronounce (or even remember) and so was rendered in Early Medieval Latin as "Americo" or "Amerigo" and this name was later given to Amerigo Vespucci who gave his name to the land of America. It follows that the name AMERICA may well be understood to mean "Land of Machir" (or "Land of the Sons of Machir"), son of Menasseh.
The very name "Menasseh" in Hebrew (according to the Commentary of Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch) can mean delegated responsible representation and this is a fundamental aspect of the North American character. The USA was created when its early settlers declared "no taxation without representation" and fought against Britain for their Independence.
America was named after Machir.
Brit-Am supporter Benyamin Turkia (of Finland, now living in Jerusalem) pointed out that "Machir" in Hebrew can mean "Selling" or even simply the Principle of Capitalism.
The principles of Capitalism and Free Enterprise have also become part of the American character.
Note: It should be noted that in Rabbinical commentaries on the Bible and in Jewish tradition the meaning and origin of names is very important and this principle is supported by the Bible itself. Great emphasis is given to the meaning of names, e.g. the names of Abraham, Sarah, and Israel.

1. Whatmore, Arthur William. "Insulae Brittanica", Great Britain, 1913.
2. ZUCKERMAN, Arthur J. "A Jewish Princedom in Feudal France, 768-900", New York, 1972. p.375
Zuckerman notes that Machir (Ha-Machiri) was referred to as Al Makhiri, "AYMERI", "Maghario" (p.180) or "Magharius", as "Aymeri", p.121 n.16., and as "Aimerico", and "Aimericus". Zuckerman p.131 n.38
Zuckerman describes how Machir ("Aimericus") became a legend whose name was celebrated in the ballads of Southern France and neighboring regions.

See also on this subject:
"Names Linked with Joseph": Manasseh as America

Related Articles:
"Biblical Place-Names in America
"Manasseh in Rabbinical Sources"
"Is the USA Ephraim or Manasseh?"
"Great Britain as Ephraim"
"The USA: Questions and Answers
"The USA in Biblical Codes

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