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The term "בְּנֵי בְלִיָּעַל" appears several times in Shmuel (e.g., 1Sam 2:12). It is usually translated along the lines of "dishonorable people". Where does בְלִיָּעַל come from? Are there other books where it's used?

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Are you asking where else in Tanach it is found? – Double AA Jul 24 '12 at 16:48
he.wikisource.org/wiki/… – Double AA Jul 24 '12 at 16:48
@DoubleAA thanks! That's an answer if you want it. – Charles Koppelman Jul 24 '12 at 17:11
up vote 5 down vote accepted

בליעל appears many times in Tanach and appears to be a compound word: בלי (=without) and יעל. Three possible meanings are given here:

  • בלי יעל where יעל derives from the root ע-ל-ה = to go up. The people are 'without going up' implying they will go down to Gehonim.
  • בלי יעל where יעל derives from the root י-ע-ל = purpose (like the words הועיל and תועלת). The people in this case are 'without purpose' meaning they are a waste of space/time etc.
  • בלי עֹל where עֹל means a yoke. The people then are 'without a yoke' meaning they have rejected the yoke of Torah. (This, from the Malbim and Metzudat David.)
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