One of the more well-known appellations in תנ"ך that describes משיח is צמח (Zach 3:8, 6:12; Isaiah 4:2; Jeremiah 23:6), with the English definition a variation of "Branch" (capitalized as refers to his name). Interestingly, there are quite a number of other descriptions in תנ"ך that are highly related and nearly synonymous, all revolving around matters of planting, growing, blossoming, sprouting and so forth.

צמח: The Branch ויצא חטר: A shoot shall grow ונצר משרשיו יפרה: A twig shall sprout from his stock שרש ישי: stock of Jesse ראש יניקותיו: top of the young twigs

I just wanted to know if anyone ever saw any commentary about משיח being associated with "growth" and the like?

I also ask for another specific reason, as follows:

Targum Onkelos renders the Aramaic translation of most variants of the root "משח" as "רב", which is "greatness". Since variants of "רב" can also mean growth, growing, etc (thus a child is called רביא), I wondered if there were any known commentary attempts to associate these facts.

Thank you.

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    You don't need to go to Aramiac. "רְבָבָ֗ה כְּצֶ֤מַח הַשָּׂדֶה֙ נְתַתִּ֔יךְ וַתִּרְבִּי֙ וַֽתִּגְדְּלִ֔י וַתָּבֹ֖אִי בַּעֲדִ֣י עֲדָיִ֑ים שָׁדַ֤יִם נָכֹ֙נוּ֙ וּשְׂעָרֵ֣ךְ צִמֵּ֔חַ וְאַ֖תְּ עֵרֹ֥ם וְעֶרְיָֽה" Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


I hope this answers your question:

Malbim writes on the verse "כֹּה־אָמַ֣ר ה' לִמְשִׁיחוֹ֮ לְכ֣וֹרֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר־הֶחֱזַ֣קְתִּי בִֽימִינ֗וֹ לְרַד־לְפָנָיו֙ גּוֹיִ֔ם וּמָתְנֵ֥י מְלָכִ֖ים אֲפַתֵּ֑חַ לִפְתֹּ֤חַ לְפָנָיו֙ דְּלָתַ֔יִם וּשְׁעָרִ֖ים לֹ֥א יִסָּגֵֽרוּ׃" (Yeshayahu 45:1):

למשיחו. ע''י משיחה היו מיחדים אותו לאיזה התמנות של גדולה, הכהן המשיח, יען משח ה' אותי לבשר ענוים :

Translation: Through the anointing [meshicha] they would set him apart towards a kind of appointment of greatness, the anointed priest, "Because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me as a herald of joy to the humble".

Metzudat Tzion on the same verse:

"למשיחו. הוא ענין גדולה ורוממות וכן נתתיה למשחה"

Translation: To His anointed one - this is a context of greatness and majesty, "I grant them to you and to your sons as a perquisite". (See also Metzudat Tzion on Daniel 9:24)

Rashi on the verse "וּבִגְדֵ֤י הַקֹּ֙דֶשׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְאַהֲרֹ֔ן יִהְי֥וּ לְבָנָ֖יו אַחֲרָ֑יו לְמָשְׁחָ֣ה בָהֶ֔ם וּלְמַלֵּא־בָ֖ם אֶת־יָדָֽם׃" (Shemot 29:29):

למשחה. לְהִתְגַדֵּל בָּהֶם, שֶׁיֵּשׁ מְשִׁיחָה שֶׁהִיא לְשׁוֹן שְׂרָרָה, כְּמוֹ לְךָ נְתַתִּים לְמָשְׁחָה (במדבר י"ח), אַל תִּגְּעוּ בִּמְשִׁיחָי (דהי"א טז):

Translation: למשחה means to be raised to dignity by means of them. For sometimes the word משח is used in the sense of “dignity”, as in (Numbers 18:8), “to thee I have given them as a dignity (למשחה)”, and (I Chronicles 16:22) “Touch ye not my nobles (משיחי)”.

Metzudat David on the verse "אַֽל־תִּגְּע֥וּ בִמְשִׁיחָ֑י וְ֝לִנְבִיאַי אַל־תָּרֵֽעוּ" (Tehillim 105:15):

במשיחי. ר"ל בגדולי ובנסיכי וכן למשיחי לכורש.

Translation: My anointed ones - meaning to say, My great ones and My princes, as it is said "to Cyrus, My [His] anointed one". (See also Rashi on the verse)

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