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Distinguishing between different words for rulership


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tishrei 6, 5778
Dear Rabbi, In English we use words like: to reign, to rule, to govern, have domion over, to subdue, to prevail, to lead, to control, to guide, to master, dominate, predominate, hold sway, to manage, to have authority over etc. to describe some kind of rulership. Different words are used to make a separation in kinds and ways of rulership. I noticed that in Hebrew also a lot of different words are used to describe some kind of rulership. I would really love to gain some insight on the definitions/descriptions of the meaning of the following root words in order to distinguish one from the other: • שלט • רדה • מלך • משל • שרה (as in משרה) • שׁלט • כבש • נהג • יבל • דרך (as in מדריך) Maybe there are more words (feel free to add, the more the better). If you would please help me out, that would be fantastic. I would like to thank you in advance for your effort and time, With great regards, J.I.Levi
The Malbim, in his commentary, systematically differentiates between all of these terms. I highly suggest his student's Sefer HaCarmel who takes each pair of similar words in the Tanach, and comparatively explains them respectively. It can be found on the HebrewBooks site at If you don't understand the Hebrew and don't have anyone to explain it, please write back.
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