What’s the connection between מבול and other בל-related words?

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    QUESTION: Speaking of בול (and מבול), I’m wondering if anyone can explain Menahem ibn Saruk’s interpretation of this word. In particular, the 5th (& 4th) categories of בל words (out of the 11 that he delineates):
    החמישי, כִּי בוּל הָרִים יִשְׂאוּ לוֹ (איוב מ:כ(, וְאַרְצֵנוּ תִּתֵּן יְבוּלָהּ (תה’ סה:יג(, לְבוּל עֵץ אֶסְגּוֹד (ישע’ מד:יט(, בְּיֶרַח בּוּל (מ״א ו:לח(, ויתכן להיות מגזרת בְּלוּלָה בַשֶּׁמֶן (ויקרא ז:י(
    And for #4:
    הרביעי, בְּלוּלָה בַשֶּׁמֶן (ויקרא ב:ה(, בָּלוּל בְּשֶׁמֶן (שמות כט:מ), בַּלֹּתִי בְּשֶׁמֶן רַעֲנָן (תה׳ צב:יא) – ענין רטיבה הוא, ויתכן להיות מגזרתם תְּבַלֻּל בְּעֵינוֹ (ויקרא כא:כ) – הוא רטיבת הראש היורדת לעינים
    If בל indicates “moisture,” and חודש בול means a “wet month”, then why does אחרי בלותי and נבל תבל in #8 come to mean worn out? Does it mean as in “rotting” (due to moisture)?
    And how would that relate to other meanings, like in #10 מי יובלני עיר מבצר etc? Or negation of #1?
    Also, I didn’t see any mention of מבול. Does that mean it’s obvious he would interpret מבול as “wet” too? Is that interpretation brought in any מפרשים?
    Lastly, can someone please repost Rabbi Steinberg’s article some time back about תבל and תבלין etc? Or maybe it was his comment response to someone’s question on the topic.
    Wishing everyone a wet month (in אה”ק at least, plus lots of places in the US can really use rain too), but it should be גשמי ברכה!

    ANSWER: It’s important to remember that Menahem himself never indicates what – if any – relationship exists inter-מחלקה. What Rashi focuses on exclusively when he quotes Menahem hundreds of times is the Menachem’s intention of grouping various verses in a single מחלקה, i.e. intra-מחלקה. Thus, your questions about the relationship between #s 4 & 5 on the one hand and #8 and #10 is not valid, at least according to my reading of Rashi’s understanding of the מחברת.
    That said, others go farther than Menahem and do seek to connect the gamut of בל roots (at least those limited to additional האמנתי”ו letters), notably Yerios Shlomo and HaKesav VeHaKabbalah. R’ Shlomo Papenheim treated this root and its derivatives extensively in Yerios Shlomo and in his root dictionary, Cheshek Shlomo.

    By the way, here (English, Hebrew) is the article about בל related words.

    Rabbi Yehoshua (Jeremy) Steinberg

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