What does אחרון mean in Biblical Hebrew? Updated 12/10
In modern hebrew it means last. Does it also mean last in Biblical Hebrew?
RHS mentioned the following. Someone once asked the Tosfos Yom Tov how do we believe that there is going to be a third Beis Hamikdash, after all the pasuk in חגי talking about the Second Beis Hamikdash states: גדול יהיה כבוד הבית הזה האחרון מן הראשון, the pasuk states that the second Beis Hamikdash is the אחרון, the last one?
He answered based on a pasuk on this week's parsha (וישלח). The pasuk says: וישם את השפחות ואת ילדיהן ראשונה ואת לאה וילדיה אחרונים ואת רחל ואת יוסף אחרונים
Leah and her children were second in line followed by Rachel and yet the pasuk says with regards to Leah and her children, אחרונים and then the pasuk says Rachel and Yosef אחרונים. We see clearly that אחרון does not mean last but rather just means after. Therefore the Tosfos Yom Tov said, that is what the pasuk in חגי means as well, אחרון does not mean last but rather means the one after the first.
The Torah Temima quotes the Tosfos Yom Tov (דמאי ז:ג) on that pasuk. The Tosfos Yom Tov is explaining the use of the word אחרון in Mishnaic Hebrew, there also it means after and not last.