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    Nakedness — Number, Visit, Punish


    A. Nouns.VED-OT Nakedness.2

    ‛Ervâh (עֶרְוָה, Strong's #6172), “nakedness; indecent thing.” Thirty-two of the 53 occurrences of this noun are in the social laws of Leviticus 18,20. The rest of its appearances are scattered throughout the various periods of Old Testament literature with the notable exception of poetical literature.VED-OT Nakedness.3

    This word represents male or female sexual organs. In its first biblical appearance ‛ervâh implies shameful exposure: “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father.… And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness” (Genesis 9:22-23). This word is often used of female nakedness (the uncovered sex organs) and is symbolical of shame. In Lamentations 1:8 plundered, devastated Jerusalem is pictured as a woman whose nakedness is exposed. To uncover one’s nakedness is a frequent euphemism for cohabitation: “None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18:6).VED-OT Nakedness.4

    The phrase “indecent thing” represents any uncleanness in a military camp or any violation of the laws of sexual abstinence—nocturnal emission not properly cleansed, sexual cohabitation and other laws of purity (for example, excrement buried in the camp): “For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing [literally, “a matter of an indecent thing”] in thee, and turn away from thee” (Deuteronomy 23:14). In Deuteronomy 24:1 ‛ervâh appears to bear this emphasis on any violation of the laws of purity—if a groom is dissatisfied with his bride “because he hath found some uncleanness in her,” he may divorce her. Obviously this evidence is not of previous cohabitation, since such a sin merits death (Deuteronomy 222:13ff.).VED-OT Nakedness.5

    The “undefended parts” or “nakedness” of a land is represented by ‛ervâh in Genesis 42:9: “Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.”VED-OT Nakedness.6

    Other nouns related to this word appear less often. Ma’ar, which refers to “sexual nakedness,” appears in a figurative sense in Nahum 3:5. ‘Erom appears as a noun abstract in several instances. This word represents the more general idea of being without clothes, with no necessary suggestion of shamefulness; it means the “state of being unclothed.” In Ezekiel 16:7, 39 the word ‘erom appears as “naked,” but it can literally be translated as “nakedness” or one being in his “nakedness.”VED-OT Nakedness.7

    Two nouns, ta’ar and morah, have a different significance. Ta’ar which occurs 13 times, means “razor” (Numbers 6:5) or a “knife” to sharpen scribal pens (Jeremiah 36:23). The word’s meaning of a “sword sheath” (1 Samuel 17:51) has a cognate in Ugaritic. Morah also means “razor”(1 Samuel 1:11).VED-OT Nakedness.8

    B. Adjectives.VED-OT Nakedness.9

    ‛Ârôm (עָרֹם, Strong's #6174), or ‛Ârôm (עָרוֺם, Strong's #6174), “naked.” This word occurs 16 times. The first occurrence is in Genesis 2:25: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”VED-OT Nakedness.10

    Another adjective, found 6 times in biblical poetry, is ‘eryah. It appears to be a variant spelling of ’erwah. One appearance is in Ezekiel 16:22: “… When thou wast naked and bare.…”VED-OT Nakedness.11

    C. Verb. VED-OT Nakedness.12

    ‛Ârâh (עָרָה, Strong's #6168), “to pour out, make bare, destroy, spread oneself out.” This verb, which appears 14 times in biblical Hebrew, has cognates in Akkadian, Phoenician, Egyptian, and Syriac. The word means “to pour out” in Isaiah 32:15: " Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high.…” The verb implies “to make bare” in Leviticus 20:19. ‛Ârâh is used in the sense of “to destroy” in Isaiah 3:17: “Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.” In Psalms 37:35 the word means “to spread oneself out.”VED-OT Nakedness.13


    Shêm (שֵׁם, Strong's #8034), “name; reputation; memory; renown.” Cognates of this word appear in Akkadian, Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, and Arabic. This word appears about 864 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew. It is not always true that an individual’s “name” reveals his essence. Names using foreign loan words and ancient words were probably often not understood. Of course, names such as “dog” (Caleb) and “bee” (Deborah) were not indicative of the persons who bore them. Perhaps some names indicated a single decisive characteristic of their bearer. In other cases, a “name” recalls an event or mood which the parent(s) experienced at or shortly before the child’s birth and/or naming. Other names make a statement about an individual. This sense of a name as an identification appears in Genesis 2:19 (an early occurrence of this word): “… And whatsoever Adam called every living creaturethat was the name thereof.” On the other handthe names by which God revealed Himself (’Adonay, ‘El, ‘Elohim) do reflect something of His person and work.VED-OT Name.2

    Shêm can be a synonym for “reputation” or “fame”: “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4). To “give a name for one” is to make him famous: “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land …” (2 Samuel 7:23). If a name goes forth for one, his “reputation” of fame is made known: “And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty …” (Ezekiel 16:14). Fame may include power: “And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three” (2 Samuel 23:18). This sense, “men of reputation,” appears in Genesis 6:4: “… mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”VED-OT Name.3

    This word is sometimes a synonym for “memory” or “reputation” (that which remains): “… And so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth” (2 Samuel 14:7). In this respect “name” may include property, or an inheritance: “Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father” (Numbers 27:4).VED-OT Name.4

    Shêm can connote “renown” and “continuance” (in those remaining after one): “And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown” (Numbers 16:2). This significance is in the phrase “to raise up his name after him”: “What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance” (cf. Deuteronomy 9:14; 25:6; Ruth 4:5).VED-OT Name.5


    Gôy (גֹּי, Strong's #1471), “nation; people; heathen.” Outside the Bible, this noun appears only in the Mari texts (Akkadian) and perhaps in Phoenician-Punic. This word occurs about 56 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew.VED-OT Nation.2

    Gôy refers to a “people or nation,” usually with overtones of territorial or governmental unity/identity. This emphasis is in the promise formulas where God promised to make someone a great, powerful, numerous “nation” (Genesis 12:2). Certainly these adjectives described the future characteristics of the individual’s descendants as compared to other peoples (cf. Numbers 14:12). So gôy represents a group of individuals who are considered as a unit with respect to origin, language, land, jurisprudence, and government. This emphasis is in Genesis 10:5 (the first occurrence): “By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” Deuteronomy 4:6 deals not with political and national identity but with religious unity, its wisdom, insight, righteous jurisprudence, and especially its nearness to God: “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” Certainly all this is viewed as the result of divine election (Deuteronomy 44:32ff.). Israel’s greatness is due to the greatness of her God and the great acts He has accomplished in and for her.VED-OT Nation.3

    The word ‘am, “people, nation,” suggests subjective personal interrelationships based on common familial ancestry and/or a covenantal union, while gôy suggests a political entity with a land of its own: “Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people” (Exodus 33:13). Gôy may be used of a people, however, apart from its territorial identity: “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).VED-OT Nation.4

    Gôy is sometimes almost a derogatory name for non-Israelite groups, or the “heathen”: “And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword …” (Leviticus 26:33). This negative connotation is not always present, however, when the word is used of the heathen: “For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9). Certainly in contexts dealing with worship the gôyim are the nonIsraelites: “They feared the Lord, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence” (2 Kings 17:33). In passages such as Deuteronomy 4:38 gôyim specifically describes the early inhabitants of Canaan prior to the Israelite conquest. Israel was to keep herself apart from and distinct from the “heathen” (Deuteronomy 7:1) and was an example of true godliness before them (Deuteronomy 4:6). On the other hand, as a blessing to all the nations (Genesis 12:2) and as a holy “nation” and kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6), Israel was to be the means by which salvation was declared to the nations (heathen) and they came to recognize God’s sovereignty (Isaiah 60). So the Messiah is the light of the nations (Isaiah 49:6).VED-OT Nation.5

    Needy Person

    A. Noun.VED-OT Needy Person.2

    'Ebyôn (אֶבְיוֹן, Strong's #34), “needy (person).” This word also occurs in Ugaritic and Ethiopic. Biblical Hebrew attests it about 60 times (33 times in the Psalms alone) and in all periods.VED-OT Needy Person.3

    This noun refers, first, to someone who is poor in a material sense. Such a one may have lost the land of his inheritance: “But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat” (Exodus 23:11). He has come into difficult financial straits (Job 30:25) and perhaps lacks clothing (Job 31:19) or food (Psalms 132:15).VED-OT Needy Person.4

    Secondly, 'ebyôn may refer to the lack of social standing which causes a need for protection. The first biblical occurrence bears this emphasis. God guarantees protection for such a one: “Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause” (Exodus 23:6). The godly man defends the needy and defenseless: “I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out” (Job 29:16; cf. Proverbs 31:9; Romans 3:14-15). Divine provisions are encased in the Mosaic stipulations such as the seventhyear reversion of ancestral hereditary lands (Exodus 23:11), cancellation of loans (Deuteronomy 15:4), and special extension of loans (Deuteronomy 15:7, 9, 11).VED-OT Needy Person.5

    Thirdly, this noun sometimes describes one’s spiritual condition before God: “Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes” (Amos 2:6). In this verse 'ebyôn is in synonymous parallelism to “righteous,” which means that it describes a moral quality.VED-OT Needy Person.6

    B. Verb. VED-OT Needy Person.7

    'Âbâh (אָבָה, Strong's #14), “to accede, accept, consent.” This verb, which occurs about 52 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew, is sometimes associated with the noun 'ebyôn, “needy (person).” The same radicals appear in Akkadian (“to wish”), Arabic (“to refuse”), Aramaic (“to want”), and Egyptian (“to desire”). This verb means “to consent to” in Deuteronomy 13:8: “Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him.…”VED-OT Needy Person.8

    New; New Moon

    A. Verb. VED-OT New; New Moon.2

    Châdash (חָדַשׁ, Strong's #2318), “to renew.” This verb occurs in post-Mosaic literature (with the exception of Job 10:17). The root is found in all the Semitic languages with the same sense; usually the radicals are h-d-th. The first appearance of châdash in the Bible is in 1 Samuel 11:14: “Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.”VED-OT New; New Moon.3

    B. Noun. VED-OT New; New Moon.4

    Chôdesh (חֹדֶשׁ, Strong's #2320), “new moon; month.” This noun occurs about 283 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.VED-OT New; New Moon.5

    The word refers to the day on which the crescent reappears: “So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat” (1 Samuel 20:24). Isaiah 1:14 uses this word of the feast which occurred on that day: “Your new moons [festivals] and your appointed feasts my soul hateth …” (cf. Numbers 28:14; 29:6).VED-OT New; New Moon.6

    Chôdesh can refer to a “month,” or the period from one new moon to another. The sense of a measure of time during which something happens occurs in Genesis 38:24: “And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah.…” In a related nuance the word refers not so much to a measure of time as to a period of time, or a calendar month. These “months” are sometimes named (Exodus 13:4) and sometimes numbered (Genesis 7:11).VED-OT New; New Moon.7

    C. Adjective. VED-OT New; New Moon.8

    Châdâsh (חָדָשׁ, Strong's #2319), “new; renewed.” This adjective appears 53 times in biblical Hebrew.VED-OT New; New Moon.9

    Châdâsh means “new” both in the sense of recent or fresh (as the opposite of old) and in the sense of something not previously existing. The first nuance appears in Leviticus 23:16: “Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.” The first biblical occurrence of châdâsh (Exodus 1:8) demonstrates the second meaning: “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” This second nuance occurs in Isaiah’s discussion of the future salvation. For example, in Isaiah 42:10 a new saving act of God will bring forth a new song of praise to Him: “Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth.…” The Psalter uses the phrase “a new song” in this sense; a new saving act of God has occurred and a song responding to that act celebrates it. The “new” is often contrasted to the former: “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isaiah 42:9). Jeremiah 31:31-34 employs this same nuance speaking of the new covenant (cf. Ezekiel 11:19; 18:31).VED-OT New; New Moon.10

    A unique meaning appears in Lamentations 3:23, where châdâsh appears to mean “renewed”; just as God’s creation is renewed and refreshed, so is His compassion and lovingkindness: “They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” This nuance is more closely related to the verb from which this word is derived.VED-OT New; New Moon.11


    Layil (לֵיל, Strong's #3915), “night.” Cognates of this noun appear in Ugaritic, Moabite, Akkadian, Aramaic, Syrian, Arabic, and Ethiopic. The word appears about 227 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.VED-OT Night.2

    Layil means “night,” the period of time during which it is dark: “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Genesis 1:5—the first biblical appearance). In Exodus 13:21 and similar passages the word means “by night,” or “during the night”: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud … and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.” This word is used figuratively of protection: “Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; [betray] not him that wandereth” (Isaiah 16:3). Layil also figures deep calamity without the comforting presence and guidance of God, and/or other kinds of distress: “Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night …?” (Job 35:10).VED-OT Night.3

    During Old Testament times the “night” was divided into three watches: (1) from sunset to 10 P.M., (Lamentations 2:19), (2) from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M. (Judges 7:19), and (3) from 2 A.M. to sunrise (Exodus 14:24).VED-OT Night.4


    'Ayin (אַיִן, Strong's #369), “no; not; nothing; or else, nor.” Cognates of this word appear in Akkadian, Ugaritic, and Phoenician (Punic). The word appears 789 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.VED-OT No.2

    'Ayin may be used absolutely, with no suffixes and not in a construct chain. When so used the word signifies nonexistence. This is its use and significance in Genesis 2:5 (the first occurrence): “… And there was not a man to till the ground.” Preceded by the particle ‘im, the word may mean “not”: “Is the Lord among us, or not?” (Exodus 17:7). In Genesis 30:1 this construction means “or else.” In other contexts the word means “nothing”: “… Mine age is as nothing before thee …” (Psalms 39:5).VED-OT No.3

    In the construct state 'ayin has the same basic meaning. In one special nuance the word is virtually a predicate meaning “there is not” or “we do not have” (Numbers 14:42; cf. Genesis 31:50). In several contexts the word might be translated “without”: “Without counsel purposes are disappointed …” (Proverbs 15:22). Preceded by the preposition min, ‘ayin can mean “because” (Jeremiah 7:32). Elsewhere the word expresses simple negation: “They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths” (Psalms 135:17).VED-OT No.4

    With a suffixed pronoun 'ayin negates the existence of the one or thing so represented; with the suffixed pronoun “he,” the word means “he was no longer”: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was [no longer]; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).VED-OT No.5

    This word should be distinguished from another 'ayin meaning “whence,” or “from where.”VED-OT No.6


    A. Nouns. VED-OT Noble.2

    ‘Addı̂yr (אַדִּיר, Strong's #117), “noble; principal; stately one.” As a noun, 'addı̂yr is paralleled to “mighty” in Judges 5:13: “Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the Lord made me have dominion over the mighty.” The word also occurs in Jeremiah 14:3 and Jeremiah 30:21. In 2 Chronicles 23:20 'addı̂yr is paralleled to “captains and governors.” The word is applied to the Messiah; the Messiah is none other than God Himself: “But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers …” (Isaiah 33:21).VED-OT Noble.3

    Two less frequently occurring nouns are ’adderet and ’eder’Adderet may mean “luxurious outer garment, mantle, cloak.” This word appears in Genesis 25:25 to mean “mantle.” ‘Eder may refer to a “luxurious outer garment” (Micah 2:8).VED-OT Noble.4

    B. Adjectives.VED-OT Noble.5

    Addı̂yr (אַדִּיר, Strong's #117), “mighty; majestic.” The word ‘addı̂yr (adjective or noun) occurs about 26 times in biblical Hebrew and mostly in poetical passages (of all periods). Ugaritic and Phoenician attest cognates of the word.VED-OT Noble.6

    In its first appearance the adjective 'addı̂yr describes God’s superior (majestic) holiness which was demonstrated by His delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage: “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11). The idea of superior power is also suggested here (cf. Exodus 15:6; 1 Samuel 4:8). It is God’s eternal and sovereign might which overcame His enemies: “and [he] slew famous kings” (Psalms 136:18)—He was/is mightier than mighty kings. Hence, His name (His person) is lauded as sovereign in power and majesty: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth” (Psalms 8:1 NASB). The word, therefore, has two implications: might and splendor. Only God is Lord (exercises 'addı̂yr) over the oceans (Psalms 93:4) and the mountains (Psalms 76:4).VED-OT Noble.7

    God also exalts other things; He makes them majestic. Israel’s exaltation is described in the figure of a cedar (Ezekiel 17:23).VED-OT Noble.8

    Two other adjectives are related to this word. ‘Adderet used as an adjective and a noun appears 12 times. In Ezekiel 17:8 the word implies “noble or majestic”: “It was planted in a good soil by great waters … that it might be a goodly [‘adderet] vine.” ‘Eder occurs once as an adjective (Zechariah 11:13); there it modifies the value of an amount of money.VED-OT Noble.9

    C. Verb. VED-OT Noble.10

    'âdar (אָדַר, Strong's #142), “to be majestic.” This verb occurs only twice and in a poetical usage. The word appears in Isaiah 42:21: “The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable ['âdar].” The word also appears in Exodus 15:11.VED-OT Noble.11


    A. Noun. VED-OT Nose.2

    'Aph (אַף, Strong's #639), “nose; nostrils; face; wrath; anger.” This general Semitic word has cognates in Akkadian, Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, and Arabic. This word appears in every period of biblical Hebrew and about 277 times.VED-OT Nose.3

    The fundamental meaning of the word is “nose,” as a literal part of the body. 'Aph bears this meaning in the singular, while the dual refers to the “nostrils” through which air passes in and out: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7—the first biblical occurrence).VED-OT Nose.4

    In other contexts 'aph in the dual represents the “entire face.” God cursed Adam saying: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground …” (Genesis 3:19). This emphasis appears often with the phrase “to bow one’s face to the ground”: “… And Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth” (Genesis 42:6).VED-OT Nose.5

    The words “length of face or nostrils” constitute an idiom meaning “longsuffering” or “slow to anger.” It is used both of God and of man: “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6). The contrasting idiom, meaning “quick to anger,” might literally mean “short of face/nostrils.” It implies a changeable countenance, a capricious disposition. Proverbs 14:17 uses this idiom with a little stronger emphasis: “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.” The accuracy of this translation is supported by the parallelism of the phrase and “a man of evil devices.” Clearly 'aph must mean something evil in God’s sight.VED-OT Nose.6

    Finally, the dual form can mean “wrath” (only in 4 passages): “Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife” (Proverbs 30:33; cf. Exodus 15:8).VED-OT Nose.7

    The singular form means “nose” about 25 times. In Numbers 11:19-20 the word represents a human nose: “You [Israel] shall … eat [the meat God will supply] … a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you” (NASB). Isaiah 2:22 makes it clear that the word represents the place where the breath is: “Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils (NASB). Perhaps the NASB translation in such passages is acceptable. The first passage, however, refers to the two holes or nostrils, while the second passage appears to refer to the entire frontal part of the nasal passages (where one is aware of breath being present). This word may be used of the structure protruding from one’s face: “… They shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword …” (Ezekiel 23:25; cf. Song of Song of Solomon 7:4). 'Aph is applied also to the “nose” of animals. In Job 40:24, God speaks of a large water animal: “He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.”VED-OT Nose.8

    The word can be used anthropomorphically of God. Certainly passages such as Deuteronomy 4:15-19 make it clear that God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and has not a body like men. Yet, speaking figuratively, it may be said: “They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee [literally, “in thy nostrils”], and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar” (Deuteronomy 33:10; cf. Psalms 18:8, 15). The idiom “high of nose” means “haughty” (cf. the English idiom “to have one’s nose in the air”): “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God …” (Psalms 10:4).VED-OT Nose.9

    The singular form often means “anger” or “wrath.” This meaning first appears in Genesis 30:2: “And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel.…” This meaning is applied to God as a figure of speech (anthropopathism) whereby He is attributed human emotions. Since God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable and since anger is an emotion representing a change in one’s reaction (cf. Numbers 25:4), God does not really become angry, He only appears to do so in the eyes of men (cf. Proverbs 29:8). The Spirit of God can seize a man and move him to a holy “anger”(Judges 14:19; 1 Samuel 11:6).VED-OT Nose.10

    B. Verb. VED-OT Nose.11

    'Ânaph (אָנַף, Strong's #599), “to be angry.” This verb, which has cognates in most of the Semitic languages, occurs 39 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods. The verb appears in Isaiah 12:1: “O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me.…”VED-OT Nose.12

    Nothing, for

    Chinnâm (חִנָּם, Strong's #2600), “for nothing; for no purpose; useless; without a cause; for no reason.” The 32 appearances of this word are scattered throughout every period of biblical Hebrew.VED-OT Nothing, for.2

    This substantive is used chiefly as an adverb. Chinnâm means “for nought”: “And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?” (Genesis 29:15—the first occurrence). The word means “in vain,” or “for no purpose”: “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird” (Proverbs 1:17). Finally, chinnâm means “for no cause”: “… Wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?” (1 Samuel 19:5).VED-OT Nothing, for.3

    The verb chanan and the noun chen are related to this word.VED-OT Nothing, for.4

    Number, Count

    A. Verb. VED-OT Number, Count.2

    Sâphar (סָפַר, Strong's #5608), “to number, count, proclaim, declare.” The relationship of this verb to similar verbs in other languages is greatly debated, but it does occur in Ugaritic, Ethiopic, and Old South Arabic. Attested in all periods of biblical Hebrew, it appears about 110 times.VED-OT Number, Count.3

    In the basic verbal form this verb signifies “to number or count.” This meaning is in its first biblical appearance, Genesis 15:5: “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them.…” Here the counting is a process which has no completion in view. In Leviticus 15:13 the emphasis is on a completed task: “And when [the man with the discharge becomes cleansed]; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh.…” Another nuance of this usage is “to count up” or “to take a census”: “And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people” (2 Samuel 24:10). The verb is also used of assigning persons to particular jobs: “And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens …” (2 Chronicles 2:2). Another special use appears in Ezra 1:8, where sâphar means “to count out according to a list” as the recipient listens: “Even those [the temple furnishings] did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.” In Psalms 56:8 the word signifies “taking account of,” or being aware and concerned about each detail of: “Thou tellest my wanderings.…” This verb can also mean “to measure,” in the sense of what one does with grain: “And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number” (Genesis 41:49). Finally, the verb sâphar can represent recording something in writing, or enumerating. So, “the Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there” (Psalms 87:6).VED-OT Number, Count.4

    In about 90 instances this verb appears in an intensive form. For the most part the verb in this form means “to recount,” to orally list in detail. The one exception to this significance is Job 38:37: “Who can number the clouds in wisdom? Or who can stay the bottles of heaven …?” In every other instance the verb signifies a vocal statement (listing or enumeration) of a series of given facts. In Genesis 24:66 Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, “told Isaac all things that he had done”; he gave him a summarized but complete account of his activities. Thus Isaac knew who Rebekah was, and why she was there, so he took her to be his wife. In a similar but somewhat different sense Jacob “told Laban” who he was, that he was from the same family (Genesis 29:13). In this case the word represents something other than a report; it represents an account of Jacob’s genealogy and perhaps of the events of his parents’ lives. This emphasis on accurate recounting is especially prominent in Numbers 13:27, where the spies report back to Moses concerning what they saw in Palestine. Even more emphatic is Exodus 24:3, where one word represents a detailed repetition of what Moses heard from God: “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments.…” Again, in Isaiah 43:26 a detailed and accurate recounting is clearly in view. In this case the prophet has in mind the presentation of a law case: “Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” Because of the predominant meaning presented above, Psalms 40:5 could be translated: “If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to recount” (instead of “to count”).VED-OT Number, Count.5

    In at least one case the verb in the intensive stem means “to exhibit,” “to recount or list in detail by being a living example.” This meaning first appears in Exodus 9:16, where God tells Moses to say to Pharaoh: “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.”VED-OT Number, Count.6

    B. Nouns. VED-OT Number, Count.7

    Mispâr (מִסְפָּר, Strong's #4557), “measure; (a certain) number; account.” This noun occurs about 132 times. Mispâr can mean “measure” (quantity) as in Genesis 41:49. In Genesis 34:30, the first biblical occurrence, the word refers to “a certain number” in the sense of the sum total of individuals that are counted: “… and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me.…” The word means “account” (what is set forth in a detailed report) in Judges 7:15.VED-OT Number, Count.8

    Sêpher (סִפְרָה, Strong's #5612), “book; tablet.” This noun occurs in Akkadian, Phoenician, and Aramaic (including biblical Aramaic), and in all periods of biblical Hebrew. It occurs 187 times in the Old Testament. Basically this word represents something one writes upon. So in Exodus 17:14 “the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book.” In Isaiah 30:8 sêpher represents a tablet. In Genesis 5:1 (the first biblical occurrence of this word) it signifies something that has been written upon, or a written record: “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” Such a written document may be a summary of God’s law (Exodus 24:7). During the monarchy sêpher came to represent a letter (2 Samuel 11:14). Even later it means a king’s written decree sent throughout his empire (Esther 1:22). Usually the word means “book” (Exodus 32:32)—a complete record of whatever one wants to preserve accurately. Often this word can signify the way a people writes, the written language or script (Isaiah 29:11).VED-OT Number, Count.9

    Sâphar (סָפַר, Strong's #5608), “scribe.” Sâphar, which occurs about 50 times in biblical Hebrew, appears also in Akkadian, Ugaritic, and Aramaic. In the early monarchy the chief “scribe” was the highest court official next to the king (2 Samuel 8:17). His job was to receive and evaluate all royal correspondence—to answer the unimportant and give the rest to the proper officer or to the king himself. He also wrote and/or composed royal communications to those within the kingdom. There was probably an entire corps of lesser scribes under his direction. As a highly trusted official he was sometimes involved in counting and managing great influxes of royal revenue (2 Kings 12:10) and in certain diplomatic jobs (2 Kings 19:2). Later sâphar represented the Jewish official in the Persian court who was responsible for Jewish belongings (Ezra 7:11). In the post-exilic community this word came to mean someone who was learned in the Old Testament Scripture and especially the Mosaic Law (the Pentateuch; Ezra 7:6). The word first occurs in Judges 5:14, where its meaning is debated. The NASB translates it “office”; some scholars translate it “scribe” (KJV, “they that handle the pen of the writer”).VED-OT Number, Count.10

    Some other nouns are related to the verb capar. Three of them occur only once: cepar, “numbering or census” (2 Chronicles 2:17); ciprah, “book” (Psalms 56:8); ceperah, “number or sum” (Psalms 71:15).VED-OT Number, Count.11

    Number, Visit, Punish

    A. Verb. VED-OT Number, Visit, Punish.2

    Pâqad (פָּקַד, Strong's #6485), “to number, visit, be concerned with, look after, make a search for, punish.” This very ancient Semitic word is found in both Akkadian and Ugaritic long before it appears in Hebrew. It is used over 285 times in the Old Testament. The first occurrence is in Genesis 21:1 (“The Lord visited Sarah”) in the special sense of “to intervene on behalf of,” so as to demonstrate the divine intervention in the normal course of events to bring about or fulfill a divine intent. Often this intervention is by miraculous means.VED-OT Number, Visit, Punish.3

    The verb is used in an expression which is unique to Hebrew and which shows great intensity of meaning. Such an occurrence appears in Exodus 33:16ff., in which it is used twice in two different grammatical forms to portray the intensity of the action; the text reads (literally): “Looking after, I have looked after” (KJV, “I have surely visited”). The usage refers to God’s intervention in His saving the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. The same verb in a similar expression can also be used for divine intervention for punishment: “Shall I not visit them for these things?” (Jeremiah 9:9), which means literally: “Shall I not punish them for these things?”VED-OT Number, Visit, Punish.4

    Hebrew usage also allows a use which applies to the speaker in a nearly passive sense. This is termed the reflexive, since it turns back upon the speaker. Pâqad is used in such a sense meaning “be missed, be lacking,” as in 1 Samuel 25:7: “… Neither was there aught missing.…”VED-OT Number, Visit, Punish.5

    However, the most common usage of the verb in the whole of the Old Testament is in the sense of “drawing up, mustering, or numbering,” as of troops for marching or battle (Exodus 30:12 and very frequently in Numbers; less so in 1 and 2 Samuel). Recent English versions have tended to use the meaning “take a census,” but this equivalent seems to encompass only part of the actual meaning. The verb is used in this sense fully 100 times in the historical books.VED-OT Number, Visit, Punish.6

    The term has such a wide application of meanings on the whole that the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate versions use a number of terms to translate the single Hebrew word. The usage in the English versions also varies: “number, visit, punish” (KJV, RSV); “take a census, take note of, visit, punish” (NASB); “did as promised, to see, visit, punish,” and other variations (LB); “blessed, seen, to take a census” (TEV); “take note of, to witness, visit, punish” (NAB); “take a census, be gracious, punish,” and other variations (NIV).VED-OT Number, Visit, Punish.7

    B. Noun. VED-OT Number, Visit, Punish.8

    Pâqı̂yd (פָּקִיד, Strong's #6496), “one who looks after.” This noun, derived from pâqad in the sense “to number, muster, draw up (troops),” possibly means “one who draws up troops,” hence “officer” (2 Chronicles 24:11). Another example of this meaning occurs in Jeremiah 20:1: “Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord.…”VED-OT Number, Visit, Punish.9

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