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    Garment — Guiltless, to Be


    Beged (בֶּגֶד, Strong's #899), “garment; covering; cloth; blanket; saddlecloth.” This word appears in biblical Hebrew about 200 times and in all periods.VED-OT Garment.2

    The word signifies any kind of “garment” or “covering,” usually for human wear. Beged first appears in Genesis 24:53: “And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and garments [KJV, “raiment”], and gave them to Rebekah.…” Here the word represents “garments made of precious materials.” The “garments” of widows, on the other hand, must have been quite common and valueless (Genesis 38:14). Certainly mourners’ “garments” must have been very plain, if not torn (2 Samuel 14:2).VED-OT Garment.3

    Beged sometimes refers to “outer garments.” Thus in 2 Kings 7:15, the Syrian soldiers who fled from Jerusalem left behind their “clothes” and equipment; they left behind everything that would hinder their escape. Surely this did not include their essential “clothing.” In Judges 14:12, however, the word is distinguished from linen wrappings (“outer garments”)—Samson promised the Philistines that if they would solve his riddle, he would give them “thirty linen wraps [KJV, “sheets”] and thirty change of garments” (cf. Judges 17:10). The “holy garments” Moses was commanded to make for Aaron included everything he was to wear while officiating before the Lord: “… A breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and an embroidered coat, a mitre, and a [sash]; and they shall make holy garments for Aaron …” (Exodus 28:4).VED-OT Garment.4

    In passages such as Numbers 4:6, beged means “covering,” in the sense of a large flat piece of cloth material to be laid over something: “And [they] shall put thereon the covering of badgers’ skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue.…” When put over people, such clothes were probably “blankets”: “Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with blankets [KJV and NASB, “clothes”], but he gat no heat” (1 Kings 1:1). When put over beasts, such coverings were “saddlecloths” (Ezekiel 27:20).VED-OT Garment.5


    Sha‛ar (שַׁעַר, Strong's #8179), “gate.” This word has cognates in Ugaritic, Arabic, Moabite, Aramaic, and Phoenician. Biblical Hebrew attests it about 370 times and in all periods.VED-OT Gate.2

    Basically, this word represents a structure closing and enclosing a large opening through a wall, or a barrier through which people and things pass to an enclosed area. The “gate” of a city often was a fortified structure deeper than the wall. This is especially true of strong, wellfortified cities, as in the case of the first biblical appearance of the word: “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom …” (Genesis 19:1). Within major cities there were usually strongly fortified citadels with “gates” (Nehemiah 2:8). Certain “gates” were only the thickness of a curtain: “And for the gate of the court [of the tabernacle] shall be a hanging of twenty cubits …” (Exodus 27:16). Later, the temple had large openings between its various courts: “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord” (Jeremiah 7:2).VED-OT Gate.3

    Exodus 32:26 speaks of an opening (“gate”) in the barrier surrounding Israel’s temporary camp at the foot of Sinai. Such camps often were enclosed with barriers of earth and/or rock. Ancient fortified cities had to find a source of water for periods of siege, and sometimes dams were built. Nahum 2:6 apparently refers to such a dam when it says: “The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved” (i.e., swept away). Both the underworld (Job 38:17) and heaven, the domain of God (Genesis 28:17), are pictured as cities with “gates.”VED-OT Gate.4

    The “gates” of ancient cities sometimes enclosed city squares or were immediately in front of squares (2 Chronicles 32:6). The entry way (2 Chronicles 23:15) could be secured with heavy doors that were attached to firmly embedded pillars and reinforced by bars (Judges 16:3; cf. Psalms 147:13; Nehemiah 3:3). Palaces could be citadels with strongly fortified “gates” large enough to have rooms over them. During siege, such rooms housed warriors. It was such a room into which David climbed and wept over the death of his son Absalom (2 Samuel 18:33). “Gates” had rooms to house guards (Ezekiel 40:7). The rooms bordering the “gates” could also be used to store siege supplies (Nehemiah 12:25).VED-OT Gate.5

    The “gates” were the place where local courts convened: “And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth …” (Deuteronomy 25:7). The sentence sometimes was executed at the city “gates”: “And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people …” (Jeremiah 15:7). In this passage, all of the land of Israel is envisioned as a city at whose “gates” God gathers the offenders for trial, judgment, sentence, and punishment.VED-OT Gate.6

    The phrase, “within the gates,” means “within the area enclosed.” Thus the sojourner who is “in your gates” is the foreigner who permanently lives in one of Israel’s towns (Exodus 20:10). In passages such as Deuteronomy 12:15, this phrase means “wherever you live”: “Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates.…”VED-OT Gate.7


    Qâbats (קָבַץ, Strong's #6908), “to collect, gather, assemble.” This verb also appears in Ugaritic, Arabic, Aramaic, and post-biblical Hebrew; a similar word (having the same radicals but a different meaning) occurs in Ethiopic. Qâbats appears in all periods of Hebrew and about 130 times in the Bible. The verb ‘acaph is a near synonym to qâbats, differing from it only by having a more extensive range of meanings. ‘Acap duplicates, however, all the meanings of qâbats.VED-OT Gather.2

    First, qâbats means “to gather” things together into a single location. The word may focus on the process of “gathering,” as in Genesis 41:35 (the first occurrence): Joseph advised Pharaoh to appoint overseers to “gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh.…”  The verb may also focus on the result of the process, as in Genesis 41:48: “And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt.…” Only in one passage does qâbats mean “to harvest” (Isaiah 62:9): “But they that have gathered [harvested] it [grain] shall eat it and praise the Lord; and they that have brought it [wine] together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.”VED-OT Gather.3

    This verb is used metaphorically of things that can be “gathered” only in a figurative sense. So in Psalms 41:6, the enemy’s “heart gathereth iniquity to itself” while visiting—i.e., the enemy considers how he can use everything he hears and sees against his host.VED-OT Gather.4

    Qâbats is often used of “gathering” people or “assembling” them. This “gathering” is usually a response to a summons, but not always. In 1 Kings 11:24, David “gathered men unto him, and became captain over a [marauding] band.” This action was not the result of a summons David issued, but resulted from reports that circulated about him. The entire story makes it quite clear that David was not seeking to set up a force rivaling Saul’s. But when men came to him, he marshalled them.VED-OT Gather.5

    Quite often this verb is used of “summoning” people to a central location. When Jacob blessed his sons, for example, he “summoned” them to him and then told them to gather around closer (Genesis 49:2). This same word is used of “summoning” the militia. All able-bodied men in Israel between the ages of 20 and 40 were members of the militia. In times of peace they were farmers and tradesmen; but when danger threatened, a leader would “assemble” them or “summon” them to a common location and organize them into an army (cf. Judges 12:4). All Israel could be “summoned” or “gathered” for battle (as a militia); thus “… Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa” (1 Samuel 28:4). This military use may also signify “marshalling” a standing army in the sense of “setting them up” for battle. The men of Gibeon said: “All the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us” (Joshua 10:6). In 1 Kings 20:1, qâbats carries this sense in addition to overtones of “concentrating” an entire army against a particular point: “And Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.”VED-OT Gather.6

    Ordered assemblies may include assemblies for covenant-making: “And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee …” (2 Samuel 3:21). In several instances, assemblies are “convened” for public worship activities: “Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh.… And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day …” (1 Samuel 7:5-6; cf. Joel 2:16).VED-OT Gather.7

    When qâbats appears in the intensive stem, God is often the subject. This usage connotes that something will result that would not result if things were left to themselves. The verb is used in this sense to refer to “divine judgment”: “As they gathered silver, and brass … into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury (Ezekiel 22:20). Qâbats is also applied to “divine deliverance”: “… The Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee” (Deuteronomy 30:3).VED-OT Gather.8

    A special use of the verb qâbats appears in Joel 2:6, namely “to glow” or “glow with excitement” or “become pale [white]”: “Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.”VED-OT Gather.9

    'Âsaph (אָסַף, Strong's #622), “to gather, gather in, take away.” This verb also occurs in Akkadian, Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Aramaic. It is attested at all periods of biblical literature, and it appears about 200 times.VED-OT Gather.10

    Basically, 'âsaph refers to “bringing objects to a common point.” This may mean to “gather” or “collect” something such as food. The first occurrence is when God told Noah to “gather” food to himself (Genesis 6:21). Eventually, the food was to go into the ark. This verb can also refer to “gathering” food at harvest time, or “harvesting”: “And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof” (Exodus 23:10). 2 Kings 22:4 refers not to a process of going out and getting something together, but to standing still as someone brings money to one. Also notice Genesis 29:22: “And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast”; this verse similarly focuses on the end product of gathering. But here the “gatherer” does not physically handle what is “gathered.” He is simply the impetus or active cause for a congregating of all those men. God may “gather” a man to his fathers—i.e., cause him to die (2 Kings 22:20). Here the emphasis is on the end product, and God as the agent who “gathers.”VED-OT Gather.11

    'Âsaph may represent not only the process of bringing things to a common location; the word may also represent “bringing” things to oneself. After the harvest is brought (“gathered”) in from the threshing floor and wine vat, the Feast of Booths is to be celebrated (Deuteronomy 16:13). In Deuteronomy 22:2, a man is to “gather” into his home (bring home and care for) a lost animal whose owner cannot be found. In this manner, God “gathers” to Himself those abandoned by their family (Psalms 27:10). A special application of this nuance is to “receive hospitality”: “… When he went in he sat him down in a street of the city: for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging” (Judges 19:15). “To gather in” also may mean “to be consumed by”—God promises that His people “shall be no more consumed with hunger” (Ezekiel 34:29). Finally, used in this way the verb can mean “to bring into,” as when Jacob “gathered up his feet into the bed” (Genesis 49:33).VED-OT Gather.12

    The third emphasis is the “withdrawal” or “removal” of something; the action is viewed from the perspective of one who loses something because someone has taken it (“gathered it in”). In Psalms 85:3, the “gathering” represents this sort of “withdrawal away from” the speaker. Thus, anger “disappears”: “Thou hast taken away all thy wrath.” Compare also Rachel’s statement at the birth of Joseph: “God hath taken away my reproach” (Genesis 30:23). In this case, Sarah speaks of the “destruction” of her reproach. “To gather one’s soul” is “to lose” one’s life (Judges 18:25). God can also be the agent who “gathers” or “takes away” a soul: “Gather not my soul with sinners …” (Psalms 26:9). In this sense, 'âsaph can mean “being cured” of a disease; “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:3).VED-OT Gather.13


    Dôr (דֹּר, Strong's #1755), “generation.” This noun belongs to a common Semitic root, which signifies “duration” in East Semitic and “generation” in West Semitic. The Akkadian words daru (“long duration”) and duru (“circle”) seem by form to be related to the root for the Hebrew word dôr.VED-OT Generation.2

    In the Old Testament, the word dôr occurs about 166 times; as many as 74 of these are in the repetition "dôr plus dôr," meaning “always.” The first occurrence of the word is in Genesis 6:9: “These are the generations of Noah [the account of Noah]: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”VED-OT Generation.3

    First the concrete meaning of “generation” is the “period during which people live”: “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation” (Genesis 7:1). A “generation” may be described as “stubborn” (Deuteronomy 32:5—KJV, “perverse”) or “righteous” (Psalms 14:5). Close to this meaning is the temporal element of dôr: A dôr is roughly the period of time from one’s birth to one’s maturity, which in the Old Testament corresponds to a period of about 40 years (Numbers 14:33). Abraham received the promise that four “generations” of his descendants were to be in Egypt before the Promised Land would be inherited. Israel was warned to be faithful to the Lord, as the punishment for disobedience would extend to the fourth “generation” (Exodus 20:5); but the Lord’s love extends to a thousand “generations” of those who love Him (Deuteronomy 7:9).VED-OT Generation.4

    The lasting element of God’s covenantal faithfulness is variously expressed with the word dôr: “Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth” (Psalms 119:90)VED-OT Generation.5

    The use of dôr in Isaiah 51 teaches the twofold perspective of“generation,” with reference to the future as well as to the past. Isaiah spoke about the Lord’s lasting righteousness and said that His deliverance is everlasting (literally, “generation of generations”—v. 8); but in view of Israel’s situation, Isaiah petitioned the Lord to manifest His loving strength on behalf of Israel as in the past (literally, “generations forever”—v. 9). Thus, depending on the context, dôr may refer to the past, the present, or the future. The psalmist recognized the obligation of one “generation” to the “generations” to come: “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts” (Psalms 145:4). Even the grey-haired man has the opportunity to instruct the youth (Psalms 71:17-18). In the Septuagint, dôr is nearly always translated by genea (“generation”). The KJV translates it by “generation; age.”VED-OT Generation.6

    Give Drink

    Shâqâh (שָׁקָה, Strong's #8248), “to give drink, irrigate, water.” This verb is found in ancient Akkadian and Ugaritic, as well as in biblical and modern Hebrew. The word usually occurs in the causative sense, while its much more common counterpart, shâtâh, is used primarily in the simple active form, “to drink.” In its first occurrence in the biblical text, shâqâh expresses the idea of “to irrigate,” or “to water”: “But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:6). In view of the Mesopotamian background of this passage, both linguistic and agricultural, the Hebrew word for “mist” probably is to be connected with the idea of an irrigation canal or system.VED-OT Give Drink.2

    The dry climate of the Middle East makes shâqâh a most important word, since it expresses the act of “irrigating” or “watering” crops (Deuteronomy 11:10). God “waters” the earth and causes plants to grow (Psalms 104:13-14). Figuratively, He “irrigates” His vineyard, Israel (Isaiah 27:3).VED-OT Give Drink.3

    A frequent use of shâqâh is to express the “giving of water to drink” to animals (Genesis 24:14, 46; Genesis 29:2-3, 7-8, 10). Men are given a variety of things to drink, such as water (Genesis 24:43), wine (Genesis 19:32; Amos 2:12), milk (Judges 4:19), and vinegar (Psalms 69:21). In a symbol of divine judgment, God is said to give “poisoned water [KJV, “water of gall”] to drink” to Israel (Jeremiah 8:14; 9:15; 23:15). In this time of judgment and mourning, Israel was not to be given “the cup of consolation to drink” (Jeremiah 16:7).VED-OT Give Drink.4

    A healthy person is one whose bones “are moistened” with marrow (Job 21:24; literally, whose bones “are watered” or “irrigated” with marrow).VED-OT Give Drink.5


    A. Noun.VED-OT Glory.2

    Tiph'ârâh (תִּפְאֶרֶת, Strong's #8597), “glory; beauty; ornament; distinction; pride.” This word appears about 51 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew. The word represents “beauty,” in the sense of the characteristic enhancing one’s appearance: “And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:2—the first occurrence). In Isaiah 4:2, the word identifies the fruit of the earth as the “beauty” or “adornment” of the survivors of Israel.VED-OT Glory.3

    Tiph'ârâh (or tiph'ereth) means “glory” in several instances. The word is used of one’s rank. A crown of “glory” is a crown which, by its richness, indicates high rank—Wisdom will "[present you with] a crown of glory (NASB, “beauty”)” (Proverbs 4:9). “The hoary head is a crown of glory” (Proverbs 16:31), a reward for righteous living. In Isaiah 62:3, the phrase “crown of glory (NASB, “beauty”)” is paralleled by “royal diadem.” This word also modifies the greatness of a king (Esther 1:4) and the greatness of the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:7). In each of these instances, this word emphasizes the rank of the persons or things so modified. The word is used of one’s renown: “… And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor [distinction]” (Deuteronomy 26:19).VED-OT Glory.4

    In another related nuance, tiph'ârâh (or tiph'ereth) is used of God, to emphasize His rank, renown, and inherent “beauty”: “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty …” (1 Chronicles 29:11).VED-OT Glory.5

    This word represents the “honor” of a nation, in the sense of its position before God: "[He has] cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty [honor or pride] of Israel …” (Lamentations 2:1). This nuance is especially clear in passages such as Judges 4:9: “I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor [i.e., distinction]; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.”VED-OT Glory.6

    In Isaiah 10:12, tiph'ârâh (or tiph'ereth) represents a raising of oneself to a high rank in one’s own eyes: “… I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.”VED-OT Glory.7

    B. Verb.VED-OT Glory.8

    Pâ'ar (פָּאַר, Strong's #6286), “to glorify.” This verb occurs 13 times in biblical Hebrew. One appearance of this verb is in Isaiah 60:9: “… And to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath gloried thee.”VED-OT Glory.9

    Go Away, Leave

    A. Verb. Gâlâh (גָּלָה, Strong's #1540), “to leave, depart, uncover, reveal.” This verb occurs in Ugaritic, Phoenician, Arabic, imperial Aramaic, biblical Aramaic, and Ethiopic. Biblical Hebrew attests it in all periods and about 190 times. Some scholars divide this verb into two homonyms (two separate words spelled the same). If this division is accepted, gâlâh (1) appears about 112 times and gâlâh (2) about 75 times. Other scholars consider this one verb with an intransitive emphasis and a transitive emphasis. This seems more likely.VED-OT Go Away, Leave.2

    Intransitively, gâlâh signifies “depart” or “leave.” This meaning is seen clearly in 1 Samuel 4:21: “And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel.…” Thus Isaiah 24:11 could be translated: “The gaiety of the earth departs.” One special use of this sense of the verb is “to go into exile.” The first biblical occurrence of gâlâh carries this nuance: “And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan … and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land” (Judges 18:30), or until they lost control of the land and were forced to serve other gods.VED-OT Go Away, Leave.3

    The best-known Old Testament captivity was the one brought by God through the kings of Assyria and Babylon (1 Chronicles 5:26; cf. Jeremiah 29:1).VED-OT Go Away, Leave.4

    Although gâlâh is not used in this sense in the law of Moses, the idea is clearly present. If Israel does not “observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, The Lord Thy God; … ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people …” (Deuteronomy 28:58, 63-64; cf. Leviticus 26:27, 33). This verb can also be used of the “exile of individuals,” such as David (2 Samuel 15:19).VED-OT Go Away, Leave.5

    This word may signify “making oneself naked.” Noah “drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent” (Genesis 9:21).VED-OT Go Away, Leave.6

    The transitive form occurs less frequently, but has a greater variety of meanings. “To uncover” another person may mean “to have sexual relations with” him or her: “None of you shall approach to any [blood relative of his] to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18:6). Uncovering one’s nakedness does not always, however, refer to sexual relations (cf. Exodus 20:26). Another phrase, “to uncover someone’s skirts,” means to have sexual relations with a person (Deuteronomy 22:30).VED-OT Go Away, Leave.7

    In Isaiah 16:3, gâlâh (2) (in the intensive stem) signifies “betray”: “… Hide the outcasts [do not betray the fugitive].…” This verb may also be used of “uncovering” (KJV, “discovering”) things, of “laying them bare” so that they become visible: “… The foundations of the world were discovered at the rebuking of the Lord …” (2 Samuel 22:16). In a related sense Ezekiel 23:18 speaks of “uncovering” harlotries, of “exposing” them constantly or leading a life of harlotry.VED-OT Go Away, Leave.8

    God’s “uncovering” of Himself means that He “revealed” Himself (Genesis 35:7). “To uncover someone’s ears” is to tell him something: “Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed [literally, “had uncovered the ear”] to Samuel …” (1 Samuel 9:15, RSV). In this case, the verb means not simply “to tell,” but “to tell someone something that was not known.” Used in this sense, gâlâh is applied to the “revealing” of secrets (Proverbs 11:13) and of one’s innermost feelings. Hence, Jeremiah 11:20 should be translated: “For unto thee have I revealed my case.”VED-OT Go Away, Leave.9

    Thus gâlâh can be used of “making something” openly known, or of “publicizing” it: “The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day” (Esther 3:14). Another nuance appears in Jeremiah 32:11, where gâlâh, in connection with a deed of purchase, means “not sealed or closed up.”VED-OT Go Away, Leave.10

    B. Noun.VED-OT Go Away, Leave.11

    Gôlâh (גֹּלָה, Strong's #1473), “exile; people exiled.” This word makes 42 Old Testament appearances. Ezra 2:1 uses the word of “people returning from the exile.” In other references, the word means “people in exile” (2 Kings 24:15). In 1 Chronicles 5:22, gôlâh refers to the era of the “exile.”VED-OT Go Away, Leave.12

    Go Down

    Yârad (יָרַד, Strong's #3381), “to descend, go down, come down.” This verb occurs in most Semitic languages (including post-biblical Hebrew) and in all periods. In biblical Hebrew, the word appears about 380 times and in all periods.VED-OT Go Down.2

    Basically, this verb connotes “movement” from a higher to a lower location. In Genesis 28:12, Jacob saw a “ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” In such a use, the speaker or observer speaks from the point of destination, and the movement is “downward” toward him. Thus one may “go down” below or under the ground’s surface (Genesis 24:16). The speaker may also speak as though he stands at the point of departure and the movement is away from him and “downward.”VED-OT Go Down.3

    Interestingly, one may “go down” to a lower spot in order to reach a city’s gates (Judges 5:11) or to get to a city located on a lower level than the access road (1 Samuel 10:8)—usually one goes up to a city and “goes down” to leave a city (1 Samuel 9:27). The journey from Palestine to Egypt is referred to as “going down” (Genesis 12:10). This reference is not to a movement in space from a higher to a lower spot; it is a more technical use of the verb.VED-OT Go Down.4

    Yârad is used frequently of “dying.” One “goes down” to his grave. Here the idea of spatial movement is present, but in the background. This “going down” is much more of a removal from the world of conscious existence: For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee …” (Isaiah 38:18-19). On the other hand, “going down to the dust” implies a return to the soil—i.e., a return of the body to the soil from which it came (Genesis 3:19). “All they that go down to the dust shall bow before him …” (Psalms 22:29). There is also the idea of the “descent” of the human soul into the realm of the dead. When Jacob mourned over Joseph whom he thought to be dead, he said: “For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning” (Genesis 37:35). Since one can “descend” into Sheol alive as a form of punishment (Numbers 16:30), this phrase means more than the end of human life. This meaning is further established because Enoch was rewarded by being taken off the earth: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24); he was rewarded by not having “to descend” into SheolVED-OT Go Down.5

    . Yârad may also be used of “coming down,” when the emphasis is on “moving downward” toward the speaker: “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower” of Babel (Genesis 11:5—the first biblical occurrence). This verb may also be used to express coming down from the top of a mountain, as Moses did when he “descended” from Sinai (Exodus 19:14). The word may be used of “dismounting” from a donkey: “And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass …” (1 Samuel 25:23). Abigail’s entire body was not necessarily lower than before, so movement from a higher to a lower location is not indicated. However, she was no longer on the animal’s back. So the verb here indicates “getting off” rather than getting down or descending. In a somewhat related nuance, one may “get out” of bed. Elijah told Ahaziah: “Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up …” (2 Kings 1:4). Again, the idea is not of descending from something. When one comes down from a bed, he stands up; he is higher than he was while yet in the bed. Therefore, the meaning here is “get out of” rather than “descend.” This verb is used also to describe what a beard does—it “hangs down” (Psalms 133:2). Yârad is used to indicate “coming away from” the altar: “And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering …” (Leviticus 9:22). This special use is best seen as the opposite of “ascending to” the altar, which is not just a physical movement from a lower to a higher plane but a spiritual ascent to a higher realm of reality. For example, to “ascend” before a king is to go into the presence of someone who is on a higher social level. “To ascend” before God (represented by the altar) is to go before Someone on a higher spiritual plane. To stand before God is to stand in His presencebefore His throne, on a higher spiritual plane. Yârad may thus be used of the humbled approach before God. God tells Moses that all the Egyptians shall “come down” to Him and bow themselves before Him (Exodus 11:8). Equally interesting is the occasional use of the verb to represent “descending” to a known sanctuary (cf. 2 Kings 2:2).VED-OT Go Down.6

    Figuratively, the verb has many uses. The “going down” of a city is its destruction (Deuteronomy 20:20). When a day “descends,” it comes to an end (Judges 19:11). The “descent” of a shadow is its lengthening (2 Kings 20:11). Tears “flow down” the cheeks when one weeps bitterly (Jeremiah 13:17). Yârad is also used figuratively of a “descent in social position”: “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low” (Deuteronomy 28:43).VED-OT Go Down.7

    At least once the word means “to go up.” Jephthah’s daughter said: “Let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity …” (Judges 11:37).VED-OT Go Down.8

    Go Out, Go Forth

    A. Verb.VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.2

    Yâtsâ' (יָצָא, Strong's #3318), “to come forth, go out, proceed, go forth, bring out, come out.” This verb occurs in all Semitic languages, including biblical Aramaic and Hebrew. It occurs in every period of Hebrew; the Old Testament attests the word about 1,070 times.VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.3

    Basically, this word means “movement away” from some point, even as bo’ (“come”) means movement toward some point. Yâtsâ' is the word used of “coming forth”—the observer is outside the point of departure but also speaks from the perspective of that departing point. For example, Genesis 2:10 (the first occurrence of the word) reports that a river “came forth” or “flowed out” from the garden of Eden.VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.4

    In comparison to this continuing “going out,” there is the one-time (punctiliar) “coming forth,” as seen when all the animals “came out” of the ark (Genesis 9:10). Thus, Goliath the champion of the Philistines “went forward” from the camp to challenge the Israelites to a duel (1 Samuel 17:4). In the art of ancient warfare, a battle was sometimes decided on the basis of two duelers. This verb may be used with “come” (bo’) as an expression for “constant activity.” The raven Noah sent out “went forth to and fro” (literally, “in and out”) until the water had abated (Genesis 8:7). Various aspects of a man’s personality may “go forth,” indicating that they “leave” him. When one’s soul “departs” the body, the person dies (Genesis 35:18). When one’s heart “departs,” he loses all inner strength and confidence (Genesis 42:28).VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.5

    Yâtsâ' has a number of special uses. It can be used of “giving birth” (Exodus 21:22) or of “begetting” descendants (Genesis 17:6). The “going forth” of a year is its close, as in the harvest season (Exodus 23:16). Another special use of this verb has to do with “moving out” a camp for either a military campaign (1 Samuel 8:20) or some other purpose (Deuteronomy 23:10). “Going and coming” may also be used of “fighting” in wars. Toward the end of his life Moses said he was unable to “come and go” (Deuteronomy 31:2; cf. Joshua 14:11). He probably meant that he could not engage in war (Deuteronomy 31:3). On the other hand, this phrase can refer to the normal activities of life (1 Kings 3:7). Yâtsâ' also has a cultic use, describing the “movement” of the priest in the tabernacle; bells were attached to the hem of the priest’s robe so the people could follow his actions (Exodus 28:35).VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.6

    When applied to God, the action of “going out” only infrequently refers to His “abandoning” a certain location. In Ezekiel 10:18, the glory of the Lord “left” the “threshhold of the [temple], and stood over the cherubim,” and eventually departed the temple altogether (Ezekiel 10:19). Often this verb pictures the Lord as “going forth” to aid His people, especially in texts suggesting or depicting His appearances among men (theophanies; cf. Judges 5:4). In Egypt, the Lord “went out” into the midst of the Egyptians to smite their first born (Exodus 11:4). The Lord’s departure-point in such cases is variously represented as Seir (Judges 5:4) and His heavenly dwelling place (Micah 1:3), although it is often unexpressed.VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.7

    The messenger of God also “goes forth” to accomplish specific tasks (Numbers 22:32). God’s providential work in history is described by Laban and Bethuel as “the thing proceedeth from the Lord” (Genesis 24:50). Also, “going out” from the Lord are His hand (Ruth 1:13), His Word (Isaiah 55:11), His salvation (Isaiah 51:5), His justice (Isaiah 45:23), and His wisdom (Isaiah 51:4).VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.8

    Yâtsâ' is not used of God’s initial creative act, but only of His using what already exists to accomplish His purposes, such as His causing water to “come out” of the rock (Deuteronomy 8:15). Because yâtsâ' can mean “to bring forth,” it is often used of “divine deliverance,” as the One who “bringeth me forth from mine enemies” (2 Samuel 22:49) “into a large place” (2 Samuel 22:20). One of the most important formulas in the Old Testament uses the verb yâtsâ': “the Lord [who] brought [Israel] out of [Egypt]”; He brought them from slavery into freedom (Exodus 13:3).VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.9

    B. Nouns.VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.10

    Môtsâ' (מֹצָא, Strong's #4161), “place of going forth; that which comes forth; going forth.” The word occurs 23 times. "  is a word for “east” (cf. Psalms 19:6), where the sun rises (“goes forth”). The word also represents the “place of departure” or “exit” from the temple in Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 42:11), and the “starting point” of a journey (Numbers 33:2). Môtsâ' may also refer to that which “comes forth,” for example, an “utterance” (Numbers 30:13), and the “going forth” of the morning and evening, the dawn and dusk (Psalms 65:8). Finally, the word can represent the “actual going forth” itself. So Hosea says that the Lord’s “going forth” to redeem His people is as certain as the sunrise (6:3).VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.11

    Tôtsâ'âh (תֹּצָאָה, Strong's #8444), “departure; place of departure.” The word tôtsâ'âh can connote both the source or place of “departure” (Proverbs 4:23) and the actual “departure” itself (“escape,” Psalms 68:20). However, the word may also represent the extremity of a territory or its “border”—the place where one departs a given territory (Joshua 15:7).VED-OT Go Out, Go Forth.12


    Śâ‛ı̂yr (שָׂעִר, Strong's #8163), “goat-demons; goat-idols.” This word occurs 4 times in biblical Hebrew. In its first biblical appearance, the word represents “goat-demons” (some scholars translate it “goat-idols”): “And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils [NASB, “goat demons”], after whom they have gone a whoring” (Leviticus 17:7). This passage demonstrates that the word represents beings that were objects of pagan worship. Worship of these “demons” persisted long in the history of Israel, appearing under Jeroboam I (929-909 B.C.), who “… ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils [RSV, “satyrs”], and for the calves which he had made” (2 Chronicles 11:15). In this instance, śâ‛ı̂yr represents idols that Jeroboam had manufactured. Josiah’s revival probably involved the breaking down of the high places of the goat-demons (2 Kings 23:8).VED-OT Goat-Demons.2


    'Êl (אֵל, Strong's #410), “god.” This term was the most common general designation of deity in the ancient Near East. While it frequently occurred alone, 'êl was also combined with other words to constitute a compound term for deity, or to identify the nature and functions of the “god” in some manner. Thus the expression “God, the God of Israel” (Genesis 33:20) identified the specific activities of Israel’s God.VED-OT God.2

    In the ancient world, knowledge of a person’s name was believed to give one power over that person. A knowledge of the character and attributes of pagan “gods” was thought to enable the worshipers to manipulate or influence the deities in a more effective way than they could have if the deity’s name remained unknown. To that extent, the vagueness of the term 'êl frustrated persons who hoped to obtain some sort of power over the deity, since the name gave little or no indication of the god’s character. This was particularly true for El, the chief Canaanite god. The ancient Semites stood in mortal dread of the superior powers exercised by the gods and attempted to propitiate them accordingly. They commonly associated deity with the manifestation and use of enormous power. Perhaps this is reflected in the curious Hebrew phrase, “the power ['êl] of my hand” (Genesis 31:29, KJV; RSV, “It is in my power”; cf. Deuteronomy 28:32). Some Hebrew phrases in the Psalms associated 'êl with impressive natural features, such as the cedar trees of Lebanon (Psalms 80:10) or mountains (Psalms 36:6). In these instances, 'êl conveys a clear impression of grandeur or majesty.VED-OT God.3

    Names with 'êl as one of their components were common in the Near East in the second millennium B.C. The names Methusael (Genesis 4:18) and Ishmael (Genesis 16:11) come from a very early period. In the Mosaic period, 'êl was synonymous with the Lord who delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt and made them victorious in battle (Numbers 24:8). This tradition of the Hebrew 'êl as a “God” who revealed Himself in power and entered into a covenant relationship with His people was prominent in both poetry (Psalms 7:11; 85:8) and prophecy (Isaiah 43:12; 46:9). The name of 'êl was commonly used by the Israelites to denote supernatural provision or power. This was both normal and legitimate, since the covenant between “God” and Israel assured an obedient and holy people that the creative forces of the universe would sustain and protect at all times. Equally, if they became disobedient and apostate, these same forces would punish them severely.VED-OT God.4

    ‘Ĕlâhh (אֱלָהּ, Strong's #426), “god.” This Aramaic word is the equivalent of the Hebrew ĕloâh. It is a general term for “God” in the Aramaic passages of the Old Testament, and it is a cognate form of the word ’allah the designation of deity used by the Arabs. The word was used widely in the Book of Ezra, occurring no fewer than 43 times between Ezra 4:24 and 7:26. On each occasion, the reference is to the “God” of the Jewish people, whether the speaker or writer was himself Jewish or not. Thus the governor of the province “Beyond the River” (i.e., west of the river Euphrates) spoke to king Darius of the “house of the great God” (Ezra 5:8). So also Cyrus instructed Sheshbazzar, the governor, that the “house of God be builded” in Jerusalem (Ezra 5:15).VED-OT God.5

    While the Persians were certainly not worshipers of the “God” of Israel, they accorded Him the dignity that befitted a “God of heaven” (Ezra 6:10). This was done partly through superstition; but the pluralistic nature of the newly-won Persian empire also required them to honor the gods of conquered peoples, in the interests of peace and social harmony. When Ezra himself used the word ĕlâhh, he frequently specified the God of the Jews. Thus he spoke of the “God of Israel” (5:1; 6:14), the “God of heaven” (5:12; 6:9) and “God of Jerusalem” (7:19); he also associated “God” with His house in Jerusalem (5:17; 6:3). In the decree of Artaxerxes, Ezra was described as “the priest, the scribe of the God of heaven” (7:12, 21). This designation would have sounded strange coming from a pagan Persian ruler, had it not been for the policy of religious toleration exercised by the Achaemenid regime. Elsewhere in Ezra, ĕlâhh is associated with the temple, both when it was about to be rebuilt (5:2, 13) and as a finished edifice, consecrated for divine worship (6:16).VED-OT God.6

    In the only verse in the Book of Jeremiah that was written in Aramaic (10:11), the word ĕlâhh appears in plural form to describe “gods” that had not participated in the creation of the universe. Although such false “gods” were being worshiped by pagan nations (and perhaps worshiped by some of the Hebrews who were in exile in Babylonia), these deities would ultimately perish because they were not eternal in nature.VED-OT God.7

    In the Book of Daniel, ĕlâhh was used both of heathen “gods” and the one true “God” of heaven. The Chaldean priests told Nebuchadnezzar: “And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh” (Daniel 2:11). The Chaldeans referred to such “gods” when reporting that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego refused to participate in idol worship on the plain of Dura (Daniel 3:12). The “gods” were enumerated by Daniel when he condemned Nebuchadnezzar’s neglect of the worship of Israel’s one true “God” (Daniel 5:23). In Daniel 3:25, the word refers to a divine being or messenger sent to protect the three Hebrews (Daniel 3:28). In Daniel 4:8-9, 18; and 5:11, the phrase “the spirit of the holy gods” appears (KJV, RSV, NEB, NIV). Elsewhere the references to ĕlâhh are to the living “God” whom Daniel worshiped.VED-OT God.8

    ‘Ĕlôahh (אֱלֹהַּ, Strong's #433), “god.” This Hebrew name for “God” corresponds to the Aramaic ĕlâhh and the Ugaritic il (or, if denoting a goddess, ilt). The origin of the term is unknown, and it is used rarely in Scripture as a designation of deity. Indeed, its distribution throughout the various books of the Bible is curiously uneven. Ĕlôahh occurs 40 times in the Book of Job between 3:4 and 40:2, while in the remainder of the Old Testament it is used no more than 15 times.VED-OT God.9

    Certain scholars regard the word as being a singular version of the common plural form 'ĕlôahim, a plural of majesty. Ĕlôahh is commonly thought to be vocative in nature, meaning “O God.” But it is not clear why a special form for the vocative in an address to God should be needed, since the plural 'ĕlôahim is frequently translated as a vocative when the worshiper is speaking directly to God, as in Psalms 79:1. There is an obvious general linguistic relationship between 'ĕlôahh and 'ĕlôahim but determining its precise nature is difficult.VED-OT God.10

    The word 'ĕlôah is predominant in poetry rather than prose literature, and this is especially true of the Book of Job. Some scholars have suggested that the author of Job deliberately chose a description for godhead that avoided the historical associations found in a phrase such as “the God of Bethel” (Genesis 31:13) or “God of Israel” (Exodus 24:10). But even the Book of Job is by no means historically neutral, since places and peoples are mentioned in introducing the narrative (cf. Job 1:1, 15, 17). Perhaps the author considered 'ĕlôahh a suitable term for poetry and used it accordingly with consistency. This is also apparently the case in Psalms 18:31, where 'ĕlôah is found instead of 'êl, as in the parallel passage of 2 Samuel 22:32. Ĕlôahh also appears as a term for God in Psalms 50:22; 139:19; and Proverbs 30:5. Although Ĕlôahh as a divine name is rarely used outside Job, its literary history extends from at least the second millennium B.C. (as in Deuteronomy 32:15) to the fifth century B.C. (as in Nehemiah 9:17).VED-OT God.11

    'Êl  shadday (אֵל, Strong's #410, שַׁדַּי, Strong's #7706), “God Almighty.” This combination of ‘el with a qualifying term represents a religious tradition among the Israelites that was probably in existence by the third millennium B.C. A few centuries later, shadday appeared in Hebrew personal names such as Zurishaddai (Numbers 1:6) and Ammishaddai (Numbers 1:12). The earliest Old Testament appearance of the appellation as a title of deity (“God Almighty”) is in Genesis 17:1, where “God” identifies Himself in this way to Abraham.VED-OT God.12

    Unfortunately, the name is not explained in any manner; and even the directions “walk before me, and be thou perfect” throw no light on the meaning of shadday. Scholars have attempted to understand the word relating it to the Akkadian shadu (“mountain”), as though “God” had either revealed His mighty power in association with mountain phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or that He was regarded strong and immutable, like the “everlasting hills” of the blessing of Jacob (Genesis 49:26). Certainly the associating of deity with mountains was an important part of Mesopotamian religion. The “gods” were believed to favor mountaintop dwellings, and the Sumerians constructed their staged temple-towers or ziggurats as artificial mountains for worship. It was customary to erect a small shrine on the uppermost stage of the ziggurat so that the patron deity could descend from heaven and inhabit the temple. The Hebrews began their own tradition of mountain revelation just after the Exodus, but by this time the name ‘el shadday had been replaced by the tetragrammaton of Yahweh (Exodus 3:15, 6:3).VED-OT God.13

    'Êl shadday served as the patriarchs’ covenant name for “God,” and continued as such until the time of Moses, when a further revelation took place (Exodus 6:3). The Abrahamic covenant was marked by a degree of closeness between “God” and the human participants that was distinctive in Hebrew history. “God Almighty” revealed Himself as a powerful deity who was able to perform whatever He asserted. But the degree of intimacy between 'êl shadday and the patriarchs at various stages shows that the covenant involved God’s care and love for this growing family that He had chosen, protected, and prospered. He led the covenant family from place to place, being obviously present with them at all times. His covenant formulations show that He was not preoccupied with cultic rites or orgiastic celebrations. Instead, He demanded a degree of obedience that would enable Abraham and his descendants to walk in His presence, and live blameless moral and spiritual lives (Genesis 17:1). The true covenantal service of 'êl shadday, therefore, was not cultic or ritualistic, but moral and ethical in character.VED-OT God.14

    In the early Mosaic era, the new redemptive name of “God” and the formulation of the Sinai covenant made 'êl shadday largely obsolete as a designation of deity. Subsequently, the name occurs about 35 times in the Old Testament, most of which are in the Book of Job. Occasionally, the name is used synonymously with the tetragrammaton of Yahweh (Ruth 1:21; Psalms 91:1-2), to emphasize the power and might of “God” in characteristic fashion. ‘El ‛ôlâm (אֵל, Strong's #410, עֹלָם, Strong's #5769), “God of eternity; God the everlasting; God for ever.” The word ‛ôlâm has related forms in various ancient Near Eastern languages, all of which describe lengthy duration or distant time. The idea seems to be quantitative rather than metaphysical. Thus in Ugaritic literature, a person described as ’bd ‘lm was a “permanent slave,” the term |‘lm(the same as the Hebrew ‛ôlâm) expressing a period of time that could not be measured other than as lengthy duration.VED-OT God.15

    Only in rare poetic passages such as Psalms 90:2 are temporal categories regarded inadequate to describe the nature of God’s existence as 'êl ‛ôlâm. In such an instance, the Creator is deemed to have been “from everlasting to everlasting”; but even this use of ôlâm expresses the idea of continued, measurable existence rather than a state of being independent of temporal considerations.VED-OT God.16

    The name 'êl ‛ôlâm was associated predominantly with Beer-sheba (Genesis 21:25-34). The settlement of Beer-sheba was probably founded during the Early Bronze Age, and the Genesis narrative explains that the name means “well of the oath” (Genesis 21:31). But it could also mean “well of the seven”—i.e., the seven lambs that were set apart as witnesses of the oath.VED-OT God.17

    Abraham planted a commemorative tree in Beer-sheba and invoked the name of the Lord as 'êl ‛ôlâm. The fact that Abraham subsequently stayed many days in the land of the Philistines seems to imply that he associated continuity and stability with 'êl ‛ôlâm, who was not touched by the vicissitudes of time. Although Beer-sheba may have been a place where the Canaanites worshiped originally, the area later became associated with the veneration of the God of Abraham.VED-OT God.18

    At a subsequent period, Jacob journeyed to Beer-sheba and offered sacrifices to the God of Isaac his father. He did not offer sacrifices to 'êl ‛ôlâm by name, however; and although he saw a visionary manifestation of God, he received no revelation that this was the God Abraham had venerated at Beer-sheba. Indeed, God omitted any mention of Abraham, stating that He was the God of Jacob’s father.VED-OT God.19

    Genesis 21:33 is the only place in the Old Testament where the title 'êl ‛ôlâm occurs. Isaiah 40:28 is the only other instance where ‛ôlâm is used in conjunction with a noun meaning God. See also LORD.VED-OT God.20


    Zâhâb (זָהָב, Strong's #2091), “gold.” This word has cognates in Arabic and Aramaic. It occurs about 385 times in biblical Hebrew and in every period.VED-OT Gold.2

    Zâhâb can refer to “gold ore,” or “gold in its raw state.” This is its meaning in its first biblical appearance: “The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold” (Genesis 2:11). The word can also be used of “gold” which has already been refined: “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). “Gold” could be beaten (1 Kings 10:16) and purified (Exodus 25:11). One can also speak of the best “gold” (2 Chronicles 3:5).VED-OT Gold.3

    Zâhâb can be conceived of as an “object of wealth”: “And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold” (Genesis 13:2). As such, the emphasis is on “gold” as a valuable or precious commodity. Consequently, the word is used in comparisons: “The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold” (Job 28:17).VED-OT Gold.4

    “Gold” was often one of the spoils of war: “But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord” (Joshua 6:19).VED-OT Gold.5

    “Gold” was bought and sold as an object of merchandise: “The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they [paid for your wares] with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold” (Ezekiel 27:22).VED-OT Gold.6

    Zâhâb was used as a costly gift: “And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I [could not do anything] …” (Numbers 22:18).VED-OT Gold.7

    This metal was used as a material to make jewelry and other valuable items: “And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold …” (Genesis 24:22). Solomon’s temple was adorned with “gold” (1 Kings 6:20-28).VED-OT Gold.8

    Gold was used as money, being exchanged in various weights and values (according to its weight): “And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield …” (1 Kings 10:17; cf. 2 Samuel 12:30). “Gold” even existed in the form of “coins” (Ezra 2:69).VED-OT Gold.9

    Zâhâb is used for the color “gold”: “What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?” (Zechariah 4:12).VED-OT Gold.10


    A. Adjective.VED-OT Good.2

    Ṭôb (טוֹב, Strong's #2896), “good; favorable; festive; pleasing,;pleasant; well; better; right; best.” This word appears in Akkadian, Aramaic, Arabic, Ugaritic, and Old South Arabic. Occurring in all periods of biblical Hebrew, it appears about 559 times.VED-OT Good.3

    This adjective denotes “good” in every sense of that word. For example, ṭôb is used in the sense “pleasant” or “delightful”: “And he saw that [a resting place] was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear [burdens] …” (Genesis 49:15). An extension of this sense appears in Genesis 40:16, where ṭôb means “favorable” or “in one’s favor”: “When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph.…” In 1 Samuel 25:8, the emphasis is on the nuance “delightful” or “festal”: “… Let the young men find favor in thine eyes: for we come in a good day.…” God is described as One who is “good,” or One who gives “delight” and “pleasure”: “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works” (Psalms 73:28).VED-OT Good.4

    In 1 Samuel 29:6, this word describes human activities: “… As the Lord liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the [army] is good in my sight.…” Ṭôb can be applied to scenic beauty, as in 2 Kings 2:19: “Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.” 2 Chronicles 12:12 employs a related nuance when it applies the word to the conditions in Judah under King Rehoboam, after he humbled himself before God: “… Things went well.”VED-OT Good.5

    Ṭôb often qualifies a common object or activity. When the word is used in this sense, no ethical overtones are intended. In 1 Samuel 19:4, ṭôb describes the way Jonathan spoke about David: “And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been [toward thee] very good.” 1 Samuel 25:15 characterizes a people as “friendly” or “useful”: “But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields.…” Often this word bears an even stronger emphasis, as in 1 Kings 12:7, where the “good word” is not only friendly but eases the life of one’s servants. God’s “good word” promises life in the face of oppression and uncertainty: “… There hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant” (1 Kings 8:56). Ṭôb often characterizes a statement as an important assertion for salvation and prosperity (real or imagined): “Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (Exodus 14:12). God judged that man’s circumstance without a wife or helpmeet was not “good” (Genesis 2:18). Elsewhere ṭôb is applied to an evaluation of one’s well-being or of the wellbeing of a situation or thing: “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:4—the first occurrence).VED-OT Good.6

    Ṭôb is used to describe land and agriculture: “And I am come down to deliver them out of the [power] of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good [fertile] land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey …” (Exodus 3:8). This suggests its potential of supporting life (Deuteronomy 11:17). Thus the expression “the good land” is a comment about not only its existing, but its potential, productivity. In such contexts the land is viewed as one aspect of the blessings of salvation promised by God; thus the Lord did not permit Moses to cross the Jordan and enter the land which His people were to inherit (Deuteronomy 3:26-28). This aspect of the “good land” includes overtones of its fruitfulness and “pleasantness”: “And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them …” (1 Samuel 8:14). Ṭôb is used to describe men or women. Sometimes it is used of an “elite corps” of people: “And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses …” (1 Samuel 8:16). In 2 Samuel 18:27, Ahimaaz is described as a “good” man because he comes with “good” military news. In 1 Samuel 15:28, the word has ethical overtones: “The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou” (cf. 1 Kings 2:32). In other passages, ṭôb describes physical appearance: “And the damsel was very fair to look upon [literally, “good of appearance”] …” (Genesis 24:16). When applied to one’s heart, the word describes “well-being” rather than ethical status. Therefore, the parallel idea is “joyous and happy”: “… And they … went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David …” (1 Kings 8:66). Dying “at a good old age” describes “advanced age,” rather than moral accomplishment, but a time when due to divine blessings one is fulfilled and satisfied (Genesis 15:15).VED-OT Good.7

    Ṭôb indicates that a given word, act, or circumstance contributes positively to the condition of a situation. Often this judgment does not mean that the thing is actually “good,” only that it is so evaluated: “When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good …” (Genesis 40:16). The judgment may be ethical: “It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen …?” (Nehemiah 5:9). The word may also represent “agreement” or “concurrence”: “The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good” (Genesis 24:50).VED-OT Good.8

    Ṭôb is often used in conjunction with the Hebrew word ra’ah (“bad; evil”). Sometimes this is intended as a contrast; but in other contexts it may mean “everything from good [friendly] to bad [unfriendly],” which is a way of saying “nothing at all.” In other contexts, more contrast is suggested: “And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad …” (Numbers 13:19). In this case, the evaluation would determine whether the land could support the people well or not.VED-OT Good.9

    In Genesis 2:9, ṭôb contrasted with evil has moral overtones: “… the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” The fruit of this tree, if consumed, would reveal the difference between moral evil and moral “good.” This reference also suggests that, by eating this fruit, man attempted to determine for himself what “good” and evil are.VED-OT Good.10

    B. Verbs.VED-OT Good.11

    Yâṭab (יָטַב, Strong's #3190), “to go well, be pleasing, be delighted, be happy.” This verb appears 117 times in the Old Testament. The meaning of the word, as expressed in Nehemiah 2:6, is “pleased.”VED-OT Good.12

    Ṭôb (טוֹב, Strong's #2895), “to be joyful, glad, pleasant, lovely, appropriate, becoming, good, precious.” Ṭôb has cognates in Akkadian and Arabic. The verb occurs 21 times in the Old Testament. Job 13:9 is one example of the word’s meaning, “to be good”: “Is it good that he should search you out?”VED-OT Good.13

    Gracious, to Be; Show Favor

    A. Verb.VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.2

    Chânan (חָנַן, Strong's #2603), “to be gracious, considerate; to show favor.” This word is found in ancient Ugaritic with much the same meaning as in biblical Hebrew. But in modern Hebrew chânan seems to stress the stronger meaning of “to pardon or to show mercy.” The word occurs around 80 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, the first time in Genesis 33:5: “The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.” Generally, this word implies the extending of “favor,” often when it is neither expected nor deserved. ) Chânan may express “generosity,” a gift from the heart (Psalms 37:21). God especially is the source of undeserved “favor” (Genesis 33:11), and He is asked repeatedly for such “gracious” acts as only He can do (Numbers 6:25; Genesis 43:29). The psalmist prays: “… Grant me thy law graciously” (Psalms 119:29).VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.3

    God’s “favor” is especially seen in His deliverance from one’s enemies or surrounding evils (Psalms 77:9; Amos 5:15). However, God extends His “graciousness” in His own sovereign way and will, to whomever He chooses (Exodus 33:19).VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.4

    In many ways, chânan combines the meaning of the Greek haric (with the general classical Greek sense of “charm” or “graciousness”) and the New Testament sense of “undeserved favor” or “mercy.”VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.5

    B. Noun.VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.6

    Chên (חֵן, Strong's #2580), “favor; grace.” The root with the meaning “to favor someone” is a common Semitic term. In Akkadian, the verb enenu (“to have compassion”) is related to hinnu (“favor”), which occurs only as a proper noun. The Hebrew noun chên occurs 69 times, mainly in the Pentateuch and in the historical books through Samuel. The word’s frequency increases in the poetic books, but it is rare in the prophetic books. The first occurrence is in Genesis 6:8: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.7

    The basic meaning of chên is “favor.” Whatever is “pleasant and agreeable” can be described by this word. When a woman is said to have chên, she is a “gracious” woman (Proverbs 11:16); or the word may have the negative association of being “beautiful without sense” (Proverbs 31:30). A person’s speech may be characterized by “graciousness”: “He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend” (Proverbs 22:11; cf. Psalms 45:2). )VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.8

    Chên also denotes the response to whatever is “agreeable.” The verbs used with “favor” are: “give favor” (Genesis 39:21), “obtain favor” (Exodus 3:21), and “find favor” (Genesis 6:8, RSV). The idioms are equivalent to the English verbs “to like” or “to love”: "[She] said to him, Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?” (Ruth 2:10, RSV).VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.9

    The Septuagint translations are: charis (“grace; favor; graciousness; attractiveness”) and eleos (“mercy; compassion; pity”).VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.10

    C. Adjective.VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.11

    Channûn (חַנּוּן, Strong's #2587), “gracious.” One of the word’s 13 occurrences is in Exodus 34:6: “And the Lord passed by before him [Moses], and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.…”VED-OT Gracious, to Be; Show Favor.12

    Great, to Be; Heavy

    A. Verbs.VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.2

    Kâbêd (כָּבֵד, Strong's #3515), “to be heavy, weighty, burdensome, dull, honored, glorious.” This word is a common Semitic term, one that is found frequently in ancient Akkadian and Ugaritic, as well as in Hebrew of all periods. Kâbêd occurs more than 150 times in the Hebrew Bible. The verb’s first occurrence is in Genesis 13:2 in the sense of “being rich”: “And Abram was very rich.…” This usage vividly illustrates the basic implications of the word. Whenever kâbêd is used, it reflects the idea of “weightiness,” or that which is added to something else. Thus, to be “very rich” means that Abram was heavily “weighted down” with wealth. This idea also explains how the word can be used to indicate the state of “being honored” or “glorious,” for honor and glory are additional qualities that are added to a person or thing.VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.3

    “To be heavy” includes negative as well as positive aspects. Thus, calamity is “heavier than the sand of the sea” (Job 6:3), and the hand of God is “very heavy” in punishing the Philistines (1 Samuel 5:11). Bondage and heavy work are “heavy” on the people (Exodus 5:9; Nehemiah 5:18). Eyes (Genesis 48:10) and ears (Isaiah 59:1) that have become insensitive, or “dull,” have had debilitating conditions added to them, whether through age or other causes. The heart of a man may become excessively “weighted” with stubbornness and thus become “hardened” (Exodus 9:7).VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.4

    “To honor” or “glorify” anything is to add something which it does not have in itself, or that which others can give. Children are commanded to “honor” their parents (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16); Balak promised “honor” to Balaam (Numbers 22:17); Jerusalem (Lamentations 1:8) and the Sabbath (Isaiah 58:13) are “honored” or “made glorious.” Above all, “honor” and “glory” are due to God, as repeatedly commanded in the biblical text: “Honor the Lord with thy substance” (Proverbs 3:9); “Let the Lord be glorified” (Isaiah 66:5); “Glorify ye the Lord” (Isaiah 24:15).VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.5

    Kâbêd is also the Hebrew word for “liver,” apparently reflecting the sense that the liver is the heaviest of the organs of the body.VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.6

    Râbab (רָבַב, 7231), “to be numerous, great, large, powerful.” This verb, which occurs 24 times in biblical Hebrew, appears in most other Semitic languages as well. The first occurrence means “to be (or become) numerous” (Genesis 6:1). Râbab can also mean “to be great” in size, prestige, or power (cf. Genesis 18:20; Job 33:12; Psalms 49:16). With a subject indicating time, this verb implies “lengthening” (Genesis 38:12), and with special subjects the word may imply “extension of space” (Deuteronomy 14:24).VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.7

    B. Nouns.VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.8

    Rôb (רֹב, Strong's #7230), “multitude; abundance.” This noun occurs about 150 times in biblical Hebrew. The word basically means “multitude” or “abundance”; it has numerical implications apparent in its first biblical appearance: “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude” (Genesis 16:10).VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.9

    When applied to time or distance, rôb indicates a “large amount” or “long”: “And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey” (Joshua 9:13). In several passages, the word is applied to abstract ideas or qualities. In such cases, rôb means “great” or “greatness”: “… This that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength” (Isaiah 63:1).VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.10

    The preposition le when prefixed to the noun rôb sometimes forms an adverbial phrase meaning “abundantly”: “For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude …” (Genesis 30:30). The same phrase bears a different sense in 1 Kings 10:10, where it seems to be almost a substantive: “There came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.” The phrase literally appears to mean “great” with respect to “multitude.” This phrase is applied to Uzziah’s building activities: “… And on the wall of Ophel he built much” (2 Chronicles 27:3), where it means “much.” This phrase is extended by the addition of ’ad. Thus we have ’ad lerob, meaning “exceeding much”: “Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty [literally, “the remainder is exceeding much”] …” (2 Chronicles 31:10).VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.11

    Rab (רַב, Strong's #7227), “chief.” This word is a transliteration of the Akkadian rab, an indication of “military rank” similar to our word generalThe first appearance: “And it came to pass, that at midnight [literally, “the middle of the officers| of his house].…” One should especially note the titles in Jeremiah: “And all the princes [officials] of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergal-shar-ezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon” (39:3). Verses 9, 10, 11, and 13 of Jeremiah 39 mention Nebuzaradan as the “captain” of the bodyguard.VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.12

    C. Adjective.VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.13

    Rab (רַב, Strong's #7227), “many; great; large; prestigious; powerful.” This adjective has a cognate in biblical Aramaic. The Hebrew word appears about 474 times in the Old Testament and in all periods.VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.14

    First, this word represents plurality in number or amount, whether applied to people or to things. Rab is applied to people in Genesis 26:14: “For he [Isaac] had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants.…” In Genesis 13:6, the word is applied to things: “And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.” This word is sometimes used of “large groups of people” (Exodus 5:5). This basic idea of “numerical multiplicity” is also applied to amounts of liquids or masses of non-liquids: “And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly …” (Numbers 20:11); a “great” amount of water came forth. Rebekah told Abraham’s servant that her father had “straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in” (Genesis 24:25).VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.15

    The phrase “many waters” is a fixed phrase meaning the “sea”: “… Thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished. And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue …” (Isaiah 23:2-3). “And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils. He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters …” (2 Samuel 22:16-17). This imagery is used in several Old Testament poetical passages; it would be wrong to conclude that this view of the world was true or actual. On the other hand, Genesis 7:11 uses a related phrase as a figure of the “sources of all water”: “… The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up.…”VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.16

    Used in conjunction with “days” or “years,” rab means “long,” and the resulting phrase means “a long time”: “And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days” (Genesis 21:34).VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.17

    The word can be used metaphorically, describing an abstract concept: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5—the first biblical occurrence). This use of rab does not describe the relative value of the thing modified, but its numerical recurrence. The statement implies, however, that man’s constant sinning was more reprehensible than the more occasional sinning previously committed.VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.18

    When rab is applied to land areas, it means “large” (1 Samuel 26:13). This usage is related to the usual meaning of the Semitic cognates, which represent “size” rather than numerical multiplicity (also cf. gadal): “And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon …” (Joshua 11:8). When God is called the “great King” (Psalms 48:2), the adjective refers to His superior power and sovereignty over all kings (vv. 4ff.). This meaning emerges in Job 32:9: “The great may not be wise, nor may elders understand justice” (cf. Job 35:9). Uses such as these in Job emphasize “greatness in prestige,” whereas passages such as 2 Chronicles 14:11 emphasize “strength and might”: “Lord, there is none like thee to help [in battle], between the mighty and the weak” (RSV).VED-OT Great, to Be; Heavy.19

    Guiltless, to Be

    A. Verb.VED-OT Guiltless, to Be.2

    Nâqâh (נָקָה, Strong's #5352), “to be pure, innocent.” Only in Hebrew does this verb mean being “innocent.” In Aramaic and Arabic it occurs with the meaning of being “clean.” The verb is found 44 times in the Old Testament.VED-OT Guiltless, to Be.3

    Isaiah described the future of Jerusalem as an empty (“cleaned out”) city: “The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitue, she will sit on the ground” (Isaiah 3:26, NIV). On the more positive side, a land may also be “cleansed” of robbers: “… Every thief will be banished [KJV, “cut off”] and everyone who swears falsely will be banished” (Zechariah 5:3, NIV).VED-OT Guiltless, to Be.4

    The verb is more often used to mean being “free” (with the preposition min). The first occurrence in the Old Testament is in Genesis 24:8, and is illustrative of this usage. Abraham ordered his servant to find a wife for Isaac. The servant pledged that he would fulfill his commission; however, if he did not succeed—that is, in case the woman was unwilling to make the long journey with him—Abraham would free him: “… Then thou shalt be clear from this my oath.…” The freedom may be from an oath (cf. Genesis 24:8, 41), from wrongdoing (Numbers 5:31), or from punishment (Exodus 21:19; Numbers 5:28). The translations vary in these contexts.VED-OT Guiltless, to Be.5

    The verb nâqâh also appears with the legal connotation of “innocence.” First, a person may be declared “innocent,” or “acquitted.” David prayed: “Keep your servant also from willful sins.… Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression” (Psalms 19:13, NIV). On the other hand, the sinner is not “acquitted” by God: “I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent” (Job 9:28, NIV). The punishment of the person who is not “acquitted” is also expressed by a negation of the verb nâqâh: “The Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Exodus 20:7, NIV; “The Lord will not leave unpunished,” NEB). “I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished” (Jeremiah 30:11, NIV). The fate of the wicked is the judgment of God: “… the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered [malat]” (Proverbs 11:21).VED-OT Guiltless, to Be.6

    The verb is translated in the Septuagint generally as athos (“to be innocent, guiltless”). However, the range of the meaning of the Hebrew word is wider. It extends from “to be emptied [cleaned out]” to the legal jargon of “acquittal.” In English versions, there is no uniformity of translation: “to be innocent, unpunished, acquitted, cleansed, held innocent” (KJV, RSV, NIV); “to be guiltless, free, cut off” (RSV); “to be deserted, purged” (NASB); “to be released, banished” (NIV).VED-OT Guiltless, to Be.7

    B. Adjective.VED-OT Guiltless, to Be.8

    Nâqı̂y (נָקִי, Strong's #5355), “innocent.” This adjective appears 43 times in the Old Testament. One occurrence is in Psalms 15:5, which says of the righteous man, “… Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent” (NASB).VED-OT Guiltless, to Be.9

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