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    Ram — Run


    'Ayil (אַיִל, Strong's #352), “ram.” This word, which has cognates in Ugaritic, Egyptian, and Coptic, occurs in biblical Hebrew about 164 times and in all periods.VED-OT Ram.2

    'Ayil represents a male sheep or “ram.” The word first appears in Genesis 15:9, where God told Abram: “Take me a heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” These animals were often used in sacrificing (cf. Genesis 22:13). They were eaten (Genesis 31:38), and the wool used to make clothing (cf. 2 Kings 3:4). Consequently, as highly valuable animals, such “rams” were selected by Jacob to be part of a peace present sent to Esau (Genesis 32:14).VED-OT Ram.3

    Many passages use 'ayil as a figure of despots or mighty men: “Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them …” (Exodus 15:15). The king of Babylon deported Judah’s kings, princes, and the “mighty of the land” (Ezekiel 17:13). In the first instance the word represents chiefs in the sense of head political figures, whereas in the second use it appears to signify lesser figures. An even more powerful figure is in view in Ezekiel 31:11, where 'ayil represents a central, powerful, earthly figure who will ruthlessly destroy Assyria: “I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness.”VED-OT Ram.4

    Yôbêl (יֹבֵל, Strong's #3104), “ram; ram’s horn; jubilee year.” Cognates of this word appear in late Aramaic, Phoenician, and Arabic. The 27 biblical appearances of the noun all occur before the Book of Judges. First, this word means “ram’s horn”: “When the ram’s horn [v, “trumpet”] sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain” (Exodus 19:13—the first occurrence). In Joshua 6:5 the word is preceded by the Hebrew word for “horn,” which is modified by yôbêl, “horn of a ram.”VED-OT Ram.5

    Second, this word signifies “jubilee year.” The law concerning this institution is recorded in Leviticus 25:8-15; Leviticus 27:16-25. In the fiftieth year on the Day of Atonement jubilee was to be declared. All land was to return to the individual or family to whom it had originally belonged by inheritance, even if he (or she) were in bondservice. When land was valued in anticipation of selling it or devoting it to God, it was to be valued in terms of anticipated productivity prior to the year of jubilee. Between jubilees land might be redeemed for its productivity value. City property, however, must be redeemed within a year of its sale or loss. Levitical property was not subject to these rules. Israelites who fell into bondage were to be released in the jubilee year, or redeemed in the interim period.VED-OT Ram.6


    A. Verb. VED-OT Rebel.2

    Mârâh (מָרָה, Strong's #4784), “to rebel, be contentious.” The meaning of “being rebellious” is limited to the Hebrew language, as the meaning of this verb in other Semitic languages differs: “to make angry” (Aramaic), “to contend with” (Syriac), and “to dispute with” (Arabic). Mârâh occurs some 50 times in the Old Testament, and its usage is scattered throughout the Old Testament (historical, prophetic, poetic, and legal literature). Some personal names are partly composed of the verb: Meraiah (“stubborn headed”; Nehemiah 12:12) and Miriam (“stubborn headed,” if actually derived from the verb).VED-OT Rebel.3

    Mârâh signifies an opposition to someone motivated by pride: “If a man has a stubborn [carar] and rebellious [marah] son, which will not obey the voice of his father …” (Deuteronomy 21:18). The sense comes out more clearly in Isaiah 3:8 (NASB): “For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, Because their speech and their actions are against the Lord, To rebel against His glorious presence.”VED-OT Rebel.4

    More particularly, the word generally connotes a rebellious attitude against God. Several prepositions are used to indicate the object of rebellion (‘im, et, generally translated as “against”): “… Ye have been rebellious against [‘im] the Lord” (Deuteronomy 9:7); “… She hath been rebellious against [et] me …” (Jeremiah 4:17).VED-OT Rebel.5

    The primary meaning of marah is “to disobey.” Several passages attest to this: “… Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commanded thee” (1 Kings 13:21); cf. 1 Kings 13:26: “It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the Lord.…” The Old Testament sometimes specifically states that someone “rebelled” against the Lord; at other times it may refer to a rebelling against the word of the Lord (Psalms 105:28; 107:11), or against the mouth of God (KJV, “word”; NIV, “command”; cf. Numbers 20:24; Deuteronomy 1:26, 43; 9:23; 1 Samuel 12:14-15). The intent of the Hebrew is to signify the act of defying the command of God: “The Lord is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment …” (Lamentations 1:18).VED-OT Rebel.6

    The verb mârâh is at times strengthened by a form of the verb carar (“to be stubborn”): "[They] might not be as their fathers, a stubborn [carar] and rebellious [mârâh] generation; a generation that set not their heart aright …” (Psalms 78:8; cf. Deuteronomy 21:18, 20; Jeremiah 5:23).VED-OT Rebel.7

    An individual (Deuteronomy 21:18, 20), a nation (Numbers 20:24), and a city (Zephaniah 3:1) may be described as “being rebellious.” Zephaniah gave a vivid image of the nature of the rebellious spirit: “Woe to her that is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! She listens to no voice, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God” (Zephaniah 3:1-2, RSV).VED-OT Rebel.8

    The Septuagint translates mârâh by parepikraino (“make bitter; make angry; provoke; be rebellious”) and by atheteo (“to reject; not to recognize”). The English versions give the meanings “rebel; provoke” (KJV, RSV, NIV).VED-OT Rebel.9

    B. Nouns. VED-OT Rebel.10

    Merı̂y (מְרִי, Strong's #4805), “rebellion.” This word occurs infrequently: “For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck …” (Deuteronomy 31:27; cf. Proverbs 17:11). The noun meratayim means “double rebellion.” This reference to Babylon (Jeremiah 50:21) is generally not translated (KJV, RSV, and NIV, “Merathaim”).VED-OT Rebel.11

    C. Adjective. VED-OT Rebel.12

    Merı̂y (מְרִי, Strong's #4805), “rebellious.” This word occurs 23 times, mainly in Ezekiel. The word modifies “house” (referring to Israel) in Ezekiel 2:8: “… Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house.…”VED-OT Rebel.13


    A. Verb.VED-OT Reckon.2

    Yâchaś (יָחַשׂ, Strong's #3187), “to reckon (according to race or family).” In Aramaic, yâchaś appears in the Targumim for the Hebrew mishpachah (“family”) and toledot (“genealogy or generations”). This word occurs about 20 times in the Old Testament.VED-OT Reckon.3

    In 1 Chronicles 5:17 yâchaś means “reckoned by genealogies”: “All these were reckoned by genealogies in the days of Jothan King of Judah …” (cf. 1 Chronicles 7:5). A similar use is found in Ezra 2:62: “These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found …” (NASB, “searched among their ancestral registration”).VED-OT Reckon.4

    The Septuagint renders yâchaś variously: ogdoekonta (“genealogy … to be reckoned”); arithmos (“member of them; father their genealogy”); paratoxin (“member throughout the genealogy”); sunodias (“reckoned by genealogy”).VED-OT Reckon.5

    B. Noun.VED-OT Reckon.6

    Yachaś (יַחַשׂ, Strong's #3188), “genealogy.” This word appears in the infinitive form as a noun to indicate a register or table of genealogy: “And the number throughout the genealogy of them that were apt to the war, and to battle was twenty and six thousand men” (1 Chronicles 7:40; cf. 2 Chronicles 31:18). Another rendering concerning the acts of Rehoboam, recorded in the histories of Shemaiah (2 Chronicles 12:15), meant that the particulars were related in a genealogical table.VED-OT Reckon.7

    Recompense, Reward

    Shâlam (שָׁלֵם, Strong's #7999), “to recompense, reward, be whole, be complete, sound.” A common Semitic term, this verb is found in ancient Akkadian and Ugaritic and in all periods of Hebrew. The root is familiar to most people in the word shâlam, which is the common Jewish greeting. The verb shâlam occurs just over 100 times in the Hebrew Bible.VED-OT Recompense, Reward.2

    In its first occurrence in the Old Testament, the word has the sense of “repaying” or “restoring”: “Why have you returned evil for good?” (Genesis 44:4, RSV). Sometimes it means “to complete or finish”—for example, completing the temple (1 Kings 9:25). In Leviticus 24:18, shâlam describes compensation for injury: “And he that killeth a beast shall make it good [life for life].”VED-OT Recompense, Reward.3

    Perhaps it should be noted that the Arabic terms Muslim and Islam are derived from the Arabic cognate to shalam and imply “submission to Allah.”VED-OT Recompense, Reward.4


    A. Verbs. VED-OT Redeem.2

    Gâ'al (גָּאַל, Strong's #1350), “to redeem, deliver, avenge, act as a kinsman.” This word group is used 90 times, chiefly in the Pentateuch, Psalms, Isaiah, and Ruth. The root appears to be almost exclusively Hebrew, the only cognate being an Amorite proper name.VED-OT Redeem.3

    The first occurrence of gâ'al is in Genesis 48:16: “The angel which redeemed me [Jacob] from all evil …” (KJV), means as in the NIV, “delivered me from all harm.” Its basic use had to do with the deliverance of persons or property that had been sold for debt, as in Leviticus 25:25: “If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.” If he prospers, the man himself may “redeem” it (Leviticus 25:26). A poor man may sell himself to a fellow Israelite (Leviticus 25:39) or to an alien living in Israel (Leviticus 25:47). The responsibility “to redeem” belonged to the nearest relative—brother, uncle, uncle’s son, or a blood relative from his family (Leviticus 25:25, 48-49). The person (kinsman) who “redeemed” the one in financial difficulties was known as a kinsman-redeemer, as the NIV translates the word in Ruth 2:20. In Deuteronomy 19:6 the redeemer is called the “avenger of blood” whose duty it was to execute the murderer of his relative. The verb occurs in this sense 12 times and is translated “revenger” in KJV (Numbers 35:19, 21, 24, 27) or “avenger” (Numbers 35:12; always so in NASB and NIV).VED-OT Redeem.4

    The Book of Ruth is a beautiful account of the kinsman-redeemer. His responsibility is summed up in Ruth 4:5: “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.” Thus the kinsman-redeemer was responsible for preserving the integrity, life, property, and family name of his close relative or for executing justice upon his murderer.VED-OT Redeem.5

    The greater usage of this word group is of God who promised: “… I am the Lord … I will redeem you with a stretched out arm and with great judgments” (Exodus 6:6; cf. Psalms 77:15). Israel confessed: “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed …” (Exodus 15:13). “And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer” (Psalms 78:35).VED-OT Redeem.6

    The Book of Isaiah evidences the word “Redeemer” used of God 13 times, all in chapters 41-63, and gâ'al is used 9 times of God, first in 43:1: “Fear not; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” Gâ'al is used of deliverance from Egypt (51:10; 63:9) and from captivity in Babylon (48:20; 52:3, 9; 62:12). Israel’s “Redeemer” is “the Holy One of Israel” (41:14), “the creator of Israel, your King” (43:14-15), “the Lord of hosts” (44:6), and “the mighty One of Jacob” (49:26). Those who share His salvation are “the redeemed” (35:9).VED-OT Redeem.7

    The Book of Psalms often places spiritual redemption in parallel with physical redemption. For example: “Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: // deliver me because of mine enemies” (Psalms 69:18). “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: … who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies” (Psalms 103:2, 4).VED-OT Redeem.8

    Pâdâh (פָּדָה, Strong's #6299), “to redeem, ransom.” Originally, the usage of this word overlapped with that of pâdâh; both meant “to ransom.” In theological usage, however, each root tended to develop in different directions, so that they can often be considered synonymous only in a very broad sense. Pâdâh indicates that some intervening or substitutionary action effects a release from an undesirable condition. In more secular contexts, it implies a payment of some sort. But 1 Samuel 14:45 indicates that money is not intrinsic in the word; Saul is determined to execute Jonathan for his involuntary transgression, but “… the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not.” Slavery appears as a condition from which one may be “ransomed” (Exodus 21:8; Leviticus 19:20).VED-OT Redeem.9

    The word is connected with the laws of the firstborn. As a reminder of slaying all the Egyptian firstborn but sparing the Israelites, God retained an eternal claim on the life of all Israelite firstborn males, both of men and of cattle. The latter were often sacrificed, “but all the firstborn of my children I redeem” (Exodus 13:15). God accepted the separation of the tribe of Levi for liturgical service in lieu of all Israelite firstborn (Numbers 33:40ff.). However, the Israelite males still had to be “redeemed” (pâdâh) from this service by payment of specified “redemption money” (Numbers 3:44-51).VED-OT Redeem.10

    When God is the subject of pâdâh, the word emphasizes His complete, sovereign freedom to liberate human beings. Sometimes God is said to “redeem” individuals (Abraham, Isaiah 29:22; David, 1 Kings 1:29; and when in the Psalter, e.g., 26:11; 21:5; 71:23); but usually Israel, the elect people, is the beneficiary. Sometimes the redemption or deliverance is proclaimed absolutely (2 Samuel 7:23; Psalms 44:26; Hosea 7:13); but the subject is said to be “ransomed” from a specific oppression. At other times, the reference is less explicit—e.g., from “troubles” (Psalms 25:22) and from “wicked” men (Jeremiah 15:21). Only once is pâdâh used to describe liberation from sin or iniquity: “And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquity” (Psalms 130:8).VED-OT Redeem.11

    Kâphar (כָּפַר, Strong's #3722), “to ransom, atone, expiate, propitiate.” Kâphar has an initial secular and non-theological range quite parallel to padah In addition, however, kâphar became a technical term in Israel’s sacrificial rituals. On its most basic level of meaning, kâphar denotes a material transaction or “ransom.”VED-OT Redeem.12

    Sometimes man is the subject of kâphar. In 2 Samuel 21:3, David asks the Gibeonites, “… And wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the Lord?” He receives in answer the advice to hang seven of Saul’s sons in compensation. In Exodus 32:30, Moses ascends the mountain yet a third time in an effort to “make an atonement” for the people’s sin (apparently merely by intercession, although this is not explicitly stated). Isaiah 27:9 speaks of “purging” Israel’s guilt by banishing idolatrous objects. In Numbers 25:13, Phinehas is said to have “made an atonement for the children of Israel” by spearing a couple during orgiastic worship of Baal.VED-OT Redeem.13

    God is often the subject of kâphar in this general sense, too. In 2 Chronicles 30:18, Hezekiah prays for God to “pardon” those who were not ritually prepared for the Passover. At the conclusion of the Song of Moses, Yahweh is praised because He “will atone for His land and His people” (Deuteronomy 32:43, NASB). Similar general uses of the word appear in Psalms 65:3; 78:38; and Daniel 9:24. Jeremiah once uses kâphar to pray bitterly that Yahweh not “forgive” the iniquity of those plotting to slay him (Jeremiah 18:23), and in Psalms 79:9 the word means “to purge” sin.VED-OT Redeem.14

    Most often kâphar is used in connection with specific rites, and the immediate subject is a priest. All types of ritual sacrifice are explained in terms of kâphar. We find the priests’ smearing of blood on the altar during the “sin offering” (chatta’t) described as “atonement” (Exodus 29:36-37; Leviticus 4:20, 31; 10:17; Numbers 28:22; 29:5; Nehemiah 10:33). The use of blood is not quite so prominent in sacrifices, but the relation to “atonement” still holds. It is clearly true of the “guilt offering” (Leviticus 5:16, 18; 6:7; 7:7; 14:21; 19:22; Numbers 5:8). The principle holds even when the poor cannot afford an animal or birds, and they sacrifice only a little flour—i.e., where obviously no blood is involved (Leviticus 5:11-13). Making “atonement” (kâphar) is also part of the purpose of the “burnt offering” (Leviticus 1:4; Numbers 15:25). The only major type of sacrifice not classified an “atonement” in Leviticus is the “cereal offering” (minchah) of chapter 2; but Ezekiel 45:15, 17 does include it under that heading. 1 Chronicles 6:49 applies the concept to the priestly ministry in general. The connection of all of the rituals with kâphar peaks in the complex ceremony of the annual Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), as described in detail in Leviticus 16.VED-OT Redeem.15

    Most English versions prefer to render kâphar with the more neutral term “atone” or even “ransom.” But various translations often have “expiate” or “propitiate” as well. The terms are partly synonymous. In any sacrifice, the action is directed both toward God (propitiation) and toward the offense (expiation). “Expiate,” “atone,” and even “forgive” (if related to sacrifice) all have God as their primary subject, while “propitiation” addresses God as object.VED-OT Redeem.16

    All the sacrifices in the world would not satisfy God’s righteousness (e.g., Micah 6:7; Psalms 50:7-15). Hence God alone can provide an atonement or expiation for sin, by which His wrath is assuaged. The righteous God is neither implacable nor capricious, but provides Himself the “ransom” or substitute sacrifice that would satisfy Him. The priest at the altar represents God Himself, bringing the requisite offering before God; sacrifice is not essentially man’s action, but God’s own act of pardoning mercy.VED-OT Redeem.17

    B. Noun. VED-OT Redeem.18

    Ge'ûllâh (גְּאֻלָּה, Strong's #1353), "(right of) redemption.” This word is used in regard to deliverance of persons or property that had been sold for debt. The law required that the “right of redemption” of land and of persons be protected (Leviticus 25:24, 48). The redemption price was determined by the number of years remaining until the release of debts in the year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:27-28). The word ge'ûllâh also occurs in Jeremiah 32:7: “Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.”VED-OT Redeem.19

    The noun related to padah is pedut. It occurs about 5 times and means “ransom or redemption”: “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever …” (Psalms 111:9).VED-OT Redeem.20


    Mâlak (מָלַךְ, 4427), “to reign, be king (or queen).” This root appears in most Semitic languages, although it means “advice” and “counsel” in Akkadian (and biblical Aramaic) and “own” exclusively in Ethiopic (and old South Arabic). In the Northwest Semitic dialects the root has a common meaning. The verbal form occurs in every period of Hebrew and about 350 times in the Bible.VED-OT Reign.2

    Basically the word means to fill the functions of ruler over someone. To hold such a position was to function as the commander-in-chief of the army, the chief executive of the group, and to be an important, if not central, religious figure. The king was the head of his people and, therefore, in battle were the king to be killed, his army would disperse until a new king could be chosen. The first appearance of mâlak is in Genesis 36:31: “And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.” The king “reigned” as the earthly representative of the god (or God) who was recognized as the real king. Thus, he was considered to be god’s (God’s) son. This same idea recurs in Israel (Psalms 2:6). In Israel, too, God was the King: “The Lord shall reign for ever and ever” (Exodus 15:18). That the word can also be used of what a queen does when she “reigns” proves that it refers to the function of anyone in the office of king: “And he was with her hid in the house of the Lord six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land” (2 Kings 11:3).VED-OT Reign.3

    Mâlak can also be used of the idea “to become king”—someone was made, or made himself, a king: “And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead” (Genesis 36:33). This verb can be used of the assumption of a kingly reign, or of “beginning to reign”: “Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel …” (1 Samuel 13:1; cf. Proverbs 30:22). Finally, the verb is used of receiving the title of queen (or king) whether or not one receives any political or military power. So it was said: “And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti” (Esther 2:4).VED-OT Reign.4


    A. Verb.VED-OT Rejoice.2

    Śâmach (שָׂמַח, Strong's #8055), “to rejoice, be joyful.” This verb also occurs in Ugaritic (where its radicals are shh-m-h and perhaps in AramaicSyriac. It appears in all periods of Hebrew and about 155 times in the Bible. Śâmach usually refers to a spontaneous emotion or extreme happiness which is expressed in some visible and/or external manner. It does not normally represent an abiding state of wellbeing or feeling.VED-OT Rejoice.3

    This emotion arises at festivals, circumcision feasts, wedding feasts, harvest feasts, the overthrow of one’s enemies, and other such events. The men of Jabesh broke out joyously when they were told that they would be delivered from the Philistines (1 Samuel 11:9). The emotion expressed in the verb śâmach usually finds a visible expression. In Jeremiah 50:11 the Babylonians are denounced as being glad and “jubilant” over the pillage of Israel. Their emotion is expressed externally by their skipping about like a threshing heifer and neighing like stallions. The emotion represented in the verb (and concretized in the noun simchah) is sometimes accompanied by dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments. This was the sense when David was heralded by the women of Jerusalem as he returned victorious over the Philistines (1 Samuel 18:6). This emotion is usually described as the product of some external situation, circumstance, or experience, such as found in the first biblical appearance of śâmach: God told Moses that Aaron was coming to meet him and “when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart” (Exodus 4:14). This passage speaks of inner feeling which is visibly expressed. When Aaron saw Moses, he was overcome with joy and kissed him (v. 27).VED-OT Rejoice.4

    Therefore, the verb śâmach suggests three elements: (1) a spontaneous, unsustained feeling of jubilance, (2) a feeling so strong that it finds expression in some external act, and (3) a feeling prompted by some external and unsustained stimulus.VED-OT Rejoice.5

    This verb is used intransitively signifying that the action is focused on the subject (cf. 1 Samuel 11:9). God is sometimes the subject, the one who “rejoices and is jubilant”: “The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works” (Psalms 104:31). The godly are to “be glad in the Lord, and rejoice … and shout for joy …” (Psalms 32:11). Śâmach can also mean “to be joyful or glad.” In the place the Lord chooses, Israel is “to be joyful” in all in which the Lord blesses them (Deuteronomy 12:7). Used thus the verb describes a state into which one places himself under given circumstances. It has a further and technical sense describing all that one does in making a feast before God: “And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days” (Leviticus 23:40).VED-OT Rejoice.6

    In a few cases the verb describes an ongoing state. In 1 Kings 4:20 the reign of Solomon is summarized as follows: “Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.”VED-OT Rejoice.7

    B. Noun.VED-OT Rejoice.8

    Śimchâh (שִׂמְחָה, Strong's #8057), “joy.” This noun, which also occurs in Ugaritic, is found 94 times in biblical Hebrew. Śimchâh is both a technical term for the external expression of “joy” (Genesis 31:27—the first biblical occurrence; cf. 1 Samuel 18:6; Jeremiah 50:11) and (usually) a representation of the abstract feeling or concept “joy” (Deuteronomy 28:47). In another technical use this noun signifies the entire activity of making a feast before God: “And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth [literally, “to make a great rejoicing”] …” (Nehemiah 8:12).VED-OT Rejoice.9

    The noun catches the concrete coloring of the verb, as in Isaiah 55:12: “For ye shall go out with joy … : the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”VED-OT Rejoice.10

    C. Adjective.VED-OT Rejoice.11

    Śâmêach (שָׂמֵחַ, 8056), “joyful; glad.” This adjective occurs 21 times in the Old Testament. The first biblical occurrence is in Deuteronomy 16:15: “Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee … therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.”VED-OT Rejoice.12


    Lûn (לוּן, Strong's #3885), “to remain, lodge, spend the night, abide.” Found also in ancient Ugaritic, this word continues in use from biblical Hebrew until now. The modern Hebrew term for “hotel” is derived from this term. Lûn is used approximately 60 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Its first occurrence is in Genesis 19:2, where it is used twice: “Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night.… And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.”VED-OT Remain.2

    While it is usually used concerning human beings spending the night, lûn is sometimes used of animals, such as the wild ox (Job 39:9, NASB; KJV, “unicorn”), the pelican and the hedgehog (Zephaniah 2:14, NASB; KJV, “the cormorant and the bittern”). The word does not necessarily mean sleeping through the night, but may be used to indicate being located in one place for the night: “Thou shalt not … [let] the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning [literally, “pass the night until morning”] (Exodus 23:18). In a similar way, the figurative use of the word often has the connotation of “abiding, remaining”: “… Mine error remaineth [NASB, “lodges”] with myself” (Job 19:4); “… Righteousness lodged in it …” (Isaiah 1:21); “His soul shall dwell at ease …” (Psalms 25:13); “… [He] shall abide satisfied …” (Proverbs 19:23).VED-OT Remain.3

    Remainder; Remnant

    A. Nouns. VED-OT Remainder; Remnant.2

    Yether (יֶתֶר, 3499), “remainder; remnant.” Yether appears 94 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The word occurs mainly (about 45 times) in the historical books in the stereotype phrase “the rest of the acts,” as in “And the rest of the acts of Solomon [the events of Solomon’s reign], and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the Book of the Acts of Solomon?” (1 Kings 11:41). In these verses, yether is used to refer to those events which have not been included in the works of the biblical historiographers.VED-OT Remainder; Remnant.3

    The more general meaning of yether is “whatever remains”: the prey (Numbers 31:32); the giants (Deuteronomy 3:11); the kingdom (Joshua 13:27); and the people (Judges 7:6). A good illustration is found in Joel’s teaching on the locusts: “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten” (Joel 1:4).VED-OT Remainder; Remnant.4

    The prophets used she’erit as a technical term for “the remnant of Israel.” They predicted that after the Exile a “remnant” of God-fearing people would return to the land (cf. Haggai 2:2-3). Few prophets (Micah; Zephaniah 2:9) employ yether for this purpose: “Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant [yether] of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel” (Micah 5:3).VED-OT Remainder; Remnant.5

    The Septuagint translations are: loipos (“remaining; rest; remainder”) and kataloipos (“what is left; remaining”).VED-OT Remainder; Remnant.6

    Several other nouns which appear infrequently are related to yether. Yoter (“advantage; excess; over,”) can be found in Ecclesiastes 6:8: “For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool?” (NASB). Yitron means “abundance” or “riches” and occurs only in Jeremiah 48:36. Yoteret can refer to “advantage, gain, profit,” and this word appears only in Ecclesiastes (cf. Ecclesiastes 1:3; 2:11). Yoteret, “appendage of the liver,” occurs about 10 times (cf. Exodus 29:13, 22; Leviticus 3:4, 10, 15). Motar, which means “abundance, superiority, profit,” is found in Proverbs 14:23. See also REMNANT.VED-OT Remainder; Remnant.7

    B. Verb. VED-OT Remainder; Remnant.8

    Yâthar (יָתַר, 3498), “to be superfluous.” This verb is related to other Semitic languages, where the root yâthar/wâthar signifies the state of abundance (Ugaritic, Phoenician, Arabic). In Hebrew many forms are derived from the verb yâthar. The word occurs about 107 times, once in Daniel 10:13: “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”VED-OT Remainder; Remnant.9


    A. Verb. VED-OT Remember.2

    Zâkar (זָכַר, Strong's #2142), “to remember, think of, mention.” This root is found in Assyrian, Aramaic, Arabic, and Ethiopic. The group of words (the verb and the three nouns derived from it) is found throughout the Old Testament. The first occurrence of zâkar is in Genesis 8:1 with God as the subject: “God remembered Noah … : and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged.” In Genesis 9:15 God said to Noah: “And I will remember my covenant …; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.” As in these two cases (cf. Genesis 6:18), “remember” is used of God in respect to His covenant promises and is followed by an action to fulfill His covenant. God delivered Lot from Sodom because of His covenant with Abraham to bless all the nations through him (Genesis 18:17-33): “God remembered Abraham, and brought Lot out of the catastrophe …” (Genesis 19:29, NIV). This marks the history of Israel at every major point: “And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, … and I have remembered my covenant.… and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians …” (Exodus 6:5-6). The promise “to remember” was repeated in the covenant at Sinai (Leviticus 26:40-45), God’s remembrance was sung in the Psalms (98:3; 105:8, 42; 106:45), and the promise was repeated by the prophets in regard to restoration from captivity (Ezekiel 16:60). The new covenant promise is: “… I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).VED-OT Remember.3

    Because of this God’s people pray, as Moses: “Turn from thy fierce wrath.… Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest …” (Exodus 32:12-13); or Nehemiah: “Remember … the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses …” (Nehemiah 1:8, quoting Leviticus 26:33); or the psalmist: “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me …” (Psalms 25:7); or Jeremiah: “… Remember, break not thy covenant with us” (Jeremiah 14:21).VED-OT Remember.4

    Men also “remember.” Joseph said to Pharaoh’s butler: “But think on me … , and make mention of me unto Pharaoh …” (Genesis 40:14; NIV, “remember … and mention”). Again, “to remember” means more than “to recall”; it means “to retain in thought” so as to tell someone who can take action (cf. Psalms 20:7). Zâkar may have more specific connotations in certain circumstances: “Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, … which swear by the name of the Lord, … and make mention of the God of Israel …” (Isaiah 48:1). The NASB and the NIV translate the last clause “and invoke the God of Israel”; and the RSV has “confess.” All point to the mention of God’s name in worship. David appointed “Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke … the Lord …” (1 Chronicles 16:4, RSV; NASB, “to celebrate”; NIV, “to make petition”).VED-OT Remember.5

    The covenant commanded Israel to “remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt …” (Exodus 13:3); to “remember the sabbath day …” (Exodus 20:8); to “remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand …” (Deuteronomy 5:15 and often); and to “remember his marvelous works …” (Psalms 105:5; cf. 1 Chronicles 16:15). But “the children of Israel remembered not the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies …” (Judges 8:34; cf. Psalms 78:42).VED-OT Remember.6

    B. Nouns. VED-OT Remember.7

    Zêker (זֶֶכֶר, Strong's #2143), or Zeker (זֶֶכֶר, Strong's #2143), “remembrance; memorial.” Of His covenant name, 'BCB (“Lord”), God said: “… This is my memorial unto all generations” (Exodus 3:15; cf. Psalms 30:4; 135:13). The name would recall His acts of covenant fulfillment. Moses was told to write an account of the war with Amalek “for a memorial [zikkaron] in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance [zeker] of Amalek from under heaven” (Exodus 17:14).VED-OT Remember.8

    The noun zikkaron has similar meanings. God gave the bronze plates covering the altar (Numbers 16:40) and the heap of stones at the Jordan (Joshua 4:7, 20-24) as perpetual “memorials” for the sons of Israel. The names of the twelve tribes of Israel were engraved on two stones that were attached to the ephod as “stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord …” (Exodus 28:12; cf. v. 29). When Israel went into battle, and when they offered sacrifice, they were to blow trumpets “that they may be to you for a memorial before your God” (Numbers 10:9-10).VED-OT Remember.9

    The noun ‘azkarah means “memorial offering” and it occurs primarily in Leviticus. “Memorials” were directed toward God. A “memorial” portion of each meal offering was burnt on the altar (Leviticus 2:2, 9, 16), in other words a small portion in place of the whole amount.VED-OT Remember.10

    The Septuagint translates these words by several derivatives from one root, mimnesko, by which the idea comes into the New Testament. Zechariah praised the Lord God that He had “raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David … and to remember his holy covenant …” (Luke 1:69-73). Our need for a reminder is met in “This do in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).VED-OT Remember.11


    A. Nouns. VED-OT Remnant.2

    She'êrı̂yth (שְׁאֵרִית, Strong's #7611), “rest; remnant; residue.” The idea of the “remnant” plays a prominent part in the divine economy of salvation throughout the Old Testament. The “remnant” concept is applied especially to the Israelites who survived such calamities as war, pestilence, and famine—people whom the Lord in His mercy spared to be His chosen people: “For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this” (2 Kings 19:31; cf. Ezra 9:14).VED-OT Remnant.3

    The Israelites repeatedly suffered major catastrophes that brought them to the brink of extinction. So they often prayed as in Jeremiah 42:2: “Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the Lord thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:).”VED-OT Remnant.4

    Isaiah used the word she'êrı̂yth 5 times to denote those who would be left after the Assyrian invasions: “For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this” (Isaiah 37:32).VED-OT Remnant.5

    Micah also announced the regathering of the Jewish people after the Exile. Thus Micah prophesied: “I will surely assemble them together, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel …” (2:12). In Micah 4:7 he predicted: “And I will make her that halted a remnant and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.” In 5:7-8 and 7:18, Micah announces a similar idea.VED-OT Remnant.6

    Jeremiah discussed the plight of the Jews who fled to Egypt after Jerusalem’s capture by Nebuchadnezzar: “Likewise when all the Jews that were in Moab, and among the Ammonites, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries, heard that the King of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah.… Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly saying, Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael … wherefore should he slay thee, that all the Jews which are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish?” (Jeremiah 40:11, 15).VED-OT Remnant.7

    Zephaniah, a seventh-century prophet, identified the “remnant” with the poor and humble (2:3, 7; 3:12-13). Zechariah announced that a “remnant” would be present at the time of the coming of the Messiah’s kingdom (12:10-13:1; 13:8-9).VED-OT Remnant.8

    She'âr (שְׁאָר, Strong's #7605), “rest; remnant; residue.” Isaiah describes the “remnant” of Israel: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth” (Isaiah 10:20). Notice that a twofold theme emerges from most prophetic passages concerning the “remnant”: (1) A “remnant” will survive when the people are subjected to punishment, and (2) the fact that a “remnant” does survive and does remain contains a note of hope for the future. Isaiah 10:21 announces: “The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.” In Isaiah 11:11, the prophet proclaims: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his peoplewhich shall be left from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” See also REMAINDER.VED-OT Remnant.9

    B. Verb. VED-OT Remnant.10

    Shâ'ar (שָׁאַר, Strong's #7604), “to remain, be left over.” This verb and its noun derivatives occur about 220 times in the Old Testament.VED-OT Remnant.11

    Noah and his family were a “remnant” delivered by the Flood: “… And Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark” (Genesis 7:23). In the days of Elijah, when God’s chosen people in the northern kingdom had fallen into apostasy, the Lord announced: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal …” (1 Kings 19:18).VED-OT Remnant.12

    In the pre-exilic period, this remnant idea is stressed by Isaiah. Isaiah tells of the judgment on the earth from which a remnant will “remain”: “Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left” (Isaiah 24:6). Isaiah 4:3 refers to a “remnant” which shares holiness: “And it shall come to pass, that he that is left [shâ'ar], and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy.…”VED-OT Remnant.13

    In the writing prophets, the idea of the “remnant” acquired a growing significance. Yet the idea may be found as early as the Pentateuch. The idea of “those being left” or “having escaped,” especially a portion of the Israelite people, may be traced back to Deuteronomy 4:27: “And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you” (cf. Deuteronomy 28:62). In these passages, Moses warns that if Israel failed to live up to the stipulations of the Mosaic covenant, the Lord would scatter them among the nations, and then He would regather a “remnant.”VED-OT Remnant.14

    In Nehemiah 1:2-3, the condition of the “remnant” of Israel is described: “… And I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, the remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach.…”VED-OT Remnant.15

    Remove, Depart

    A. Verb.VED-OT Remove, Depart.2

    Nâśâ' (נָסָה, Strong's #5375), “to remove, depart, carry away.” This verb occurs in all Semitic languages including biblical Aramaic and in all periods of Hebrew. The Bible attests this Hebrew word about 650 times.VED-OT Remove, Depart.3

    The meaning “to lift up” or “to bear” is seen, for example, in Genesis 7:17 (the first occurrence of this word), where it is reported that the waters “lifted up” the ark. A special use of this emphasis occurs in Job 6:2, where Job prays that his trouble be laid (“lifted up”) in the balances because he believes his trouble far outweighs his sin. Then there is the sense “to bear up” or “to support,” as a loaded donkey “bears up” his load (Genesis 45:23). Then, too, nâśhâ' can be used of bearing something away—David and his men “took away” the abandoned Philistine idols; they lifted them up, bore them, and carried them away (2 Samuel 5:21, RSV). This same nuance is applied to marriage, or taking a wife (Ruth 1:4). The same expression means to steal (or plunder) a wife (Judges 21:23). The phrase “lift up … heads” sometimes means “to take a census” (KJV, “to number”)—the Lord told Moses to “lift up” the heads of the sons of Israel (Exodus 30:12). This latest phrase may well be an evidence of direct influence from the Akkadian language.VED-OT Remove, Depart.4

    Often nâśâ' is used as a part of a gesture— for example, “to lift up” one’s hand. This gesture can be hostile (2 Samuel 20:21), a part of taking an oath (Exodus 6:8), something done while praying (Psalms 28:9) and signaling (Isaiah 49:22). “To lift up the head” can mean to be or declare independence in power and control (Judges 8:28). The same phrase can be used of being free (2 Kings 25:27; cf. Genesis 40:13), while losing one’s head can mean dying (cf. Genesis 40:19). To “lift one’s face” means to be able to look someone straight in the eye, to have a clear conscience toward someone or with reference to something (2 Samuel 2:22), or to anticipate that things will go well (Job 22:26). God says He will “accept” Lot’s request; He reassures Lot that things will go the way he wants them to (Genesis 19:21). This phrase can mean “to be well disposed toward” or “to respect” (2 Kings 3:14), and “to be biased in favor of” (Job 13:8). God’s “raising His face on one” means that He will show one His favor (Numbers 6:26). To raise one’s eyes is to see (Genesis 13:10) and to lust for someone (Genesis 39:7).VED-OT Remove, Depart.5

    Nâśâ' can also be used with words for sounds and verbal communication. “To lift” one’s voice often means to wail (Genesis 21:16). It can also mean to call out loudly (Judges 9:7), to speak (a proverb; Numbers 23:7), to declare (an oracle; 2 Kings 9:25), to slander (Psalms 15:3), to carry (a false rumor; Exodus 23:1), and to speak a name (Exodus 20:7).VED-OT Remove, Depart.6

    This verb can be used with “soul,” in the sense “to lift up” one’s soul. This means “to hand oneself over to” or “to be dependent on” something—the poor man “lifts up his soul” to his wages (Deuteronomy 24:15).VED-OT Remove, Depart.7

    Sometimes nâśâ' means “to support”—Genesis 13:6 says the land could not support, or provide enough sustenance for, Abraham’s and Lot’s parties. The Bible speaks of bearing sin and iniquity in Exodus 28:38, where it is said that Aaron “may bear the iniquity of the holy things”; the sin of the holy things will be on Aaron, who is “holy to the Lord” (v. 36). In Genesis 18:24 Abraham pleads with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah and to bear away the sin of the place.VED-OT Remove, Depart.8

    B. Nouns. VED-OT Remove, Depart.9

    Nâśı̂y' (נָשִׁא, Strong's #5387), "(elected) chief.” This noun appears 130 times, and it refers to one lifted up publicly: “… Twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation” (Genesis 17:20; cf. Numbers 1:44).
    Several other related nouns occur less frequently. Massa’ appears 45 times as “load” or “bearing” (Numbers 11:11) and 21 times as “utterance” (2 Kings 9:25). Mas’et, which occurs 16 times, refers to the “action of lifting up” (cf. Psalms 141:2) and to “something lifted up” (Genesis 43:34). Se’et occurs 14 times, with 2 senses: (1) a “lifting up,” such as an “uprising” (Job 41:25), and “dignity” (Genesis 49:3); and (2) something that is “lifted up,” such as a swelling or blotch (Leviticus 13:2). Nesi’im occurs 4 times with the meaning “damp, fog, hovering clouds” (Jeremiah 10:13). Both massa’ah (Isaiah 30:27) and si’ (Job 20:6) occur only once.
    VED-OT Remove, Depart.10

    Rend, Tear

    Qâra‛ (קָרַע, Strong's #7167), “to rend, tear, tear away.” This word is common to both ancient and modern Hebrew. Used some 63 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, it is found for the first time in Genesis 37:29: “… He rent his clothes.” In the expression, “to tear one’s clothes,” qâra‛ is used 39 times. Usually such “rending” of clothes is an expression of grief (Genesis 37:34; 44:13; 2 Samuel 13:19).VED-OT Rend, Tear.2

    Sometimes the word is used in a symbolic act, such as Ahijah’s “tearing” a new garment into twelve pieces and sending them to the twelve tribes as a symbol of coming division (1 Kings 11:30). Samuel used qâra‛ figuratively when he said to Saul: “The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day …” (1 Samuel 15:28). Wild animals “rend” or “tear” their prey (Hosea 13:8).VED-OT Rend, Tear.3


    Nâcham (נָחַם, 5162), “to repent, comfort.” Nâcham apparently means “to repent” about 40 times and “to comfort” about 65 times in the Old Testament. Scholars assert several views in trying to ascertain the meaning of nâcham by connecting the word to a change of the heart or disposition, a change of mind, a change of purpose, or an emphasis upon the change of one’s conduct.VED-OT Repent.2

    Most uses of the term in the Old Testament are connected with God’s repentance: “… It repented the Lord that he had made man …” (Genesis 6:6); “And the Lord repented [NASB, “changed his mind”] of the evil which he thought to do unto his people” (Exodus 32:14, KJV). Sometimes the Lord “repented” of the discipline He had planned to carry out concerning His people: “If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them” (Jeremiah 18:8); “If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good …” (Jeremiah 18:10); “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger … and repenteth him of evil” (Joel 2:13). In other instances, the Lord changed His mind; obviously, He changed when man changed to make the right choices, but He could not change His attitude toward evil when man continued on the wrong course. As God changed His actions, He always remained faithful to His own righteousness.VED-OT Repent.3

    In some situations, God was weary of“repenting” (Jeremiah 15:6), suggesting that there might be a point beyond which He had no choice but to implement His discipline. An instance of this action was in Samuel’s word to Saul, that God took the kingdom from Israel’s first king and intended to give it to another; Samuel declared, “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent” (NASB, “change His mind”; 1 Samuel 15:29).VED-OT Repent.4

    God usually changed His mind and “repented” of His actions because of man’s intercession and repentance of his evil deeds. Moses pleaded with God as the intercessor for Israel: “Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people” (Exodus 32:12). The Lord did that when He “… repented [changed His mind] of the evil which he thought to do unto his people” (Exodus 32:14). As God’s prophet preached to Nineveh, “… God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them …” (Jonah 3:10). In such instances, God “repented,” or changed His mind, to bring about a change of plan. Again, however, God remained faithful to His absolutes of righteousness in His relation to and with man.VED-OT Repent.5

    Other passages refer to a change (or lack of it) in man’s attitude. When man did not “repent” of his wickedness, he chose rebellion (Jeremiah 8:6). In the eschatological sense, when Ephraim (as a representative of the northern branch of Israel) will “repent” (Jeremiah 31:19), God then will have mercy (Jeremiah 31:20).VED-OT Repent.6

    Man also expressed repentance to other men. Benjamin suffered greatly from the crime of immorality (Judges 19-20): “And the children of Israel [eleven tribes] repented them from Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day” (Judges 21:6; cf. v. 15).VED-OT Repent.7

    Nâcham may also mean “to comfort.” The refugees in Babylon would be “comforted” when survivors arrived from Jerusalem (Ezekiel 14:23); the connection between “comfort” and “repent” here resulted from the calamity God brought upon Jerusalem as a testimony to the truth of His Word. David “comforted” Bathsheba after the death of her child born in sin (2 Samuel 12:24); this probably indicates his repentance of what had happened in their indiscretion.VED-OT Repent.8

    On the other hand, the word was used in the human sense of “comfort.” Job asked his three companions, “How then comfort ye me in vain seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?” (Job 21:34; he meant that their attitude seemed cruel and unfeeling). The psalmist looked to God for “comfort”: “Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side” (Psalms 71:21). In an eschatological sense God indicated that He would “comfort” Jerusalem with the restoration of Israel, as a mother comforts her offspring (Isaiah 66:13).VED-OT Repent.9


    A. Noun. VED-OT Reproach.2

    Cherpâh (חֶרְפָּה, Strong's #2781), “reproach.” This noun occurs in the Old Testament and in rabbinic Hebrew. Its use in modern Hebrew has been taken over by other nouns. Cherpâh occurs 70 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It is rare in the Pentateuch and in the historical books. The noun appears most frequently in the Book of Psalms, in the major prophets, and in Daniel. The first occurrence is in Genesis 30:23: “And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach.”VED-OT Reproach.3

    “Reproach” has a twofold usage. On the one hand, the word denotes the state in which one finds himself. The unmarried woman (Isaiah 4:1) or the woman without children (Genesis 30:23) carried a sense of disgrace in a society where marriage and fertility were highly spoken of. The destruction of Jerusalem and the Exile brought Judah to the state of “reproach”: “O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us” (Daniel 9:16). On the other hand, the disgrace found in a person or a nation became the occasion for taunting the oppressed. The disgraced received abuse by the words spoken against them and by the rumors which were spread about them.VED-OT Reproach.4

    Whatever the occasion of the disgrace was whether defeat in battle, exile, or enmity, the psalmist prayed for deliverance from the “reproach”: “Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies” (Psalms 119:22—see context; cf. Psalms 109:25). The verbal abuse that could be heaped upon the unfortunate is best evidenced by the synonyms found with cherpâh in Jeremiah 24:9: “And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.” Several prophets predicted that Israel’s judgment was partly to be experienced by the humiliating “reproach” of the nations: “And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations whither I have driven them” (Jeremiah 29:18; cf. Ezekiel 5:14). However, the Lord graciously promised to remove the “reproach” at the accomplishment of His purpose: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth …” (Isaiah 25:8).VED-OT Reproach.5

    The Septuagint translations are: oneidismos (“reproach; reviling; disgrace; insult”) and oneidos (“disgrace; reproach; insult”). The KVJ gives these translations: “reproach; shame; rebuke.”VED-OT Reproach.6

    B. Verb. VED-OT Reproach.7

    Châraph (חָרַף, Strong's #2778), “to say sharp things, reproach.” The root with the meaning “to be sharp” is found in Northwest and South Semitic languages. In Hebrew the verb refers to a manner of speech, i.e., to reproach someone. The word appears about 50 times in the Old Testament, once in Psalms 42:10: “As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?”VED-OT Reproach.8


    Yâkach (יָכַח, Strong's #3198), “to decide, prove, convince, judge.” As in biblical Hebrew, this verb is found in modern Hebrew primarily in the causative forms. It occurs some 60 times in the text of the Hebrew Bible. The first occurrence of the word is in Genesis 20:16, where the KJV translates: “… She was reproved.” The context indicates, however, that Abraham, Sarah’s husband, deserved being “reproved” in our modern meaning of the word, but that Sarah actually was “cleared” (NASB).VED-OT Reprove.2

    It is evident in most of the uses of yâkach that there is a value judgment involved, as in Psalms 50:21: “… I will reprove thee, and [lay the charge before thee].” Negative judgments may lead to reproof, especially by God (Job 5:17). Such divine reproof may be physical: “… I will chasten him with the rod of men …” (2 Samuel 7:14). But it is the conviction of the wise man that “the Lord reproves him whom he loves” (Proverbs 3:12, RSV).VED-OT Reprove.3

    Rest, Remain

    Nûach (נוּחַ, Strong's #5117), “to rest, remain, be quiet.” This word is common to ancient and modern Hebrew, as well as ancient Akkadian and Ugaritic. It occurs in the text of the Old Testament approximately 65 times; the first occurrence is in Genesis 8:4: “And the ark [came to rest] … upon the mountains of Ararat.” This illustrates the frequent use of this word to show a physical settling down of something at some particular place. Other examples are birds (2 Samuel 21:10), insects (Exodus 10:14), and soles of feet in the waters of the Jordan (Joshua 3:13).VED-OT Rest, Remain.2

    “To rest” sometimes indicates a complete envelopment and thus permeation, as in the spirit of Elijah “resting” on Elisha (2 Kings 2:15), the hand of God “resting” on the mountain (Isaiah 25:10), and when Wisdom “resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding” (Proverbs 14:33). Frequently nûach means “to be quiet” or “to rest” after hard work (Exodus 20:11), from onslaught of one’s enemies (Esther 9:16), from trouble (Job 3:26), and in death (Job 3:17). The word may mean “to set one’s mind at rest,” as when a child receives the discipline of his parent (Proverbs 29:17). Sometimes nûach means “to leave at rest” or “to allow to remain.” Thus, God “allowed” the pagan nations “to remain” in Canaan during Joshua’s lifetime (Judges 2:23). God threatened to abandon the Israelites in the wilderness (Numbers 32:15).VED-OT Rest, Remain.3

    It should be noted that while nûach is used sometimes as a synonym for shabat, “to cease, to rest” (Exodus 20:11), shabat really is basically “to cease” from work which may imply rest, but not necessarily so. The writer of Genesis 2:3 is not stressing rest from work but rather God’s ceasing from His creative work since it was complete.VED-OT Rest, Remain.4


    A. Verb. VED-OT Return.2

    Shûb (שׁוּב, Strong's #7725), “to return or go back, bring back.” This verb occurs in several Semitic languages (not in Phoenician-Punic and Ethiopic) including Ugaritic (1550-1200 B.C.) and in all periods of Hebrew. It occurs about 1,060 times in biblical Hebrew and about 8 times in biblical Aramaic (in the form tub).VED-OT Return.3

    The basic meaning of the verb is movement back to the point of departure (unless there is evidence to the contrary). In the first occurrence of this verb God told Adam that he and Eve would “eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19).VED-OT Return.4

    Used in this emphasis, shûb can be applied specifically of returning along a path already traversed: “So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir” (Genesis 33:16). The word can mean “turn away from,” as in Psalms 9:3: “When mine enemies are turned back … ,” or “reverse a direction,” as in 2 Kings 20:10: “… Let the shadow return backward ten degrees.” It can mean the opposite of going out, as when the raven Noah sent forth was constantly going “to and fro” (Genesis 8:7)—this phrase, however, may also mean merely constant movement; the raven went about constantly “here and there” (cf. NASB). In Genesis 8:3 the word is used of the receding of the flood water; the water went (halak) down (shûb, “returned”) steadily.VED-OT Return.5

    The verb can also mean “to follow after”: “Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister-in-law” (Ruth 1:15).VED-OT Return.6

    Shûb can imply the cessation of something. In this sense, the word can imply “to go away or disappear”: “And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away” (Genesis 27:44). It can refer to the initiation of the cessation of something. In some cases violence is the means of bringing something to cease: “How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants …” (2 Kings 18:24). In Isaiah 47:10 the verb implies both turning away and destroying: “Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee.…”VED-OT Return.7

    In the case of spiritually returning (metaphorically) to the Lord, shûb can mean “turning away from” following Him (Numbers 14:43), “turning from” pursuing evil (1 Kings 8:35), and “to return” to Him and obey Him (Deuteronomy 30:2). The verb can also be used in close relation to another verb to indicate the repetition of an action presented by the other verb: “… I will again feed and keep thy flock” (Genesis 30:31).VED-OT Return.8

    B. Nouns. VED-OT Return.9

    Meshûbâh (מְשֻׁבָה, Strong's #4878), “backturning; apostasy.” This noun occurs 12 times, and it refers to “backsliding” in Hosea 14:4: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.”VED-OT Return.10

    Other nouns related to the verb shûb occur less frequently. Teshubah is found 8 times, and it may mean “return” or “beginning” (1 Samuel 7:17) and “answer” (Job 21:34). Shubah occurs once to mean “coming back” or “turning back” (Isaiah 30:15).VED-OT Return.11


    Râkab (רָכַב, Strong's #7392), “to ride, cause to ride.” Already found in ancient Akkadian and Ugaritic, this word is also common to both ancient and modern Hebrew. It occurs approximately 70 times in the text of the Hebrew Bible and is found for the first time in Genesis 24:61: “And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels.…” In addition to camels, the biblical account records the riding of mules (2 Samuel 13:29), asses (1 Samuel 25:42), horses (Zechariah 1:8), and chariots (2 Kings 9:16). “To ride” upon horses is symbolic of an alliance with Assyria (Hosea 14:3).VED-OT Ride.2

    Isaiah’s statement that “the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud” (Isaiah 19:1) is an interesting parallel to the Ugaritic text’s reference to the god Baal as “a rider on the clouds.” This is not to equate Baal with God, but simply to note the similar imagery which is used, and the apparent influence of one literature on another.VED-OT Ride.3

    Right Hand

    Yâmı̂yn (יָמִין, Strong's #3225), “right hand.” This word has cognates attested in Ugaritic, Arabic, Syriac, Aramaic, and Ethiopic. It appears about 137 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew.VED-OT Right Hand.2

    First, the word represents the bodily part called the “right hand”: “And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand …” (Genesis 48:13). Ehud was “bound as to his right hand”; he was lefthanded: “But when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded …” (Judges 3:15). Yâmı̂yn may be used in a figurative sense. God’s taking one’s “right hand” means that He strengthens him: “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not: I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:13). The Bible speaks anthropomorphically, attributing to God human parts and, in particular, a “right hand” (Exodus 15:6). The Bible teaches that God is a spirit and has no body or bodily parts (cf. Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 4:15-19). This figure is used of God’s effecting His will among men and of His working in their behalf (showing His favor): “And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High” (Psalms 77:10).VED-OT Right Hand.3

    Second, yâmı̂yn represents the direction, to the “right.” In this use the word can specify the location of someone or something: “But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left” (Exodus 14:29). In other contexts yâmı̂yn signifies “direction toward”: “Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left” (Genesis 13:9— the first biblical appearance).VED-OT Right Hand.4

    Third, yâmı̂yn can be used of bodily parts other than the right hand. In Judges 3:16 the word is used of one’s thigh (literally, “thigh of the right hand”): “But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh.” The word is used in 1 Samuel 11:2 in conjunction with one’s eye and in Exodus 29:22 with a thigh.VED-OT Right Hand.5

    Fourth, this word is used to mean “south,” since the south is on one’s “right” when he faces eastward: “Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?” (1 Samuel 23:19).VED-OT Right Hand.6

    Yemânı̂y (יְמָנִי, Strong's #3233), “right hand; on the right side; the right side (of one’s body); southern.” This noun appears 25 times in the Old Testament. Yemânı̂y means “right hand” in Exodus 29:20, the first biblical occurrence. In 1 Kings 7:21 the word refers to the “right side” in regard to a location. Yemânı̂y appears in Ezekiel 4:6 with the meaning of the “right side” of the body. The word implies “southern” in 1 Kings 6:8: “The door for the middle chamber was in the right side [southern side] of the house.…”VED-OT Right Hand.7

    Têymân (תֵּמָן, Strong's #8486), “south; southern quarter; southwards.” This noun makes 22 biblical appearances. In its first biblical occurrence (Exodus 26:18), the word refers to the direction “southward.” Têymân can mean “south” or “southern quarter” as in Joshua 15:1.VED-OT Right Hand.8

    Righteous, to Be

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

    Tsâdaq (צָדַק, Strong's #6663), “to be righteous, be in the right, be justified, be just.” This verb, which occurs fewer than 40 times in biblical Hebrew, is derived from the noun tsedeq. Nowhere is the issue of righteousness more appropriate than in the problem of the suffering of the righteous presented to us in Job, where the verb occurs 17 times. Apart from the Book of Job the frequency of tsâdaq in the various books is small. The first occurrence of the verb is in Genesis 38:26, where Judah admits that Tamar was just in her demands: “She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son.”VED-OT Righteous, to Be.3

    The basic meaning of tsâdaq is “to be righteous.” It is a legal term which involves the whole process of justice. God “is righteous” in all of His relations, and in comparison with Him man is not righteous: “Shall mortal man be more just [righteous] than God?” (Job 4:17). In a derived sense, the case presented may be characterized as a just cause in that all facts indicate that the person is to be cleared of all charges. Isaiah called upon the nations to produce witnesses who might testify that their case was right: “Let them bring forth their witnesses that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth” (43:9). Job was concerned about his case and defended it before his friends: “… Though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge” (9:15). Tsâdaq may also be used to signify the outcome of the verdict, when a man is pronounced “just” and is judicially cleared of all charges. Job believed that the Lord would ultimately vindicate him against his opponents (Job 13:18).VED-OT Righteous, to Be.4

    In its causative pattern, the meaning of the verb brings out more clearly the sense of a judicial pronouncement of innocence: “If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify [tsâdaq] the righteous [tsâddiq], and condemn the wicked” (Deuteronomy 25:1). The Israelites were charged with upholding righteousness in all areas of life. When the court system failed became of corruption, the wicked were falsely “justified” and the poor were robbed of justice because of trumped-up charges. Absalom, thus, gained a large following by promising justice to the landowner (2 Samuel 15:4). God, however, assured Israel that justice would be done in the end: “Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause. Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked” (Exodus 23:6-7). The righteous person followed God’s example. The psalmist exhorts his people to change their judicial system: “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy” (Psalms 82:3).VED-OT Righteous, to Be.5

    Job’s ultimate hope was in God’s declaration of justification. The Old Testament is in agreement with this hope. When injustice prevails, God is the One who “justifies.”VED-OT Righteous, to Be.6

    The Septuagint translates the verb by dikaiao (“to do justice, justly, to vindicate”). In the English versions a frequent translation is “to justify” (KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV); modern versions also give the additional translations “to be vindicated (RSV, NASB, NIV) and “to acquit” (RSV, NIV).VED-OT Righteous, to Be.7

    B. Nouns. VED-OT Righteous, to Be.8

    Tsedeq (צֶדֶק, Strong's #6664); Tsedâqâh (צְדָקָה, Strong's #6666), “righteousness.” These nouns come from a Semitic root which occurs in Hebrew, Phoenician and Aramaic with a juristic sense. In Phoenician and Old Aramaic it carries the sense of “loyalty” demonstrated by a king or priest as a servant of his own god. In these languages a form of the root is combined with other words or names, particularly with the name of a deity in royal names. In the Old Testament we meet the name Melchizedek (“king of righteousness”). A more limited meaning of the root is found in Arabic (a South Semitic language): “truthfulness” (of propositions). In rabbinic Hebrew the noun tsedâqâh signifies “alms” or “demonstrations of mercy.”VED-OT Righteous, to Be.9

    The word tsedâqâh, which occurs 157 times, is found throughout the Old Testament (except for Exodus, Leviticus, 2Kings, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Habbakuk, and Zephaniah). Tsedeq, which occurs 119 times, is found mainly in poetic literature. The first usage of sedeq is: “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15); and of tsedaqah is: "[Abram] believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).VED-OT Righteous, to Be.10

    Translators have found it difficult to translate these two words. The older translations base their understanding on the Septuagint with the translation dikaiosune (“righteousness”) and on the Vulgate iustitia (“justice”). In these translations the legal relationship of humans is transferred to God in an absolute sense as the Lawgiver and with the perfections of justice and “righteousness.”VED-OT Righteous, to Be.11

    Exegetes have spilled much ink in an attempt to understand contextually the words tsedeq and tsedâqâh. The conclusions of the researchers indicate a twofold significance. On the one hand, the relationships among people and of a man to his God can be described as tsedeq, supposing the parties are faithful to each other’s expectations. It is a relational word. In Jacob’s proposal to Laban, Jacob used the word tsedâqâh to indicate the relationship. The KJV gives the following translation of tsedâqâh: “So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face …” (Genesis 30:33). The NASB gives the word “righteousness” in a marginal note, but prefers the word “honesty” in the text itself. The NEB reads “fair offer” instead. Finally, the NIV has: “And my honesty [tsedâqâh] will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me.” On the other hand “righteousness” as an abstract or as the legal status of a relationship is also present in the Old Testament. The locus classicus is Genesis 15:6: “… And he [the Lord] counted it to him [Abraham] for righteousness.”VED-OT Righteous, to Be.12

    Regrettably, in a discussion of the dynamic versus the static sense of the word, one or the other wins out, though both elements are present. The books of Psalms and of the prophets particularly use the sense of “righteousness” as a state; cf. “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged” (Isaiah 51:1); and “My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust” (Isaiah 51:5). The NEB exhibits this tension between dynamic and static in the translation of tsedeq: “My victory [instead of righteousness] is near, my deliverance has gone forth and my arm shall rule the nations; for me coasts and islands shall wait and they shall look to me for protection” (Isaiah 51:5). Thus, in the discussion of the two nouns below the meanings lie between the dynamic and the static.VED-OT Righteous, to Be.13

    Tsedeq and tsedâqâh are legal terms signifying justice in conformity with the legal corpus (the Law; Deuteronomy 16:20), the judicial process (Jeremiah 22:3), the justice of the king as judge (1 Kings 10:9; Psalms 119:121; Proverbs 8:15), and also the source of justice, God Himself: “Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.… And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long” (Psalms 35:24, 28).VED-OT Righteous, to Be.14

    The word “righteousness” also embodies all that God expects of His people. The verbs associated with “righteousness” indicate the practicality of this concept. One judges, deals, sacrifices, and speaks righteously; and one learns, teaches, and pursues after righteousness. Based upon a special relationship with God, the Old Testament saint asked God to deal righteously with him: “Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son” (Psalms 72:1).VED-OT Righteous, to Be.15

    The Septuagint gives the following translations: dikaios (“those who are upright, just, righteous, conforming to God’s laws”); dikalosune (“righteousness; uprightness”); and eleemosune (“land deed; alms; charitable giving”). The KJV gives the senses “righteousness; justice.”VED-OT Righteous, to Be.16

    C. Adjective. VED-OT Righteous, to Be.17

    Tsaddı̂yq (צַדִּיק, Strong's #6662), “righteous; just.” This adjectival form occurs 206 times in biblical Hebrew. In Old Aramaic the adjective signifies “loyalty” of a king or high priest to his personal god, often represented by a gift to the god. Similarly in Phoenician, the noun and adjective apply to the loyal relationship of the king before the gods. The word is used of God in Exodus 9:27: “I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.” Tsaddı̂yq is used of a nation in Genesis 20:4: “… And he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?”VED-OT Righteous, to Be.18

    Rise Up Early

    Shâkam (שָׁכַם, Strong's #7925), “to rise early, start early.” Found in both biblical and modern Hebrew, this verb occurs some 65 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It is found for the first time in Genesis 19:2: “… And ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.” As in this instance, many of the instances of the use of shâkam are in connection with traveling. Thus, it may be used with verbs of going (as above) or encamping (Judges 7:1). The word is used some 30 times in reference to rising early in the morning, as in 1 Samuel 29:10, in which this phrase appears twice: “Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master’s servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart.”VED-OT Rise Up Early.2

    A number of times in the Book of Jeremiah, “rising up early” is used with “speaking” (7:13; 25:3; 35:14), “sending” (7:25; 25:4; 29:19; 35:15; 44:4), “protesting” (11:7), or “teaching” (32:33). Psalms 127:2 gives some interesting advice while using this word: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”VED-OT Rise Up Early.3

    River; Wadi

    A. Nouns. VED-OT River; Wadi.2

    Nachal (נַחְלָה, Strong's #5158), “wadi (or wady); torrentvalley; torrent; river; shaft.” This root also occurs in Akkadian, post-biblical Hebrew, and Syriac. In Arabic these same radicals mean “palm tree.” Nachal occurs about 139 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.VED-OT River; Wadi.3

    This noun represents a dry valley in which water runs during the rainy season: “And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there” (Genesis 26:17— the first biblical appearance). The word can signify the “wady” when it is full of rushing water. Indeed, it appears to describe the rushing water itself: “And he took them, and sent them over the brook …” (Genesis 32:23). Sometimes nachal means a permanent stream or “river”: “These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat” (Leviticus 11:9). Finally, the word represents a miner’s shaft (only once in the Scripture): “They open shafts in a valley away from where men live” (Job 28:4, RSV).VED-OT River; Wadi.4

    The Pentateuch consistently distinguishes between extra-Egyptian waterways (calling them nachal, 13 times, and nahar 13 times) and interEgyptian waterways (calling them ye’or). This distinction demonstrates the kind of firsthand knowledge and historical concern expected from a mature eyewitness.VED-OT River; Wadi.5

    Nachal is used figuratively of many things that emerge and disappear suddenly or that have extreme onrushing power such as the pride of nations (Isaiah 66:12), the strength of the invader (Jeremiah 47:2), and the power of the foe (Psalms 18:4). Torrents of oil do not please God if the offerer’s heart is wrongly disposed (Micah 6:7). God overfloods the godly with torrents of His good pleasure (Psalms 36:8). The eschaton is typified by streams, or torrents, in the desert (Ezekiel 47:5-19; cf. Exodus 177:3ff.).VED-OT River; Wadi.6

    Nâhâr (נָהָר, Strong's #5104), “river; stream; canal; current.” Cognates of this word are attested in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Aramaic, and Arabic. The word appears about 120 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.VED-OT River; Wadi.7

    First, this word mually refers to permanent natural watercourses. In its first biblical appearance nâhâr represents the primeval “rivers” of Eden: “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (Genesis 2:10).VED-OT River; Wadi.8

    In some passages nâhâr may represent a “canal(s)”: “Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams [the branches of the Nile], upon their rivers [canals], and upon their ponds …” (Exodus 7:19; cf. Ezekiel 1:1).VED-OT River; Wadi.9

    Third, this word is used of “ocean currents”: “For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me” (Jonah 2:3).VED-OT River; Wadi.10

    Fourth, nâhâr is used of underground streams: “For he hath founded it [the earth] upon the seas, and established it upon the floods” (Psalms 24:2). This passage appears to be a literary allusion to the pagan concept of the creation and structure of the world—the next verse is “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?” (Psalms 24:3).VED-OT River; Wadi.11

    This word plays a prominent role in the figure of divine blessing set forth in Psalms 46:4: “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God.…” This may be an allusion to the primeval “river” in Eden whose water gave life to the garden. In Isaiah 33:21 the same Jerusalem is depicted as having “rivers” of blessing: “… A place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby” (cf. Isaiah 48:18). In other passages a “river” is a figure of trouble and difficulty: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee …” (Isaiah 43:2). This is in marked contrast to the use of the same idea in Isaiah 66:12, where an “overflowing stream” depicts respectively the onrush of God’s glory and divine peace.VED-OT River; Wadi.12

    B. Verb. VED-OT River; Wadi.13

    Nâhar (נָהַר, Strong's #5102), “to flow.” This verb, derived from the noun nâhar, occurs 3 times in biblical Hebrew. The first occurrence is in Isaiah 2:2: “And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.”VED-OT River; Wadi.14


    Tsûr (צֻר, Strong's #6697), “rock; rocky wall; cliff; rocky hill; mountain; rocky surface; boulder.” Cognates of this word appear in Amorite, Phoenician, Ugaritic, and Aramaic. Other than in names of places and persons, the word appears 70 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.VED-OT Rock.2

    First, tsûr means “rocky wall” or “cliff.” This is probably what Moses struck in Exodus 17:6: “Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it.…” Thus God hid Moses in a cleft of the “rocky cliff” (Exodus 33:21-22).VED-OT Rock.3

    Second, the word frequently means “rocky hill” or “mountains.” This emphasis clearly emerges in Isaiah 2:10, 19: “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust.… And [men] shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth.…” Thus “rock” is an abbreviation for “caves of the rocks.” A lookout sees someone “from the top of the rocks [hills] … , from the hills” (Numbers 23:9). The “rock” (mountains or hills) flowing with honey and oil figures the abundant overflowing blessing of God (Deuteronomy 32:13). The “rock” (or mountain) serves as a figure of security (Psalms 61:2), firmness (Job 14:18), and something that endures (Job 19:24).VED-OT Rock.4

    Third, tsûr can mean “rocky ground” or perhaps a large flat “rock”: “And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock …” (2 Samuel 21:10; cf. Proverbs 30:19).VED-OT Rock.5

    Fourth, in some passages the word means “boulder.” in the sense of a rock large enough to serve as an altar: “… There rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes …” (Judges 6:21).VED-OT Rock.6

    “Rock” is frequently used to picture God’s support and defense of His people (Deuteronomy 32:15). In some cases this noun is an epithet, or meaningful name, of God (Deuteronomy 32:4), or of heathen gods: “For their rock [god] is not as our Rock [God] …” (Deuteronomy 32:31).VED-OT Rock.7

    Finally, Abraham is the source (rock) from which Israel was hewn (Isaiah 51:1).VED-OT Rock.8


    Mâshal (מָשַׁל, Strong's #4910), “to rule, reign, have dominion.” This term is common in both ancient and modern Hebrew. It is found approximately 100 times in the text of the Hebrew Old Testament. The word is used for the first time in the Old Testament in Genesis 1:18, where the sun, moon, and stars are designated “to rule over the day and over the night.…”VED-OT Rule.2

    Mâshal is used most frequently in the text to express the “ruling or dominion” of one person over another (Genesis 3:16; 24:2). Cain is advised “to rule over” or “master” sin (Genesis 4:7). Joseph’s brothers respond to his dreams with the angry question: “Shalt thou indeed reign over us?” (Genesis 37:8; the Hebrew verb here is literally “ruling will you rule,” the repetition of the same root giving the needed emphasis).VED-OT Rule.3

    As Creator and Sovereign over His world, God “ruleth by his power for ever” (Psalms 66:7). When God allowed Israel to have a king, it was with the condition that God was still the ultimate King and that first loyalty belonged to Him (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). This theocratic ideal is perhaps best expressed by Gideon: “I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you” (Judges 8:23). With the possible exception of David, no king of Israel fully lived up to the theocratic ideal, and David himself had some problems with it.VED-OT Rule.4


    A. Verb. VED-OT Run.2

    Rûts (רוּץ, Strong's #7323), “to hasten, run.” This verb also appears in Ethiopic, Aramaic (where it is spelled rehats), and Akkadian (where it means “hasten to one’s aid”). It appears about 80 times in the Bible and in all periods of the language.VED-OT Run.3

    In some contexts rûts signifies moving very quickly or “hastening” rather than running. This appears to be the emphasis in its first occurrence, where we are told that “when [Abraham] saw them [the three men], he ran to meet them from the tent door …” (Genesis 18:2). Abraham did not run to meet the three men but instead moved very quickly to meet them. So, also, Abraham probably did not run but “hastened” to his herd to choose the animal for the meal (cf. Genesis 18:7). This meaning is confirmed by Isaiah 59:7, where the verb is in synonymous parallelism with mahar (“to hasten”): “Their [the wicked’s] feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood.…” The sense “hasten” or “move quickly” also appears in Genesis 41:14, where we are told that “Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon.…” It appears again in the sense “quickly” in Psalms 68:31: “… Let Ethiopia hasten to stretch out her hands to God” (RSV).VED-OT Run.4

    Usually this word means “to run.” This significance is quite clear in Joshua 8:19, where it is reported that the Israelites in ambush (against Ai) “arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he [Joshua] had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it.…” This is a military picture. It describes the height of battle when a troop rushes/runs headlong into the enemy or their camp. Samuel told Israel that God would give them a king after their own hearts (one that met their standards) but that he would make their sons “run” before his chariots, or “run” headlong into battle (1 Samuel 8:11). It was not having a king that was evil, for God had provided for a king in the Mosaic law (cf. Deuteronomy 177:14ff.). The people sinned because they wanted a king who would be like the kings over other peoples. He would be primarily a military leader. Therefore, God responded that He would give them the kind of king they wanted but that their battles would be won at the cost of their sons’ lives. David, the man after God’s own heart (the man of God’s choosing), was an imperfect king, but when he repented and obeyed God, battles were won without the loss of Israelite lives. This military sense of charging into battle appears metaphorically, describing the lifestyle of the wicked—they “rush” headlong at God (Job 15:26). This emphasis also explains the rather difficult passage 2 Samuel 22:30: “For by thee I have run through a troop … ,” which means to charge at the enemy (cf. NASB, “margin”).VED-OT Run.5

    Rûts is also med of “running away from” something or someone. In the battle against Midian when Gideon and his band routed the unsuspecting enemy, “all the host [Midianites] ran, and cried, and fled” (Judges 7:21). But as with the previous emphasis, so this nuance of “to run away from” may be used in non-military contexts. In 1 Samuel 20:36 the verb signifies running away from someone in search of something, in the sense of not fleeing but pursuing. Jonathan told his aide: “Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot.”VED-OT Run.6

    Rûts can signify “running” into somewhere not only in a hostile sense but in order to be united with or hidden by it. For example, the sage confesses that “the name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). The goal of “running” may be unspecified while the direction or path is emphasized. So used, rûts means to pursue a particular course of action: “I will run the way of thy commandments …” (Psalms 119:32).VED-OT Run.7

    The word is used in several technical senses. Kings and pretenders to the throne demonstrate their exalted position by having runners precede their chariots (2 Samuel 15:1). Perhaps this was in direct response to Samuel’s description in 1 Samuel 8:11. Runners also served as official messengers; so Ahimaaz son of Zadok said: “Let me now run, and bear the king [David] tidings, how that the Lord hath avenged him of his enemies [Absalom]” (2 Samuel 18:19).VED-OT Run.8

    There are a few additional special nuances of rûts. In Song of Song of Solomon 1:4 the word has something to do with love-making, so the translation “let us run together” (NASB) is probably misleading. Perhaps one might translate: “Draw me after you and let us hasten [to make love]; the king has brought me into his bed chambers.” In Haggai 1:9 the word means “to busy oneself”: “Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.” Finally, Habakkuk 2:2 uses this verb to mean “to read quickly,” or fluently: “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”VED-OT Run.9

    B. Noun. VED-OT Run.10

    Meruts means “running; course.” This noun, which occurs only 4 times in biblical Hebrew, represents both the mode of running (2 Samuel 18:27) and the course one runs (Jeremiah 23:10).VED-OT Run.11

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