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    Day — Dwell


    Yôm (יוֹם, Strong's #3117), “daylight; day; time; moment; year.” This word also appears in Ugaritic, extrabiblical Hebrew or Canaanite (e.g., the Siloam inscription), Akkadian, Phoenician, and Arabic. It also appears in post-biblical Hebrew. Attested at every era of biblical Hebrew, yôm occurs about 2,304 times.VED-OT Day.2

    Yôm has several meanings. The word represents the period of “daylight” as contrasted with nighttime: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22). The word denotes a period of twenty-four hours: “And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day …” (Genesis 39:10). Yôm can also signify a period of time of unspecified duration: “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:3). In this verse, “day” refers to the entire period of God’s resting from creating this universe. This “day” began after He completed the creative acts of the seventh day and extends at least to the return of Christ. Compare Genesis 2:4: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day [beyôm] that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.…” Here “day” refers to the entire period envisioned in the first six days of creation. Another nuance appears in Genesis 2:17, where the word represents a “point of time” or “a moment”: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day [beyôm] that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Finally, when used in the plural, the word may represent “year”: “Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year [yamim]” (Exodus 13:10).VED-OT Day.3

    There are several other special nuances of  when it is used with various prepositions. First, when used with ke (“as,” “like”), it can connote “first”: “And Jacob said, Sell me this day [first] thy birthright” (Genesis 25:31). It may also mean “one day,” or “about this day”: “And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business …” (Genesis 39:11). On Joseph’s lips, the phrase connotes “this present result” (literally, “as it is this day”): “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). Adonijah used this same phrase to represent “today”: “Let king Solomon swear unto me today that he will not slay his servant …” (1 Kings 1:51). Yet another nuance appears in 1 Samuel 9:13: “Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him.” When used with the definite article ha, the noun may mean “today” (as it does in Genesis 4:14) or refer to some particular “day” (1 Samuel 1:4) and the “daytime” (Nehemiah 4:16).VED-OT Day.4

    The first biblical occurrence of yôm is found in Genesis 1:5: “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” The second use introduces one of the most debated occurrences of the word, which is the duration of the days of creation. Perhaps the most frequently heard explanations are that these “days” are 24 hours long, indefinitely long (i.e., eras of time), or logical rather than temporal categories (i.e., they depict theological categories rather than periods of time).VED-OT Day.5

    The “day of the Lord” is used to denote both the end of the age (eschatologically) or some occurrence during the present age (non-eschatologically). It may be a day of either judgment or blessing, or both (cf. Isaiah 2).VED-OT Day.6

    It is noteworthy that Hebrew people did not divide the period of daylight into regular hourly periods, whereas nighttime was divided into three watches (Exodus 14:24; Judges 7:19). The beginning of a “day” is sometimes said to be dusk (Esther 4:16) and sometimes dawn (Deuteronomy 28:66-67).VED-OT Day.7

    Deal Out, Deal with

    Gâmal (גָּמַל Strong's #1580), “to deal out, deal with, wean, ripen.” Found in both biblical and modern Hebrew, this word occurs 35 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. While the basic meaning of the word is “to deal out, with,” the wide range of meaning can be seen in its first occurrence in the biblical text: “And the child grew, and was weaned …” (Genesis 21:8).VED-OT Deal Out, Deal with.2

    Gâmal is used most frequently in the sense of “to deal out to,” such as in Proverbs 31:12: “She will do him good and not evil.…” The word is used twice in 1 Samuel 24:17: “… Thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.” The psalmist rejoices and sings to the Lord “because he hath dealt bountifully with me” (Psalms 13:6). This word can express ripening of grapes (Isaiah 18:5) or bearing ripe almonds (Numbers 17:8).VED-OT Deal Out, Deal with.3


    Mâveth (מָוֶת, Strong's #4194), “death.” This word appears 150 times in the Old Testament. The word mâveth occurs frequently as an antonym of hayyim (“life”): “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live …” (Deuteronomy 30:19). In the poetic language, mâveth is used more often than in the historical books: Job-Proverbs (about 60 times), Joshua-Esther (about 40 times); but in the major prophets only about 25 times.VED-OT Death.2

    “Death” is the natural end of human life on this earth; it is an aspect of God’s judgment on man: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Hence all men die: “If these men die the common death of all men … then the Lord hath not sent me” (Numbers 16:29). The Old Testament uses “death” in phrases such as “the day of death” (Genesis 27:2) and “the year of death” (Isaiah 6:1), or to mark an event as occurring before (Genesis 27:7, 10) or after (Genesis 26:18) someone’s passing away.VED-OT Death.3

     “Death” may also come upon someone in a violent manner, as an execution of justice: “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree …” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Saul declared David to be a “son of death” because he intended to have David killed (1 Samuel 20:31; cf. Proverbs 16:14). In one of his experiences, David composed a psalm expressing how close an encounter he had had with death: “When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; the sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me” (2 Samuel 22:5-6; cf. Psalms 18:5-6). Isaiah predicted the Suffering Servant was to die a violent death: “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9).VED-OT Death.4

    Associated with the meaning of “death” is the meaning of “death by a plague.” In a besieged city with unsanitary conditions, pestilence would quickly reduce the weakened population. Jeremiah alludes to this type of death as God’s judgment on Egypt (43:11); note that “death” refers here to “death of famine and pestilence.” Lamentations describes the situation of Jerusalem before its fall: “… Abroad the sword bereaveth, at home there is as death” (Lamentations 1:20; cf. also Jeremiah 21:8-9).VED-OT Death.5

    Finally, the word mâveth denotes the “realm of the dead” or che’ol. This place of death has gates (Psalms 9:13; 107:18) and chambers (Proverbs 7:27); the path of the wicked leads to this abode (Proverbs 5:5).VED-OT Death.6

    Isaiah expected “death” to be ended when the Lord’s full kingship would be established: “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: for the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 25:8). Paul argued on the basis of Jesus’ resurrection that this event had already taken place (1 Corinthians 15:54), but John looked forward to the hope of the resurrection when God would wipe away our tears (Revelation 21:4).VED-OT Death.7

    Teumtah means “death.” One occurrence is in Psalms 79:11: “Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die [literally, sons of death]” (cf. Psalms 102:20).VED-OT Death.8

    Mâmoth refers to “death.” Mâmoth appears in Jeremiah 16:4: “They shall die of grievous deaths …” (cf. Ezekiel 28:8).VED-OT Death.9


    Shâv' (שַׁו, Strong's #7723), “deceit; deception; malice; falsity; vanity; emptiness.” The 53 occurrences of shâv' are primarily in poetry. The basic meaning of this word is “deceit” or “deception,” “malice,” and “falsehood.” This meaning emerges when shâv' is used in a legal context: “Put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness” (Exodus 23:1). Used in cultic contexts, the word bears these same overtones but may be rendered variously. For example, in Psalms 31:6 the word may be rendered “vain” (KJV, “lying”), in the sense of “deceitful” (cf. Ezekiel 12:24). Eliphaz described the ungodly as those who trust in “emptiness” or “deception,” though they gain nothing but emptiness as a reward for that trust (Job 15:31).VED-OT Deceit.2


    A. Verbs. Nâthan (נָתַן, Strong's #5414), “to deliver, give, place, set up, lay, make, do.” This verb occurs in the different Semitic languages in somewhat different forms. The form nâthan occurs not only in Aramaic (including in the Bible) and in Hebrew (in all periods). The related forms nâdanu (Akkadian) and yâthan (Phoenician) are also attested. These verbs occur about 2,010 times in the Bible.VED-OT Deliver.2

    First, nâthan represents the action by which something is set going or actuated. Achsah asked her father Caleb to “give” her a blessing, such as a tract of land with abundant water, as her dowry; she wanted him to “transfer” it from his possession to hers (Joshua 15:19). There is a technical use of this verb without an object: Moses instructs Israel to “give” generously to the man in desperate need (Deuteronomy 15:10). In some instances, nâthan can mean to “send forth,” as in “sending forth” a fragrance (Song of Song of Solomon 1:12). When used of a liquid, the word means to “send forth” in the sense of “spilling,” for example, to spill blood (Deuteronomy 21:8).VED-OT Deliver.3

    Nâthan also has a technical meaning in the area of jurisprudence, meaning to hand something over to someone—for example, “to pay” (Genesis 23:9) or “to loan” (Deuteronomy 15:10). A girl’s parent or someone else in a responsible position may “give” her to a man to be his wife (Genesis 16:3), as well as presenting a bride price (Genesis 34:12) and dowry (1 Kings 9:16). The verb also is used of “giving” or “granting” a request (Genesis 15:2).VED-OT Deliver.4

    Sometimes, nâthan can be used to signify “putting” (“placing”) someone into custody (2 Samuel 14:7) or into prison (Jeremiah 37:4), or even of “destroying” something (Judges 6:30). This same basic sense may be applied to “dedicating” (“handing over”) something or someone to God, such as the first-born son (Exodus 22:29). Levites are those who have been “handed over” in this way (Numbers 3:9). This word is used of “bringing reprisal” upon someone or of “giving” him what he deserves; in some cases, the stress is on the act of reprisal (1 Kings 8:32), or bringing his punishment on his head.VED-OT Deliver.5

    Nâthan can be used of “giving” or “ascribing” something to someone, such as “giving” glory and praise to God (Joshua 7:19). Obviously, nothing is passed from men to God; nothing is added to God, since He is perfect. This means, therefore, that a worshiper recognizes and confesses what is already His.VED-OT Deliver.6

    Another major emphasis of nâthan is the action of “giving” or “effecting” a result. For example, the land will “give” (“yield”) its fruit (Deuteronomy 25:19). In some passages, this verb means “to procure” (“to set up”), as when God “gave” (“procured, set up”) favor for Joseph (Genesis 39:21). The word can be used of sexual activity, too, emphasizing the act of intercourse or “one’s lying down” with an animal (Leviticus 18:23).VED-OT Deliver.7

    God “placed” (literally, “gave”) the heavenly lights into the expanse of the heavens (Genesis 1:17—the first occurrence of the verb). A garland is “placed” (literally, “given”) upon one’s head (Proverbs 4:9). The children of Israel are commanded not to “set up” idols in their land. A third meaning of nâthan is seen in Genesis 17:5: “… For a father of many nations have I made [literally, “given”] thee.” There are several instances where the verb bears this significance.VED-OT Deliver.8

    Nâthan has a number of special implications when used with bodily parts—for example, “to give” or “turn” a stubborn shoulder (Nehemiah 9:29). Similarly, compare expressions such as “turning [giving] one’s face” (2 Chronicles 29:6). To “turn [give] one’s back” is to flee (Exodus 23:27). “Giving one’s hand” may be no more than “putting it forth,” as in the case of the unborn Zarah (Genesis 38:28). This word can also signify an act of friendship as when Jehonadab “gave his hand” (instead of a sword) to Jehu to help him into the chariot (2 Kings 10:15); an act of oathtaking, as when the priests “pledged” (“gave their hands”) to put away their foreign wives (Ezra 10:19); and “making” or “renewing” a covenant, as when the leaders of Israel “pledged” themselves (“gave their hands”) to follow Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:24). “To give something into someone’s hand” is to “commit” it to his care. So after the Flood, God “gave” the earth into Noah’s hand (Genesis 9:2). This phrase is used to express the “transfer of political power,” such as the divine right to rule (2 Samuel 16:8). Nâthan is used especially in a military and judicial sense, meaning “to give over one’s power or control,” or to grant victory to someone; so Moses said God would “give” the kings of Canaan into Israel’s hands (Deuteronomy 7:24).VED-OT Deliver.9

    “To give one’s heart” to something or someone is “to be concerned about it”; Pharaoh was not “concerned” about (“did not set his heart to”) Moses’ message from God (Exodus 7:23). “To put [give] something into one’s heart” is to give one ability and concern to do something; thus God “put” it in the heart of the Hebrew craftsmen to teach others (Exodus 36:2). “To give one’s face to” is to focus one’s attention on something, as when Jehoshaphat was afraid of the alliance of the Transjordanian kings and “set [his face] to seek the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:3). This same phrase can merely mean “to be facing someone or something” (cf. Genesis 30:40).VED-OT Deliver.10

    “To give one’s face against” is a hostile action (Leviticus 17:10). Used with lipne (literally, “before the face of”), this verb may mean “to place an object before” or to “set it down before” (Exodus 30:6). It may also mean “to put before” (Deuteronomy 11:26), “to smite” (cf. Deuteronomy 2:33), or “to give as one’s possession” (Deuteronomy 1:8).VED-OT Deliver.11

    Yâsha‛ (יָשַׁע, Strong's #3467), “to deliver, help.” Apart from Hebrew, this root occurs only in a Moabite inscription. The verb occurs over 200 times in the Bible. For example: “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not” (Isaiah 30:15).VED-OT Deliver.12

    B. Nouns. VED-OT Deliver.13

    Yeshû‛âh (יְשׁוּעָה, Strong's #3444), “deliverance.” This noun appears 78 times in the Old Testament, predominantly in the Book of Psalms (45 times) and Isaiah (19 times). The first occurrence is in Jacob’s last words: “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord” (Genesis 49:18).VED-OT Deliver.14

    “Salvation” in the Old Testament is not understood as a salvation from sin, since the word denotes broadly anything from which “deliverance” must be sought: distress, war, servitude, or enemies. There are both human and divine deliverers, but the word yeshû‛âh rarely refers to human “deliverance.” A couple of exceptions are when Jonathan brought respite to the Israelites from the Philistine pressure (1 Samuel 14:45), and when Joab and his men were to help one another in battle (2 Samuel 10:11). “Deliverance” is generally used with God as the subject. He is known as the salvation of His people: “But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation” (Deuteronomy 32:15; cf. Isaiah 12:2). He worked many wonders in behalf of His people: “O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath [worked salvation for him]” (Psalms 98:1). Yeshû‛âh occurs either in the context of rejoicing (Psalms 9:14) or in the context of a prayer for “deliverance”: “But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high” (Psalms 69:29).VED-OT Deliver.15

    Habakkuk portrays the Lord’s riding on chariots of salvation (3:8) to deliver His people from their oppressors. The worst reproach that could be made against a person was that God did not come to his rescue: “Many there be which say of my soul, there is no help for him in God [literally, “he has no deliverance in God”]” (Psalms 3:2).VED-OT Deliver.16

    Many personal names contain a form of the root, such as Joshua (“the Lord is help”), Isaiah (“the Lord is help”), and Jesus (a Greek form of yeshu’ah).VED-OT Deliver.17

    Yesha‛ (יֶשַׁע, 3468), “deliverance.” This noun appears 36 times in the Old Testament. One appearance is in Psalms 50:23: “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God.”VED-OT Deliver.18

    Teshû‛âh (תְּשֻׁעָה, Strong's #8668), “deliverance.” Teshû‛âh occurs 34 times. One example is Isaiah 45:17: “But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.”VED-OT Deliver.19

    The Septuagint translations are: soteria and soterion (“salvation; preservation; deliverance”) and soter (“savior; deliverer”). The KJV gives these translations: “salvation; deliverance; help.”VED-OT Deliver.20


    Nâsa‛ (נָסַע, Strong's #5265), “to journey, depart, set out march.” Found throughout the development of the Hebrew language, this root is also found in ancient Akkadian. The word is used nearly 150 times in the Hebrew Bible. It occurs for the first time in Genesis 11:2, where nâsa‛ refers to the “migration” (RSV) of people to the area of Babylon. It is probably the most common term in the Old Testament referring to the movement of clans and tribes. Indeed, the word is used almost 90 times in the Book of Numbers alone, since this book records the “journeying” of the people of Israel from Sinai to Canaan.VED-OT Depart.2

    This word has the basic meaning of “pulling up” tent pegs (Isaiah 33:20) in preparation for “moving” one’s tent and property to another place; thus it lends itself naturally to the general term of “traveling” or “journeying.” Samson is said to have “pulled up” the city gate and posts (Judges 16:3), as well as the pin on the weaver’s loom (Judges 16:14). Nâsa‛ is used to describe the “movement” of the angel of God and the pillar of cloud as they came between Israel and the pursuing Egyptians at the Sea of Reeds (Exodus 14:19). In Numbers 11:31, the word refers to the “springing up” (NEB) of the wind that brought the quail to feed the Israelites in the wilderness.VED-OT Depart.3

    Nâsa‛ lends itself to a wide range of renderings, depending upon the context.VED-OT Depart.4

    Desolate, to Be

    Shâmêm (שָׁמֵם, Strong's #8074), “to be desolate, astonished, appalled, devastated, ravaged.” This verb is found in both biblical and modern Hebrew. It occurs approximately 90 times in the text of the Hebrew Old Testament. Shâmêm does not occur until Leviticus 26:22: “Your high ways shall be desolate.” Interestingly, the word occurs 25 times in the Book of Ezekiel alone, which may reflect either Ezekiel’s times or (more likely) his personality.VED-OT Desolate, to Be.2

    Just how the meanings “be desolate,” “be astonished,” and “be appalled” are to be connected with each other is not clear. In some instances, the translator must make a subjective choice. For example, after being raped by her half-brother, Tamar is said to have remained in her brother Absalom’s house, “desolate” (2 Samuel 13:20). However, she surely was “appalled” at what Amnon had done. Also, the traditional expression, “to be desolated,” sometimes means much the same as “to be destroyed” (cf. Amos 7:9; Ezekiel 6:4).VED-OT Desolate, to Be.3

    Shâmêm often expresses the idea of to “devastate” or “ravage”: “I will destroy her vines” (Hosea 2:12). What one sees sometimes is so horrible that it “horrifies” or “appalls”: “Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth [i.e., be speechless]” (Job 21:5).VED-OT Desolate, to Be.4


    Mâ'as ( מָאַס, Strong's #3988), “to reject, refuse, despise.” This verb is common in both biblical and modern Hebrew. It occurs about 75 times in the Hebrew Old Testament and is found for the first time in Leviticus 26:15: “… If ye shall despise [RSV, “spurn”] my statutes.…”VED-OT Despise.2

    God will not force man to do His will, so He sometimes must “reject” him: “Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me …” (Hosea 4:6). Although God had chosen Saul to be king, Saul’s response caused a change in God’s attitude: “Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:23). As a creature of free choice, man may “reject” God: “… Ye have despised the Lord which is among you” (Numbers 11:20). At the same time, man may “reject” evil (Isaiah 7:15-16)When the things that God requires are done with the wrong motives or attitudes, God “de-spised his actions: “I hate, I despise your feast days …” (Amos 5:21). Purity of heart and attitude are more important to God than perfection and beauty of ritual.VED-OT Despise.3


    Shâmad (שָׁמַד, Strong's #8045), “to destroy, annihilate, exterminate.” This biblical word occurs also in modern Hebrew, with the root having the connotation of “religious persecution” or “forced conversion.” Shâmad is found 90 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, the first time in Genesis 34:30: “I shall be destroyed.”VED-OT Destroy.2

    This word always expresses complete “destruction” or “annihilation.” While the word is often used to express literal “destruction” of people (Deuteronomy 2:12; Judges 21:16), shâmad frequently is part of an open threat or warning given to the people of Israel, promising “destruction” if they forsake God for idols (cf. Deuteronomy 4:25-26). This word also expresses the complete “destruction” of the pagan high places (Hosea 10:8) of Baal and his images (2 Kings 10:28). When God wants to completely “destroy,” He will sweep “with the [broom] of destruction” (Isaiah 14:23).VED-OT Destroy.3

    Shâchath (שָׁחַת, Strong's #7843), “to corrupt, spoil, ruin, mar, destroy.” Used primarily in biblical Hebrew, this word has cognate forms in a few other Semitic languages such as Aramaic and Ethiopic. It is used about 150 times in the Hebrew Bible and is found first in Genesis 6 where it is used 4 times in reference to the “corruption” that prompted God to bring the Flood upon the earth (Genesis 6:11-12, 17).VED-OT Destroy.4

    Anything that is good can be “corrupted” or “spoiled,” such as Jeremiah’s loincloth (Jeremiah 13:7), a vineyard (Jeremiah 12:10), cities (Genesis 13:10), and a temple (Lamentations 2:6). Shâchath has the meaning of “to waste” when used of words that are inappropriately spoken (Proverbs 23:8). In its participial form, the word is used to describe a “ravening lion” (Jeremiah 2:30, RSV) and the “destroying angel” (1 Chronicles 21:15). The word is used as a symbol for a trap in Jeremiah 5:26. Shâchath is used frequently by the prophets in the sense of “to corrupt morally” (Isaiah 1:4; Ezekiel 23:11; Zephaniah 3:7).VED-OT Destroy.5


    Châshab (חָשַׁב, Strong's #2803), “to think, account, reckon, devise, plan.” This word is found throughout the historical development of Hebrew and Aramaic. Found at least 120 times in the Hebrew Bible, châshab occurs in the text for the first time in Genesis 15:6, where it was said of Abraham: “He believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness” (RSV). Here the term has the meaning of “to be imputed.”VED-OT Devise.2

    Frequently used in the ordinary sense of “thinking,” or the normal thought processes (Isaiah 10:7; 53:4; Malachi 3:16), châshab also is used in the sense of “devising evil plans” (Genesis 50:20; Jeremiah 48:2). The word refers to craftsmen “inventing” instruments of music, artistic objects, and weapons of war (Exodus 31:4; 2 Chronicles 26:15; Amos 6:5).VED-OT Devise.3


    Mûth (מוּת, Strong's #4191), “to die, kill.” This verb occurs in all Semitic languages (including biblical Aramaic) from the earliest times, and in Egyptian. The verb occurs about 850 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.VED-OT Die.2

    Essentially, mûth means to “lose one’s life.” The word is used of physical “death,” with reference to both man and beast. Genesis 5:5 records that Adam lived “nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.” Jacob explains to Esau that, were his livestock to be driven too hard (fast), the young among them would “die” (Genesis 33:13). At one point, this verb is also used to refer to the stump of a plant (Job 14:8). Occasionally, mûth is used figuratively of land (Genesis 47:19) or wisdom (Job 12:2). Then, too, there is the unique hyperbolic expression that Nabal’s heart had “died” within him, indicating that he was overcome with great fear (1 Samuel 25:37).VED-OT Die.3

    In an intensive stem, this root is used of the last act inflicted upon one who is already near death. Thus Abimelech, his head having been cracked by a millstone, asked his armor-bearer to “kill” him (Judges 9:54). In the usual causative stem, this verb can mean “to cause to die” or “to kill”; God is the one who “puts to death” and gives life (Deuteronomy 32:39). Usually, both the subject and object of this usage are personal, although there are exceptions—as when the Philistines personified the ark of the covenant, urging its removal so it would not “kill” them (1 Samuel 5:11). Death in this sense may also be inflicted by animals (Exodus 21:29). This word describes “putting to death” in the broadest sense, including war and judicial sentences of execution (Joshua 10:26).VED-OT Die.4

    God is clearly the ultimate Ruler of life and death (cf. Deuteronomy 32:39). This idea is especially clear in the Creation account, in which God tells man that he will surely die if he eats of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:17—the first occurrence of the verb). Apparently there was no death before this time. When the serpent questioned Eve, she associated disobedience with death (Genesis 3:3). The serpent repeated God’s words, but negated them (Genesis 3:4). When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, both spiritual and physical death came upon Adam and Eve and their descendants (cf. Romans 5:12). They experienced spiritual death immediately, resulting in their shame and their attempt to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:7). Sin and/or the presence of spiritual death required a covering, but man’s provision was inadequate; so God made a perfect covering in the form of a promised redeemer (Genesis 3:15) and a typological covering of animal skins (Genesis 3:21).VED-OT Die.5


    Nâkar (נָכַר, Strong's #5234), “to discern, regard, recognize, pay attention to, be acquainted with.” This verb is found in both ancient and modern Hebrew. It occurs approximately 50 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The first time nâkar is used is in Genesis 27:23.VED-OT Discern.2

    The basic meaning of the term is a “physical apprehension,” whether through sight, touch, or hearing. Darkness sometimes makes “recognition” impossible (Ruth 3:14). People are often “recognized” by their voices (Judges 18:3). Nâkar sometimes has the meaning of “pay attention to,” a special kind of “recognition”: “Blessed be the man who took notice of you” (Ruth 2:19, RSV, KJV, “did take knowledge of”). This verb can mean “to be acquainted with,” a kind of intellectual awareness: “… Neither shall his place know him any more” (Job 7:10; cf. Psalms 103:16). The sense of “to distinguish” is seen in Ezra 3:13: “… The people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people.…”VED-OT Discern.3

    Dismayed, to Be

    Châthath (חָתַת, Strong's #2865), “to be dismayed, shattered, broken, terrified.” Used primarily in the Hebrew Old Testament, this verb has been identified in ancient Akkadian and Ugaritic texts by some scholars. The word is used approximately 50 times in the Hebrew Old Testament and occurs for the first time in Deuteronomy 1:21 as Moses challenged Israel: “Do not fear or be dismayed” (RSV, NEB, “afraid”; KJV, JB, “discouraged”). As here, châthath is often used in parallelism with the Hebrew term for “fear” (cf. Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 8:1; 1 Samuel 17:11). Similarly, châthath is frequently used in parallelism with “to be ashamed” (Isaiah 20:5; Jeremiah 8:9).VED-OT Dismayed, to Be.2

    An interesting figurative use of the word is found in Jeremiah 14:4, where the ground “is dismayed [KJV, “chapt”], for there was no rain.” The meaning “to be shattered” is usually employed in a figurative sense, as with reference to the nations coming under God’s judgment (Isaiah 7:8; 30:31). The coming Messiah is to “shatter” or “break” the power of all His enemies (Isaiah 9:4).VED-OT Dismayed, to Be.3


    A. Nouns. VED-OT Distress.2

    Tsârâh (צָרָה, Strong's #6869), “distress; straits.” The 70 appearances of tsârâh occur in all periods of biblical literature, although most occurrences are in poetry (poetical, prophetical, and wisdom literature).VED-OT Distress.3

    Tsârâh means “straits” or “distress” in a psychological or spiritual sense, which is its meaning in Genesis 42:21 (the first occurrence): “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear.…”VED-OT Distress.4

    Tsâr (צָר, Strong's #6862), “distress.” This word also occurs mostly in poetry. In Proverbs 24:10, tsâr means “scarcity” or the “distress” caused by scarcity. The emphasis of the noun is sometimes on the feeling of “dismay” arising from a distressful situation (Job 7:11). In this usage the word tsâr represents a psychological or spiritual status. In Isaiah 5:30, the word describes conditions that cause distress: “… If one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow …” (cf. Isaiah 30:20). This nuance appears to be the most frequent use represented by tsâr.VED-OT Distress.5

    B. Verb. VED-OT Distress.6

    Tsârar (צָרַר, Strong's #6887), “to wrap, tie up, be narrow, be distressed, be in pangs of birth.” This verb, which appears in the Old Testament 54 times, has cognates in Aramaic, Syriac, Akkadian, and Arabic. In Judges 11:7, the word carries the meaning of “to be in distress.”VED-OT Distress.7

    C. Adjective. VED-OT Distress.8

    Tsâr (צָר, Strong's #6862), “narrow.” Tsâr describes a space as “narrow” and easily blocked by a single person (Numbers 22:26).VED-OT Distress.9


    A. Verb. VED-OT Divide.2

    Châlaq (חָלַק, Strong's #2505), “to divide, share, plunder, assign, distribute.” Used throughout the history of Hebrew, this verb is probably reflected in the ancient Akkadian term for “field” i.e., that which is divided. The word is found approximately 60 times in the Hebrew Old Testament; it appears for the first time in Genesis 14:15, where it is said that Abram “divided his forces” (RSV) as he rescued his nephew Lot from the enemy. Apparently, Abram was “assigning” different responsibilities to his troops as part of his strategy. The sense of “dividing” or “allotting” is found in Deuteronomy 4:19, where the sun, moon, and stars are said to have been “allotted” to all peoples by God. A similar use is seen in Deuteronomy 29:26, where God is said not to have “allotted” false gods to His people.VED-OT Divide.3

    Châlaq is used in the legal sense of “sharing” an inheritance in Proverbs 17:2. The word is used three times in reference to “sharing” the spoils of war in 1 Samuel 30:24. This verb describes the “division” of the people of Israel, as one half followed Tibni and the other half followed Omri (1 Kings 16:21). The word châlaq is also important in the description of the “dividing” of the land of Canaan among the various tribes and clans (Numbers 26:52-55).VED-OT Divide.4

    B. Noun.VED-OT Divide.5

    Chêleq (חֵלֶק, Strong's #2506), “portion; territory.” The noun form of chêleq is used often in the biblical text. It has a variety of meanings, such as “booty” of war (Genesis 14:24), a “portion” of food (Leviticus 6:17), a “tract” of land (Joshua 18:5), a spiritual “possession” or blessing (Psalms 73:26), and a chosen “pattern” or “life-style” (Psalms 50:18).VED-OT Divide.6

    Divine, Practice Divination

    Qâsam (קָסַם, Strong's #7080), “to divine, practice divination.” Cognates of this word appear in late Aramaic, Coptic, Syriac, Mandean, Ethiopic, Palmyran, and Arabic. This root appears 31 times in biblical Hebrew: 11 times as a verb, 9 times as a participle, and 11 times as a noun.VED-OT Divine, Practice Divination.2

    Divination was a pagan parallel to prophesying: “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination.… For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so. The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen; you shall listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:10, 14-15—first occurrence.)VED-OT Divine, Practice Divination.3

    Qâsam is a seeking after the will of the gods, in an effort to learn their future action or divine blessing on some proposed future action (Joshua 13:22). It seems probable that the diviners conversed with demons (1 Corinthians 10:20).VED-OT Divine, Practice Divination.4

    The practice of divination might involve offering sacrifices to the deity on an altar (Numbers 233:1ff.). It might also involve the use of a hole in the ground, through which the diviner spoke to the spirits of the dead (1 Samuel 28:8). At other times, a diviner might shake arrows, consult with household idols, or study the livers of dead animals (Ezekiel 21:21).VED-OT Divine, Practice Divination.5

    Divination was one of man’s attempts to know and control the world and the future, apart from the true God. It was the opposite of true prophecy, which essentially is submission to God’s sovereignty (Deuteronomy 18:14).VED-OT Divine, Practice Divination.6

    Perhaps the most perplexing uses of this word occur in Numbers 22-23 and Proverbs 16:10, where it seems to be an equivalent of prophecy. Balaam was well-known among the pagans as a diviner; at the same time, he recognized Yahweh as his God (Numbers 22:18). He accepted money for his services and probably was not beyond adjusting the message to please his clients. This would explain why God, being angry, confronted him (Numbers 222:22ff.), even though God had told him to accept the commission and go with his escort (22:20). It appears that Balaam was resolved to please his clients. Once that resolve was changed to submission, God sent him on his journey (22:35).VED-OT Divine, Practice Divination.7

    Do Good

    A. Verb. VED-OT Do Good.2

    Yâṭab (יָטַב, 3190), “to be good, do well, be glad, please, do good.” This word is found in various Semitic languages, and is very common in Hebrew, both ancient and modern. Yâṭab is found approximately 100 times in biblical Hebrew. This verbal form is found first in the story of Cain and Abel, where it is used twice in one verse: “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door” (Genesis 4:7, NASB). Among other nuances of the verb are “to deal well” (Exodus 1:20), “to play [a musical instrument] well” (1 Samuel 16:17), “to adornmake beautiful” (2 Kings 9:30), and “to inquire diligently” (Deuteronomy 17:4).VED-OT Do Good.3

    B. Adjective. VED-OT Do Good.4

    ôb (טוֹב, Strong's #2896), “good.” This word occurs some 500 times in the Bible. Its first occurrence is in Genesis 1:4: “God saw that the light was good” (NASB). God appraises each day’s creative work as being “good,” climaxing it with a “very good” on the sixth day (Genesis 1:31).VED-OT Do Good.5

    As a positive term, the word is used to express many nuances of that which is “good,” such as a “glad” heart (Judges 18:20), “pleasing” words (Genesis 34:18), and a “cheerful” face (Proverbs 15:13).VED-OT Do Good.6


    A. Noun.VED-OT Doorway.2

    Pethach (פֶּתַח, Strong's #6607), “doorway; opening; entrance; gate.” This word appears 164 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.VED-OT Doorway.3

    Pethach basically represents the “opening through which one enters a building, tent, tower (fortress), or city.” Abraham was sitting at the “doorway” of his tent in the heat of the day when his three heavenly visitors appeared (Genesis 18:1). Lot met the men of Sodom at the “doorway” of his home, having shut the door behind him (Genesis 19:6). Larger buildings had larger entryways, so in Genesis 43:19 pethach may be rendered by the more general word, “entrance.” In Genesis 38:14, pethach may be translated “gateway”: Tamar “sat in the gateway [KJV, “open place”].” Thus a pethachwas both a place to sit (a location) and an opening for entry (a passageway): “… And the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle …” (Exodus 35:15).VED-OT Doorway.4

    There are a few notable special uses of pethach. The word normally refers to a part of the intended construction plans of a dwelling, housing, or building; but in Ezekiel 8:8 it represents an “entrance” not included in the original design of the building: “… When I had digged in the wall, behold a door.” This is clearly not a doorway. This word may be used of a cave’s “opening,” as when Elijah heard the gentle blowing that signified the end of a violent natural phenomenon: “… He wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave” (1 Kings 19:13). In the plural form, pethach sometimes represents the “city gates” themselves: “And her [Zion’s] gates shall lament and mourn …” (Isaiah 3:26). This form of the word is used as a figure for one’s lips; in Micah 7:5, for example, the prophet mourns the low morality of his people and advises his hearers to trust no one, telling them to guard their lips (literally, the “openings” of their mouths).VED-OT Doorway.5

    In its first biblical occurrence, pethach is used figuratively. The heart of men is depicted as a house or building with the Devil crouching at the “entrance,” ready to subdue it utterly and destroy its occupant (Genesis 4:7).VED-OT Doorway.6

    B. Verb.VED-OT Doorway.7

    Pâthach (פָּתַח, Strong's #6605), “to open.” This verb, which appears 132 times in the Old Testament, has attested cognates in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Arabic, and Ethiopic. The first occurrence is in Genesis 7:11.VED-OT Doorway.8

    Although the basic meaning of pâthach is “to open,” the word is extended to mean “to cause to flow,” “to offer for sale,” “to conquer,” “to surrender,” “to draw a sword,” “to solve [a riddle],” “to free.” In association with min, the word becomes “to deprive of.”VED-OT Doorway.9


    A. Noun.VED-OT Dream.2

    Chălôm (חֲלֹם, Strong's #2472), “dream.” This noun appears about 65 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew.VED-OT Dream.3

    The word means “dream.” It is used of the ordinary dreams of sleep: “Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions …” (Job 7:14). The most significant use of this word, however, is with reference to prophetic “dreams” and/or “visions.” Both true and false prophets claimed to communicate with God by these dreams and visions. Perhaps the classical passage using the word in this sense is Deuteronomy 133:1ff.: “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass.…” This sense, that a dream is a means of revelation, appears in the first biblical occurrence of chălôm (or chălôm): “But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night …” (Genesis 20:3).VED-OT Dream.4

    B. Verb.VED-OT Dream.5

    Chlam(חָלַם, Strong's #2492), “to become healthy or strong; to dream.” This verb, which appears 27 times in the Old Testament, has cognates in Ugaritic, Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic, Arabic, and Ethiopic. The meaning, “to become healthy,” applies only to animals though “to dream” is used of human dreams. Genesis 28:12, the first occurrence, tells how Jacob “dreamed” that he beheld a ladder to heaven.VED-OT Dream.6


    Shâthâh (שָׁתָה, Strong's #8354), “to drink.” This verb appears in nearly every Semitic language, although in biblical Aramaic it is not attested as a verb (the noun form michetteh does appear). Biblical Hebrew attests shâthâh at every period and about 215 times.VED-OT Drink.2

    This verb primarily means “to drink” or “to consume a liquid,” and is used of inanimate subjects, as well as of persons or animals. The verb shâqâh which is closely related to shâthâh in meaning, often appears both with animate and inanimate subjects. The first occurrence of shâthâh reports that Noah “drank of the wine, and was drunken” (Genesis 9:21). Animals also “drink”: “I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking” (Genesis 24:19). God says He does not “drink the blood of goats” (Psalms 50:13).VED-OT Drink.3

    “To drink a cup” is a metaphor for consuming all that a cup may contain (Isaiah 51:17). Not only liquids may be drunk, since shâthâh is used figuratively of “drinking” iniquity: “How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” (Job 15:16). Only infrequently is this verb used of inanimate subjects, as in Deuteronomy 11:11: “But the land, whither ye go to possess it … drinketh water of the rain of heaven.…”VED-OT Drink.4

    Shâthâh may also be used of the initial act of “taking in” a liquid: “Is not this it in which my lord drinketh …?” (Genesis 44:5). “To drink” from a cup does not necessarily involve consuming what is drunk. Therefore, this passage uses shâthâh of “drinking in,” and not of the entire process of consuming a liquid. This word may be used of a communal activity: “And they went out into … the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech” (Judges 9:27). The phrase “eat and drink” may mean “to eat a meal”: “And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night …” (Genesis 24:54). This verb sometimes means “to banquet” (which included many activities in addition to just eating and drinking), or “participating in a feast”: “… Behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah” (1 Kings 1:25). In one case, shâthâh by itself means “to participate in a feast”: “So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared” (Esther 5:5).VED-OT Drink.5

    The phrase, “eating and drinking,” may signify a religious meal—i.e., a communion meal with God. The seventy elders on Mt. Sinai “saw God, and did eat and drink” (Exodus 24:11). By this act, they were sacramentally united with God (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:19). In contrast to this communion with the true God, the people at the foot of the mountain communed with a false god—they “sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play” (Exodus 32:6). When Moses stood before God, however, he ate nothing during the entire forty days and nights (Exodus 34:28). His communion was face-to-face rather than through a common meal.VED-OT Drink.6

    Priests were commanded to practice a partial fast when they served before God—they were not to drink wine or strong drink (Leviticus 10:9). They and all Israel were to eat no unclean thing. These conditions were stricter for Nazirites, who lived constantly before God. They were commanded not to eat any product of the vine (Numbers 6:3; cf. Judges 13:4; 1 Samuel 1:15). Thus, God laid claim to the ordinary and necessary processes of human living. In all that man does, he is obligated to recognize God’s control of his existence. Man is to recognize that he eats and drinks only as he lives under God’s rule; and the faithful are to acknowledge God in all their ways.VED-OT Drink.7

    The phrase, “eating and drinking,” may also signify life in general; “Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry” (1 Kings 4:20; cf. Ecclesiastes 2:24; 5:18; Jeremiah 22:15). In close conjunction with the verb “to be drunk (intoxicated),” Shâthâh means “to drink freely” or “to drink so much that one becomes drunk.” When Joseph hosted his brothers, they “drank, and were merry with him” (Genesis 43:34).VED-OT Drink.8

    Drive Out

    Nâdach (נָדַח, Strong's #5080), “to drive out, banish, thrust, move.” This word is found primarily in biblical Hebrew, although in late Hebrew it is used in the sense of “to beguile.” Nâdach occurs approximately 50 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, and its first use is in the passive form: “And lest thou … shouldest be driven to worship them …” (Deuteronomy 4:19). The implication seems to be that an inner “drivenness” or “drawing away,” as well as an external force, was involved in Israel’s potential turning toward idolatry.VED-OT Drive Out.2

    Nâdach expresses the idea of “being scattered” in exile, as in Jeremiah 40:12: “Even all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven.…” Job complained that any resource he once possessed no longer existed, for it “is … driven quite from me” (Job 6:13). Evil “shepherds” or leaders did not lead but rather “drove away” and scattered Israel (Jeremiah 23:2). The enemies of a good man plot against him “to thrust him down from his eminence” (Psalms 62:4, RSV).VED-OT Drive Out.3


    ‛Âphâr (עָפָר, Strong's #6083), “dust; clods; plaster; ashes.” Cognates of this word appear in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Aramaic, Syriac, and Arabic. It appears about 110 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.VED-OT Dust.2

    This noun represents the “porous loose earth on the ground,” or “dust.” In its first biblical occurrence, ‛âphâr appears to mean this porous loose earth: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life …” (Genesis 2:7). In Genesis 13:16, the word means the “fine particles of the soil”: “And I will make thy [descendants] as the dust of the earth.…” In the plural, the noun can mean “dust masses” or “clods” of earth: “… While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the first clods [KJV, “highest part of the dust”; NASB, “dust”] of the world” (Proverbs 8:26).VED-OT Dust.3

    ‛Âphâr can signify “dry crumbled mortar or plaster”: “And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place …” (Leviticus 14:41). In Leviticus 14:42, the word means “wet plaster”: “And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house.” ‛Âphâr represents “finely ground material” in Deuteronomy 9:21: “And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.” ‛Âphâr can represent the “ashes” of something that has been burned: “And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them [outside] Jerusalem … and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel” (2 Kings 23:4). In a similar use, the word represents the “ashes” of a burnt offering (Numbers 19:17).VED-OT Dust.4

    The “rubble” of a destroyed city sometimes is called “dust”: “And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me” (1 Kings 20:10). In Genesis 3:14 the serpent was cursed with “dust” as his perpetual food (cf. Isaiah 65:25; Micah 7:17). Another nuance arising from the characteristics of dust appears in Job 28:6, where the word parallels “stones.” Here the word seems to represent “the ground”: “The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.”VED-OT Dust.5

    ‛Âphâr may be used as a symbol of a “large mass” or “superabundance” of something. This use, already cited (Genesis 13:16), appears again in its fulfillment in Numbers 23:10: “Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel?” “Complete destruction” is represented by ‛âphâr in 2 Samuel 22:43: “Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth: I did stamp them as the mire of the street.…” In Psalms 7:5, the word is used of “valuelessness” and “futility”: “Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honor in the dust.” To experience defeat is “to lick the dust” (Psalms 72:9), and to be restored from defeat is “to shake oneself from the dust” (Isaiah 52:2). To throw “dust” (“dirt”) at someone is a sign of shame and humiliation (2 Samuel 16:13), while mourning is expressed by various acts of selfabasement, which may include throwing “dust” or “dirt” on one’s own head (Joshua 7:6). Abraham says he is but “dust and ashes,” not really important (Genesis 18:27).VED-OT Dust.6

    In Job 7:21 and similar passages, ‛âphâr represents “the earth” of the grave: “For now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.” This word is also used as a simile for a “widely scattered army”: “… For the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing” (2 Kings 13:7).VED-OT Dust.7


    A. Verbs.VED-OT Dwell.2

    Yâshab (יָשַׁב, Strong's #3427), “to dwell, sit, abide, inhabit, remain.” The word occurs over 1,100 times throughout the Old Testament, and this root is widespread in other ancient Semitic languages.VED-OT Dwell.3

    Yâshab is first used in Genesis 4:16, in its most common connotation of “to dwell”: “Cain went out … and dwelt [NASB, “settled”; NIV, “lived”] in the land of Nod.…” The word appears again in Genesis 18:1: “He [Abraham] sat in the tent door.” In Genesis 22:5, yâshab is translated: "Abide ye here [NIV, “stay here”] with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship.…” The word has the sense of “to remain”: “Remain a widow at thy father’s house …” (Genesis 38:11), and it is used of God in a similar sense: “Thou, O Lord, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation …” (Lamentations 5:19). The promise of restoration from captivity was: “And they shall build houses and inhabit them …” (Isaiah 65:21).VED-OT Dwell.4

    Yâshab is sometimes combined with other words to form expressions in common usage. For example, “When he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom” (Deuteronomy 17:18; cf. 1 Kings 1:13, 17, 24) carries the meaning “begins to reign.” “To sit in the gate” means “to hold court” or “to decide a case,” as in Ruth 4:1-2 and 1 Kings 22:10. “Sit thou at my right hand” (Psalms 110:1) means to assume a ruling position as deputy. “There will I sit to judge all the heathen” (Joel 3:12) was a promise of eschatological judgment. “To sit in the dust” or “to sit on the ground” (Isaiah 47:1) was a sign of humiliation and grief.VED-OT Dwell.5

    Yâshab is often used figuratively of God. The sentences, “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne” (1 Kings 22:19); “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh” (Psalms 2:4); and “God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness” (Psalms 47:8) all describe God as the exalted Ruler over the universe. The idea that God also “dwells” among men is expressed by this verb: “Shalt thou [David] build me a house for me to dwell in?” (2 Samuel 7:5; cf. Psalms 132:14). The usage of yâshab in such verses as 1 Samuel 4:4: “… The Lord of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubim,” describes His presence at the ark of the covenant in the tabernacle and the temple.VED-OT Dwell.6

    The word is also used to describe man’s being in God’s presence: “One thing have I desired of the Lord, … that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life …” (Psalms 27:4; cf. Psalms 23:6). “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in …” (Exodus 15:17).VED-OT Dwell.7

    Shâkan (שָׁכַן, Strong's #7931), “to dwell, inhabit, settle down, abide.” This word is common to many Semitic languages, including ancient Akkadian and Ugaritic, and it is found throughout all levels of Hebrew history. Shâkan occurs nearly 130 times in Old Testament Hebrew.VED-OT Dwell.8

    Shâkan is first used in the sense of “to dwell” in Genesis 9:27: “… And he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” Moses was commanded: “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8).VED-OT Dwell.9

    Shâkan is a word from nomadic life, meaning “to live in a tent.” Thus, Balaam “saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes” (Numbers 24:2). In that verse, shâkan refers to temporary “camping,” but it can also refer to being permanently “settled” (Psalms 102:28). God promised to give Israel security, “that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more …” (2 Samuel 7:10).VED-OT Dwell.10

    The Septuagint version of the Old Testament uses a great number of Greek words to translate yâshab and shâkan. But one word, katoikein, is used by far more often than any other. This word also expresses in the New Testament the “dwelling” of the Holy Spirit in the church: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:17). The Greek word skenein (“to live in a tent”) shares in this also, being the more direct translation of shâkan. John 1:14 says of Jesus, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” The Book of Hebrews compares the tabernacle sacrifices of Israel in the wilderness with the sacrifice of Jesus at the true tabernacle: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell [skenein] with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).VED-OT Dwell.11

    B. Noun. VED-OT Dwell.12

    Mishkân (מִשְׁכָּן, Strong's #4908), “dwelling place; tent.” This word occurs nearly 140 times, and often refers to the wilderness “tabernacle” (Exodus 25:9). Mishkân was also used later to refer to the “temple.” This usage probably prepared the way for the familiar term shhekinah, which was widely used in later Judaism to refer to the “presence” of God.VED-OT Dwell.13

    C. Participle. VED-OT Dwell.14

    Yâshab (יָשַׁב, Strong's #3427), “remaining; inhabitant.” This participle is sometimes used as a simple adjective: “… Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents” (Genesis 25:27). But the word is more often used as in Genesis 19:25: “… All the inhabitants of the cities.”VED-OT Dwell.15

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