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    Face — Fruit


    Pânı̂ym (פָּנֶה, Strong's #6440), “face.” This noun appears in biblical Hebrew about 2,100 times and in all periods, except when it occurs with the names of persons and places, it always appears in the plural. It is also attested in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Phoenician, Moabite, and Ethiopic. In its most basic meaning, this noun refers to the “face” of something. First, it refers to the “face” of a human being: “And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him …” (Genesis 17:3). In a more specific application, the word represents the look on one’s face, or one’s “countenance”: “And Cain was very [angry], and his countenance fell” (Genesis 4:5). To pay something to someone’s “face” is to pay it to him personally (Deuteronomy 7:10); in such contexts, the word connotes the person himself. Pânı̂ym can also be used of the surface or visible side of a thing, as in Genesis 1:2: “The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” In other contexts, the word represents the “front side” of something: “And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselvesand shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle” (Exodus 26:9). When applied to time, the word (preceded by the preposition le) means “formerly”: “The Horim also dwelt in Seir [formerly] … (Deuteronomy 2:12).VED-OT Face.2

    This noun is sometimes used anthropomorphically of God; the Bible speaks of God as though He had a “face”: “… For therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God” (Genesis 33:10). The Bible clearly teaches that God is a spiritual being and ought not to be depicted by an image or any likeness whatever (Exodus 20:4). Therefore, there was no image or likeness of God in the innermost sanctuary—only the ark of the covenant was there, and God spoke from above it (Exodus 25:22). The word pânı̂ym, then, is used to identify the bread that was kept in the holy place. The KJV translates it as “the showbread,” while the NASB renders “the bread of the Presence” (Numbers 4:7). This bread was always kept in the presence of God.VED-OT Face.3


    A. Noun.VED-OT Faithfulness.2

    'Ĕmûnâh (אֱמֻנָה, Strong's #530), “faithfulness.” This word occurs in Punic as 'ĕmûnâh (“certainty”). In the Hebrew Old Testament, the noun occurs 49 times, mainly in the Book of Psalms (22 times). The first occurrence of the word refers to Moses’ hands: “But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (Exodus 17:12).VED-OT Faithfulness.3

    The basic meaning of 'ĕmûnâh is “certainty” and “faithfulness.” Man may show himself “faithful” in his relations with his fellow men (1 Samuel 26:23). But generally, the Person to whom one is “faithful” is the Lord Himself: “And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart” (2 Chronicles 19:9). The Lord has manifested His “faithfulness” to His people: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). All his works reveal his “faithfulness” (Psalms 33:4). His commandments are an expression of his “faithfulness” (Psalms 119:86); those who seek them are found on the road of “faithfulness”: “I have chosen the way of truth & thy judgments have I laid before me” (Psalms 119:30). The Lord looks for those who seek to do His will with all their hearts. Their ways are established and His blessing rests on them: “A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent” (Proverbs 28:20). The assurance of the abundance of life is in the expression quoted in the New Testament (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11) from Habakkuk 2:4: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”VED-OT Faithfulness.4

    The word 'ĕmûnâh is synonymous with tsedeq (“righteousness”—cf. Isaiah 11:5), with chesed (“lovingkindness”—cf. Psalms 98:3, NASB), and with mishpat (“justice” cf. Jeremiah 5:1).VED-OT Faithfulness.5

    The relationship between God and Israel is best described by the word hesed (“love”); but as a synonym, 'ĕmûnâh fits very well. Hosea portrays God’s relation to Israel as a marriage and states God’s promise of “faithfulness” to Israel: “And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness and thou shalt [acknowledge] the Lord” (Hosea 2:19-20). In these verses, the words “righteousness,” “judgment” (“justice”), “loving-kindness,” “mercies,” and “faithfulness” bear out the conclusion that the synonyms for 'ĕmûnâh are covenantal terms expressive of God’s “faithfulness” and “love.” The assurance of the covenant and the promises is established by God’s nature; He is “faithful.” Man’s acts (Proverbs 12:22) and speech (12:17must reflect his favored status with God. As in the marriage relationship, “faithfulness” is not optional. For the relation to be established, the two parties are required to respond to each other in “faithfulness.” Isaiah and Jeremiah condemn the people for not being “faithful” to God: “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the $; and I will pardon [this city]” (Jeremiah 5:1; cf. Isaiah 59:4; Jeremiah 7:28; 9:3).VED-OT Faithfulness.6

    Faithfulness will be established in the messianic era (Isaiah 11:5). The prophetic expectation was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, as his contemporaries witnessed in Him God’s grace (cf. checed) and truth (cf. 'ĕmûnâh): “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). It is significant that John puts these two terms side by side, even as they are found together in the Old Testament.VED-OT Faithfulness.7

    The Septuagint translations are: aletheia (“truthfulness; dependability; uprightness; truth; reality”) and pistos (“trustworthy; faithfulnessreliability; rest; confidence; faith”). The KJV gives these translations: “faithfulness; truth; set office; faithfully; faithful. "VED-OT Faithfulness.8

    B. Verb.VED-OT Faithfulness.9

     'Âman (אָמַן, Strong's #539), “to be certain, enduring; to trust, believe.” This root is found in Akkadian, Ugaritic, and Phoenician. In the Old Testament, the word occurs fewer than 100 times. Three words are derived from this verb: 'âmen (“amen”—30 times; e.g., Psalms 106:48) ‘emet (“true”—127 times; e.g., Isaiah 38:18), and ’emunah (“faithfulness”).VED-OT Faithfulness.10


    sheqer (שֶׁקֶר, Strong's #8267), “falsehood; lie.” The presence of this root is limited to Hebrew and Old Aramaic. The word sheqer occurs 113 times in the Old Testament. It is rare in all but the poetic and prophetic books, and even in these books its usage is concentrated in Psalms (24 times) Proverbs (20 times), and Jeremiah (37 times). The first occurrence is in Exodus 5:9: “Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labor therein: and let them not regard vain words [lies].”VED-OT Falsehood.2

    In about thirty-five passages, sheqer describes the nature of “deceptive speech”: “to speak” (Isaiah 59:3), “to teach” (Isaiah 9:15), “to prophesy” (Jeremiah 14:14), and “to lie” (Micah 2:11). It may also indicate a “deceptive character,” as expressed in one’s acts: “to deal treacherously” (2 Samuel 18:13) and “to deal falsely” (Hosea 7:1).VED-OT Falsehood.3

    Thus sheqer defines a way of life that goes contrary to the law of God. The psalmist, desirous of following God, prayed: “Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me” (Psalms 119:29-30; cf. vv. 104, 118, 128). Here we see the opposites: “falsehood” and “faithfulness.” As “faithfulness” is a relational term, “falsehood” denotes “one’s inability to keep faith” with what one has said or to respond positively to the faithfulness of another being.VED-OT Falsehood.4

    The Old Testament saint was instructed to avoid “deception” and the liar: “Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked” (Exodus 23:7; cf. Proverbs 13:5).VED-OT Falsehood.5

    The Septuagint has these translations: adikos / adikia (“unjust; unrighteous; wrongdoing; wickedness”) and pseudes (“falsehood; lie”). The KJV gives these meanings: “lie; falsehood; false; falsely.”VED-OT Falsehood.6


    Mishpâchâh (מִשְׁפָּחָה, Strong's #4940), “family; clan.” A form of this Hebrew word occurs in Ugaritic and Punic, also with the meaning of “family” or “clan.” The word is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as in Mishnaic and modern Hebrew. Mishpâchâh occurs 300 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The word is first used in Genesis 8:19: “Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.”VED-OT Family.2

    The word is related to the verbal root shipchah but the verbal form is absent from the Old Testament. Another noun form pechah (“maidservant”), as in Genesis 16:2: “And Sarai said unto Abram … I pray thee, go in unto my maid.…”VED-OT Family.3

    The noun mishpachah is used predominantly in the Pentateuch (as many as 154 times in Numbers) and in the historical books, but rarely in the poetical literature (5 times) and the prophetical writings.VED-OT Family.4

    All members of a group who were related by blood and who still felt a sense of consanguinity belonged to the “clan” or “the extended family.” Saul argued that since he belonged to the least of the “clans,” he had no right to the kingship (1 Samuel 9:21). This meaning determined the extent of Rahab’s family that was spared from Jericho: “… And they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel” (Joshua 6:23). So the “clan” was an important division within the “tribe.” The Book of Numbers gives a census of the leaders and the numbers of the tribes according to the “families” (Numbers 1:1-4:1; 26:1). In capital cases, where revenge was desired, the entire clan might be taken: “And, behold, the whole family is risen against thine handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him, for the life of his brother whom he slew; and we will destroy the heir also: and so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth” (2 Samuel 14:7).VED-OT Family.5

    A further extension of the meaning “division” or “clan” is the idiomatic usage of “class” or “group,” such as “the families” of the animals that left the ark (Genesis 8:19) or the “families” of the nations (Psalms 22:28; 96:7; cf. Genesis 10:5). Even God’s promise to Abraham had reference to all the nations: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).VED-OT Family.6

    The narrow meaning of mishpâchâh is similar to our usage of “family” and similar to the meaning of the word in modern Hebrew. Abraham sent his servant to his relatives in Padanaram to seek a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:38). The law of redemption applied to the “close relatives in a family”: “After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself” (Leviticus 25:48-49).VED-OT Family.7

    In the Septuagint, several words are given as a translation: demos (“people; populace; crowd”), phule (“tribe; nation; people”), and patria (“family; clan”). The KJV translates mishpâchâh with “family; kindred; kind.” Most versions keep the translation “family”; but instead of “kindred” and “kind,” some read “relative” (NASB) or “clan.”VED-OT Family.8


    A. Noun. VED-OT Famine.2

    Râ‛âb (רָעָב, Strong's #7458), “famine; hunger.” This word appears about 101 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew. Râ‛âb means “hunger” as opposed to “thirst”: “Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things …” (Deuteronomy 28:48).VED-OT Famine.3

    Another meaning of the word is “famine,” or the lack of food in an entire geographical area: “And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt …” (Genesis 12:10—the first occurrence). God used a “famine” as a means of judgment (Jeremiah 5:12), of warning (1 Kings 17:1), of correction (2 Samuel 21:1), or of punishment (Jeremiah 14:12), and the “famine” was always under divine control, being planned and used by Him. Râ‛âb was also used to picture the “lack of God’s word” (Amos 8:11; cf. Deuteronomy 8:3).VED-OT Famine.4

    B. Verb. VED-OT Famine.5

    Râ‛êb (רָעֵב, Strong's #7456), “to be hungry, suffer famine.” This verb, which appears in the Old Testament 14 times, has cognates in Ugaritic (rgb), Arabic, and Ethiopic. The first biblical occurrence is in Genesis 41:55: “And when all the land of Egypt was famished.…”VED-OT Famine.6

    C. Adjective. VED-OT Famine.7

    Râ‛êb (רָעֵב, Strong's #7456, רָעֵב, Strong's #7457), “hungry.” This word appears as an adjective 19 times. The first biblical occurrence is in 1 Samuel 2:5: “… And they that were hungry ceased: …”VED-OT Famine.8


    Râchaq (רָחַק, Strong's #7368), “far.” A common Semitic term, this word was known in ancient Akkadian and Ugaritic long before the Hebrew of the Old Testament. Râchaq is a common word in modern Hebrew as well. The word is used about 55 times in the Hebrew Old Testament and it occurs for the first time in Genesis 21:16.VED-OT Far.2

    Râchaq is used to express “distance” of various types. It may be “distance” from a place (Deuteronomy 12:21), as when Job felt that his friends kept themselves “aloof” from him (Job 30:10). Sometimes the word expresses “absence” altogether: “… The comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me …” (Lamentations 1:16). “To be distant” was also “to abstain”: “Keep thee far from a false matter” (Exodus 23:7).VED-OT Far.3

    Sometimes râchaq implies the idea of “exile”: “… The Lord [removes] men far away” (Isaiah 6:12). “To make the ends of the land distant” is “to extend the boundaries”: “… thou hast increased the [borders of the land]” (Isaiah 26:15).VED-OT Far.4


    'Âb (אָב, Strong's #1), “father; grandfather; forefather; ancestor.” Cognates of this word occur in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Phoenician, and other Semitic languages. Biblical Hebrew attests it about 1,120 times and in all periods.VED-OT Father.2

    Basically, 'âb relates to the familial relationship represented by the word “father.” This is the word’s significance in its first biblical appearance: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife …” (Genesis 2:24). In poetical passages, the word is sometimes paralleled to 'âb, “mother”: “I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister” (Job 17:14). The word is also used in conjunction with “mother” to represent one’s parents (Leviticus 19:3). But unlike the word ’em, 'âb is never used of animals.VED-OT Father.3

    'Âb also means “grandfather” and/or “greatgrandfather,” as in Genesis 28:13: “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy [grand]father, and the God of Isaac.…” Such progenitors on one’s mother’s side were called “thy mother’s father” (Genesis 28:2). This noun may be used of any one of the entire line of men from whom a given individual is descended: “But he [Elijah] himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19:4). In such use, the word may refer to the first man, a “forefather,” a clan (Jeremiah 35:6), a tribe (Joshua 19:47), a group with a special calling (1 Chronicles 24:19), a dynasty (1 Kings 15:3), or a nation (Joshua 24:3). Thus, “father” does not necessarily mean the man who directly sired a given individual.VED-OT Father.4

    This noun sometimes describes the adoptive relationship, especially when it is used of the “founder of a class or station,” such as a trade: “And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle” (Genesis 4:20).VED-OT Father.5

    'Âb can be a title of respect, usually applied to an older person, as when David said to Saul: “Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand …” (1 Samuel 24:11). The word is also applied to teachers: “And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof …” (2 Kings 2:12). In 2 Kings 6:21, the word is applied to the prophet Elisha and in Judges 17:10, to a priest; this word is also a title of respect when used of “one’s husband”: “Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?” (Jeremiah 3:4). In Genesis 45:8, the noun is used of an “advisor”: “So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father [advisor] to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” In each case, the one described as “father” occupied a position or status and received the honor due to a “father.”VED-OT Father.6

    In conjunction with bayit (“house”), the word 'âb may mean “family”: “In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers …” (Exodus 12:3). Sometimes the plural of the word used by itself can represent “family”: “… These are the heads of the fathers [households] of the Levites according to their families” (Exodus 6:25).VED-OT Father.7

    God is described as the “father” of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:6). He is the One who begot and protected them, the One they should revere and obey. Malachi 2:10 tells us that God is the “father” of all people. He is especially the “protector” or “father” of the fatherless: “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation” (Psalms 68:5). As the “father” of a king, God especially aligns Himself to that man and his kingdom: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men” (2 Samuel 7:14). Not every king was a son of God—only those whom He adopted. In a special sense, the perfect King was God’s adopted Son: “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalms 2:7). The extent, power, and duration of His kingdom are guaranteed by the Father’s sovereignty (cf. Psalms 2:8-9). On the other hand, one of the Messiah’s enthronement names is “Eternal Father”: “… And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).VED-OT Father.8


    A. Noun. VED-OT Favor.2

    Râtsôn (רָצֹן, Strong's #7522), “favor; goodwill; acceptance; will; desire; pleasure.” The 56 occurrences of this word are scattered throughout Old Testament literature.VED-OT Favor.3

    Râtsôn represents a concrete reaction of the superior to an inferior. When used of God, râtsôn may represent that which is shown in His blessings: “And for the precious things of the earth and fullness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush” (Deuteronomy 33:16). Thus Isaiah speaks of the day, year, or time of divine “favor”-in other words, the day of the Lord when all the blessings of the covenant shall be heaped upon God’s people (Isaiah 49:8; 58:5; 61:2). In wisdom literature, this word is used in the sense of “what men can bestow”: “He that diligently seeketh good procureth favor: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him” (Proverbs 11:27). In Proverbs 14:35, râtsôn refers to what a king can or will do for someone he likes. This word represents the position one enjoys before a superior who is favorably disposed toward him. This nuance is used only of God and frequently in a cultic context: “… And it [the plate engraved with “holy to the Lord”] shall be always upon his [the high priest’s] forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord” (Exodus 28:38). Being “accepted” means that God subjectively feels well disposed toward the petitioner.VED-OT Favor.4

    Râtsôn also signifies a voluntary or arbitrary decision. Ezra told the people of Israel to do the “will” of God, to repent and observe the law of Moses (Ezra 10:11). This law was dictated by God’s own nature; His nature led Him to be concerned for the physical well-being of His people. Ultimately, His laws were highly personal; they were simply what God wanted His people to be and do. Thus the psalmist confessed his delight in doing God’s “will,” or His law (Psalms 40:8). When a man does according to his own “will,” he does “what he desires”: “I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his willand became great” (Daniel 8:4). In Psalms 145:16, the word râtsôn means “one’s desire” or “what one wants” (cf. Esther 1:8). This emphasis is found in Genesis 49:6 (the first occurrence): “… And in their self-will they [brought disaster upon themselves].”VED-OT Favor.5

    B. Verb. VED-OT Favor.6

    Râtsâh (רָצָה, Strong's #7521), “to be pleased with or favorable to, be delighted with, be pleased to make friends with; be graciously received; make oneself favored.” This verb, which occurs 50 times in the Old Testament, has cognates in Ugaritic, Aramaic, Syriac, and Arabic. Genesis 33:10 contains one appearance of this word: “… thou wast pleased with me.”VED-OT Favor.7


    A. Verb. VED-OT Fear.2

    Yârê' (יָרֵא, Strong's #3372), “to be afraid, stand in awe, fear.” This verb occurs in Ugaritic and Hebrew (both biblical and post-biblical). The Bible attests it approximately 330 times and in all periods.VED-OT Fear.3

    Basically, this verb connotes the psychological reaction of “fear.” Yârê' may indicate being afraid of something or someone. Jacob prayed: “Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children” (Genesis 32:11).VED-OT Fear.4

    Used of a person in an exalted position, yârê' connotes “standing in awe.” This is not simple fear, but reverence, whereby an individual recognizes the power and position of the individual revered and renders him proper respect. In this sense, the word may imply submission to a proper ethical relationship to God; the angel of the Lord told Abraham: “… I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (Genesis 22:12). The verb can be used absolutely to refer to the heavenly and holy attributes of something or someone. So Jacob said of Bethel: “How [awesome] is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:17). The people who were delivered from Egypt saw God’s great power, “feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses” (Exodus 14:31). There is more involved here than mere psychological fear. The people also showed proper “honor” (“reverence”) for God and “stood in awe of” Him and of His servant, as their song demonstrates (Exodus 15). After experiencing the thunder, lightning Flashes, sound of the trumpet, and smoking mountain, they were “afraid” and drew back; but Moses told them not to be afraid, “for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” (Exodus 20:20). In this passage, the word represents “fear” or “dread” of the Lord. This sense is also found when God says, “fear not” (Genesis 15:1).VED-OT Fear.5

    Yârê' can be used absolutely (with no direct object), meaning “to be afraid.” Adam told God: “… I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10—the first occurrence). One may be “afraid” to do something, as when Lot “feared to dwell in Zoar” (Genesis 19:30).VED-OT Fear.6

    B. Nouns. VED-OT Fear.7

    Môrâ' (מֹרָא, Strong's #4172), “fear.” The noun môrâ', which appears 12 times, is used exclusively of the fear of being before a superior kind of being. Usually it is used to describe the reaction evoked in men by God’s mighty works of destruction and sovereignty (Deuteronomy 4:24). Hence, the word represents a very strong “fear” or “terror.” In the singular, this word emphasizes the divine acts themselves. Môrâ' may suggest the reaction of animals to men (Genesis 9:2) and of the nations to conquering Israel (Deuteronomy 11:25).VED-OT Fear.8

    Yir'âh (יִרְאָה, Strong's #3374), “fear; reverence.” The noun yir'âh appears 45 times in the Old Testament. It may mean “fear” of men (Deuteronomy 2:25), of things (Isaiah 7:25), of situations (Jonah 1:10), and of God (Jonah 1:12); it may also mean “reverence” of God (Genesis 20:11).VED-OT Fear.9


    Châg (חָג, Strong's #2282), “feast; festal sacrifice.” Cognates of this noun appear in Aramaic, Syriac, and Arabic. Biblical Hebrew attests it about 62 times and in all periods, except in the wisdom literature.VED-OT Feast.2

    This word refers especially to a “feast observed by a pilgrimage.” That is its meaning in its first biblical occurrence, when Moses said to Pharaoh: “We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our Rocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord” (Exodus 10:9). ) Châg (or chag) usually represents Israel’s three annual “pilgrimage feasts,” which were celebrated with processions and dances. These special feasts are distinguished from the sacred seasons (“festal assemblies”—Ezekiel 45:17), the new moon festivals, and the Sabbaths (Hosea 2:11).VED-OT Feast.3

    There are two unique uses of châg. First, Aaron proclaimed a “feast to the Lord” at the foot of Mt. Sinai. This “feast” involved no pilgrimage but was celebrated with burnt offerings, communal meals, singing, and dancing. The whole matter was displeasing to God (Exodus 32:5-7).VED-OT Feast.4

    In two passages, châg represents the “victim sacrificed to God” (perhaps during one of the three annual sacrifices): “… Bind the [festal] sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar” (Psalms 118:27; cf. Exodus 23:18).VED-OT Feast.5


    Śâdeh (שָׂדַי, Strong's #7704), “field; country; domain [of a town].” Śâdeh has cognates in Akkadian, Phoenician, Ugaritic, and Arabic. It appears in biblical Hebrew about 320 times and in all periods.VED-OT Field.2

    This word often represents the “open field” where the animals roam wild. That is its meaning in its first biblical appearance: “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth …” (Genesis 2:5). Thus, “Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents” (Genesis 25:27). A city in the “open field” was unfortified; David wisely asked Achish for such a city, showing that he did not intend to be hostile (1 Samuel 27:5). Dwelling in an unfortified city meant exposure to attack.VED-OT Field.3

    Śâdeh represents the “fields surrounding a town” (Joshua 21:12; cf. Nehemiah 11:25). “Arable land,” land that is either cultivated or to be cultivated, is also signified by śâdeh: “If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field …” (Genesis 23:8-9). The entirety of one’s cultivated or pasture land is called his “field”: “And the king [David] said unto him [Mephibosheth], Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land [previously owned by Saul]” (2 Samuel 19:29).VED-OT Field.4

    Sometimes particular sections of land are identified by name: “And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre …” (Genesis 23:19).VED-OT Field.5

    Śâdeh (שָׂדַי, Strong's #7704), “open field.” Śâdeh occurs 12 times, only in poetical passages. Deuteronomy 32:13 is the first biblical appearance: “He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; …”VED-OT Field.6


    A. Verb. VED-OT Fight.2

    Lâcham (לָחַם, Strong's #3898), “to fight, do battle, engage in combat.” This word is found in all periods of Hebrew, as well as in ancient Ugaritic. It occurs in the text of the Hebrew Bible more than 170 times. Lâcham appears first in Exodus 1:10, where the Egyptian pharaoh expresses his fears that the Israelite slaves will multiply and join an enemy “to fight” against the Egyptians.VED-OT Fight.3

    While the word is commonly used in the context of “armies engaged in pitched battle” against each other (Numbers 21:23; Joshua 10:5; Judges 11:5), it is also used to describe “single, hand-to-hand combat” (1 Samuel 17:32-33). Frequently, God “fights” the battle for Israel (Deuteronomy 20:4). Instead of swords, words spoken by a lying tongue are often used “to fight” against God’s servants (Psalms 109:2).VED-OT Fight.4

    In folk etymology, lâcham is often connected with lechem, the Hebrew term for “bread,” on the contention that wars are fought for bread. There is, however, no good basis for such etymology.VED-OT Fight.5

    B. Noun. VED-OT Fight.6

    Milchâmâh (מִלְחָמָה, Strong's #4421), “battle; war.” This noun occurs more than 300 times in the Old Testament, indicating how large a part military experience and terminology played in the life of the ancient Israelites. Genesis 14:8 is an early occurrence of milchâmâh: “And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, … and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim.”VED-OT Fight.7


    A. Verb.VED-OT Fill.2

    Mâlê' (מָלָא, Strong's #4390), “to fill, fulfill, overflow, ordain, endow.” This verb occurs in all Semitic languages (including biblical Aramaic) and in all periods. Biblical Hebrew attests it about 250 times.VED-OT Fill.3

    Basically, mâlê' means “to be full” in the sense of having something done to one. In 2 Kings 4:6, the word implies “to fill up”: “And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said.…” The verb is sometimes used figuratively as in Genesis 6:13, when God noted that “the earth is filled with violence.” Used transitively, this verb means the act or state of “filling something.” In Genesis 1:22 (the first occurrence of the word), God told the sea creatures to “penetrate” the waters thoroughly but not exhaustively: “Be fruitful, and multiplyand fill the waters in the seas.” Mâlê' can also mean “to fill up” in an exhaustive sense: “… And the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34). In this sense an appetite can be “filled up,” “satiated,” or “satisfied.”VED-OT Fill.4

    Mâlê' is sometimes used in the sense “coming to an end” or “to be filled up,” to the full extent of what is expected. For example, in 1 Kings 2:27 we read: “So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord; that he might fulfill the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.” This constitutes a proof of the authority of the divine Word.VED-OT Fill.5

    In a different but related nuance, the verb signifies “to confirm” someone’s word. Nathan told Bathsheba: “Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words” (1 Kings 1:14). This verb is used to signify filling something to the full extent of what is necessary, in the sense of being “successfully completed”: “When her days to be delivered were fulfilled …” (Genesis 25:24). This may also mean “to bring to an end”; so God tells Isaiah: “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished …” (Isaiah 40:2).VED-OT Fill.6

    Mâlê' is used of “filling to overflowing”—not just filling up to the limits of something, but filling so as to go beyond its limits: “For Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest” (Joshua 3:15).VED-OT Fill.7

    A special nuance appears when the verb is used with “heart”; in such cases, it means “to presume.” King Ahasuerus asked Esther: “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume [literally, “fill his heart”] to do so?” (Esther 7:5). To call out “fully” is to cry aloud, as in Jeremiah 4:5.VED-OT Fill.8

    The word often has a special meaning in conjunction with “hand.” Mâlê' can connote “endow” (“fill one’s hand”), as in Exodus 28:3: “And thou shalt speak unto all that are wisehearted, whom I have [endowed] with the spirit of wisdom.…” In Judges 17:5, “to fill one’s hand” is “to consecrate” someone to priestly service. A similar idea appears in Ezekiel 43:26, where no literal hand is filled with anything, but the phrase is a technical term for “consecration”: “Seven days shall they [make atonement for] the altar and purify it; and they shall consecrate themselves.” This phrase is used not only of setting someone or something aside for special religious or cultic use, but of formally installing someone with the authority and responsibility to fulfill a cultic function (i.e., to be a priest). So God commands concerning Aaron and his sons: “And thou … shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office” (Exodus 28:41).VED-OT Fill.9

    In military contexts, “to fill one’s hand” is to prepare for battle. This phrase may be used of “becoming armed,” as in Jeremiah 51:11: “Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers.” (KJV, “Make bright the arrows; gather the shields.”) In a fuller sense, the phrase may signify the step immediately before shooting arrows: “And Jehu drew [literally, “filled his hand with”] a bow with his full strength …” (2 Kings 9:24). It can also signify “being armed,” or having weapons on one’s person: “But the man that shall touch them must be [armed] with iron and the staff of a spear …” (2 Samuel 23:7).VED-OT Fill.10

    B. Adjective.VED-OT Fill.11

    Mâlê' (מָלָא, Strong's #4390), “full.” The adjective mâlê' appears 67 times. The basic meaning of the word is “full” or “full of” (Ruth 1:21; Deuteronomy 6:11).VED-OT Fill.12


    Mâtsâ' (מָצָא, Strong's #4672), “to find, meet, get.” This word is found in every branch of the Semitic languages (including biblical Aramaic) and in all periods. It is attested both in biblical (about 455 times) and post-biblical Hebrew.VED-OT Find.2

    Mâtsâ' refers to “finding” someone or something that is lost or misplaced, or “finding” where it is. The thing may be found as the result of a purposeful search, as when the Sodomites were temporarily blinded by Lot’s visitors and were not able to “find” the door to his house (Genesis 19:11). In a very similar usage, the dove sent forth by Noah searched for a spot to land and was unable to “find” it (Genesis 8:9). On other occasions, the location of something or someone may be found without an intentional search, as when Cain said: "[Whoever] findeth me shall slay me” (Genesis 4:14).VED-OT Find.3

    Mâtsâ' may connote not only “finding” a subject in a location, but “finding something” in an abstract sense. This idea is demonstrated clearly by Genesis 6:8: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” He found—“received”—something he did not seek. This sense also includes “finding” something one has sought in a spiritual or mental sense: “Mine hand had gotten much …” (Job 31:25). Laban tells Jacob: “… If I have found favor in thine eyes, [stay with me] …” (Genesis 30:27). Laban is asking Jacob for a favor that he is seeking in an abstract sense.VED-OT Find.4

    Mâtsâ' can also mean “to discover.” God told Abraham: “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes” (Genesis 18:26). This same emphasis appears in the first biblical occurrence of the word: “… But for Adam there was not found a help meet for him” (Genesis 2:20). As noted earlier, there can be a connotation of the unintentional here, as when the Israelites “found” a man gathering wood on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32). Another special nuance is “to find out,” in the sense of “gaining knowledge about.” For example, Joseph’s brothers said: “God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants …” (Genesis 44:16). Mâtsâ' sometimes suggests “being under the power” of something, in a concrete sense. David told Abishai: “… Take thou thy lord’s servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us” (2 Samuel 20:6). The idea is that Sheba would “find,” enter, and defend himself in fortified cities. So to “find” them could be to “take them over.” This usage appears also in an abstract sense. Judah told Joseph: “For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father” (Genesis 44:34). The word mâtsâ' therefore, can mean not only to “find” something, but to “obtain” it as one’s own: “Then Isaac sowed in that landand received in the same year …” (Genesis 26:12).VED-OT Find.5

    Infrequently, the word implies movement in a direction until one arrives at a destination; thus it is related to the Ugaritic root meaning “reach” or “arrive” (mts). This sense is found in Job 11:7: “Canst thou by searching find out God?” (cf. 1 Samuel 23:17). In a somewhat different nuance, this meaning appears in Numbers 11:22: “Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them?”VED-OT Find.6


    'Êsh (אֵשׁ, Strong's #784), “fire.” Cognates of this word occur in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Aramaic, and Ethiopic. The 378 occurrences of this word in biblical Hebrew are scattered throughout its periods. In its first biblical appearance this word, 'êsh represents God’s presence as “a torch of fire”“And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a [flaming torch] …” (Genesis 15:17). “Fire” was the instrument by which an offering was transformed into smoke, whose ascending heavenward symbolized God’s reception of the offering (Leviticus 9:24). God also consumed people with the “fire of judgment” (Numbers 11:1; Psalms 89:46). Various things were to be burnt as a sign of total destruction and divine judgment (Exodus 32:20).VED-OT Fire.2

    “Fire” often attended God’s presence in theophanies (Exodus 3:2). Thus He is sometimes called a “consuming fire” (Exodus 24:17).VED-OT Fire.3

    The noun 'êsh, meaning “an offering made by fire,” is derived from 'êsh.VED-OT Fire.4


    Bekôr (בְּכוֹר, Strong's #1060), “firstborn.” Bekôr appears about 122 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods. The word represents the “firstborn” individual in a family (Genesis 25:13); the word can also represent the “firstborn” of a nation, collectively (Numbers 3:46). The plural form of the word appears occasionally (Nehemiah 10:36); in this passage, the word is applied to animals. In other passages, the singular form of bekôr signifies a single “firstborn” animal (Leviticus 27:26; KJV, “firstling”) or collectively the “firstborn” of a herd (Exodus 11:5).VED-OT Firstborn.2

    The “oldest” or “firstborn” son (Exodus 6:14) had special privileges within the family. He received the special family blessing, which meant spiritual and social leadership and a double portion of the father’s possessions—or twice what all the other sons received (Deuteronomy 21:17). He could lose this blessing through misdeeds (Genesis 35:22) or by selling it (Genesis 25:29-34). God claimed all Israel and all their possessions as His own. As a token of this claim, Israel was to give Him all its “firstborn” (Exodus 13:1-16). The animals were to be sacrificed, redeemed, or killed, while the male children were redeemed either by being replaced with Levites or by the payment of a redemption price (Numbers 33:40ff.). Israel was God’s “firstborn”; it enjoyed a privileged position and blessings over all other nations (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9).VED-OT Firstborn.3

    The “first-born of death” is an idiom meaning a deadly disease (Job 18:13); the “firstborn of the poor” is the poorest class of people (Isaiah 14:30).VED-OT Firstborn.4

    Bikkûr (בִּכּוּרִים, Strong's #1061), “first fruits.” This noun appears 16 times. The “first grain and fruit” harvested was to be offered to God (Numbers 28:26) in recognition of God’s ownership of the land and His sovereignty over nature. Bread of the “first fruits” was bread made of the first harvest grain, presented to God at Pentecost (Leviticus 23:20). The “day of the first fruits” was Pentecost (Numbers 28:26).VED-OT Firstborn.5


    Bârach (בָּרַח, Strong's #1272), “to flee, pass through.” Some scholars see this word, which is used throughout the history of the Hebrew language, reflected in ancient Ugaritic as well. Bârach occurs about 60 times in the Hebrew Bible. The word first appears in Genesis 16:6, where it is said that Hagar “fled from her [Sarah’s] face” as a result of Sarah’s harsh treatment.VED-OT Flee.2

    Men may “flee” from many things or situations. David “fled” from Naioth in Ramah in order to come to Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:1). Sometimes it is necessary to “flee” from weapons (Job 20:24). In describing flight from a person, the Hebrew idiom “from the presence of” (literally, “from the face of”) is often used (Genesis 16:6, 8; 31:27; 1, 7).VED-OT Flee.3

    In its figurative use, the word describes days “fleeing” away (Job 9:25) or frail man “fleeing” like a shadow (Job 14:2). A rather paradoxical use is found in Song of Song of Solomon 8:14, in which “flee” must mean “come quickly”: “Make haste [literally, “flee”], my beloved, and be thou like to a gazelle.…”VED-OT Flee.4

    Nûs ( נוּס, 5127), “to flee, escape, take flight, depart.” This term is found primarily in biblical Hebrew, where it occurs some 160 times. Nûs occurs for the first time in Genesis 14:10, where it is used twice to describe the “fleeing” of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. :$ is the common word for “fleeing” from an enemy or danger (Genesis 39:12; Numbers 16:34; Joshua 10:6). The word is also used to describe “escape,” as in Jeremiah 46:6 and Amos 9:1. In a figurative use, the word describes the “disappearance” of physical strength (Deuteronomy 34:7), the “fleeing” of evening shadows (Song of Song of Solomon 2:17), and the “fleeing away” of sorrow (Isaiah 35:10).VED-OT Flee.5


    Bâśâr (בָּשָׂר, Strong's #1320), “flesh; meat; male sex organ.” Cognates of this word appear in Ugaritic, Arabic, and Aramaic. Biblical Hebrew attests it about 270 times and in all periods.VED-OT Flesh.2

    The word means the “meaty part plus the skin” of men: “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof” (Genesis 2:21—the first occurrence). This word can also be applied to the “meaty part” of animals (Deuteronomy 14:8). Genesis 41:2 speaks of seven cows, sleek and “fat of flesh.” In Numbers 11:33, bâśâr means the meat or “flesh” of the quail that Israel was still chewing. Thus the word means “flesh,” whether living or dead.VED-OT Flesh.3

    Bâśâr often means the “edible part” of animals. Eli’s sons did not know God’s law concerning the priests’ portion, so “when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s [Eli’s] servant came, while the flesh was [boiling], with a [threepronged fork] in his hand” (1 Samuel 2:13). However, they insisted that “before they burnt the fat … , Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have [boiled] flesh of thee, but raw” (literally, “living”—1 Samuel 2:15). Bâśâr, then, represents edible animal “flesh” or “meat,” whether cooked (Daniel 10:3) or uncooked. The word sometimes refers to “meat” that one is forbidden to eat (cf. Exodus 21:28).VED-OT Flesh.4

    This word may represent a part of the body. At some points, the body is viewed as consisting of two components, “flesh” and bones: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23). That part of the “fleshly” element known as the foreskin was to be removed by circumcision (Genesis 17:11). In other passages, the elements of the body are the “flesh,” the skin, and the bones (Lamentations 3:4). Numbers 19:5 mentions the “flesh,” hide, blood, and refuse of a heifer. In Job 10:11, we read: “Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast [knit] me with bones and sinews.”VED-OT Flesh.5

    Flesh sometimes means “blood relative”: “And Laban said to him [Jacob], Surely thou art my bone and my flesh” (Genesis 29:14). The phrase “your flesh” or “our flesh” standing alone may bear the same meaning: “Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh” (Genesis 37:27). The phrase she’er bâśâr is rendered “blood relative” (Leviticus 18:6; KJV, “near of kin”).VED-OT Flesh.6

    About 50 times, “flesh” represents the “physical aspect” of man or animals as contrasted with the spirit, soul, or heart (the nonphysical aspect). In the case of men, this usage appears in Numbers 16:22: “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?” In such passages, then, bâśâr emphasizes the “visible and structural part” of man or animal.VED-OT Flesh.7

    In a few passages, the word appears to mean “skin,” or the part of the body that is seen: “By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin” (Psalms 102:5; 119:120). In passages such as Leviticus 13:2, the ideas “flesh” and “skin” are clearly distinguished.VED-OT Flesh.8

    Bâśâr sometimes represents the “male sex organ”: “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh [NASB, “body”], because of his issue he is unclean” (Leviticus 15:2).VED-OT Flesh.9

    The term “all flesh” has several meanings. It means “all mankind” in Deuteronomy 5:26: “For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God …?” In another place, this phrase refers to “all living creatures within the cosmos,” or all men and animals (Genesis 6:17).VED-OT Flesh.10


    Tsô'n (צְאוֹן, Strong's #6629), “flock; small cattle; sheep; goats.” A similar word is found in Akkadian, Aramaic, and Syriac, and in the Tel Amarna tablets. In Hebrew, tsô'n kept its meaning in all stages of the development of the language. The word occurs 273 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, with its first occurrence in Genesis 4:2. The word is not limited to any period of Hebrew history or to any type of literature. The Book of Genesis, with the narratives on the patriarchs in their pastoral setting, has the greatest frequency of usage (about 60 times).The primary meaning of tsô'n is “small cattle,” to be distinguished from baqar (“herd”). The word may refer to “sheep” only (1 Samuel 25:2) or to both “sheep and goats”: “So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me” (Genesis 30:33). The “flock” was an important economic factor in the ancient Near East. The animals were eaten (1 Samuel 14:32; cf. Psalms 44:11), shorn for their wool (Genesis 31:19), and milked (Deuteronomy 32:14). They were also offered as a sacrifice, as when Abel sacrificed a firstling of his “flock” (Genesis 4:4).VED-OT Flock.2

    In the metaphorical usage of tsô'n, the imagery of a “multitude” may apply to people: “As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 36:38). God is viewed as the shepherd of His “flock,” God’s people: “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalms 100:3; cf. Psalms 23; 79:13; Micah 7:14). In a period of oppression, the psalmist compared God’s people to “sheep for the slaughter” (Psalms 44:22) and prayed for God’s deliverance.VED-OT Flock.3

    People without a leader were compared to a “flock” without a shepherd (1 Kings 22:17; cf. Zechariah 10:2; 13:7). Jeremiah viewed the Judeans as having been guided astray by their shepherds, or leaders (Jeremiah 50:6). Similarly, Isaiah wrote: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).VED-OT Flock.4

    The prophetic promise pertains to God’s renewed blessing on the remnant of the “flock”: “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase” (Jeremiah 23:3). This would come to pass as the Messiah (“the Branch of David”) will establish His rule over the people (vv. 5-6). This idea is also expressed by Ezekiel: “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it” (Ezekiel 34:23-24).VED-OT Flock.5

    The Septuagint gives the following translations: probaton (“sheep”) and piomnion (“flock”). The KJV gives these senses: “flocks; sheep; cattle.”VED-OT Flock.6


    'Achêr (אַחֵר, Strong's #312), “following; different; other.” This word occurs about 166 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew.VED-OT Following.2

    The first meaning of this word is temporal, and is seen in Genesis 17:21: “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year” (i.e., the year “following”). The first biblical occurrence of the word is in Genesis 4:25: “And Adam [had relations with] his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel.…”VED-OT Following.3

    This meaning of “different” or “another” also appears in Leviticus 27:20: “And if he will not redeem the field, or if he have sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed any more.” In Isaiah 28:11, 'achêr defines tongue or language; hence it should be understood as “foreign”: " For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.” Since this verse is quoted in 1 Corinthians 14:21 as an Old Testament prophecy of tongues-speaking, 'achêr figures prominently in the debate on that subject.VED-OT Following.4

    Finally, 'achêr can mean “other.” In this usage, the word distinguishes one thing from another without emphasizing any contrast. This is its meaning in Exodus 20:3: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”VED-OT Following.5


    'Ĕvı̂yl (אֱוִיל, Strong's #191), “fool.” This word appears primarily in the wisdom literature. A person described by 'ĕvı̂yl generally lacks wisdom; indeed, wisdom is beyond his grasp (Proverbs 24:7). In another nuance, “fool” is a morally undesirable individual who despises wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7; 15:5). He mocks guilt (Proverbs 14:9), and is quarrelsome (Proverbs 20:3) and licentious (Proverbs 7:22). Trying to give him instruction is futile (Proverbs 16:22).VED-OT Fool.2


    'Ivveleth (אִוֶּלֶת, Strong's #200), “foolishness; stupidity.” This noun appears 25 times in the Old Testament. It can mean “foolishness” in the sense of violating God’s law, or “sin” (Psalms 38:5). The word also describes the activities and life-style of the man who ignores the instructions of wisdom (Proverbs 5:23). In another nuance, the noun means “thoughtless.” Hence 'ivveleth describes the way a young person is prone to act (Proverbs 22:15) and the way any fool or stupid person chatters (Proverbs 15:2).
    Nebâlâh (נְבָלָה, Strong's #5039), “foolishness; senselessness; impropriety; stupidity.” This abstract noun appears 13 times in the Old Testament. Its use in 1 Samuel 25:25 signifies “disregarding God’s will.” Nebâlâh is most often used as a word for a serious sin (Genesis 34:7—the first occurrence).
    VED-OT Foolishness.2


    Regel (רֶגֶל, 7272), “foot; leg.” Regel is a word found in many Semitic languages, referring to a part of the body. In the Old Testament, the word is used a total of 245 times, with its first occurrence in Genesis 8:9.VED-OT Foot.2

    Regel may refer to the “foot” of a human (Genesis 18:4), an animal (Ezekiel 29:11), a bird (Genesis 8:9), or even a table (a rare usage; Exodus 25:26, KJV). The word’s usage is also extended to signify the “leg”: “And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders” (1 Samuel 17:6). Regel is used euphemistically for the genital area; thus urine is “water of the legs” (2 Kings 18:27) and pubic hair is “hair of the legs” (Isaiah 7:20). The foot’s low place gave rise to an idiom: “From the sole of the foot to the crown of the head” (cf. Deuteronomy 28:35), signifying the “total extent of the body.”VED-OT Foot.3

    “Foot” may be a metaphor of “arrogance”: “Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me” (Psalms 36:11). It is used to represent Israel: “Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them” (2 Kings 21:8).VED-OT Foot.4

    In anthropomorphic expressions, God has “feet.” Thus God revealed Himself with a pavement of sapphire as clear as the sky under His “feet” (Exodus 24:10). The authors of Scripture portray God as having darkness (Psalms 18:9) and clouds of dust beneath His “feet” (Nahum 1:3), and sending a plague out from His “feet” (Habakkuk 3:5). His “feet” are said to rest on the earth (Isaiah 66:1); the temple is also the resting place of His “feet”: “… And I will make the place of my feet glorious” (Isaiah 60:13). Similarly, the seraphim had “feet,” which they covered with a pair of wings as they stood in the presence of God (Isaiah 6:2); the cherubim had “feet” that Ezekiel described (Ezekiel 1:7).VED-OT Foot.5

    The Septuagint gives the following translations: pous (“foot”) and skelos (“leg”).VED-OT Foot.6


    Shâkach (שָׁכֵחַ, Strong's #7911), “to forget.” The common word meaning “to forget” appears in all periods of the Hebrew language; this term is also found in Aramaic. It occurs just over 100 times in the Hebrew Bible. Shâkach is found for the first time in the Old Testament in Genesis 27:45, when Rebekah urges Jacob to flee his home until Esau “forget that which thou hast done to him.”VED-OT Forget.2

    As the people worshiped strange gods, Jeremiah reminded Judah that “all thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not” (Jeremiah 30:14). But God does not “forget” His people: “Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee” (Isaiah 49:15). In spite of this, when destruction came, Judah complained: “Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever …?” (Lamentations 5:20). Israel would often “forget” God’s law (Hosea 4:6) and God’s name (Jeremiah 23:27).VED-OT Forget.3


    Sallâch (סַלָּח, Strong's #5545), “to forgive.” This verb appears 46 times in the Old Testament. The meaning “to forgive” is limited to biblical and rabbinic Hebrew; in Akkadian, the word means “to sprinkle,” and in Aramaic and Syriac signifies “to pour out.” The meaning of sallâch in Ugaritic is debatable.VED-OT Forgive.2

    The first biblical occurrence is in Moses’ prayer of intercession on behalf of the Israelites: “… It is a stiffnecked people; and [forgive] our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance” (Exodus 34:9). The basic meaning undergoes no change throughout the Old Testament. God is always the subject of “forgiveness.” No other Old Testament verb means “to forgive,” although several verbs include “forgiveness” in the range of meanings given a particular context (e.g., naca’ and ’awon in Exodus 32:32; kapar in Ezekiel 16:63).VED-OT Forgive.3

    The verb occurs throughout the Old Testament. Most occurrences of sallâch are in the sacrificial laws of Leviticus and Numbers. In the typology of the Old Testament, sacrifices foreshadowed the accomplished work of Jesus Christ, and the Old Testament believer was assured of “forgiveness” based on sacrifice: “And the priest shall make an atonement [for him in regard to his sin]” (Numbers 15:25, 28), “And it shall be forgiven him” (Leviticus 4:26; cf. vv. 20, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18). The mediators of the atonement were the priests who offered the sacrifice. The sacrifice was ordained by God to promise ultimate “forgiveness” in God’s sacrifice of His own Son. Moreover, sacrifice was appropriately connected to atonement, as there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Leviticus 4:20; cf. Hebrews 9:22).VED-OT Forgive.4

    Out of His grace, God alone “forgives” sin. The Israelites experienced God’s “forgiveness” in the wilderness and in the Promised Land. As long as the temple stood, sacrificial atonement continued and the Israelites were assured of God’s “forgiveness.” When the temple was destroyed and sacrifices ceased, God sent the prophetic word that He graciously would restore Israel out of exile and “forgive” its sins (Jeremiah 31:34).VED-OT Forgive.5

    The psalmist appealed to God’s great name in his request for “forgiveness”: “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great” (Psalms 25:11). David praised God for the assurance of “forgiveness” of sins: “Bless the Lord, O my soul … , who forgiveth all thine iniquities …” (Psalms 103:2-3). The Old Testament saints, while involved in sacrificial rites, put their faith in God.VED-OT Forgive.6

    In the Septuagint, sallâch is most frequently translated by hileos einai (“to be gracious; be merciful”), hilaskesthai (“to propitiate, expiate”) and apievai (“to forgive, pardon, leave, cancel”). The translation “to forgive” is found in most English versions (KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV), and at times also “to pardon” (KJV, RSV).VED-OT Forgive.7


    Yâtsar (יָצַר, Strong's #3335), “to form, mold, fashion.” A word common to Hebrew in all its periods, yâtsar is used in modern Hebrew in the sense of “to produce,” or “to create.” The word is found just over 60 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The first occurrence in the Old Testament is in Genesis 2:7: “… God formed man of the dust of the ground,” reflecting the basic meaning of “molding” something to a desired shape.VED-OT Form.2

    Yâtsar is a technical potter’s word, and it is often used in connection with the potter at work (Isaiah 29:16; Jeremiah 18:4, 6). The word is sometimes used as a general term of “craftsmanship or handiwork,” whether molding, carving, or casting (Isaiah 44:9-10, 12).VED-OT Form.3

    The word may be used to express the “forming of plans in one’s mind (Psalms 94:20; KJV, “frameth”). Yâtsar is frequently used to describe God’s creative activity, whether literally or figuratively. Thus, God “formed” not only man (Genesis 2:7-8) but the animals (Genesis 2:19). God also “formed” the nation of Israel (Isaiah 27:11; 9, 11); Israel was “formed” as God’s special servant even from the womb (Isaiah 44:2, 24; 49:5). While yet in the womb, Jeremiah was “formed” to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:5). God “formed” locusts as a special visual lesson for Amos (Amos 7:1); the great sea monster, Leviathan, was “formed” to play in the seas (Psalms 104:26).VED-OT Form.4

    The concreteness of ancient Hebrew thinking is vividly seen in a statement such as this: “I form the light, and create darkness …” (Isaiah 45:7). Similarly, the psalmist confessed to God: “… Thou hast made summer and winter” (Psalms 74:17). God “formed” the spirit of man (Zechariah 12:1), as well as the heart or mind of man (Psalms 33:15). Yâtsar is used to express God’s “planning” or “preordaining” according to His divine purpose (Isaiah 22:11; 46:11).VED-OT Form.5

    Almost one half of the uses of this word in the Old Testament are found in the Book of Isaiah, with God as the subject of most of them.VED-OT Form.6


    Ri'shôn (רִאשֹׁן, Strong's #7223), “former; chief; first.” This word comes from a common Semitic root that also yields ro’sh (“head”) and ri'shit (“beginning”). Ri'shôn, which appears 182 times (first in Genesis 8:13), is well represented throughout the entire Old Testament, with the exception of the poetic books and the minor prophets. The basic meaning of ri'shôn is “first” in a series. The word is the antonym of ’acharon (“last”). On the one hand, ri'shôn may refer to the “first month” (Exodus 40:2), the “first day” (Exodus 12:15), the “former temple” (Ezra 3:12)or the “firstborn” (Genesis 255:25ff.).VED-OT Former.2

    On the other hand, the word may denote the “most prominent” in a series. Thus God is “the first” as well as “the last”: “Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he” (Isaiah 41:4). The most prominent people at a banquet sat in the “first place” (Esther 1:14). The use of ri'shôn with “father” in “Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me” (Isaiah 43:27) expresses how Israel’s beginnings started with sin and rebellion. AVED-OT Former.3

    s a reference to time, ri'shôn signifies what has been—i.e., the “former.” This usage appears in phrases meaning a “former position” (Genesis 40:13) and a “deceased husband” (Hosea 2:7). The “prophets of the past” (Zechariah 1:4) and “ancestors” (Leviticus 26:45) are both best understood as expressions referring to the past. The prophetic phrase “former days” (unlike “latter days”) expresses Israel’s past sin and God’s judgment on Israel: “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isaiah 42:9).VED-OT Former.4

    The Septuagint translations are: proteros (“earlier; former; superior”), protos (“first; earlier; earliest”), emprosthen (“ahead; in front”), arche (“beginning; first cause; ruler; rule”). The KJV gives these translations: “first; former; before; beginning.”VED-OT Former.5


    ‛Âzab (עָזַב, Strong's #5800), “to leave, forsake, abandon, leave behind, be left over, let go.” This word occurs in Akkadian and post-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic. Similar words appear in Arabic and Ethiopic. The word occurs in biblical Hebrew about 215 times and in all periods.VED-OT Forsake.2

    Basically ‛âzab means “to depart from something,” or “to leave.” This is the meaning of the word in its first biblical appearance: "[For this cause] shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife …” (Genesis 2:24). A special nuance of the word is “to leave in the lurch,” or to leave someone who is depending upon one’s services. So Moses said to Hobab the Midianite (Kenite): “Leave us not [in the lurch] I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes” (Numbers 10:31).VED-OT Forsake.3

    The word also carries the meaning “forsake,” or “leave entirely.” Such passages convey a note of finality or completeness. So Isaiah is to preach that “… the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings” (Isaiah 7:16). In other places, the abandonment is complete but not necessarily permanent. God says that Israel is “as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit.… For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee” (Isaiah 54:6-7). In Akkadian, this word carries a technical sense of “completely and permanently abandoned” or “divorced.” Isaiah employs this sense in 62:4: “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; … but thou shalt be called [My delight is in her], and thy land [Married].…”VED-OT Forsake.4

    Another special use of the word is “to disregard advice”: “But he forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him …” (1 Kings 12:8).VED-OT Forsake.5

    A second emphasis of ‛âzab is “to leave behind,” meaning to allow something to remain while one leaves the scene. In Genesis 39:12, Joseph “left” his garment in the hand of Potiphar’s wife and fled. The word may also refer to an intentional “turning over one’s possessions to another’s trust,” or “leaving something in one’s control.” Potiphar “left all that he had in Joseph’s hand” (Genesis 39:6).VED-OT Forsake.6

    In a somewhat different nuance, the word means to “let someone or something alone with a problem”: “If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him …” (Exodus 23:5). Used figuratively, ‛âzab means to “put distance between” in a spiritual or intellectual sense: “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath …” (Psalms 37:8).VED-OT Forsake.7

    The third emphasis of the word is “to be left over,” or “to take most of something and leave the rest behind”: “And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them [over] for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:10).VED-OT Forsake.8

    Finally, ‛âzab can mean “to let go” or “allow to leave.” The “stupid and senseless men” are those who make no provision for the future; they die leaving (“allowing it to go”) their wealth to others (Psalms 49:10). A different nuance occurs in Ruth 2:16, where the verb means “to let something lie” on the ground. ‛Âzab can also mean “to give up”: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them [gives them up] shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13), and the word can mean “to set free,” as in 2 Chronicles 28:14: “So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation.” ‛Âzab can signify “let go,” or “make it leave.” Concerning evil, Zophar remarks, “… [The wicked] forsake it not, but keep it still within his mouth” (Job 20:13).VED-OT Forsake.9

    ‛Âzab can mean to “allow someone to do something,” as in 2 Chronicles 32:31, where “God left [Hezekiah], to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart”; God “let” Hezekiah do whatever he wanted. “Letting an activity go” may also signify its discontinuance: “I pray you, let us leave off this usury” (Nehemiah 5:10).VED-OT Forsake.10

    ‛Âzab is sometimes used in a judicial technical sense of “being free,” which is the opposite of being in bondage. The Lord will vindicate His people, and will have compassion on His servants “when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left” (Deuteronomy 32:36).VED-OT Forsake.11


    Rêa‛ (רֵיעַ, Strong's #7453), “friend; companion; fellow.” This noun appears about 187 times in the Bible. The word refers to a “friend” in 2 Samuel 13:3: “But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab.” The word may be used of a husband (Jeremiah 3:20) or a lover (Song of Song of Solomon 5:16).VED-OT Friend.2

    In another sense, rêa‛ may be used of any person with whom one has reciprocal relations: “And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots …” (Jonah 1:7). The word also appears in such phrases as “one another,” found in Genesis 11:3: “And they said one to another …” (cf. Genesis 31:49).VED-OT Friend.3

    Other related nouns that appear less frequently are rêa‛, which means “friend” about 5 times (e.g., 1 Kings 4:5); and rêa‛, which means “companion or attendant” (Judges 11:38; Psalms 45:14).VED-OT Friend.4


    A. Noun.VED-OT Fruit.2

    Perı̂y (פְּרִי, Strong's #6529), “fruit; reward; price; earnings; product; result.” Cognates of this word appear in Ugaritic and Egyptian. Perı̂y appears about 120 times in biblical Hebrew and in every period.VED-OT Fruit.3

    First, perı̂y represents the mature edible product of a plant, which is its “fruit.” This broad meaning is evident in Deuteronomy 7:13: “He will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine and the flocks of thy sheep.…” In its first biblical appearance, the word is used to signify both “trees” and the “fruit” of trees: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind …” (Genesis 1:11). In Psalms 107:34, the word is used as a modifier of land. The resulting term is “a fruitful land” in the sense of a “land of fruit.”VED-OT Fruit.4

    Second, perı̂y means “offspring,” or the “fruit of a womb.” In Deuteronomy 7:13, the word represents “human offspring,” but it can also be used of animal “offspring” (Genesis 1:22).VED-OT Fruit.5

    Third, the “product” or “result” of an action is, in poetry, sometimes called its “fruit”: “A man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth” (Psalms 58:11). Isaiah 27:9 speaks of “the full price of the pardoning of his sin” (KJV, “all the fruit to take away his sin”), i.e., the result of God’s purifying acts toward Israel. The wise woman buys and plants a field with her earnings or the “fruit of her hands” (Proverbs 31:16). In other words, she is to be rewarded by receiving the “product” of her hands (Proverbs 31:31). The righteous will be rewarded “according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:10, NASB; cf. 21:14). In most passages similar to these, the NASB renders perı̂y “fruit” (cf. Proverbs 18:21).VED-OT Fruit.6

    B. Verb. VED-OT Fruit.7

    Pârad (פָּרַד, Strong's #6504), “to be fruitful, bear fruit.” This verb appears 29 times in the Old Testament. Its first occurrence is in Genesis 1:22: “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, …”VED-OT Fruit.8

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