The root verb בָּשׂןמפַר bâsar (Strong's #1319, x26) is used of bringing or carrying fresh news generally from the battlefront. The messenger was usually "fresh-faced" or "flushed" from his arrival and the news was usually "good", though its first use in 1 Samuel 4:17, using the participle of the verb מְבַךֵּר mebhassêr, is of a "messenger" bringing the bad news of family and national slaughter to Eli. Similarly, when David is about to hear of Absalom's death in 2 Samuel 18:19-20 Joab tells Ahimaaz, who interprets the news as good because "the LORD has avenged him of his enemies", to delay sending the news:
"You shall not take the news this day, for you shall take the news another day. But today you shall take no news, because the king's son is dead." (2 Samuel 18:20)
The first instance of "news taking" in this verse actually uses בְּשׂןמפוּרָה besôwrâh (Strong's #1309, x6), the feminine noun, which some lexicons define as "news, good news, reward for good news", but which is again debateable since in its 3 contexts only can be construed as absolutely "good" news (2 Kings 7:9). Of the others, 2 Samuel 4:10 has David saying that he arrested and executed the last man that thought the news he was bringing, of Saul's death, was good. The "goodness" of news is subjective, for earlier the Philistines had interpreted the news of Sauls's death positively and proclaimed it throughout their land (1 Samuel 31:9) forcing David to suppress the news (2 Samuel 1:20) in Gath and Ashkelon, Philistine cities.
Indeed, in the Absalom context above 2 Samuel 18:19-32, verse 27 has to add the adjective טוּב tôwbh (Strong's #2896) "good" to both the man and the messenger to be absolutely clear that the news is to be interpreted positively.
In 1 Kings 1:42 there is a street party upon the accession of Solomon to the throne, meanwhile Absalom's younger brother Adonijah had presumed to be the next king (1 Kings 1:5), upon hearing the noise he and Joab called to Jonathan, son of the priest Abiathar, to bring "good news", again affixing the adjective "good" to בָּשׂןמפַר bâsar, only to find out that the news was bad and fearful for them, Solomon was now king.
Some translations supply the word "good" interpretatively in verses such as Psalm 40:9 "I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness" (NKJV) whereas others are more literal and render merely "I have preached righteousness" (KJV,JPS) allowing the reader to decide whether righteousness is good news or not, for the Hebrew does not explicitly say so (compare similar differences in translataion in 1 Chronicles 16:23; Psalm 96:2). In Isaiah 40:9 most versions use "good tidings" because of the announcement "behold your God".
The most famous verses using בָּשׂןמפַר bâsar are:
"How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things" (Isaiah 52:7)
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor;" (Isaiah 61:1)
In both of these the word "good" is implied but nonetheless supplied by the translator not by the Hebrew. In the first example טוּב tôwbh is added at the end of the verse after the second instance of the verb בָּשׂןמפַר bâsar. In these verses the verbs ע shâma (Strong's #8085) "to hear, cause to hear/proclaim" and קָרָא qârâ (Strong's #7121) "to call out" are also used suggesting a further neutrality to the bringing of news.
One of the opposing arguments suggesting an integral positiveness to the verb is the cognate Arabic usage, with the usual exchange of the letter shîn for sîn, of bashara "to rejoice, bring good news" with its derived bishr "joy" and bushr "glad tidings".
From this idea of bringing "fresh breaking news", good or bad, the pallor of the messenger himself lends the idea "being fresh, full of life, rosy-cheeked" giving rise to the derived noun, בָּשׂןמפָר bâsâr, which means "flesh" or "skin" as that which is carried on the bodily frame and that which is flushed with colour. Thus בָּשׂןמפַר bâsar speaks of the immediacy of fresh tidings which the hearers no doubt would hope were "good news" but which the word requires describing explicitly as "good" as the news-carrying itself only implies its freshness not necessarily its content.
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