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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Go Away, Leave

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

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

The best-known Old Testament captivity was the one brought by God through the kings of Assyria and Babylon (1 Chron. 5:26; cf. Jer. 29:1).

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

This word may signify “making oneself naked.” Noah “drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent” (Gen. 9:21).

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

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

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

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

B. Noun.

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

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Go Away, Leave'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/vot/g/go-away-leave.html. 1940.

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