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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Humbled, to Be; Afflicted

A. Verb.

‛Ânâh (עָנָה, Strong's #6031), “to be afflicted, be bowed down, be humbled, be meek.” This word, common to both ancient and modern Hebrew, is the source of several important words in the history and experience of Judaism: “humble, meek, poor, and affliction.” ‛Ânâh occurs approximately 80 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It is found for the first time in Gen. 15:13: “… they shall afflict them four hundred years.”

‛Ânâh often expresses harsh and painful treatment. Sarai “dealt hardly” with Hagar (Gen. 16:6). When Joseph was sold as a slave, his feet were hurt with fetters (Ps. 105:18). Frequently the verb expresses the idea that God sends affliction for disciplinary purposes: “… the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart …” (Deut. 8:2; see also 1 Kings 11:39; Ps. 90:15). To take a woman sexually by force may be “to humble” her (Gen. 34:2, KJV, RSV), but the word is more appropriately translated “dishonor” (JB, NEB). In the Day of Atonement observance, “to humble oneself” is probably connected with the requirement for fasting on that day (Lev. 23:28- 29)

B. Noun.

‛Ânı̂y (עָנִי, Strong's #6041), “poor; humble; meek.” Especially in later Israelite history, just before the Exile and following, this noun came to have a special connection with those faithful ones who were being abused, taken advantage of, by the rich (Isa. 29:19; 32:7; Amos 2:7). The prophet Zephaniah’s reference to them as the “meek of the earth” (Zeph. 2:3) set the stage for Jesus’ concern and ministry to the “poor” and the “meek” (Matt. 5:3, 5; Luke 4:18; cf. Isa. 61:1). By New Testament times, “the poor of the land” were more commonly known as ’am ha’arets, “the people of the land.”

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Humbled, to Be; Afflicted'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. 1940.

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