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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Likeness

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A. Verb.

Dâmâh (דָּמָה, Strong's #1819), “to be like, resemble, be or act like, liken or compare, devise, balance or ponder.” This verb appears in biblical Hebrew about 28 times. Cognates of this word appear in biblical Aramaic, Akkadian, and Arabic. Dâmâh means “to be like” in Ps. 102:6: “I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.”

B. Noun.

Demûth (דְּמוּת, Strong's #1823), “likeness; shape; figure; form; pattern.” All but 5 of the 25 appearances of this word are in poetical or prophetical books of the Bible.

First, the word means “pattern,” in the sense of the specifications from which an actual item is made: “Now King Ahaz went to Damascus … and saw the altar which was at Damascus; and King Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the pattern of the altar and its model, according to all its workmanship” (2 Kings 16:10, NASB).

Second, demûth means “shape” or “form,” the thing(s) made after a given pattern. In 2 Chron. 4:3 the word represents the “shape” of a bronze statue: “And under it was the similtude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about.” In such passages demûth means more than just “shape” in general; it indicates the “shape” in particular. In Ezek. 1:10, for example, the word represents the “form” or “likeness” of the faces of the living creatures Ezekiel describes. In Ezek. 1:26 the word refers to what something seemed to be rather than what it was: “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne.…”

Third, demûth signifies the original after which a thing is patterned: “To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” (Isa. 40:18). This significance is in its first biblical appearance: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …” (Gen. 1:26).

Fourth, in Ps. 58:4 the word appears to function merely to extend the form but not the meaning of the preposition ke: “Their poison is like the poison of a serpent.…”

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Likeness'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/vot/l/likeness.html. 1940.

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