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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Say, Utter, Affirm

A. Verb.

Ne'ûm (נְאֻם, Strong's #5002), “to say, utter an affirmation, speak.” The word is a verbal form of the verb ne'ûm, which occurs only once in the entire Old Testament: “Behold, I am against the prophets, saith [ne’um] the Lord, that use their tongues, and say [na’am], He saith [ne’um]” (Jer. 23:31). The word ne'ûm appears as many as 361 times and, because of the frequency in the prophetical books, it is characteristic of prophetic speech.

Ne'ûm is an indicator which generally appears at the end of the quotation: “What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith [ne'ûm] the Lord God of hosts” (Isa. 3:15). The word may also be found in the middle of an argument: “And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith [ne’um] the Lord. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not” (Amos 2:11-12).

B. Noun.

Ne'ûm (נְאֻם, Strong's #5002), “utterance; saying.” The use of ne'ûm is rare at the beginning of a statement: “The Lord said unto my Lord [literally, “a statement of Jehovah to my Lord”], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Ps. 110:1).

With one exception (Prov. 30:1) in the sayings of Agur, the usage throughout the Old Testament is virtually limited to a word from God. In Numbers the utterances of Balaam are introduced with the formula “and he uttered his oracle”: “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened” (Num. 24:3, RSV; cf. v. 15). David’s concluding words begin with these words: “Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam. 23:1, RSV). Apart from these instances there are a few more examples, but as a rule ne'ûm is a prophetic term, which even beyond the prophetical literature is associated with a word from God.

The Septuagint gives the following translation(s): legein (“utterance in words”) and hode (used with reference to what follows, e.g., “this is what … says”).

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Say, Utter, Affirm'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/vot/s/say-utter-affirm.html. 1940.

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