Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Take, Handle

Tâphaś (תָּפַשׂ, Strong's #8610), “to catch, seize, lay hold of, grasp, play.” This verb is found in both biblical and modern Hebrew. It occurs approximately 60 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The word is found for the first time in Gen. 4:21, where it expresses the idea of grasping something in one’s hand in order to use it: “… He was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.” Other things that are “seized” with the hand, or “handled,” are: swords (Ezek. 21:11), shields (Jer. 46:9), bows (Amos 2:15), and sickles (Jer. 50:16). The expert in torah, “law,” is one who “handles” the law, but he sometimes mishandles it also: “… They that handle the law knew me not …” (Jer. 2:8).

“To seize” someone may be to arrest him: “… Irijah took [NASB, “arrested”] Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes” (Jer. 37:14). Frequently, tâphaś is used in the sense of “to capture”: “And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua” (Josh. 8:23). “To lay hold of,” or “seize,” hearts is to terrorize: “That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols” (Ezek. 14:5).

'Âchaz (אָחַז, Strong's #270), “to seize, grasp, take hold, take possession.” Found in various Semitic languages, including ancient Akkadian, this word is a common one throughout the stages of the Hebrew language. It occurs almost 70 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It is used for the first time in the Old Testament in the passive sense with reference to the ram “caught in a thicket by his horns” (Gen. 22:13) and thus became a substitute for Isaac.

While 'âchaz is a common term for taking hold of things physically, such as Jacob’s “taking hold” of Esau’s heel (Gen. 25:26), 'âchaz is frequently used in a metaphorical or figurative sense. In His wrath, God “seized” Job by the neck (Job 16:12). On the other hand, the psalmist testifies that in His grace, God “holds” his right hand (Ps. 73:23). Pain and trembling “seize” the enemies of Israel (Exod. 15:14-15). Horror “seizes” the people of the east (Job 18:20).

This word gives us the name of Ahaz, king of Judah (2 Kings 16).

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Take, Handle'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. 1940.

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