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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Worship

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Shâchâh (שָׁחָה, Strong's #7812), “to worship, prostrate oneself, bow down.” This word is found in modern Hebrew in the sense of “to bow or stoop,” but not in the general sense of “to worship.” The fact that it is found more than 170 times in the Hebrew Bible shows something of its cultural significance. It is found for the first time in Gen. 18:2, where Abraham “bowed himself toward the ground” before the 3 messengers who announced that Sarah would have a son.

The act of bowing down in homage is generally done before a superior or a ruler. Thus, David “bowed” himself before Saul (1 Sam. 24:8). Sometimes it is a social or economic superior to whom one bows, as when Ruth “bowed” to the ground before Boaz (Ruth 2:10). In a dream, Joseph saw the sheaves of his brothers “bowing down” before his sheaf (Gen. 37:5, 9-10). Shâchâh is used as the common term for coming before God in worship, as in 1 Sam. 15:25 and Jer. 7:2. Sometimes it is in conjunction with another Hebrew verb for bowing down physically, followed by “worship,” as in Exod. 34:8: “And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.” Other gods and idols are also the object of such worship by one’s prostrating oneself before them (Isa. 2:20; 44:15, 17).

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

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