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Bible Lexicons

Girdlestone's Synonyms of the Old Testament


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The most general word for command or commandment is some form of tsavah (צוה ), which appears to signify literally to set up or appoint. It is largely used from Genesis 2:16 onward, and applies to any order, human or divine. The general Greek renderings are ἐντέλλομαι, προστάττω, and ἐντολή.

Amar (אמר ), to speak, is rendered 'command' in Exodus 8:27 and forty-four other passages; and Davar (דבר ), to speak, is so rendered twenty times. What is spoken either by the Lord or by any one of high authority is naturally looked up on as a commandment. With God, to speak is to command; and with man, to hear ought to be to obey. [The ordinary word for obedience in the O. T. literally signifies hearing.] Amar is used in Job 9:7, where we read that God 'commandeth the sun and it riseth not' - the laws of nature, their continuance, and their cessation, being equally regarded as the utterance of the Divine word. So God 'commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind' (Psalms 107:25); 'He sendeth forth his commandment up on earth, his word runneth very swiftly' (Psalms 147:15).

Peh (פה ), mouth, is rendered 'commandment' in Genesis 45:21, Exodus 17:1, and thirty-two other passages. It is possibly an Egyptian idiom, and may be compared with the use of the 'mouth' as signifying self in Coptic. It occurs in Job 39:27, 'Doth the eagle mount up at thy command?' in Proverbs 8:29, 'He gave to the sea his decree that the waters should not pass his commandment;' Ecclesiastes 8:2, 'Keep the king's commandment;' Lamentations 1:18, 'I have rebelled against his commandment.'

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Girdlestone, Robert Baker. Entry for 'Commandment'. Synonyms of the Old Testament.
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