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Old Testament Hebrew Lexical Dictionary
Strong's #2204 - זָקֵן
1) to be old, become old
1a) (Qal) to be old, become old
1b) (Hiphil) to grow old, show age
Jeff Benner, Ancient Hebrew Research Center Used by permission of the author.
זָקֵן fut. יִזְקַן to be old, to become old, to grow old (properly to have the chin hanging down, from זָקָן, like ذِقْنُ an old man with a chin hanging down, decrepid; in which perhaps may be found the origin of the Latin senex, senectus, which others have absurdly taken as used for seminex). This word, however, is used not merely of decrepit, but also of vigorous old age, Genesis 18:12, 13 Genesis 18:13, 19:31 24:1 27:1 1 Samuel 2:22, etc. [But is not decrepitude implied in all these passages?]. For the difference between זָקֵן and its synonyms יָשַׁן, שָׂב, יָשִׁישׁ see those words.
Hiphil, intrans. to be old, to become old (as if to contract old age, comp. הֶחֱזִיק [“in Heb. Gr. § 52.2, note”]), Proverbs 22:6 also of plants, Job 14:8 just as Pliny applies senesco to trees.
זָקֵן constr. זְקַן Genesis 24:2, pl. זְקֵנִים, זִקְנֵי m. an old man [“either put as an adj. with a subst., as אֲבִיכֶם הַזָּקֵז ‘the old man your father,’ Genesis 43:27, or alone as a subst., as Genesis 19:4, etc.” Thes.], Genesis 18:11, 19:4 25:8 followed by מִן older than some one. Job 32:4, כְּי זְקֶנִים־הֵמָּה מִמֶּנּוּ לְיָמִים “for they were older than he;” מִצְרַיִם, הָעִיר, זִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל the elders of Israel, of the city, of Egypt, i.e. the chief men, rulers, magistrates, without reference to the idea of age; Exodus 3:16, 4:29 Deuteronomy 19:12, 21:3, Deuteronomy 21:4, Deuteronomy 21:6, 22:15, 17 Deuteronomy 22:17, 18 Deuteronomy 22:18. (The use is similar of the Arab. شَيْخُ sheikh, an old man, hence the captain of a tribe; and in the languages sprung from the Latin, Ital. Signor, French Seigneur, Spanish Señor, Engl. Sir, all of which are from the Latin Senior; as Germ. Graf, is properly i.q. graw, krawo, grey-headed. In no language, however, does this reverence for old age appear more habitual and familiar, than in the Chinese; in which the ministers of a king, even though young, are called great king father, i.e. a man of very high eminence; and men of the same rank address each other “O my elder brother!”) Metaph. used of an old nation, become weak, Isaiah 47:6. Plur. f. זְקֵנוֹת Zechariah 8:4.
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