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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Hebrew word: עשה
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Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary

עשה

There are two roots of the form עשה ('asa) in the Bible, and they don't seem to have a lot to do with each other. But on the other hand, the meaning of the first root is so malleable that the meaning of the second one can be squeezed into it without much imagination:


עשה I

The root-verb עשה ('asa I) is the common Hebrew verb to do or make. It should be distinguished from the verbs ברא (bara) meaning to create something that wasn't there before, יצר (yasar), meaning to fashion something that was already there in some rudimentary form, and פעל (pa'al), which tends to describe one's moral deeds. The verb עשה ('asa) differs additionally in that this verb allows the making of some kind of deed (hence: doing), such as a commandment.

Apart from conveying the meanings contained in our English verb "to do", this wonderful verb works like a virtual engine in a wide range of expressions: do mightily, do efficiently, do a work, exercise power or sovereignty, do evil, do kindness, to deal with, etcetera. The verb is also used to mean to make or fashion, to bring about something, to destroy something, to produce something, to prepare, to attend, to observe or celebrate, to acquire, to appoint, ordain or institute, to use or to spend.

Besides the strictly creative verb ברא (bara), our verb עשה ('asa) is frequently used in the creation account or references thereto.

An expectable derivation of our verb is the masculine noun מעשה (ma'aseh), meaning deed or act, with again as many colors and hues as the parent verb (Genesis 5:29, Exodus 5:4, Psalm 115:4, Isaiah 2:8).

עשה II

An identical verb עשה ('asa II) occurs in Ezekiel 23:3 and Ezekiel 23:8. It means to press or squeeze. Relations between these two verbs are unclear.


Associated Biblical names

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