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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Hebrew word: גוה

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Dictionary/g/g-w-he.html

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary

גוה

The root גוה (gwh) isn't used as a verb in the Bible so we don't know what it means. But its emphasis lies on corporeity, whether individual or collective:

  • The masculine noun גו (gaw), meaning back (the body part - Isaiah 38:17, Proverbs 10:13).
  • The masculine noun גו (gew), meaning midst (Job 30:5). This word appears to be an Aramaism.
  • The feminine noun גוה (gewa), also meaning back (Job 20:25 only).
  • The feminine noun גויה (gewiya), denoting the whole body, whether alive (human: Genesis 47:18; angelic Ezekiel 1:11) or dead (human: 1 Samuel 31:10; lion: Judges 14:8).
  • The masculine noun גוי (goy) meaning people or nation (Genesis 10:5, Deuteronomy 4:6). This word in singular form may also be used for Israel (Exodus 19:6) or even tribes (Genesis 48:19). The plural of this word, גוים (goyim, or גוי, meaning goyim of, which is spelled the same as the singular) denotes "the nations," that is, all peoples other than Israel. Once or twice in the Bible, this word denotes non-human "nations": beasts (Zephaniah 2:14) and perhaps locusts, although that's debatable (Joel 1:6).

Note the highly significant usage of the latter noun in Genesis 17:5, where YHWH renames Abram into Abraham, and says: "For I will make you the father of many nations [גוים, goyim]". This seems to urge the reader to understand that Hebrew theology concentrates on universal Truth rather than on tribal domination, while at the same time purposes to maintain social diversity instead of turning the whole earth into one big gray mass of identical citizens.


Associated Biblical names