Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
חבא חבה חוב
The two root-verbs חבא (haba') and חבה (haba) are most probably the same verb in two different spellings; they both mean to hide. The root-verb חוב (hub), meaning to be guilty, is not related, but its form is quite similar. And although these three verbs are not related, the narrative or poetic relationship between these three verbs is obvious as guilt causes fear (Psalm 38:18), and sin causes death (Romans 5:12):
The root-verb חבא (haba') means to hide (Genesis 3:10, Joshua 19:27, Judges 9:5). HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament makes the observation that twenty-five of this verb's thirty occurrences in the Bible have to do with people hiding in fear of death. But the fundamental meaning of this verb may have to do with becoming still in the sense of lifeless or apathetic; frozen with fear. Rudiments of this fundamental meaning still exist in usages such as "the voice of the nobles was hushed" (Job 29:10) and "water becomes hard like a stone" (Job 38:30). Its derivatives are:
- The masculine noun מחבא (mahabe'), meaning hiding place (Isaiah 32:2 only).
- The similar masculine noun מחבא (mahabo'), meaning hiding place as well (1 Samuel 23:23).
The root-verb חבה (haba) is probably the same as the previous verb, just spelled slightly different. It means to hide (Joshua 2:16, 1 Kings 22:25). This verb yields one derivative; the masculine noun חביון (hebyon), meaning a hiding (Habakkuk 3:4).
The root-verb חוב (hub) means to be guilty. It's used only once or twice in the Bible: in 1 Samuel 22:22 and Daniel 1:10. This verb's sole derivative is the masculine noun חוב (hob), meaning debt (Ezekiel 18:7 only).