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

חפץ

Scholars identify two separate Biblical roots of the form חפץ (hps), but at second glance this disparity may not exist:


חפץ I

The root-verb חפץ (hapes), means to take delight in or be pleased in. This verb occurs frequently in the Bible: an emperor who has delight in pretty pageanteers (Esther 2:14); Saul having delight in David (1 Samuel 18:22); God having delight in David (2 Samuel 22:20); a lover awakening when she pleases (Song of Solomon 2:7).

There are more verbs in Hebrew that express delight or favor, but — as HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament notes — hapes is the most emotional of them. Its derivatives are:

  • The adjective חפץ (hapes), meaning delighting in (Psalm 34:12, Psalm 5:4).
  • The masculine noun חפץ (hepes), meaning delight (Malachi 3:12, Job 31:16, Isaiah 44:28).
חפץ II

Because of an odd occurrence of the verb חפץ (hapes), scholars have declared the existence of a second root. In Job 40:17 the enigmatic creature called Behemoth does something with his tail, and it is assumed that he's bending it. A somewhat similar verb in Arabic means to depress or lower, and so scholars assume that the verb חפץ (hapes II) means to bend down. But this is all speculation; in fact, we don't know for sure what the Behemoth might be, or what he might do with his tail. For all we know, the Behemoth delights in his tail like a cedar.


Associated Biblical names

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