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

שוע  ישע

The two roots ישע (yasha') and שוע (shawa') are closely related in meaning and probably also linguistically. Their forms are so alike that especially in names the two can often not be told apart:


ישע

The root-verb ישע (yasha'), probably originally meant something like to be wide or spacious (in Arabic it still does), and its counterpart is the verb צרר (sarar), meaning to be narrow, to bind or to be in distress. Our verb ישע (yasha') means exactly the opposite: to be wide, to be loose or delivered, and to be saved.

This root and its derivatives occur 353 times in the Old Testament. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament notes that deliverance indicates a movement from distress to safety, and generally must come from some somewhere outside the party oppressed. The one who brings this deliverance is known as the "savior," and this may be a human agent delivering from any kind of earthly oppression, to God and man's deliverance from evil. However, any human savior is regarded as empowered by YHWH, and so, all deliverance comes from YHWH; the God of our salvation and deliverance (Psalm 68:19-20).

The derivatives of this verb are:

  • The feminine noun ישועה (yeshua) meaning salvation (Genesis 49:18, 2 Samuel 10:11).
  • The masculine noun ישע (yesha') meaning salvation too. This word can also be used to mean financial salvation; prosperity or welfare (2 Samuel 23:5, Psalm 12:5).
  • Following the previous type of meaning, the adjective שוע (shoa'), meaning independent indicates a 'free man,' a (financially) independent person (Isaiah 32:5).
  • The feminine noun תשועה (teshua), meaning salvation or deliverance (1 Samuel 11:9, Psalm 51:16).

שוע

The root-verb שוע (shawa'), means to cry, or more specifically, to cry out for help (Psalm 30:2, Psalm 72:12). More than half of the twenty-two occurrences of this verb are in the first person singular (I cry/ I cried), and most often this verb occurs in the Psalms.

Derivatives:

  • The masculine nouns שוע (shua') and שוע (shoa') both mean a cry (Job 30:24, Isaiah 22:5). Note the similarity between these words and the word שוע (shoa'), meaning noble, mentioned above.
  • The feminine noun שועה (shawa) means the more specific cry for help (Jeremiah 8:19, Psalm 39:13).

The proximity of these word groups is shown in Job 36:19. Some translations read here the peculiar, "If your cry for help is set in order . . . " (Jay P. Green), while others read, "Will your riches keep you from distress . . . " (NAS).

Also note the similarity with roots שעע (sha'a) and verb שעה (sha'a; follow the link for more info on both).


Associated Biblical names

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