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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Hebrew word: זאב

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Dictionary/z/z-a-b.html

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary

זאב

The root זאב (z'b) does not exist as verb in the Bible, but in Arabic it means to despise, frighten and drive away. The associated noun זאב (ze'eb) occurs in both Arabic and Hebrew and means wolf, which seems to indicate that in the Levant the wolf was mainly seen as a cowardly nuisance which could easily be scared off.

The wolf does not actually appear in the narrative of the Bible; it's only referred to in metaphors and similes, and it should be remembered that the wolf did not have the same stature as it does in our world, and it certainly didn't enjoy as much respect.

Jacob likens his son Benjamin to a wolf, which probably does not mean that Benjamin was a fierce warrior but rather an oversized rat (Genesis 49:27). The prophet Jeremiah likens Judah's enemies to a wolf (Jeremiah 5:6), but Ezekiel says Judah's own princes are wolves (Ezekiel 22:27), and Zephaniah says the same of Jerusalem's judges (Zephaniah 1:3).

The horses of the Chaldeans are keener than wolves (Habakkuk 1:8) and in the Messianic age, the wolf will dwell with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6, 65:25).


Associated Biblical names