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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Greek word: δεκα
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Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

δεκα

The word δεκα (deka) means ten. Apart from signifying a quantity between nine and eleven, this word also served to indicate a collection of undetermined size but signifying the whole of it. How large the collection then actually was depended mostly on the size of the unit.

Hence all of Abraham's wealth was represented by ten camels (compare Genesis 24:2 with 24:10; the camel being a unit of trade, see our article on the word גמל, gamal), the whole of the kingdom of heaven could be represented by ten virgins (Matthew 25:1), ten talents (Matthew 25:28), ten coins (Luke 15:8), ten slaves (Luke 19:13), and ten cities (Luke 19:17). On the other hand, ten days of tribulation may last an undetermined while, but only until the whole tribulation is over, which would not be all that long since the unit is a mere day (Revelation 2:10, see 1 Samuel 25:38, Daniel 1:12).

In the New Testament the following words that contain δεκα (deka) are used:

  • The ordinal δεκατος (dekatos), meaning tenth (John 1:39, Revelation 11:13). When preceded by the definite article and in the feminine form δεκατη (dekate), this word means the tenth, also known as tithe (Matthew 23:23, Hebrews 7:2). From this adjective come:
    • Together with πεντε (pente), meaning five, and the copulative και (kai), meaning and: the ordinal πεντεκαιδεκατος (pentekaidekatos), meaning fifteenth (Luke 3:1 only).
    • Together with τεσσαρες (tessares), meaning four and the copulative και (kai), meaning and: the ordinal τεσσαρεσκαιδεκατος (tessareskaidekate), meaning fourteenth (Acts 27:27 and 27:33 only).
  • The verb δεκατοω (dekatoo), meaning to tithe (Hebrews 7:6 and 7:9 only). From this verb comes:
    • Together with the preposition απο (apo), meaning from: the verb αποδεκατοω (apodekatoo), meaning to tithe from, to levy tithes from (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, Hebrews 7:5).
  • Together with δυο (duo), meaning two: the cardinal δεκαδυω (dekaduo), meaning twelve. This unusual form occurs only in Acts 19:7 and 24:11. More common is the reverse: δωδεκα (dodeka), see below.
  • Together with πεντε (pente), meaning five: the cardinal δεκαπεντε (dekapente), meaning fifteen (John 11:18, Acts 27:28 and Galatians 1:18 only).
  • Together with τεσσαρες (tessares), meaning four: the cardinal δεκατεσσαρες (dekatessares), meaning fourteen (Matthew 1:17, 2 Corinthians 12:2 and Galatians 2:1 only).
  • Together with δυο (duo), meaning two: the cardinal δωδεκα (dodeka), meaning twelve (Matthew 10:1, John 6:13, Revelation 21:21). From this word come:
    • The adjective δωδεκατος (dodekatos), meaning twelfth (Revelation 21:20 only).
    • Together with the noun φυλη (phule), meaning tribe: the noun δωδεκαφυλον (dodekaphulon), meaning twelve-tribe. It's a word like biped or quadruped, and means consisting of twelve tribes, a nickname for Israel (Acts 26:7 only).
  • Together with εν (hen), which is the neutral form of εις (heis), meaning one: the cardinal ενδκα (hendeka), meaning eleven. In the New Testament this word is only used to describe the eleven disciples after the death of Judas (Matthew 28:16, Mark 16:14, Luke 24:9 and 24:33, and Acts 1:26). From this word comes:
    • The ordinal ενδεκατος (hendekatos), meaning eleventh (Matthew 20:6, 20:9 and Revelation 21:20 only).

Also see our article on the noun עשר ('eser), the Hebrew word for ten.


Associated Biblical names

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