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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: δεκα
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δεκα

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

δεκα

The word δεκα (deka) means ten. Apart from signifying a quantity between nine and eleven, this cardinal 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; and also see our article on the noun עשר, 'eser, which is the Hebrew word for ten.).

In the New Testament our numeral δεκα (deka) is used 27 times independently, see full concordance, and also serves as element of the following compounds:

  • The ordinal δεκατος (dekatos), meaning tenth (John 1:39, Revelation 11:13 and 21:20 only). When preceded by the definite article and in the feminine form δεκατη (dekate), this word means the tenth, also known as tithe. This word occurs 4 times, see full concordance, and from it 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. This verb is used 4 times in the New Testament; see full concordance.
  • 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. This number occurs 5 times in three verses; see full concordance.
  • Together with δυο (duo), meaning two: the cardinal δωδεκα (dodeka), meaning twelve. This numbers occurs 73 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derives:
    • 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, which happens 6 times: see full concordance. From this word comes:

Associated Biblical names

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