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

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/o/o-r-th-o-sfin.html


Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary


The adjective ορθος (orthos) means straight, erect or upright, and was used in the classics to describe moral or ethical virtue, fidelity to certain instructions or received wisdom (hence the word orthodoxy, which combines our adjective with the noun δοξα, doxa), safety from harm or violation and thus prosperity, correctness in a mathematical sense or a right angle in a geometric sense (hence the word orthodontist, which combines our adjective with the Latin noun for tooth).

Our adjective ορθος (orthos), straight, stems from a vast Proto-Indo-European root "herd-" (not related to our English word "herd"), meaning to increase or grow, or be upright or high (hence also the Latin noun arbor, tree). This PIE root "herd-" in turn is part of a greater root "her-", to rise, hence the Greek verb ορνυμι (ornumi), meaning to stir up or excite (hence our English word "hormone"; see below), the noun ορος (oros), meaning mountain, the verb ερεθιζω (erethizo), to irritate or agitate, the noun ερις (eris), strife, the noun ερνος (ernos), shoot or sprout (a young plant), and the Latin stem origo, to begin, from which English gets the words origin and orientation.

Our adjective ορθος (orthos) is probably not directly related but suspiciously similar, in both form and meaning, to the Hebrew verb ישר (yashar), to be straight, erect or upright, which is the root of names like Jeshurun and Asshur (and thus Assyria).

The core quality of uprightness, and thus of righteousness, justice and virtue, has of course been the topic of many a philosophic journey. Some insist that the utmost uprightness comes with being the best one can be: the richest, the most powerful and of course the most intelligent and the most learned. But others surmise that uprightness comes with understanding one's own limitations, and so with a controlled dependency on others, which in turn results in a unified network that is vastly greater than any single superman. The former favor what we here at Abarim Publications dub the solar consciousness. The latter favor a stellar consciousness (and see below under ορθρος, orthros, for more on this).

Our adjective occurs in Acts 14:10 and Hebrews 12:13 only. From it come:

  • Together with the preposition ανα (ana), meaning on or upon: the verb ανορθοω (anortoo), meaning to make right, straight or upright again; to restore after an implied collapse (Luke 13:13, Acts 15:16 and Hebrews 12:12 only).
  • Together with the verb τεμνω (temno), which means to cut or cleave: the verb ορθοτομεω (orthotomeo), literally to cut straight but used in the sense of to discern and handle correctly. This verb is used in 2 Timothy 2:15 only, obviously in a scientific context.
  • Together with the noun πους (pous), meaning foot: the verb ορθοποδεω (orthopodeo), to walk uprightly (Galatians 2:14 only).
  • The adverb ορθως (orthos), meaning rightly, justly or correctly. This adverb occurs 4 times; see full concordance.

The noun ορθρος (orthros) derives from the same PIE root as the above and describes a getting-straight, a time to start standing upright (from an implied horizontal position). This most often applies to the period just before dawn, when roosters begin to crow and people begin to stir, but is not necessarily limited to it and may in theory mean "point/time of getting straight/right" in any creative context.

A word that actually refers to the increase of daylight is αυγη (auge), which relates to the verb αυξανω (auxano), to wax or increase; hence the name Augustus, or Increasingly Bright One. Unrelated, the adverb αυριον (aurion) means at dawn, and stems from a widely attested PIE root that describes the dawn in terms of its golden glow: hence the name Eos, of the deified rosy-fingered Dawn, and the Latin noun aurum, gold, from which we get words like aureole and aura. Then there is the verb ανατολη (anatole), which describes the rising of the sun in the proverbial east; hence the name Anatolia.

The Greeks had a word that described the dawn after the waxing of the morning light, another one that described dawn after its golden splendor, and yet another one that described the sun's rising in the east. Our noun ορθρος (orthros) does not refer to any of dawn's signature qualities and instead speaks of straightness and alignment.

In the Septuagint, our noun commonly translates the Hebrew noun שחר (shahar), which likewise may refer to the same last moments of darkness of the night (a moment of longing for light, as sang of in Psalm 130:6). This noun stems from the verb שחר (shahar), to be dark, which indicates that our noun שחר (shahar) certainly does not refer to the actual dawn, but rather to the coldest and darkest moments just prior to the first burgundy shimmers of the new day.

The prophet Joel describes a swarm of locusts on "a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness; as שחר (shahar) spread over the mountains" (Joel 2:2), which indicates that our word indeed refers to a sudden sweep of utter darkness. But the prophet Isaiah writes: "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no שחר (shahar)" (Isaiah 8:20), which indicates that our word cannot simply mean darkness, but rather refers to an utmost degree of enlightenment.

As we discuss more elaborately in our article on the noun שחר (shahar): in the narrative of the Bible, the noun שחר (shahar) rather refers to a solar eclipse. Likewise, our noun ορθρος (orthros) may also describe the perfect alignment of earth, moon and sun, resulting in a solar eclipse: the brief period in the middle of the day, during which an invisible moon moves in front of the sun and reveals its blazing corona, and creates a daytime darkness in which the stars and planets appear. Such an eclipse would happen without any warning, and completely turn the normal order of things upside down. It would also clearly show that even during the bright of day, the stars and planets are with us and are invisible only because they are drowned out by the sun.

In our lengthy article on the noun κοσμος (kosmos), meaning world-order, we discuss the very close correlation between the physical heavens and our human mind. As Hermes Trismegistos said: as above, so below. And Jesus, likewise, prayed: Your will be done, in heaven as it is on earth (Matthew 6:10). Likewise, the tabernacle was an earthly manifestation of heavenly things (Hebrews 8:5, Exodus 25:8-9), and Immanuel became God's heavenly presence among us earthly humans (Hebrews 1:3, John 1:14, 2 Peter 1:4).

We see the world around us because the sun shines on things. We also see other people around us. But we cannot see what they see. That means that the sun we see overhead is ours alone and very closely related to our own private ratio inside our head. Said more precisely: the sun in the heavens overhead and our ratio in our earthly head below, form one unified reality. There is no one without the other. Our neighbor obviously also sees a sun (corresponding to his ratio), but his ratio to him might be what a big red strawberry is to us. We can never see what someone else sees.

When our sun is above our horizon, we are awake and conscious. When it's below the horizon, we're not. Beside our ratio (our sun), we also have a center of emotions (the combined center of gravity of the sun and moon, and to a small degree the planets). When our ratio is below the horizon and our world is entirely lit by the light that reflects off the moon (as it is positioned in the direction of our feelings and perfectly opposite our unconscious ratio), our moon is full and wild things are prone to happen.

We post-Voltaire moderns like to divide the world into enlightened people and not-enlightened ones. But our ancients forbears realized that there is a third level of illumination, namely the level that is achieved when we are able to move our emotional core in line with our ratio, so that our own private ratio is eclipsed and we begin to see the light of our fellow humans, while at the same time remaining wholly conscious and lucid. The result of this exercise is the formation of a multicellular mind that relates to a singular one (that's the one we all have) the way a multicellular organism relates to an amoeba (see Ephesians 4:1-10). When this collective mental body exists, information in the form of visual images can be freely exchanged among participants. This is what we call stellar consciousness (compare Genesis 15:5 to Galatians 3:7, and Daniel 12:3 to Philippians 2:15).

Our noun ορθρος (orthros), [time of] getting up, occurs in Luke 24:1, John 8:2 and Acts 5:21 only. From it derive:

  • The verb ορθριζω (orthrizo), which literally means "to already be up an at it by the time of getting up". In the classics this verb is used to mean to lay awake before dawn, but in the New Testament, obviously and more appropriately, describes signature activity just prior to a solar eclipse, albeit metaphorically (the solar eclipse in question being the death of Jesus on Golgotha). This verb is used in Luke 21:38 only, to describe how "the whole people" were going toward Jesus at getting-up time. In reality, people don't massively stream toward a temple before dawn, particularly also because Jesus spent his nights on Mount Olivet (see Luke 21:37).
  • The adjective ορθρινος (orthrinos), meaning "pertaining to getting-up time", which in the classics means very early in the morning, or before daybreak, but in the New Testament refers to the stellar consciousness of the communal Body of Christ (Revelation 22:16 only).
  • The adjective ορθριος (orthrios), like the above, means in the classics before daybreak, but in the New Testament describes the stellar consciousness of the communal Body of Christ (Luke 24:22 only).

The verb ορνυμι (ornumi) means to excite of arouse and shares its PIE root with the above. In the classics this verb may describe the start of any sort of bodily movement (of arms, legs, wings), or the rousing from sleep or position of repose. It may refer to the calling forth of persons or things like storms and plagues by gods, or passions and feelings in men.

This verb is not used independently in the New Testament, but from it derive:

  • Together with the noun κονια (konia), meaning dust: the noun κονιορτος (koniortos), meaning thrust-up dust (the proverbial opposite of settled dust), which is used 5 times; see full concordance.
  • The noun ορμη (horme), meaning thrust, impulse, onrush, shock or assault (hence our English word "hormone"). In the classics this noun may describe any sort of impulse or thrust, ranging from an attacking army, to swooping fire, crashing waves, a spear's dash, or a knee's spring. It may describe the effort, zeal or sudden urge to do something, or the point just before the first step of a march or undertaking. In the New Testament, our noun occurs independently in Acts 14:5 and James 3:4 only, but from it derive:
    • Together with the preposition απο (apo), meaning from or out of: the noun αφορμη (aphorme), an impulse generated upon some other occurrence, a derived thrust. In the classics this noun may describe a starting point: a place, moment or item from which the assault, march, deed commences: an origin, occasion or pretext, or the availability of some resource that preempts the impulse (a banker's capital, an initial insult, an inclination or aptitude of one's character). This noun is used 7 times; see full concordance.
    • The verb ορμαω (hormao), to impel, thrust or rush impulsively or provide the impulse for further action. This verb is used 5 times; see full concordance. From this verb in turn comes:
      • The noun ορμημα (hormema), meaning a sudden rush, an impulse or sudden act of violence, with an implied lingering effect (Revelation 18:21 only).