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

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/s/s-i-om-p-a-om.html

σιωπαω

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

σιωπαω

The verb σιωπαω (siopao) means to be still or quiet. In the classics this verb was occasionally also used to describe keeping something a secret, or choosing not to speak of something embarrassing or damaging. It stems from the in the New Testament unused noun σιωπη (siope), silence or a calm(ness), but it's unclear where that word came from, although enthusiasts have established that it's probably not Indo-European.

Here at Abarim Publications we don't know either, but if we were to guess, we would guess that our words are of Semitic origin and were imported into the Greek language basin along with the alphabet (see our article on Hellas for a closer look at this). Our noun σιωπη (siope), silence, thus probably came from the Hebrew stock of ספף שפף (sapap shapap) words, which have to do with separating and ending things. Verb סוף (sup) means to come to an end, and the identical noun סוף (sup) refers to reed (papyrus), the writing material that replaced loud heralding with quiet written messages.

Exodus 14:14 reads: "YHWH will fight for you, and you will be still," which uses the verb חרש (harash II), to be still. Identical verb חרש (harash I) means to engrave with the objective of storing information.

Our verb σιωπαω (siopao), to be still or quiet, is used 11 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and has no derivations.

σιγη

The noun σιγη (sige) also means silence, the absence of sound and particularly human speech and vocal agitation (Acts 21:40 and Revelation 8:1 only). In the classics this noun could be uttered in a command: silence! It could describe something said in a whisper, or something kept secret.

The origin of this word too is a mystery, and it clearly does not relate to the previous (in any way that the rules of the Greek language can explain). Here at Abarim Publications we suspect that this word may have something to do with the Hebrew verb שגג (shagag), to mislead, or שגה (shaga), to err or wander off.

Whatever its pedigree, from our noun σιγη (sige), silence, comes:

  • The verb σιγαω (sigao), meaning to be still or silent, or to keep quiet or to keep something unsaid. This verb is used 9 times; see full concordance.
σιαγων

The noun σιαγων (siagon) means jaw, jawbone or cheek (Matthew 5:39 and Luke 6:29 only). One would hit someone on the jaw or cheek to stop them from talking (1 Kings 22:24, Job 16:10, Micah 5:1).

The origin of this word is again obscure, but if σιγη (sige) means silence, and derives from שגג (shagag), to err or mislead, then perhaps our noun σιαγων (siagon) may literally describe a silencer, to hit on when someone is speaking erroneously or willfully misleads their audience (see John 18:22-23).

The Hebrew word for jawbone or cheek is לחי (lehi), noted for its beauty (Song of Solomon 1:10), or used as a weapon (Judges 15:15). This noun לחי (lehi), cheek, is spelled the same as לחי (lahay), for life — as in לחיים (lahayim!), to your healthy life!, or in the name באר לחי ראי (beer lahay roi), or Beer Lahai Roy (Well Of The Living One Who Sees).