Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The curious verb θαπτω (thapto) means to honor with funeral rites — a broad range of activities including carrying a deceased out of his house and on toward his place of burial. In later writings this verb also, or specifically, denoted cremation. It's formally a mystery where this verb came from, which makes us here at Abarim Publications privately suspect that it has to do with the Hebrew verb תפף (tapap), to beat a drum or tambourine, and ultimately with the name Topheth, belonging to the fiery device set up in Gehenna, what later became known as hell.
Our verb θαπτω (thapto), to inter, is used 11 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:
- Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συνθαπτω (sunthapto), meaning to inter together — both in the sense of living people together interring a dead person, and several dead people being interred together. In the New Testament, this verb occurs in Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12 only, both times in the colorful phrase "being interred together in baptism", which obviously neither describes being disposed into an earthly grave or getting cremated, but rather a festive denouncing of one's previous life and an entering into one's next one.
- The noun ταφη (taphe), meaning a burial or interment, but specifically the mode or place of it: the burial place, or even the burial fee (Matthew 27:7 only).
- The noun ταφος (taphos), which describes a "burial-thing"; either the tomb or sepulcher (or the fact of having been buried), or else the funeral feast, the whole scenario and library of rites, or the act of performing those rites. This noun is used 7 times, see full concordance, and consistently describes a place of burial or tomb. Another word for tomb is μνημα (mnema), but the big difference between the two is that the latter describes a place of remembrance (verb μναομαι, mnaomai, means to remember), whereas the former is typically a place of forgetting and abandonment (see Matthew 23:27).
The noun οπλον (hoplon) describes any kind of heavy tool or implement, from the fittings of a ship to a smith's toolset, but refers mostly to weapons and armor. It's somewhat similar, albeit a heavier version of σκευος (skeuos), meaning portable utensil or outfit. The noun οπλον (hoplon) came to specifically denote a kind of large shield, which in turn created the term οπλιται (oplitai), which described men-at-arms or heavy infantry (as opposed to lighter equipped soldiers): hoplites (hence also the word "panoply", a complete cover, a complete set of armor).
Our noun οπλον (hoplon) stems from the verb επω (epo), to be busy with. This verb is identical to the verb επω (epo), to say, but this similarity is accidental as these verbs have different origins. The verb that means to say comes from φαω (phao), to emit, whereas our verb επω (epo), to be busy with, stems from the Proto-Indo-European term "sep-el-yo", to perform rituals on a corpse, from the root "sep-", to handle skillfully or reverently. In Sanskrit, this term became saparyati, honors, and in Latin it became the verb sepelio, to bury, from whence our English word "sepulcher" (which in turn may help to explain the statement "their throat is an open grave": Psalm 5:9, Romans 3:13). Also note that the Greek word for hoof, namely οπλη (ople), stems from these words.
Even though our noun οπλον (hoplon) may have originated in the PIE root "sep-", here at Abarim Publications we suspect that its proper formation may have been helped by a proximity to the previously discussed verb θαπτω (thapto), or even that the Semitic verb תפף (tapap) informed the PIE root "sep-", rather than the other way around.
But whatever its pedigree, our noun οπλον (hoplon), armory, is used 6 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derives:
- The verb οπλιζω (hoplizo), meaning to arm (1 Peter 4:1 only).