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30:5 Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex כָּל־אִמְרַ֣ת אֱלֹ֣והַּ צְרוּפָ֑ה מָגֵ֥ן ה֝֗וּא לַֽחֹסִ֥ים בֹּֽו׃

(Proverbs 30:5) New American Standard Bible 1995

5 Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

(Proverbs 30:5) English Standard Version

5 Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

(Proverbs 30:5) New King James Version

5 Every word of God is [a]pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

30:5 Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex כָּל־אִמְרַ֣ת אֱלֹ֣והַּ צְרוּפָ֑ה מָגֵ֥ן ה֝֗וּא לַֽחֹסִ֥ים בֹּֽו׃

Let's just emphasize that The Book of Proverbs was written in Old Testament Hebrew.

  1. Does (Proverbs 30:5) use of term "word" about:

a) a revelatory message specific to contextual circumstances at a particular time to a specific person/people ( i.e something similar to Koine Greek's term called "rhema") ?

b) The Word of God as a whole ( i.e something similar to Koine Greek's term called "logos" ) ?

c) broad enough to include both a) and b) ?

  1. (Side question: Does Old Testament Hebrew have words/terms/phrases/concepts similar to New Teatament Koine Greek's "rhema" and "logos" ? )

1 Answer 1

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The operative word in Prov 30:5 is אּמְרַת (imrah = "word"/"utterance"/"speech") which occurs 37 times in the OT and 19 times just in Ps 119 alone where it is often used almost equivalently to "Torah"/"law" or commandment of God; and only 11 times outside the psalms.

"The Complete Word Study Dictionary Old Testament" (Baker & Carpenter) offers the following comments on this poetic word (the word occurs almost exclusively in Hebrew poetry):

It is used in parallel with teaching, covenant, commandment and voice (Deut 32:2, 33:9, Ps 119:172, Isa 28:23). The noun most often designates God's Word, which is the psalmist's guide for life and his basis for requesting God's kindness, graciousness and deliverance (Ps 119:11, 41, 58, 76, 133, 154, 170). The keeping of God's Word is a frequent topic of Scripture (Deut 33:9, Ps 119:67, 158; cf. Isa 5:24). God's Word is pure, sweeter than honey, and has been magnified with His name (Ps 119:103, 138:2, Prov 30:5).

The OP's question about the breadth of this noun's meaning is simple - anything that God says which includes:

  • a message specifically given by (say) a prophet to a specific recipient (eg, see 2 Sam 12)
  • the Torah
  • God's Word as contained in the Canon of Scripture
  • God's creative word (eg, Gen 1, Prov 30:4)
  • God's nature as revealed in our natural surroundings and His creation
  • the Law, etc.

Note the comments of Ellicott:

(5) Every word of God is pure.—Comp. Psalms 19, where first (Proverbs 30:1-6) the glories of God as revealed in nature are described, and then (Proverbs 30:7 sqq.) the excellence of the revelation of Himself in His word is extolled. Every word of God is “pure,” i.e., tested and proved in the furnace of experience; e.g., His promise to be a “shield” (Genesis 15:1) to those that trust in Him. (Comp. Psalm 18:30.)

APPENDIX - Hebrew Words for "Word"

There are several words translated "word" in the OT which includes:

  • אֵמֶר (emer) = speech word, eg, Gen 49:21, Num 24:4, + 46 others
  • אֹמֶר (omer) = promise, speech thing word, eg, Job 22:28, Ps 19:2, 3, 68:11, 77:8, Hab 3:9
  • אִמְרָה (imrah) = utterance, speech, word, eg, Gen 4:23, Deut 32:2, 9 + 34 others
  • דָבָר (dabar) = speech, word, eg, Gen 11:1, 12:17, 15:1, + 1438 others
  • מִלָּה (millah) = word, speech, eg, 2 Sam 23:2, Job 4:2, 4, + 36 others

Possibly the closest to word in meaning (they all overlap in meaning) to the Greek "logos" and "rhema" is the Hebrew דָבָר (dabar), but they are not identical.

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