In Genesis 3:1 the word "subtil" is translated from the Hebrew word "‛ârûm" referring to the serpent and in Proverbs 7:10 the word "subtil" is translated from the Hebrew word "nâtsar" referring to a harlot. (The word 'subtil' is from the King James Version)

I want to know the difference between these two words since they are both translated as the word 'subtil'.

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


The charts below are easier to read and understand than the lexicons if you don't read Hebrew. The size a meaning is give corresponds to its frequency in the Old Testament. What stands out is ‛ârûm simply means clever and can have either a positive or negative meaning. On the other hand, nâtsar specifically has the meaning of capturing, entrapping, or keeping from escaping. Thus, it is more specifically focused on manipulating. While this meaning for ‛ârûm is only there in the context of Genesis 3.  

Figure 1. Senses of עָרוּם (‛ârûm) in the Old Testament (generated with Logs Bible Software)

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Figure 2. Senses of נצר (nâtsar) in the Old Testament enter image description here

  • Thank you. That makes a lot of sense. appreciate the help.
    – Douglas
    Commented Jan 16 at 3:07

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