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Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, Volumes 1 – 17

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Series Editors: G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren, Heinz-Josef Fabry

This multivolume work is still proving to be as fundamental to Old Testament studies as its companion set, the Kittel-Friedrich Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, has been to New Testament studies.

Beginning with ‘ābh (‘āb), “father,” and continuing through the alphabet, the TDOT volumes present in-depth discussions of the key Hebrew and Aramaic words in the Old Testament. Leading scholars of various religious traditions (including Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Greek Orthodox, and Jewish) and from many parts of the world (Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States) have been carefully selected for each article by editors Botterweck, Ringgren, and Fabry and their consultants, George W. Anderson, Henri Cazelles, David Noel Freedman, Shemaryahu Talmon, and Gerhard Wallis.

The intention of the writers is to concentrate on meaning, starting from the more general, everyday senses and building to an understanding of theologically significant concepts. To avoid artificially restricting the focus of the articles, TDOT considers under each keyword the larger groups of words that are related linguistically or semantically. The lexical work includes detailed surveys of a word’s occurrences, not only in biblical material but also in other ancient Near Eastern writings. Sumerian, Akkadian, Egyptian, Ethiopic, Ugaritic, and Northwest Semitic sources are surveyed, among others, as well as the Qumran texts and the Septuagint; and in cultures where no cognate word exists, the authors often consider cognate ideas.

TDOT’s emphasis, though, is on Hebrew terminology and on biblical usage. The contributors employ philology as well as form-critical and traditio-historical methods, with the aim of understanding the religious statements in the Old Testament. Extensive bibliographical information adds to the value of this reference work.

This English edition attempts to serve the needs of Old Testament students without the linguistic background of more advanced scholars; it does so, however, without sacrificing the needs of the latter. Ancient scripts (Hebrew, Greek, etc.) are regularly transliterated in a readable way, and meanings of foreign words are given in many cases where the meanings might be obvious to advanced scholars. Where the Hebrew text versification differs from that of English Bibles, the English verse appears in parentheses. Such features will help all earnest students of the Bible to avail themselves of the manifold theological insights contained in this monumental work.

theWord Features

  • Verse popups
  • Fully searchable text
  • Footnotes
  • Easy navigation of topics via topics tree display.
  • Hebrew Lemmas: אָב
  • Strong’s Numbers: H1
  • Special Text Colors
    • Normal: Text
    • Hyperlink: lit | Luke 20:21
    • Page Number: [v1 pg 21>
    • Latin: septuaginta
    • Transliteration: môrāʾ
    • Hebrew: אָב

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Volume Prefaces and Information
EDITORS’ PREFACE Volume I
A Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament is a bold venture any time it is undertaken. At no time can the claim be made that scholarship has attained such a conclusive position in its research that the results will continue to be valid for all time. And yet, one may cherish the hope that the present is not a bad time to launch out on such a project. The form-critical and traditio-historical methods have been refined to such a point that one can expect rather certain results. Advances in related scholarly fields make it possible to use Akkadian and Egyptian material with greater certainty and Ugaritic material with a proper degree of caution. Finally, semantic research in general philology has given us insights into the problems involved to the extent that we can justifiably expect help from this area too, even though a general consensus probably has not yet been achieved.
This dictionary cannot intervene in the methodological discussion among the various schools of semantics, neither can it favor a particular theory of semantic fields. Its approach can be outlined as follows: Etymologies are carefully explored, word families defined, cases of borrowing and semantic transfer established. A semantic field is constructed and delineated by examination of the semantic relationships among synonyms and antonyms. Syntactic analysis exhibits lexemic distinctive features, contrastive pairs, etc. The use of fixed combinations of words in formulas and schemata is noted. Structural analysis reveals the use of signals, verbal metaphors, and tense metaphors. The situational context, finally, brings space and time closer to us with information about the historical setting. Thus a comprehensive analysis enables a single word to reveal a bit of history, culture, religion, society, and human self-understanding.
But in this context, what is meant by “theological”? Since the Old Testament certainly “speaks about God,” the purpose of this dictionary is to analyze its religious statements with the aid of all accessible resources and to present them in their peculiarity, in order to shed as much light as possible on the connections of the content of Old Testament thought in a given text, tradition, or institution. Thus “theology” is understood primarily in a descriptive sense, just as one might speak of the theology of Augustine or the theology of Luther.
It is obvious that such an undertaking could not be accomplished by one, or even by a small group of scholars. To be sure, a small group might be able to produce a work that would be essentially more homogeneous, but this would be done at the cost of completeness and reliability. The only way to attain a well-rounded discussion of the problems of Old Testament theology is to draw upon the knowledge of a large number of scholars.
Viewed from its international perspective, contemporary Old Testament scholarship is not characterized by homogeneity. In light of this, the range of potential understanding would be severely narrowed if the contributors were limited to a single exegetical school. But if a Theological Dictionary is produced on a more international and interconfessional basis, a broader treatment of the issues can be expected. Fortunately, in our science there have already been cooperative efforts transcending national and confessional lines, making it possible to undertake the present project along similar lines. It is the hope of the editors that such an approach will encourage objectivity in this work and make possible a more comprehensive interpretation of the material involved. What is lost in homogeneity will, one hopes, be regained in the diversity of viewpoints.
Since this dictionary is restricted to Old Testament material throughout, the emphasis in each article is on the Hebrew terminology that is used. At the same time, the interconfessional structure of the work necessitates that attention be given to the Septuagint. The Qumran texts are taken into consideration briefly (as much as possible), but it is extremely difficult to arrange material in the Pseudepigraphic literature under Hebrew words. Also, little attention can be given to Rabbinic literature, since it is very hard to determine the post quem dates of materials in this corpus. Likewise the New Testament adoption and application of Old Testament ideas falls outside the scope of this work. The reader should consult the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Kittel and Friedrich, for the use of pertinent synonyms to Old Testament terms in Rabbinic and New Testament literature.
It is impossible to understand the Old Testament fully without comparing it with extrabiblical literature of the ancient Near East. To be sure, such a comparison can be carried to an extreme, so as to make Old Testament faith appear to be only a particular form of ancient Near Eastern thought. But at the same time it can serve to emphasize more clearly the uniqueness of Old Testament faith as it is expressed in the credo, the cult, and the law, and thus to enhance greatly one’s understanding of Old Testament thought. In this latter endeavor we have not intended to spare ourselves the trouble of elaborating on the extrabiblical material as fully as possible in the narrow scope of a dictionary. Therefore, we have not been content merely to examine words that are etymologically related to the Hebrew term being discussed, but have also given attention especially to similar thoughts and ideas even in cases where no word exists that corresponds etymologically with the Hebrew word.
There is great value in analyzing words semantically. However, the major goal of all the studies in this work is to present the fundamental concepts intended by the respective words and terms, the traditions in which they occur, and the different nuances of meaning they have in each tradition. It is in this area that lexical contributions can render a worthwhile service as individual building blocks in the process of reconstructing an Old Testament theology.
The conclusion of the first volume of the German edition is an appropriate occasion for us to thank all those who have contributed to the realization of this dictionary. Its initiators, Christel Matthias Schröder and Cardinal Augustine Bea (†), encouraged the publishers to undertake this project. Valuable consultants have been G. W. Anderson, Henri Cazelles, David N. Freedman, Shemarjahu Talmon, and Gerhard Wallis. J. Bergman, O. Loretz, and W. von Soden have served as technical advisers for egyptology, ugaritology, and the ancient Near East, respectively. We owe a special debt of gratitude to the authors of the articles for their cooperation in producing the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. The publishers and editors hope it will prove to be a useful tool not only for exegetical research but also for pastoral work.
G. Johannes Botterweck / Helmer Ringgren

EDITORS’ PREFACE TO VOLUME VII
The original plan for the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament provided for the completion of this multivolume work over the span of approximately a decade. Almost immediately such a swift realization proved to be utopian. The abundant influx of new insights in exegesis (e.g., pressing discussions concerning the Pentateuch, the Deuteronomistic history, the prophetic books, etc.), lexicography and semantics, comparative linguistics, ancient Near Eastern studies, and certainly not least archaeology with the discovery of new cultures (e.g., Tell Mardikh-Ebla) again and again forced to a standstill the otherwise unimpeded flow of work on the Dictionary. Many entries that had already been completed had to be reedited. Rightly so, several contributors and subscribers expressed their displeasure.
In the midst of this persistent grappling our venture encountered a serious blow. On April 15, 1981, Professor Gerhard Johannes Botterweck died. His profound knowledge of the Old Testament and its milieu, his vast experience in all practical matters associated with book production, his organizational skills, and above all his theological foresightedness had come to be of inestimable value to our undertaking. All this will be missing in the future. All colleagues acknowledge with gratitude the value of his accomplishments. R.I.P.
Dr. Heinz-Josef Fabry, a student of Professor Botterweck and an editorial colleague since 1971, has become the new co-editor. This should guarantee a continuity in the editorial work in keeping with the established principles.
Deliberation over fundamental matters is therefore unnecessary. The principal goal of the project remains the same (see the Preface to Volume I), to analyze the Hebrew words semantically. The presentation of the fundamental concepts intended by the respective words and terms, the traditions in which they occur, and the different nuances of meaning they have in each tradition stand at the focus of this analytical work, so that in the end one might ultimately bring together the individual building blocks of an Old Testament theology.
Helmer Ringgren/Heinz-Josef Fabry

EDITORS’ PREFACE TO VOLUME VIII
The original plan for the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament provided for the completion of this multivolume work over the span of approximately a decade. Almost immediately such a swift realization proved to be utopian. The abundant influx of new insights in exegesis (e.g., pressing discussions concerning the Pentateuch, the Deuteronomistic history, the prophetic books, etc.), lexicography and semantics, comparative linguistics, ancient Near Eastern studies, and certainly not least archaeology with the discovery of new cultures (e.g., Tell Mardikh-Ebla) again and again forced to a standstill the otherwise unimpeded flow of work on the Dictionary. Many entries that had already been completed had to be reedited. Rightly so, several contributors and subscribers expressed their displeasure.
In the midst of this persistent grappling our venture encountered a serious blow. On April 15, 1981, Professor Gerhard Johannes Botterweck died. His profound knowledge of the Old Testament and its milieu, his vast experience in all practical matters associated with book production, his organizational skills, and above all his theological foresightedness had come to be of inestimable value to our undertaking. All this will be missing in the future. All colleagues acknowledge with gratitude the value of his accomplishments. R.I.P.
Dr. Heinz-Josef Fabry, a student of Professor Botterweck and an editorial colleague since 1971, has become the new co-editor. This should guarantee a continuity in the editorial work in keeping with the established principles.
Deliberation over fundamental matters is therefore unnecessary. The principal goal of the project remains the same (see the Preface to Volume I), to analyze the Hebrew words semantically. The presentation of the fundamental concepts intended by the respective words and terms, the traditions in which they occur, and the different nuances of meaning they have in each tradition stand at the focus of this analytical work, so that in the end one might ultimately bring together the individual building blocks of an Old Testament theology.
Helmer Ringgren/Heinz-Josef Fabry

Editors’ Preface to Volume XV
“A Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament is a bold venture any time it is undertaken.” As the editors wrote this in the mid-1970s, they had in mind not so much the mechanical aspects of the project, but rather the ever daunting field of theological scholarship. The substantial developments that they envisioned at that time turned out to be even more rapid and more controversial than one could have expected. What had been projected as a task to be completed in a maximum of 10 years turned into an epic venture spanning more than a quarter century. Almost from the outset the original conception of the Dictionary required continuous modification, attested in an ever expanding number of terms and concepts addressed, with a grand total of approximately 1150 key words now included. New insights regarding grammar and linguistics constantly had to be considered, as well as advances in the study of epigraphy and unanticipated proliferation in publication of the Qumran texts. The rise of a full spectrum of new methodologies further necessitated setting new standards. The greatest challenge, however, remained the ongoing dialogue encompassing divergent theories and approaches to the biblical texts. Collaboration between the editors and authors sought to address prudently this situation of seemingly constant change so as not to attach hastily to new currents of thought but rather to present responsible opinions. In the process consensus also had to be reached on fundamental matters of lexicography so as not to become bogged down in the perplexities of interpretation. A Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament can provide a great deal, but not everything.
Volumes I–XV of The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, covering the Hebrew terms, are now completed. Only one volume on Aramaic terms follows (Volume XVI), under the editorship of Professor Dr. Ingo Kottsieper of Göttingen (see ZAH 8 [1995] 80–81). The series will conclude with Volume XVII, which will enhance access to the Dictionary by means of a general index and which will also provide supplementary bibliography updating entries throughout the set.
To all of our contributors, a hearty word of thanks for your many years of service. Of foremost importance are the authors of the individual articles, who have with great competence and preparation addressed their topics and offered insights reflecting scholarship of the highest order. A number of these contributors have also provided skillful translations, and many articles were extensively rewritten. The editorial teams in both Bonn and Uppsala have made substantial contributions. For Bonn, sincere thanks to H. Lamberty-Zielinski, H. Baranske, G. Barteldrees, A. Doecker, E. Hamacher, M. Rapp-Pokorny, M. Riehmen, and N. van Meeteren, as well as E. Ballhorn, U. Dahmen, C. Röttgen-Burtscheidt, J. Schnocks, and M. Seufert. For Uppsala, special appreciation to G. André. Quite applicable for the members of these teams has occasionally been the lament of the Preacher in Eccl. 12:12BHS: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”
Particular gratitude is expressed to Headmaster F. Stöhr, emeritus, of Heinsberg, who with great precision verified the biblical citations and reviewed critically the LXX sections of individual articles. In addition, many of the corrections incorporated into the English edition stem from his work.
Finally, we reiterate our appreciation to technical advisors Jan Bergman (Egyptology), Oswald Loretz (Ugaritic), and Wolfram Freiherr von Soden (Akkadian).
In the course of our work we have encountered the death of Founding Editor Gerhard Johannes Botterweck as well as of several authors: Sverre Aalen, Peter R. Ackroyd, Gösta W. Ahlström, Luis Alonso-Schökel, Christoph Barth, Jan Bergman, Herrmann Eising, Otto Eissfeldt, Alfred Haldar, Vinzen Hamp, Gerhard F. Hasel, Alfred Jepsen, Arvid S. Kapelrud, Dieter Kellermann, Walter Kornfeld, Hans Kosmala, Tryggve Kronholm, Daniel Levy, Paul Maiberger, Martin J. Mulder, Horst-Dietrich Preuss, Joseph Reindl, Josef Scharbert, Otto Schilling, Wolfram von Soden, Siegfried Wagner, and Hans-Jürgen Zobel. To all of them belong our gratitude and our respectful remembrances.
The well-known saying, “quem dii oderunt, lexicographum fecerunt [those whom the gods wish to destroy, they make into dictionary editors]” may at times have accurately characterized the disposition of the editors, but the countless experiences of fruitful collegial collaboration, out of which grew numerous friendships, overshadowed those aspects of the process. And it is particularly befitting for the editors, that our editor at W. Kohlhammer GmbH, Jürgen Schneider, has always been “in unserem Bund der Dritte (the third in our Federation).”
Heinz-Josef Fabry/Helmer Ringgren

Editor’s Preface to Volume XVI
This volume completes the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (TDOT) after almost a half century. This final volume situates the vocabulary of the Aramaic sections of Ezra and Daniel in the context of its linguistic and cultural history and, thereby, frees Biblical Aramaic from its role as an appendix to the Hebrew Bible. Instead, it appears as what it is: part of an overarching literary tradition that spread in the course of the first millennium B.C.E. from Syria to Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt, Arabia, Anatolia, and even to Central Asia and, in various local forms, survived in literature, administration, and daily communication on into late antiquity. Even more than Hebrew, Aramaic attests the incorporation of the Old Testament in its broad cultural framework.
Because of its ambitious objective, the Aramaic dictionary in TDOT has its own history. Klaus Beyer (1929–2014) was enlisted as the first editor in January 1986; he declined, however, for various reasons, including that the state of research at the time could be easily understood as quite unfavorable for such a project. Ingo Kottsieper, responsible for the first fascicle in 2001, announced the volume a mere decade later in the Zeitschrift für Althebraistik 8 (1995), 80f. Yet it proved difficult to find authors who both possessed the necessary philological mastery over all the several dialects, corpora, and academic specialties involved in the widespread Aramaic material through which one could lay open the various connotations and layers of meaning of Biblical Aramaic, and could combine this expertise to answer the exegetical and religio-historical questions that a theological dictionary must address.
After years at a standstill, the enterprise was entrusted to the undersigned. Inititially, the difficulties continued unabated. At the moment of transfer, only a handful of articles, or at least articles in publishable form, for the second fascicle were on hand. Despite every effort, additional acceptances came rarely and did not always lead to submitted manuscripts. Torn between the thankless task and the aversion to quitting, the editor finally brought himself to write all the outstanding articles himself and is, therefore, more present here than one would usually expect. In any case, a broad unity in approach and presentation could be attained in this manner and more recent research could be incorporated directly. Special value was placed on the consideration of advances in the classification of the individual phases of the Aramaic language with their varying interrelationships, both Semitic philology and linguistic analysis, and the many recently discovered sources: the other manuscripts from the Dead Sea, the Clermont-Ganneau ostraca, all the Samaria Papyri, many Neo-Assyrian commercial documents, and the documents from the Bactrian provincial archive.
The changes in editor and approach from the first fascicle led to a few alterations in the format, beginning with the article on בעי (bʿī). With no change regarding theological relevance, efforts were made for greater philological depth of field through the examination of synonyms, the various nuances of grammatical constructions, and the various registers, and for tighter restriction to the varieties of Aramaic most closely related to Biblical Aramaic in linguistic and cultural terms, but within this framework, a presentation as complete and balanced as possible.
Thus, semantic fields and actual diction of older Aramaic find their first description on a broad basis. At the same time, a few essential transformations in the discipline of Old Testament since the first volumes of TDOT have received attention, especially the greater concentration on the immediate Syro-Palestinian environment of the literary tradition of ancient Israel, its transformation under Achaemenid rule, and its early reception mirrored in the documents from Qumran. In addition, references to the Aramaic of the Hellenistic-Roman period build a bridge to the environment of the New Testament and early Christianity. The selection of material could also be synchronized with the in-progress Theologisches Wörterbuch zu den Qumrantexten ( TheWQ), whose editors have always willingly permitted insights into the current state of affairs.
The present English volume has introduced a few bibliographic additions but is otherwise a straightforward translation of the German original. The German edition of this volume was originally published in seven fascicles. A change in editorship and long time lapse between the first and the remaining fascicles (between the בנה and בעי entries) resulted in some inconsistencies in transcription style, linguistic preferences, and focus of the entries. These inconsistencies remain in the English volume, as it was impossible to remove them all during the translation.
Since no assistant, sabbatical, or other convenience facilitated the work on this book, expressions of gratitude can be omitted. One cannot keep silent, however, about the angelic patience of the publishing house, the authors, and the editor of TDOT, Heinz-Josef Fabry. He and Christian Stadel have also assisted energetically with the correction of the galley proofs and, thus, contributed to a good outcome. The mighty manes of Klaus Beyer patronized the completion through all the contrary circumstances of an ignorant higher education policy. In the end, it has returned to the hands that he once showed many a new skill.
It is easier for the undersigner to dedicate a book to the dead than to the living, for “the ever-silent, ever-pale never promise and never deny.” On this point there must be an exception: The work is cordially dedicated to Georg Müller and Christian Wirz after more than fifteen years of true and deep friendship!

Publisher’s Note on Volume XVII
Preparing an index volume for a dictionary project such as this—almost four thousand pages in sixteen volumes that appeared over a forty-five-year span—is no small task. The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament has entries on well over a thousand words, with references to many thousands of both Scriptural passages throughout the Old and New Testaments and extrabiblical sources ranging from Egyptian and Sumerian literature of the third millennium B.C.E. to Christian and Jewish writings of the early medieval period. Our purpose with this volume is to be as comprehensive as possible, indexing as much material as possible, from multiple angles.
How to use the Index Volume XVII
The Index Volume opens with an index of English words. In compiling this, we took the English words most associated with the Hebrew and Aramaic key word entries, as derived from TDOT itself. Next come the Hebrew and Aramaic word indexes. Here one can look up a Hebrew or Aramaic word and find every instance where it appears in the Dictionary. Underlined page ranges direct the reader to the primary entry for the word in question, but the other citations lead to passages where the word appears in the entries for other terms. The biblical indexes—Old Testament, Apocrypha, and New Testament—then enable the reader to look up any verse in Scripture and see where it is cited in the Dictionary. Between the English index, the Hebrew and Aramaic indexes, and the biblical indexes, the reader can use TDOT in several ways, beginning from a translated word, the original-language word, or a biblical verse, and find everything there is to find among the sixteen volumes.
After these indexes one will find a number of smaller indexes covering extrabiblical sources. These indexes include countless primary sources from the world of the Bible. One can look up a line from the Gilgamesh Epic, or a Dead Sea Scroll, or a work of Josephus, or any number of other ancient works to see whether they are cited in the Dictionary. Beyond this, the index covers a host of reference material, including anthologies of ancient sources and dictionaries of cognate languages. Thus, for example, one can take a passage from Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament or an Akkadian word from the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary and look it up in TDOT. These are grouped primarily according to language and era (see the final paragraph of the Publisher’s Note for more specifics) and they cover a vast amount of material.

NOTE TO THE REVISED ENGLISH EDITION
The present edition incorporates a number of corrections and revisions suggested by the contributors, by reviewers, by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and by David Green, to each of whom the publishers wish to express sincere gratitude.
Where the chapter or verse numbering is different in the Hebrew (or Septuagint) text and in the English versions, the Hebrew (or Greek) numbering has been noted first, and then the English in parentheses or brackets.

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