1408 ‏נצר‎ (nṣr) II. Assumed root of the following.

1408a †‏נֵצֶר‎ (nēṣer) branch, shoot, sprout.

This noun, coming from an Arabic root meaning "to be fresh, bright, grown green," appears only four times.

In Isaiah 11:1, nēṣer is used in parallelism with another technical term (in the messianic promise doctrine), ḥōṭer "shoot." Since both are said to go forth from the shōresh "root" or line of Jesse, obviously the prophet intends to refer to a key descendant of David who epitomizes all that the Lord has promised to David (2 Samuel 7:1ff.). The messianic character of this title is recognized in the Targum, rabbinical literature, and the Qumran material (cited in The Nezer and the Submission in Suffering Hymn from the Dead Sea Scrolls" edited by M. Wallenstein [Istanbul, 1957]). The use made of this title by Matthew in Matthew 2:23 to indicate why Jesus was called a Nazarene is similar. Gundry sees for Matthew's use a double reason: the phonetic correspondence of this title in Isaiah 11:1 with the town of Nazareth as a play on words and the lowliness motif of Isaiah 11:1.

In keeping with the concept of corporate solidarity evidenced in other technical terms in this same messianic promise doctrine such as "servant," "seed," ṣemaḥ branch," etc., it is not unusual to see a use of nēṣer which includes the believing remnant of Israel in Isaiah 60:21. The fulfillment of the Abrahamic-Davidic-New Covenant finds all the people righteous, the land possessed forever and the "shoot" of God's planting, the work of his hands, glorified (cf. Isaiah 61:3). Thus the many can be called by the name of the One who epitomizes that group.

The other two references (Isaiah 14:19 and Daniel 11:7) are unrelated to the previous passages. In Isaiah 14:19, Babylon is called a "discarded branch" (RSV guesses poorly with "untimely birth" but includes in the margin "a loathed branch"). The Daniel passage uses our word to refer to a royal power, here one of the Ptolemies, not of the messianic royal person to come from the line of David. The idiom is also connected with the word "root" as in Isaiah 11:1, "from a branch of her roots shall one stand up."

Bibliography: Gundry, Robert H., The Use of the OT in St. Matthew's Gospel Leiden, Brill 1967, pp. 97-104. Schraeder, H. H., in TDNT IV, pp. 878-79.


2887 ‏סוּמְפֹּנְיָה‎ (sûmpōnyâ) wind instrument. This word (Daniel 3:5, 15) is borrowed from the Greek symphonia (whence English "symphony") and was long taken as a proof that Daniel was written in the Greek period after Alexander's conquests. It is now generally recognized that since there were many earlier contacts between the Greeks and Persians, this name of a musical instrument could well be found along with the instrument at the Persian court. Cf. our Hawaiian borrowing "ukelele." The same can be said of the three other Greek words in this section of Daniel, "harp" (qîterōs), "sackbut" (śabbekā’) and "psaltery" (psanṭērin). See R. K. Harrison, "Daniel," in ZPEB, II, p. 18.

2896 ‏עֲבַד‎ (‘ăbad) make, do, perform, create (Peal); be made, be done, be performed, executed, carried out (Hithpeal).


2896a †‏עֲבַד‎ (‘ăbad), ‏עֲבֵד‎ (‘ăbēd) slave, servant.

2896b †‏עֲבִידָה‎ (‘ăbîdâ) service, work, ritual, worship.

2896c †‏מַעֲבַד‎ (ma‘ăbad) action (of God in history).

The primary meaning of this root indicates service, performance of a duty, or activity. The Hithpeal is used as the passive of the Peal. The formal Hebrew cognate is ‘ābad, but the functional equivalent is ‘āśâ.

The root ‘ăbad occurs frequently in the Aramaic portions of the Old Testament with a variety of functions. First, one may be said to "make" an image (Daniel 3:1, 15), a feast (Daniel 5:1), or a war (Daniel 7:21). The passive (Hithpeal) is employed to indicate a search which needs to "be made" (Ezra 4:15, 19); to indicate the gory process of human bodies "being made" (i.e., torn or hacked) into pieces (Daniel 2:5; Daniel 3:29); or to describe the process of a house "being made" into a dung heap (Ezra 6:11).

Second, God may "do" or "perform" in divine ways. For example, God may perform miraculous signs (Daniel 6:27), or otherwise act in accordance with his own sovereign freedom (Daniel 4:35). Of course, one of the major activities of God is creation, designated in Jeremiah 10:11 as something in which gods fashioned by human hands (idols) did not participate.

Third, in Ezra 7:26, all the people in the province Beyond the River (The Trans-Euphrates province) were enjoined to "do" (i.e. "obey") both the law of the God of Ezra and the law of the king. Doing the law of God is closely related to the idea of "worship," which, as understood in Semitic thought, was "service" or "slavery" to God. Indeed, this idea continued down into NT times, as is plainly attested by the number of times that Paul refers to himself as the "slave" of Jesus Christ. (Greek doulos is the regular LXX translation for Hebrew and Aramaic ’bd.)

Fourth, the most frequently attested function of the root ‘ăbad in Biblical Aramaic is to denote the simple idea of activity, of "doing" a wide variety of things (see Ezra 4:22; Ezra 6:8, 12, 13; Ezra 7:18; Daniel 4:35; Daniel 6:10, 22).

The most intriguing use of the root is in connection with the name of one of the three comrades bf Daniel. These four lads went into Babylonian captivity bearing good Hebrew names, each of which had symbolic meaning related to the worship of Yahweh the God of Israel. Hananiah and Azariah contain the shortened form of Yahweh and mean respectively "Yahu has been gracious" and "Yahu has helped.") However, their Babylonian captors quickly changed these Hebrew (Yahwistic) names into Babylonian ones. While the etymology of the new names of Hananiah (Shadrach) and Mishael (Meshach) is uncertain, the meaning of the new name given to Azariah is fairly clear. Abed-nego (‘ăbēd negô) appears to be a form which has dissimilated from Abed-nebo (Akkadian abdinabu). Part of the humiliation of captivity was symbolized by the ignominy of one whose real name meant "Yahu has helped" being redesignated as "the slave of Nabu" (the Babylonian god of wisdom). A major thrust in the book of Daniel is the concern to illustrate that Yahweh is still in control of history despite the exilic condition of his people. Related to this theological affirmation is the message that no Babylonian god deserves the worship or devotion of the people of God. Accordingly, although the Babylonians could change his name to Abed-nego ("slave of Nabu"), his faith remained solely grounded in Yahweh. So Azariah ("Yahu has helped") can say with his two friends: "Our God whom we serve (not ‘ăbad but pelaḥ throughout) is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king that we will not serve your gods" (Daniel 3:17-18).

‘ăbad̂ ‘ăbēd. Slave, servant; i.e. the person who does the action described by the verbal forms. In Biblical Aramaic are found both a servant of God (see Daniel 3:26, 28; Daniel 6:21; Ezra 6:11) and a servant of a human king (see Daniel 2:4, 7; Ezra 4:11).

‘ăbidâ. Service, work, ritual, worship. The uses of this word in Ezra refer to work done in rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 4:24; Ezra 5:8; Ezra 6:7) as well as to the general task of priests and Levites which is service to God connected with ritual and spiritual worship (Ezra 6:18).

ma‘ăbad. Action (of God in history). Found only in Daniel 4:37 [A 34], this word is used to describe the dealings of the God of heaven with Nebuchadnezzar. The human king, by acknowledging that the dealings of God with him were just and right, also acknowledged his own sinfulness and frailty in comparison with the sovereign God.

1488 ‏סִינַי‎ (sîinai) Sinai.

The name of the mountain before which Israel encamped as God through Moses entered into covenant with them (Exodus 19-24). Sinai is traditionally located at Jebel Musa in the rugged mountains in the southern part of the Sinai Pennisula. Jebel Musa rises to 7500 feet, its neighbor Jebel Katherina to 8500 feet. "In winter, the high lands have relatively abundant rainfall and are frequently snowclad, seeding the northward flowing wadis and underground channels" (E. M. Blaiklock, Zondervan Pictorial Bible Atlas, Zondervan, 1969, p. 28).

At Sinai the people were given instructions concerning the tabernacle and priesthood (Exodus 25-31, 34-40) and the Levitical regulations. Here, too, Israel's first great spiritual failure took place (Exodus 32-33; Leviticus 10).

Theologically, Sinai has been of great significance to Judaism as the place where both the oral and written law were given. More important still, is what Sinai teaches about the person of God. The One of Sinai (Judges 5:5; Psalm 68:8 [H 9]), is seen to be the omnipotent and holy God who leads forth his redeemed people (Deut. 33:2) from Sinai, his holy abode (Psalm 68:17 [H 18]) in great splendor and triumph to the land of promise (Habakkuk 3:2-9).

The New Testament enlarges upon the place of Sinai by stressing that it symbolized the bondage of the old covenant, a bondage taken away by the work of Christ who has effected the new covenant of liberty and promise through his blood (Galatians 4:25ff.; Hebrews 12:18ff.).

—Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament