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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Left, Remain

A. Verb.

Yâthar (יָתַר, Strong's #3498), “to be left; remain over; excel; show excess.” This word is found in various Semitic languages, ranging from ancient Akkadian to modern Hebrew. In its verb forms, the word is found just over 100 times in the Hebrew Bible. Yâthar occurs for the first time in the biblical text in Gen. 30:36, where it is stated that “Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.” This statement reflects the word’s frequent use to show separation from a primary group. Thus, Jacob “was left alone” (Gen. 32:24) when his family and flocks went on beyond the brook Jabbok.

Sometimes the word indicates survivors, as in 2 Sam. 9:1: “Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul …?” The remnant idea is reflected in Ezek. 6:8: “Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword.…”

B. Noun.

Yether (יֶתֶר, Strong's #3499), “remainder; excess.” This noun occurs nearly 100 times. As “remainder, excess,” it is used especially in the sense of a lesser number or quality as compared to something of primary importance. So, yether is used to refer to “the rest of the vessels” left in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 27:19-20, RSV), and the men who were left after Joab had assigned his picked men in the battle lines (2 Sam. 10:10). Occasionally yether is used to indicate “excess” in a negative way, so the literal “lip of excess” has the meaning of “false speech” (Prov. 17:7, RSV).

A few times this noun implies “superiority” or “pre-eminence,” as in Gen. 49:3, where Jacob describes his son Reuben as being “preeminent in pride and pre-eminent in power” (RSV). The name of Jethro, Moses’ father-inlaw, is derived from this word.

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Left, Remain'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/vot/l/left-remain.html. 1940.

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