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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Multitude

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A. Noun.

Hâmôn (הָמֹן, Strong's #1995), “multitude; lively commotion; agitation; tumult; uproar; commotion; turmoil; noise; crowd; abundance.” This noun appears 85 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.

The word represents a “lively commotion or agitation”: “Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me?” (Isa. 63:15).

Hâmôn represents the stirring or agitation of a crowd of people: “When Joab sent the king’s servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was” (2 Sam. 18:29). In Isa. 17:12 the word is synonymously parallel to hâmôn, “rumbling”: “Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!”

Sometimes hâmôn represents the noise raised by an agitated crowd of people (a “tumult”): “And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult [raised by the report that the battle was lost]?” (1 Sam. 4:14). In Isa. 13:4 the word represents the mighty sound of a gathering army rather than the confused outcry of a mourning city: “The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.” A young lion eating his prey is not disturbed by the noise of a band of shepherds trying to scare him off (Isa. 31:4). There are exceptions to the rule that the word represents the sound of a large number of people. In 1 Kings 18:41 hâmôn signifies the roar of a heavy downpour of rain (cf. Jer. 10:13), and in Jer. 47:3 it represents the tumult of chariots.

Hâmôn sometimes means a “multitude or crowd” from which a tumult may arise. Frequently the word represents a large army: “And I will draw unto thee, to the river Kishon, Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude [NASB, “many troops”] …” (Judg. 4:7; cf. 1 Sam. 14:16). Elsewhere hâmôn represents a whole people: “And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel …” (2 Sam. 6:19). Finally, any great throng, or a great number of people (Gen. 17:4—the first occurrence) may be represented by this word.

A great number of things can be indicated by hâmôn “O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee a house for thine holy name …” (1 Chron. 29:16).

Abundance of possessions or wealth is indicated by hâmôn, as in: “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked” (Ps. 37:16; cf. Eccl. 5:10— parallel to “silver” [money]; Isa. 60:5).

Finally, hâmôn refers to a group of people organized around a king, specifically, his courtiers: “Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude [his train or royal retinue]; Whom art thou like in thy greatness?” (Ezek. 31:2). Thus in Ps. 42:4 the word can represent a festival procession, a kind of train.

B. Verb.

Hâmâh (הָמָה, Strong's #1993), “to make a noise, be tumultuous, roar, groan, bark, sound, moan.” This verb, which occurs 33 times in biblical Hebrew, has cognates in Aramaic and Arabic. Psalm 83:2 contains one appearance: “For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.”

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Multitude'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/vot/m/multitude.html. 1940.

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