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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

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A. Noun.

Cherpâh (חֶרְפָּה, Strong's #2781), “reproach.” This noun occurs in the Old Testament and in rabbinic Hebrew. Its use in modern Hebrew has been taken over by other nouns. Cherpâh occurs 70 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It is rare in the Pentateuch and in the historical books. The noun appears most frequently in the Book of Psalms, in the major prophets, and in Daniel. The first occurrence is in Gen. 30:23: “And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach.”

“Reproach” has a twofold usage. On the one hand, the word denotes the state in which one finds himself. The unmarried woman (Isa. 4:1) or the woman without children (Gen. 30:23) carried a sense of disgrace in a society where marriage and fertility were highly spoken of. The destruction of Jerusalem and the Exile brought Judah to the state of “reproach”: “O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us” (Dan. 9:16). On the other hand, the disgrace found in a person or a nation became the occasion for taunting the oppressed. The disgraced received abuse by the words spoken against them and by the rumors which were spread about them.

Whatever the occasion of the disgrace was whether defeat in battle, exile, or enmity, the psalmist prayed for deliverance from the “reproach”: “Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies” (Ps. 119:22—see context; cf. Ps. 109:25). The verbal abuse that could be heaped upon the unfortunate is best evidenced by the synonyms found with cherpâh in Jer. 24:9: “And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.” Several prophets predicted that Israel’s judgment was partly to be experienced by the humiliating “reproach” of the nations: “And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations whither I have driven them” (Jer. 29:18; cf. Ezek. 5:14). However, the Lord graciously promised to remove the “reproach” at the accomplishment of His purpose: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth …” (Isa. 25:8).

The Septuagint translations are: oneidismos (“reproach; reviling; disgrace; insult”) and oneidos (“disgrace; reproach; insult”). The KVJ gives these translations: “reproach; shame; rebuke.”

B. Verb.

Châraph (חָרַף, Strong's #2778), “to say sharp things, reproach.” The root with the meaning “to be sharp” is found in Northwest and South Semitic languages. In Hebrew the verb refers to a manner of speech, i.e., to reproach someone. The word appears about 50 times in the Old Testament, once in Ps. 42:10: “As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?”

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