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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Rest, Remain

Nûach (נוּחַ, Strong's #5117), “to rest, remain, be quiet.” This word is common to ancient and modern Hebrew, as well as ancient Akkadian and Ugaritic. It occurs in the text of the Old Testament approximately 65 times; the first occurrence is in Gen. 8:4: “And the ark [came to rest] … upon the mountains of Ararat.” This illustrates the frequent use of this word to show a physical settling down of something at some particular place. Other examples are birds (2 Sam. 21:10), insects (Exod. 10:14), and soles of feet in the waters of the Jordan (Josh. 3:13).

“To rest” sometimes indicates a complete envelopment and thus permeation, as in the spirit of Elijah “resting” on Elisha (2 Kings 2:15), the hand of God “resting” on the mountain (Isa. 25:10), and when Wisdom “resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding” (Prov. 14:33). Frequently nûach means “to be quiet” or “to rest” after hard work (Exod. 20:11), from onslaught of one’s enemies (Esth. 9:16), from trouble (Job 3:26), and in death (Job 3:17). The word may mean “to set one’s mind at rest,” as when a child receives the discipline of his parent (Prov. 29:17). Sometimes nûach means “to leave at rest” or “to allow to remain.” Thus, God “allowed” the pagan nations “to remain” in Canaan during Joshua’s lifetime (Judg. 2:23). God threatened to abandon the Israelites in the wilderness (Num. 32:15).

It should be noted that while nûach is used sometimes as a synonym for shabat, “to cease, to rest” (Exod. 20:11), shabat really is basically “to cease” from work which may imply rest, but not necessarily so. The writer of Gen. 2:3 is not stressing rest from work but rather God’s ceasing from His creative work since it was complete.

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

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