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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Stand

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A. Verbs.

Nâtsab (נָצַב, Strong's #5324), “to stand, station, set up, erect.” Found in both ancient and modern Hebrew, this word goes back at least to ancient Ugaritic. It is found approximately 75 times in the Hebrew Bible. Its first occurrence in the Old Testament is in Gen. 18:2: “… Three men stood by him.…”

There are various ways of standing. One may “stand” for a definite purpose at a particular spot: “… Wait for him by the river’s brink …” (Exod. 7:15, RSV; literally, “stand by the river’s bank”). One often stands upright: “… And stood every man at his tent door …” (Exod. 33:8); “… my sheaf arose, and also stood upright …” (Gen. 37:7). One who is “stationed” in a position is usually over someone else: “And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers [literally, “those standing over”] …” (1 Kings 4:5). “To stand” something may be “to erect” something: “And Jacob set up a pillar …” (Gen. 35:14). The waters of the Sea of Reeds were said to “stand as a heap” (Ps. 78:13). To fix a boundary is “to establish or erect” a boundary marker (Deut. 32:8).

‛Âmad (עָמַד, Strong's #5975), “to take one’s stand; stand here or be there; stand still.” Outside biblical Hebrew, where it occurs about 520 times and in all periods, this verb is attested only in Akkadian (“to stand, lean on”). A word spelled the same way appears in Arabic, but it means “to strive after.”

The basic meaning of this verb is “to stand upright.” This is its meaning in Gen. 18:8, its first biblical occurrence. It is what a soldier does while on watch (2 Sam. 18:30). From this basic meaning comes the meaning “to be established, immovable, and standing upright” on a single spot; the soles of the priests’ feet “rested” (stood still, unmoving) in the waters of the Jordan (Josh. 3:13). Also, the sun and the moon “stood still” at Joshua’s command (Josh. 10:13). Idols “stand upright” in one spot, never moving. The suggestion here is that they never do anything that is expected of living things (Isa. 46:7). ‛Âmad may be used of the existence of a particular experience. In 2 Sam. 21:18 there “was” (hayah) war again, while in 1 Chron. 20:4 war “existed” or “arose” (‛âmad) again. Cultically (with reference to the formal worship activities) this verb is used of approaching the altar to make a sacrifice. It describes the last stage of this approaching, “to stand finally and officially” before the altar (before God; cf. Deut. 4:11). Such standing is not just a standing still doing nothing but includes all that one does in ministering before God (Num. 16:9).

In other contexts ‛âmad is used as the opposite of verbs indicating various kinds of movement. The psalmist praises the man who does not walk (behave according to) in the counsel of the ungodly or “stand” (serve) in the path of the sinful (Ps. 1:1). Laban told Abraham not “to stand” (remain stationary, not entering) outside his dwelling but to come in (Gen. 24:31). The verb can suggest “immovable,” or not being able to be moved. So the “house of the righteous shall stand” (Prov. 12:7). Yet another nuance appears in Ps. 102:26, which teaches the indestructibility and/or eternity of God— the creation perishes but He “shalt endure [will ever stand].” This is not the changelessness of doing nothing or standing physically upright, but the changelessness of ever-existing being, a quality that only God has in Himself. All other existing depends upon Him; the creation and all creatures are perishable. In a more limited sense the man who does not die as the result of a blow “stands,” or remains alive (Exod. 21:21). In a military context “to stand” refers to gaining a victory: “Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand?” (2 Kings 10:4; cf. Judg. 2:14) .

‛Âmad can be used of the ever unchanged content and/or existence of a document (Jer. 32:14), a city (1 Kings 15:4), a people (Isa. 66:22), and a divine worship (Ps. 19:9).

Certain prepositions sometimes give this verb special meanings. Jeroboam “ordained” (made to stand, to minister) priests in Bethel (1 Kings 12:32). With “to” the verb can signify being in a certain place to accomplish a predesignated task—so Moses said that certain tribes should “stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people” (Deut. 27:12). With this same preposition this verb can be used judicially of (1) the act of being in court, or standing before a judge (1 Kings 3:16), and (2) the position (whether literal or figurative) assumed by a judge when pronouncing the sentence (Ezek. 44:24) or delivering judgment (Isa. 3:13; cf. Exod. 17:6). With the preposition “before” ‛âmad is used to describe the service of a servant before a master—so Joshua “stood” before Moses (Deut. 1:38). This is not inactivity but activity.

In Neh. 8:5 the verb means “to stand up or rise up”; when Ezra opened the book, all the people “stood up” (cf. Dan. 12:13).

The Septuagint renders ‛âmad usually with a verb meaning “to stand” and, where the contexts show it refers to temporal standing, with verbs meaning “to abide or remain.”

B. Nouns.

‛Ammûd (עַמֻּד, Strong's #5982), “pillar; standing place.” The noun ‛ammûd occurs 111 times and usually signifies something that stands upright like a “pillar” (Exod. 26:32; Judg. 16:25). It may occasionally refer to a “standing place” (2 Kings 11:14).

Several other nouns are derived from the verb ’amad‘Omed occurs 9 times and refers to “standing places” (2 Chron. 30:16). ‘Emdah means “standing ground” once (Mic. 1:11). Ma’amad, which occurs 5 times, refers to “service” in 2 Chron. 9:4 and to “office or function” (in someone’s service) in 1 Chron. 23:28. Ma’omad occurs once to mean “standing place” or “foothold” (Ps. 69:2).

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

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