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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Think, Devise

A. Verb.

Châshab (חָשַׁב, Strong's #2803), “to think, devise, purpose, esteem, count, imagine, impute.” This word appears 123 times in the Old Testament, and it implies any mental process involved in planning or conceiving.

Châshab can be translated as “devise” in association with the sense of “to think and reckon.” A gihed person of God “devises” excellent works in gold and other choice objects (Exod. 35:35).  The word may deal with evil, as when Haman “devised” an evil plot against the Jewish people (Esth. 8:3). David issued his prayer against those who “devise” evil toward him as a servant of the Lord (Ps. 35:4), and the scoundrel “devises” perverse things in Prov. 16:30. Other verses indicating an immoral intent behind the action of “devising” are Jer. 18:11; 18:18; Ezek. 11:2.

The word may mean “think.” Some “thought” to do away with David by sending him against the Philistines (1 Sam. 18:25); Judah “thought” Tamar to be a harlot (Gen. 38:15); and Eli “thought” Hannah was drunk (1 Sam. 1:13). God repented of the evil concerning the judgment he “thought” to bring upon Israel (Jer. 18:8). Those who fear the Lord may also “think” upon His name (Mal. 3:16).

Châshab may be rendered “to purpose” or “esteem.” God asked Job if he could tame the Leviathan, who “… esteemeth him as straw, and brass as rotten wood” (Job 41:27). A classic usage of “esteem” appears in Isa. 53:3-4: “He [the Messiah] is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs.… Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Some uses of “to purpose” have a malevolent intent. David’s enemies have “purpose” to overthrow him (Ps. 140:4). God repented of the evil He “purposed” to do concerning Israel (Jer. 26:3), and perhaps the people will repent when they hear the evil God has “purposed” against the nation (Jer. 36:3). On the other hand, God “purposes” evil against the land of the Chaldeans in His judgment after using them for the purification of His people, Israel (Jer. 50:45)

Translated as “count,” the word is used in a number of ways. It had a commercial connotation, as when land was being redeemed and the price was established, based on the value of crops until the next year of Jubilee: “Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus …” (Lev. 25:27). The same idea concerns the provisions for the Levites when Israel offered their gifts to the Lord (Num. 18:30). “Count” may imply “to be thought or reckoned.” Bildad declared to Job, “Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile in your sight?” (Job 18:3). Those who seek to live for the Lord are “counted” as sheep for the slaughter (Ps. 44:22). The foolish person, when he holds his peace, is “counted” as wise (Prov. 17:28). A theological emphasis exists in God’s reward of Abraham, when the patriarch believed God and His word: “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).

Most uses of châshab translated as “imagine” bear an evil connotation. Job chided his friends: “Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate …” (Job 6:26); David’s enemies “imagined” a mischievous device (Ps. 21:11); and Nahum complained of those who “imagine” evil against the Lord (Nah. 1:11).

Other unique translations of châshab occur. In order to approach God, Asaph had to remember and “consider” the days of old (Ps. 77:5). God had a controversy with Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, because he “conceived” a plan against Him and His people (Jer. 49:30). The prophet Amos cites people who “invent” instruments of music and enjoy it (Amos 6:5). Huram of Tyre sent a man to help Solomon in the building of the temple, who knew how to “find out” all the works of art—i.e., he could work in various metals and fabrics to design a work of beauty (2 Chron. 2:14). Joseph had to remind his brethren that he did not seek to do them harm because they had sold him into slavery, since God “meant” it for the good of the preservation of Jacob’s sons (Gen. 50:20).

Infrequently, châshab is translated as “impute”: “And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it; it shall be an abomination” (Lev. 7:18). When an Israelite killed a sacrifice in any place except an appointed altar, the blood was “imputed” to that man; the substitute sacrifice would not atone for the offerer at all, and the offerer would bear his own guilt (Lev. 17:4). David could praise God for forgiveness because the Lord will not “impute” iniquity after he had confessed his sin (Ps. 32:2).

B. Adjective.

Châshab (חָשַׁב, Strong's #2803), “cunning.” This word is applied to those who performed “cunning” work with parts of the tabernacle: “And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, … an engraver, and a cunning workman …” (Exod. 38:23). This meaning of châshab as “cunning” appears 11 times in Exodus. But this skill was more than human invention—it indicated how the Spirit of God imparts wisdom, understanding, and knowledge (cf. Exod. 36:8; 39:3).

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Think, Devise'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/vot/t/think-devise.html. 1940.

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