the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words
Nâga‛ (נָגַע, Strong's #5060), “to touch, strike, reach, smite.” Common throughout the history of the Hebrew language, this word is also found in Aramaic. It is used some 150 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Nâga‛ first occurs in Gen. 3:3 in the Garden of Eden story, where the woman reminds the serpent that God had said: “Ye shall not eat of [the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden], neither shall ye touch it.…” This illustrates the common meaning of physical touch involving various kinds of objects: Jacob’s thigh was “touched” by the man at Jabbok (Gen. 32:25, 32); the Israelites were commanded not “to touch” Mount Horeb under pain of death (Exod. 19:12); and unclean things were not “to be touched” (Lev. 5:2-3).
Sometimes nâga‛ is used figuratively in the sense of emotional involvement: “And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched” (1 Sam. 10:26; NEB, “had moved”). The word is used to refer to sexual contact with another person, such as in Gen. 20:6, where God tells Abimelech that He did not allow him “to touch” Sarah, Abraham’s wife (cf. Prov. 6:29). To refer to the touch of God’s hand means that divine chastisement has been received: “… Have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me” (Job 19:21). The word is commonly used also to describe “being stricken” with a disease: King Uzziah “was smitten” with leprosy (2 Chron. 26:20).
Nega‛ (נֶגַע, Strong's #5061), “plague: stroke; wound.” This noun formed from naga’ occurs about 76 times in the Old Testament. The word refers to a “plague” most frequently (Gen. 12:17; Exod. 11:1). Nega‛ can also mean “stroke” (Deut. 17:8; 21:5) or “wound” (Prov. 6:33). Each meaning carries with it the sense of a person “being stricken or smitten in some way.”
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Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Touch'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​vot/​t/touch.html. 1940.