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shebanq

ישׁע – to save, help

Semantic Fields: Deliverance   
Author(s): James K. AitkenGraham I. Davies
First published: 2016-01-01
Last update: 2023-05-16 (Raymond de Hoop, Paul Sanders)
Citation: James K. Aitken, Graham I. Davies, ישׁע – to save, help,
               Semantics of Ancient Hebrew Database (https://pthu.github.io/sahd), 2016 (update: 2023)

For a fuller discussion of the lexical field ‘Deliverance’ as a whole, see on this site the ‘Overview of SAHD entries for ‘Deliverance’ words by Graham I. Davies.

Introduction

Grammatical Type: vb hiph. and niph.
Occurrences: 205x HB (hiph.: 6/110/67; niph.: 2/12/7); 7x Sir; 27x Qum.; 4(?)x inscr. (Total: 243).

  • Torah – hiphil: Exod 2:17; 14:30; Deut 20:4; 22:27; 28:29, 31.
  • Torah – niphal: Num 10:9; Deut 33:29.
  • Nebiim – hiphil: Josh 10:6; 22:22; Judg 2:16, 18; 3:9 (2x), 15, 31; 6:14, 15, 31, 36, 37; 7:2, 7; 8:22; 10:1, 12, 13, 14; 12:2, 3; 13:5; 1 Sam 4:3; 7:8; 9:16; 10:19, 27; 11:3; 14:6, 23, 39; 17:47; 23:2, 5; 25:26, 31, 33; 2 Sam 3:18; 8:6, 14; 10:11, 19; 14:4; 22:3 (2x), 28, 42; 2 Kgs 6:26, 27 (2x); 13:5; 14:27; 16:7; 19:19, 34; Isa 19:20; 25:9; 33:22; 35:4; 37:20, 35; 38:20; 43:3, 11, 12; 45:15, 20, 21; 46:7; 47:13, 15; 49:25, 26; 59:1, 16; 60:16; 63:1, 5, 8, 9; Jer 2:27, 28; 11:12 (2x); 14:8, 9; 15:20; 17:14; 30:10, 11; 31:7; 42:11; 46:27; Ezek 34:22; 36:29; 37:23; Hos 1:7 (2x); 13:4, 10; 14:4; Obad 1:21; Hab 1:2; Zeph 3:17, 19; 8:7, 13; 9:16; 10:6; 12:7.
  • Nebiim – niphal: 2 Sam 22:4; Isa 30:15; 45:17, 22; 64:4; Jer 4:14; 8:20; 17:14; 23:6; 30:7; 33:16; Zech 9:9.
  • Ketubim - hiphil: Pss 3:8; 6:5; 7:2, 11; 12:2; 17:7; 18:28, 42; 20:7, 10; 22:22; 28:9; 31:3, 17; 34:7, 19; 36:7; 37:40; 44:4, 7, 8; 54:3; 55:17; 57:4; 59:3; 60:7; 69:2, 36; 71:2, 3; 72:4, 13; 76:10; 86:2, 16; 98:1; 106:8, 10, 21, 47; 107:13, 19; 108:7; 109:26, 31; 116:6; 118:25; 119:94, 146; 138:7; 145:19; Job 5:15; 22:29; 26:2; 40:14; Prov 20:22; Lam 4:17; Neh 9:27 (2x); 1 Chron 11:14; 16:35; 18:6, 13; 19:12, 19; 2 Chron 20:9; 32:22.
  • Ketubim – niphal: Pss 18:4; 33:16; 80:4, 8, 20; 119:117; Prov 28:18.
  • Sir – hiphil: ms A, 4:9; 11:20 (Beentjes, BBSH, 11:18); ms B, 31:6; 36:1; 48:20; 49:10; 51:3.
  • Qum: CD 5:19(A) (dupl. in 4Q267 2:2 and 6Q15 3:2); 9:9(A), 10(A); 1QHa 10:25; (?)11:6 (DCH iv: 336 = Sukenik 3:6); 1QM 10:4, 8; 11:3; 1QS 6:27; 4Q166 2:14; 4Q171 4:21; 4Q174 1:13; 4Q183 2:3; 4Q288 1:5; 4Q365 6a ii + 6c 3; 4Q372 1:16; 4Q380 1 ii 4; 4Q381 15:2; 31:2; 4Q385a 18 ii 10; 4Q389 1 ii 3 (= 4Q387a 3 ii 11); 4Q417 22:2; 4Q511 10:9; 11QT 59:8, 11, 18; 66:8 (dupl. in 4Q524 6-10:2).
    The following additional instances lack any context and so are not amenable to semantic analysis: 4Q226 5:1; 4Q372 8:3; 4Q374 2 ii 10; 4Q381 42:2.
  • Inscr: D–1.008:4?; D-15.008:1; D-25.003:3; Naveh and Magen 1997:43?.
  • Text doubtful: Isa 64:4; 1 Chron 11:14; Sir 31:6 (see A.1–3 below).

Text Doubtful

A.1 The phrase at 1 Chron 11:14, וַיּוֹשַׁע יְהוָה תְּשׁוּעָה גְדוֹלָה ‘and the Lord saved a great victory’, corresponds to the wording at 2 Sam 23:12, which differs only in the verb (2 Samuel reads ויעשׂ ‘and he made’). A metathesis of the two letters, ‘ayin and shin/ sin, in the verb has probably occurred in transmission, but it is difficult to say which was the original reading (see Tov 1992:250). The frequency of the verb עשׂה, however, with the direct object תְּשׁוּעָה suggests the wording of 2 Sam 23:12 is the original and that the metathesis at 1 Chron 11:14 has been occasioned by the noun calling to mind the (possibly) cognate verb.

A.2 At Isa 64:4 the verb should probably be read as וַנִּפְשַׁע.

A.3 Ms B at Sir 31:6 reads the niphal inf. להושׁע, but B-mg corrects this to the hiphil להושׁיע, the error in B being explicable by the easy loss of a yodh.

B.1 Although the LXX ἐσώζετο (cf. Pesh: ܙܟܐ ܗܘܐ [zkʾ hwʾ]) at 1 Sam 14:47 implies the verb יָשַׁע rather than the MT reading יַרְשִׁיעַ, there is no sufficient reason for emending.

B.2 Although the NAB (cited by Clines 1989:116) reads the verb יָשַׁע at Job 5:11, the MT reading of the noun יֵשַׁע can be regarded as correct, if understood as an adverbial accusative (GKC, §188q). See יֵשַׁע – Introduction: Text Doubtful B.3; Syntagmatics A.3.

B.3 The reading at D–1.008:4 is badly damaged and is doubted (see HAE, 429).

B.4 The three letters ישׁע (with the yodh uncertain) appear on a late third-century/early second-century inscription from Mount Gerizim (Naveh and Magen 1997:43, text D). Since the inscription is broken off immediately before these letters, it is not possible to determine whether this is a whole word or part of it. It may be significant to note that the context suggests some form of dedicatory prayer, and the possible appearance of the word יקום (denoting resurrection?) could indicate that it is a prayer or Psalm to God. This would support the reading ישׁע, which, if it is the noun, reflects its appearance in poetry in the OT and most often in prayers and Psalms. The verb also appears most frequently in Psalms and could be an alternative reading here to the noun.

B.5 In 1QHa 11:6 DCH iv:336 and Dahmen (2013:316) read [הוש]עתה נפש[י], recalling the language of 10:25. But many scholars do not adopt this conjecture (e.g. Dupont-Sommer 1961:207, Lohse 1971:120 [numbering acc. to Sukenik: 3:6]) and the DSS.SE (164–65) prints עתה as a complete word (‘Now’) preceded by a vacat. This ‘occurrence’ is best omitted from consideration.

Qere/Ketiv: none.

1. Root and Comparative Material

A.1 יָשַׁע in the OT is attested in the hiphil (184x) and in the niphal (21x). The nouns יֵשַׁע and יְשׁוּעָה are cognate, whilst תְּשׁוּעָה may only be formed by analogy with יְשׁוּעָה and not actually be cognate (see תְּשׁוּעָה Root and Comparative Material). According to Sawyer (1990:443) there are 14 proper names in the Hebrew Bible that are probably cognate, but this number is swollen by several that contain the element שׁוע, supposedly a by-form of the root ישׁע. They may belong to a separate root altogether (see the sections on Root and Comparative Material for שׁוֹעַ, שׁוּעַ, and תְּשׁוּעָה). Even if they are not counted, there are certainly six in BH which contain instances of ישׁע (two with variant forms) and, in addition to some of these, others are found in Hebrew inscriptions: יוישׁע, ישׁע, ישׁעא, and ישׁעהו (cf. AHI-1:282, 333-34, 371, 381-82; AHI-2: 132, 153, 169-70). In two of these names, אלישׁע and (ו)ישׁעיה, it has been thought that Qal forms of the verb, which do not occur in BH, may be present (Noth 1928:36, 176).

A.2 The Proto-Semitic root *yṯʿ now seems to lie behind Hebrew יָשַׁע, being attested in proper names in NWSem and most of the early south Arab. languages. The Ug evidence attests to the second consonant being (Sawyer 1975:78). This new evidence counters some earlier interpretations based on Arab (see B.1). The main arguments outlined by Sawyer (1975) are the evidence of proper names in NWSem (A.3, A.4, B.3), the collocation of yṯʿ terms with deities’ names (as with ישׁע; see A.1, 3, 5, 7-10; also Syntagmatics A.1), chronological evidence (see A.5, 7-10) and phonological equivalence (B.1). Earlier KBL (412, along with wasiʿa), Huffmon (1965:215) and Stolz (1971:786, citing Sawyer 1965:475-76, 485) had supported this view; and at the conference where Sawyer originally presented his paper T.L. Fenton and H.W.F. Saggs had indicated their strong agreement with it (Sawyer 1975:83-84). Significantly this view was adopted in the latest Hebrew lexicon to incorporate philological data (Ges18, 510 [1995]). Unfortunately the occurrences of yṯʿ do not give an independent indication of its meaning.

A.3 The appearance of a root in a name is not evidence for a verbal form ever existing (cf. Sawyer 1975:77), but the existence of this root in non-biblical theophoric proper names may correspond to the use of ישׁע in Hebrew personal names and as a verb with primarily God as the subject. The root-morpheme yṯʿ is attested relatively frequently in proper names in Amorite. It is the only Sem. language from the early second millennium B.C. in which the root appears. The earliest occurrence is the name lašuil in a legal document from c. 2048 B.C. (Buccellati 1966:165). The verbal form derived from this is yašuḫ, found also in eight names from Mari (Huffmon 1965:215–16). The root appears to be frequent in Amorite names in comparison with some of the other NWSem. evidence.

A.4 The verb appears in the Moabite inscription (KAI 181: line 4) in the expression hšʿny mkl hšlkn, ‘he delivered me from all assaults’ (Segert 1961; Gibson 1971:77–78). The noun might also appear in lines 3–4 – bmt [y]šʿ, ‘in the high place of salvation’. For an alternative reading to bmt see Gibson 1971:78.

A.5 The root yṯʿ is attested in proper names in Ugaritic. It is found in the names yṯʿd (Gröndahl 1967:47) and perhaps yṯil, if it is a shortened form of yṯʿil (Sawyer 1975:78).

A.6 The name Yašuya in Amarna letter EA 256 (line 18: mya-šu-ia) has been identified with the Biblical name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, `Joshua’ (Olmstead 1931:188, 197; cf. Knudtzon 1915II:1319; Ges18, 449). The name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ is seen as a combination of a form of יהוה and a noun derived from ישׁע (Ges18, 449).1 This identification of the name Yašuya with the name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ was rejected by Albright (1943:12 n. 27), arguing that the Akk. form should have been *Ya-ḫu-šu-uḫ.

A.7 The Aram. name hdysʿy (Akk. adad-it-ʾi) in ll. 1, 6 and 12 of the Tell Fekheriye bilingual inscription (KAI 309), probably of the mid-ninth century, can plausibly be associated with the root yṯʿ/ישׁע (see initially Abou-Assaf et al. 1982:43-44, 80: more recent bibliography in Millard 2000:154). ישׁע is a loan-word in Aramaic found in the Prayer of Nabonidus (Milik 1956:413) and in the Targum (Sokoloff, DJPA, ad loc.). Aramaized forms of two Biblical Hebrew names are found in the Elephantine papyri (Noth 1928:154–55, 176).

A.8 In Sabaean two personal names with the form hayṯaʿ or hayṯiʿ (Ryckmans 1934–35:I, 232; cf. 112) appear to correspond to the causative element, as in the Hebrew hiphil.

A.9 One name with the root ytʿ is recorded in a Nabatean text (Cantineau 1930–32:II, 105).

A.10 The root yṯʿ is attested in proper names in epigraphic south Arab. (Ryckmans 1934–35:II, 10, 75–76), some of them very common. Müller (1963:310; cf. HAL, 427) suggested associating יָשַׁע with epigraphic south Arab. wsʿ = ‘reichlich geben, reichlich versorgen mit’, but this does not seem to have been widely adopted. Many North Arabian personal names also include the element yṯʿ (see Müller 1979, who proposed an association of it with a different root yšʿ = ‘be high’).

B.1 The connection with Arab. wasiʿa  ‘to be spacious’, which in the causative conveniently corresponds morphologically with the Heb. hiphil, is made by many writers (e.g. Driver 1890:90-91; HAL, 427; Fohrer 1964:973; Kraus 1978:139), although BDB (446) did express doubt in 1908. It seems to have first been proposed by Schultens (1761:7-9; see Sawyer 1968:20, nn. 1, 2, but Sawyer’s page ref. is incorrect) and was supported by Gesenius (1810:419 and TPC ii:639-40 iii:1380). A proposed Proto-Hamito-Semitic root *wsʿ  is apparent from Eg. ‘to be wide’, Berber usaʿ  and Arabic wsʿ  ‘to be wide, spacious’, but any semantic connection between this and ישׁע seems far-fetched. Sawyer notes that to connect this root with יָשַׁע would involve two exceptional correspondences, now that the latter is seen to be cognate with yṯʿ/ yṯʿ: Eg. s with Sem. t and NWSem. t with Arab. s (1972:94).

Since יָשַׁע has pe-waw forms in both its surviving conjugations, the Hiphil and the Niphal, it was natural to seek an Arabic cognate for it with initial waw and the correspondences שׁ/s and ע/ʿ, while not universal in either case, are widely attested. The idea that the underlying meaning of יָשַׁע could be ‘(make) wide, spacious’ finds support in the fact that there is an antonym in Heb., צָרַר I, ‘be in/cause distress’, with cognate nouns and an adjective, with another meaning ‘narrowness’, as already noted by Schultens (9), and occasionally occurrences of the two roots are directly related to one another (Judg 10:14; Isa 46:7; 63:9; Jer 14:8; 30:7; Ps 34:7; Neh 9:27; 2 Chron 20:9). There are difficulties, however, with these arguments. First, now that a possible alternative etymology, from Proto-Semitic *yṯʿ, has come to light, it turns out that the phonological argument is not as decisive as it previously seemed (on the possible problem of the initial y in *yṯʿ see below on Formal Characteristics A.1). Secondly, there is in fact no actual overlap in meanings between the attested uses of יָשַׁע and those of wasiʿa: יָשַׁע never means ‘be wide’ or ‘make wide’2 and wasiʿa never has the sense of ‘save, deliver, help’ (Lane 8[supplement], 3052-53).3 Thirdly, while צָרַר I is attested meaning both ‘narrowness’ and ‘distress’, it cannot be said to be established that ‘narrowness’ is the basic meaning from which ‘distress’ is derived. In fact ‘narrow’ in the physical sense is a rather rare meaning of the root. Finally, while יָשַׁע and צרר do sometimes occur together, this is also true of נצל and צרר (1 Sam 26:24; Pss 34:18; 54:9; Job 5:19), suggesting that the association may well be due to semantic considerations rather than related underlying etymologies (cf. Sawyer 1965:475 n. 5).

B.2 The possibility that both yṯʿ  and Arab. wasiʿa might go back to a common Proto-Semitic original was apparently envisaged by KBL (412), and the North-West Semitic evidence for yṯʿ might have developed from a Proto-Semitic *wṯʿ. But this is unlikely for epigraphic south Arab., where an initial waw is normally preserved, and the problem of = Arab. s noted by Sawyer (above, B.1) remains. The apparent use of s to represent / in the OAram. name hdysʿy at Tell Fekheriye (see Root and Etymology A.7) might seem to be a helpful ‘bridge’ between the two, but it is probably due to an orthographical peculiarity that is (so far) unique to this inscription, where it occurs in some other words (Abou-Assaf et al. 1982:44).

B.3 It has been suggested that the Moabite name Mesha on the Moabite stone (KAI 181; cf. 2 Kgs 3:4) was probably originally mōšaʿ (cf. LXX μωσα; Segert 1961:246), but this seems unlikely. The verbal form also appears in the Moabite stone with the god Chemosh as subject. Gibson argues for a double base in proto-Semitic, one with the first consonant y- and one with w- (1971:77).

B.4 Although it is possible that the element išḫi- in 10 personal names from Mari is related, some argue that it is non-Amorite (see Huffmon 1965:215).

2. Formal Characteristics

A.1 From a synchronic point of view ישׁע appears to be a pe-yodh root (in view of some of its nominal derivatives, יֵשַׁע and יְשׁוּעָה). But historically classification either as pe-yodh or as pe-waw is possible, since originally pe-waw verbs are at first sight pe-yodh too, as a result of the early North-West Semitic development of initial waw in most cases into yodh (Moscati 1964:46). Indeed pe-waw is more obvious for יָשַׁע when consideration is given to the morphology of the Hiphil and Niphal forms of the verb. Ultimately its classification depends on the etymology which is accepted.

A.2 Although the formation of the Hiphil (and the less common Niphal) is a good first indicator of the original first radical, it is not decisive, especially in a case where no other conjugations are attested. There is at least one case, יבשׁ, where a truly pe-yodh verb (cf. the retention of the yodh in the Qal imperfect and the Arab. cognate yabisa) forms its Hiphil as if it were a pe-waw verb (the Niphal does not occur) and the same could be true for יָשַׁע. Modern grammars deal differently with this anomaly. GK places most such ‘hybrids’ under its heading ‘Verbs originally pe–waw’ (§69d-f) and only יבשׁ, which is treated very briefly, in the section for ‘Verbs properly pe-yodh’ (§70, cf. paras. a,c). However, BL treats them as pe-yodh with deviant forms in the Hiphil and Niphal (377i, k) and Bergsträsser, who makes the form of the imperfect Qal his primary criterion for distinguishing the two main classes of pe-yodh verbs (weak and strong) apparently agrees (2, §26n). JM (§76d) artificially isolates the case of יבשׁ from the other hybrids (the wording here, like most of the treatment of this group of verbs, is that of Joüon), but this is an unsatisfactory approach to the evidence. Whichever approach is preferred, יָשַׁע with ytʿ  as its older form could be explained in the same way as יבשׁ.

A.3 See BL, 229f for the form at 1 Sam 17:47 and Ps 116:6.

B.1 The form משִׁיעַ is the hiphil participle, although Sawyer notes that it has lost its participial and verbal characteristics, being used as the object of verbs of sending or appointing (1965:477; cf. Syntagmatics A.5).

3. Syntagmatics

Examples from narrative books, Isaiah, Psalms and Qumran

A.1 ישׁע hiphil has human agents as subject: מֹשֶׁה ‘Moses’ (Exod 2:17), שַׁמְגָר Shamgar (Judg 3:31), אִישׁ ‘a man’ (1 Sam 9:16), דָּוִד ‘David’ (1 Sam 23:2, 5), אֲדֹנִי ‘my lord’ = David (1 Sam 25:31), סכת דויד ‘the hut of David’ (4Q174 1:13), 3p. m.sg. denoting מֶלֶךְ ‘the king’ (Ps 72:4, 13), הגואים ‘the nations’ (4Q166 2:14), פסילי הגוים ‘the carved images of the nations’ (4Q385a 18 ii 10) הבר qal m.pl. part. ‘to study astrology’ (Is 47:13), יָד ‘hand’ + 1p. sg. suffix denoting Israel (Judg 7:2), + 1/2p. s suffix denoting David (1 Sam 25:26, 33: cf. CD 9:9), + 2/3p. m.sg. suffix denoting an unruly man (CD 9:10; 1QS 6:27: perhaps also 4Q380 11 ii 4 and 4Q417 22:2), and זְרוֹעַ ‘arm’ + 3p. pl. suffix (Ps 44:4), also (with חֶרֶב) + 1p. sg. suffix (Ps 44:7), both denoting Israel.
More frequently it has a divine agent as subject: יהוה ‘the Lord’ (Exod 14:30; Judg 2:16; 1 Sam 4:3; 7:8; 14:23, 39; 17:47; 25:26; 2 Sam 3:18; 8:6, 14; 2 Kgs 6:27; 19:19; Isa 33:22; 37:20; 49:25; Ps 6:5, and 44x with a divine subject in Pss; 4Q381 31:2; 11QT 59:11, 18; D-1.008:4?), אֲדֹנָי ‘Lord’ (Ps 86:16 [cf. 4Q381 15:2]; 1QH 10:23/25), אֱלֹהִים ‘God’ (Isa 35:4; 1QM 10:4; 4Q511 10:9), אֵל ‘a god’ (Isa 45:20) or ‘God’ (4Q171 4:21; 4Q183 1 ii 3; 4Q 288 1:5), הֵמָּה ‘they [denoting gods]’ (Judg 10:14), יָד ‘hand’ [of the Lord] (Is 59:1), יָמִין ‘right hand’ [of the Lord] (Pss 44:4; 98:1; 138:7), and זְרוֹעַ ‘arm’ [of the Lord] (Isa 59:16; Pss 44:4; 98:1).

A.2 ישׁע hiphil is followed by vocative יהוה ‘O Lord’ (D-15.008:1), and the verb עָנָה ‘to answer’ (Isa 46:7).

A.3 ישׁע hiphil has as direct objects יִשְׂרָאֵל ‘Israel’ (Exod 14:30; Jdg 3:31; 6:14, 36, 37; 10:1; 13:5; 1 Sam 14:23, 39; 1QM 10:4; 11:3; 4Q166 2:14; 4Q174 1:13; 4Q183 1 ii 3), עָם ‘people [sc. Israel]’ (1 Sam 9:16; 2 Sam 3:18; Pss 18:28; 28:9), עָם ‘people [in general]’ (2 Sam 22:28), קְעִילָה ‘Keilah’ (1 Sam 23:2), יֹשְׁבֵי קְעִילָה ‘inhabitants of Keilah’ (1 Sam 23:5), דָּוִיד ‘David’ (2 Sam 8:6, 14), מְשִׁיחוֹ ‘his anointed’ (Ps 20:7), הַמֶּלֶךְ ‘the king’ (Ps 20:10), בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן ‘Ammonites’ (2 Sam 10:19), and בֵּן pl. ‘son’ (Isa 49:25), יִשְׁרֵי־לֵב ‘the upright in heart’ (Ps 7:11), חוֹסִים ‘fugitives’ (Ps 17:7), דַּכְּאֵי־רוּחַ ‘the oppressed in spirit’ (Ps 34:19), אָדָם וּבְהֵמָה ‘man and beast’ (Ps 36:7), צִיּוֹן ‘Zion’ (Ps 69:36), עֲנִיֵּי־עָם ‘the afflicted among the people’ (Ps 72:4), נַפְשׁוֹת אֶבְיוֹנִים ‘the lives of the poor’ (Ps 72:13), כָּל־עַנְוֵי־אֶרֶץ ‘all the humble of the earth’ (Ps 76:10), עַבְדְּךָ ‘your servant’ (Ps 86:2), בֶּן־אֲמָתְךָ ‘the son of your handmaid’ (Ps 86:16 [cf. 4Q381 15:2]), נפשי ‘my life’ (1QHa 10:23/25), היחד ‘the community’ (4Q171 4:21), יוסף ‘Joseph’ (4Q372 1:16).

A.4 The direct object of ישׁע hiphil may also be denoted by אֶת + 2p. m.pl. suffix (Deut 20:4; Judg 7:7; 10:12, 13), + 3p. m.sg. suffix (Judg 6:31), + 1p. sg. suffix (Judg 12:2), + 1p. pl. suffix (1 Sam 11:3); and by 1p. sg. suffix (Ps 3:8, and 18x in Pss; 4Q381 31:2), 2p. sg. suffix (4Q380 1 ii 4), 3p. m.sg. suffix (Ps 34:7; 11QT 59:18), 1p. pl. suffix (Pss 44:8; 106:47), 3p. m.pl. suffix (Pss 37:40; 106:8, 10, 21; 107:13, 19; 145:19; 11QT 59:11).

A.5 ישׁע hiphil participle is the object of the verbs קום hiphil ‘to raise up’ (Judg 3:9, 15), נָתַן ‘to give’ (2 Kgs 13:5), and שָׁלַח ‘to send’ (Isa 19:20).

A.6 ישׁע hiphil is followed by the preposition מִן ‘from’ + חָמָס ‘violence’ (2 Sam 22:3), צָרָה ‘trouble’ (Isa 46:7; Ps 34:7; 4Q166 2:14), רֹדֵף pl. ‘pursuer’ (Ps 7:2), פּי אַרְיֵה ‘the mouth of the lion’ (Ps 22:22), צַר pl. ‘foe’ (Ps 44:8), אַנְשֵׁי דָמִים ‘men of blood’ (Ps 59:3), מְצוּקָה pl. ‘distress’ (Ps 107:13, 19), שֹׁפְטֵי נַפְשוֹ ‘the judges of one’s life’ (Ps 109:31).
Also מִן + יָד + the nouns מִצְרַיִם ‘Egypt’ (Ex 14:30), אוֹיֵב pl. ‘enemy’ (Judg 2:18; 2 Sam 3:18; 11QT 59:11), שׂוֹנֵא ‘hater’ (Ps 106:10), pl. (11QT 59:18), מְבַקֵשׁ נֶפֶשׁ pl. ‘seeker of one’s life’ (11QT 59:18), מִדְיָן ‘Midian’ (Judg 8:22), פְּלִשְׁתִּים ‘Philistines’ (Judg 13:5; 1 Sam 7:8; 9:16; 2 Sam 3:18), and + 3p. m.pl. suffix (Judg 10:12; 12:2; 4Q372 1:16), + 3p. m.sg. suffix (2 Kgs 19:19; Isa 37:20); or the participle שׁסה qal m.pl. ‘plundering’ (Judg 2:16).
ישׁע hiphil is followed by the preposition מִן + כַף +the nouns מִדְיָן ‘Midian’ (Judg 6:14, 15), אוֹיֵב pl. ‘enemy’ (1 Sam 4:3), מֶלֶךְ ‘king’ (2 Kgs 16:7).

A.7 ישׁע hiphil is followed by the preposition לְ (Josh 10:6; Judg 10:14; 2 Sam 10:11; Ezek 34:22; Pss 72:4; 86:16; 116:6; Prov. 20:22; 1 Chron 18:6; 4Q385a 18 ii 10; D-25.003:3) or לְ with suffix + מִן ‘from’ + pl. noun רָעָה ‘evil’ (1 Sam 10:19). In Judg 7:2; 10:14; 1 Sam 25:25, 31, 33; Isa 59:16; 63:5; 44:4; Ps 98:1; Job 40:14; CD 9:9-10; 1QS 6:27 the attached pron. suffix is reflexive. The appearance of לְ after the verb is sometimes taken as evidence of an original intransitive sense (Sawyer 1965:481, n. 3; HAL, 428), which may also be indicated by the collocation with certain verbs of saying (cf. A.2).

A.8 ישׁע hiphil is followed by the preposition בְּ ‘by means of’ + יָד ‘hand’ (Judg 6:36, 37; 7:7; 2 Sam 3:18; 2 Kgs 14:27; 1QM 11:3); or by the preposition בְּ ‘in’ (2 Sam 8:6, 14; Ps 106:21).
ישׁע hiphil is followed by the preposition בְּ in the expressions בְּרַב אוֹ בִמְעָט ‘by great or by little’(1 Sam 14:6), בְּחֶרֶב וּבַחֲנִית ‘by sword and by spear’ (1 Sam 17:47), בְחַסְדֶּךָ ‘by your loyalty’ (Ps 31:17; pl. in 1QHa 10:23/25), בְּצִדְקָתְךָ ‘by your righteousness’ (Ps 71:2), and בברית ‘by covenant’ (4Q183 1 ii 3).

A.9 ישׁע hiphil is followed by the prepositions בעבור ‘for the sake of’ (1QM 11:3-4), כְּ ‘according to’ (Ps 109:26) and לְמַעַן ‘for the sake of’ (Pss 6:5; 106:8).

A.10 ישׁע hiphil participle forms a clause with אֵין (Deut 22:27; 28:29, 31; Judg 12:3; Isa 43:11; 47:15; Ps 18:42; 4Q389 1 ii 3; 11QT 59:8; 66:8), יֵשׁ (Judg 6:36) and המה ‘they’ (4Q226 5:1); it is the predicate of and יהוה ‘the Lord’ (Isa 43:3; 60:16; 4Q365 6a ii + 6c 3), and in apposition to אֱלֹהִים ‘God’ (Isa 45:15), אֵל ‘God’ (Isa 45:22), יהוה ‘the Lord’ (Isa 49:26).

A.11 ישׁע hiphil is followed by waw + עָזַר (Josh 10:6).

A.12 ישׁע hiphil is joined by waw to בּוא ‘to go’ (Isa 35:4), גָאַל part. (Isa 60:16).

A.13 ישׁע niphal has as subjects עַם ‘people’ (Deut 33:29), יִשְׂרָאֵל ‘Israel’ (Isa 45:17; CD 5:19: implied Ps 80:4, 8, 20; 1QM 10:8 [citing Num 10:9]), the king (Pss 18:4; 33:16) or the psalmist (Ps 119:117).

A.14 ישׁע niphal is followed by מִן ‘from’ + אוֹיֵב pl. ‘enemies’ (Num 10:9 [and hence 1QM 10:8]; 2 Sam 22:4 = Ps 18:4), and בְּ + יהוה ‘the Lord’ (Deutt 33:29; Isa 45:17 [+ תְּשׁוּעָה]) and רָב־חָיִל ‘greatness of strength’ (Ps 33:16).

A.15 ישׁע niphal is joined by waw to פָנָה ‘to turn’ (Isa 45:22), עָמַד ‘to stand’ (Isa 47:13: cf. 1QHa 10:22-23).

4. Ancient Versions

a. Septuagint (LXX):

Hiphil:

  • ἀμύνομαι, ‘to help and defend’:4 Isa 59:16;
  • ἀνασώζω, ‘to rescue’: Zech 8:7;
  • [[ἀπόλλυμι]], ‘to destroy’:5 Job 5:15;
  • βοηθέω, ‘to aid, help’: Deut 22:27; 28:29, 31; Prov 20:22; 1 Chron 19:19;
  • βοηθός:, ‘helper, help’: 2 Sam 22:42;
  • διασώζω, ‘to preserve, save’: Deut 20:4; Hos 13:10; Zech 8:13;
  • [[εἰσακούω]], ‘to give ear’: Ps 55[54]:17;
  • ἐλεέω, ‘to have pity on’: Sir 33:1;
  • ἐξαιρέω, ‘to take (out)’: Josh 10:6; Sir 4:9;
  • λυτρόω, ‘to redeem’: Sir 48:20; 49:10;
  • ποιέω, ‘to make, bring about’ (+ σωτηρίαν, ‘deliverance’ = תְּשׁוּעָה):6 1 Chron 11:14;
  • ῥύομαι, ‘to rescue’: Exod 2:17; 14:30; Josh 22:22; Isa 49:25, 26; 63:5; Ezek 37:23;
  • σωτήρ, ‘saviour, deliverer’: Judg 3:9, 15; 1 Sam 10:19; Isa 45:15, 21; Neh 9:27;
  • σωτηρία, ‘deliverance, salvation’: 2 Sam 22:3; 2 Kgs 13:5; 14:27; Isa 38:20; 47:15; 63:8;
  • σωτήριον, ‘deliverance, salvation’: Isa 63:1;
  • σώζω, ‘to save, keep alive’: Judg 2:16, 18; 3:9, 31; 6:14, 15, 31, 36, 37; 7:2, 7; 8:22; 10:1, 12, 13, 14; 12:2, 3; 13:5; 1 Sam 4:3; 7:8; 9:16; 10:27; 11:3; 14:6, 23, 39; 17:47; 23:2, 5; 25:26, 31 [+χεῖρα], 33; 2 Sam 3:18; 8:6, 14; 10:11, 19; 14:4; 22:3, 8; 2 Kgs 6:26, 27 (2x); 16:7; 19:19; Isa 19:20; 33:22; 35:4; 37:20, 35; 43:3, 11, 12; 45:20 (pl.); 46:7; 47:13; 59:1; 60:16; 63:9; Jer 2:27, 28; 11:12 (1x); 14:8, 9; 15:20; 17:14; 31[38]:7; 42[49]:11; 46[26]:27; Ezek 34:22; 36:29; Hos 1:7 (2x); 13:4; 14:4; Obad 1:21 (pass.); Hab 1:2; Zeph 3:17, 19; Zech 9:16; 10:6; 12:7; Pss 3:8; 6:5; 7:2, 11; 12[11]:2; 17[16]:7; 18[17]:28, 42; 20[19]:7, 10; 22[21]:22; 28[27]:9; 31[30]:3, 17; 34[33]:7, 19; 36[35]:7; 37[36]:40; 44[43]:4, 7, 8; 54[53]:3; 57[56]:4; 59[58]:3; 60[59]:7; 69[68]:2, 36; 71[70]:2, 3; 72[71]:4, 13; 76[75]:10; 86[85]:2, 16; 98[97]:1; 106[105]:8, 10, 21, 47; 107[106]:13, 19; 108[107]:7; 109[108]:26, 31; 116[114]:6; 118[117]:25; 119[118]:94, 146; 138[137]:7; 145[144]:19; Job 22:29; 40:14; Lam 4:17; Neh 9:27; 1 Chron 16:35; 18:6, 13; 19:12; 2 Chron 20:9; 32:22;
  • Omitted: 2 Kgs 19:34; Isa 25:9; Job 26:2?; Sir 31:6.

Large omission: Jer 30:10, 11.

Niphal:

  • βοηθέω passive, `to be assisted, receive help’: Prov 28:18;
  • διασώζω passive, `to come safe through/ to’: Num 10:9; Jer 8:20;
  • [[πλανάω, ‘to wander, go astray’]]: Isa 64:4;
  • σώζω active, ‘to save, keep alive’: Zech 9:9;
  • σώζω passive, ‘to be saved, attain salvation’:7 Deut 33:29; 2 Sam 22:4; Isa 30:15; 45:17, 22; Jer 4:14; 17:14; 23:6; 30[37]:7; Pss 18[17]:4; 33[32]:16; 80[79]:4, 8, 20; 119[119]:117.

Large omission: Jer 33:16.

A.1 Although the primary translation of ישׁע in the LXX is σώζω and its compounds (for both the hiphil and the niphal), there are some equivalents that express various other nuances corresponding to some of the translations for the cognate Hebrew nouns. ἀμύνομαι ‘to ward off (danger etc.)’ at Isa 59:16 indicates that ישׁע can denote protection from danger and not merely ‘deliverance’. Likewise βοηθέω ‘to help, assist’ and its cognates indicate another connotation of the verb.

A.2 The choice of the verb ἐλεέω at Sir 36:1 corresponds to the use of the noun ἔλεος in the LXX for translating the nouns יֵשַׁע (Isa 45:8) and יְשׁוּעָה (Sir).

A.3 For the active of σώζω to translate the Niphal at Zech 9:9, see Tg.

B.1 ἀπόλλυμι at Job 5:15 is probably an attempt to explain a difficult syntax, or arose from a corruption to יגוע ‘to let perish’ (LEH1, 53; LEH3, 70).

B.2 The MT reading of נושׁע at Isa 64:4 has been confirmed by the text of 1QIsa (cf. Pesh, Tg and Vg), although the LXX πλανάομαι ‘to wander, stray’ could imply the reading נפשׁע ‘we have erred’ (Westermann 1969:391; LEH1, 378). Some scholars have indeed suggested the emendation נרשׁע ‘we have become wicked’ (e.g. Cheyne 1899:73, 171; BHS), although others have followed the MT (e.g. Watts 1987:238).

b. Peshitta (Pesh):

Hiphil:

  • ܙܟܝ/ܙܟܐ (zky/zkʾ ) Pael, `to make victorious’:8 Judg 7:2;
  • ܢܦܩ (npq) Aphel, ‘to bring out’: Ps 107:19;
  • ܣܡܟ (smk) Ithpaal, ‘to be supported’: Sir 11:20;
  • ܥܒܕ ܦܘܪܩܢܐ (ʿbd purqānā), ‘to bring salvation’: 2 Sam 3:18;
  • ܥܒܕ (ʿbd) (+ ܢܨܚܢܐ [neṣḥānā]= תְּשׁוּעָה), to bring victory’: 1 Chron 11:14 (cf. LXX);
  • ܥܕܪ (ʿdr) Pael, ‘to help, aid’: 2 Sam 10:11, 19; 1 Chron 19:19;
  • ܦܨܝ/ܦܨܐ (pṣy/pṣʾ) Pael, ‘to save, deliver’: Deut 22:27; 28:31; Judg 6:31; 2 Sam 22:31st; Hab 1:2; Pss 34:7; 119:94; 1 Chron 19:12;
  • ܦܩܕ (pqd) Peal, ‘to search for, care for’: Zech 12:7;
  • ܦܪܩ (prq) Peal, ‘to save, liberate’: Exod 2:17; 14:30; Deut 20:4; 28:29; Josh 22:22; Judg 2:16, 18; 3:92nd, 31; 6:14, 15, 36, 37; 7:7; 8:22; 10:1, 12, 13; 12:2, 3; 13:5; 1 Sam 4:3; 7:8; 9:16; 10:19, 27; 14:6, 23, 39; 17:47; 23:2, 5; 25:26, 33; 2 Sam 8:6, 14; 14:4; 22:28; 2 Kgs 6:26, 27 (2x); 14:27; 16:7; 19:19, 34; Isa 25:9; 35:4; 37:20, 35; 38:20; 43:12; 45:20; 46:7; 47:13, 15; 49:25; 59:1, 16; 63:1, 5, 9; Jer 2:27, 28; 11:12 (2x); 14:9; 15:20; 17:14; 30:10, 11; 31:7; 42:11; 46:27; Ezek 34:22; 36:29; 37:23; Hos 1:7 (2x); 13:4, 10; 14:4; Obad 21 (pass.); Zeph 3:19; Zech 8:7, 13; 9:16; 10:6; 12:7; Pss 3:8; 6:5; 7:2; 11; 12:2; 18:28, 20:7, 10; 22:22; 28:9; 31:3, 17; 34:19; 36:7; 37:40; 44:4, 7, 8; 54:3; 55:17; 57:4; 59:3; 60:7; 69:2, 36; 71:2, 3; 72:4, 13; 76:10; 86:2, 16; 98:1; 106:8, 10, 21, 47; 107:13; 108:7; 109:26, 31; 116:6; 118:25; 119:146; 138:7; 145:19; Job 5:15; 26:2; 40:14; Prov 20:22; Lam 4:17; Neh 9:272nd; 1 Chron 16:35; 18:6, 13; 2 Chron 20:9; 32:22; Sir 4:9; 31:6; 36:1; 48:20;
  • ܦܪܩ (prq) Ithpeel, ‘to save, liberate’: Job 22:29;
  • ܦܪܘܩܐ (pārōqā), ‘saviour, liberator’: Judg 3:91st, 15; 10:14; 1 Sam 11:3; 2 Sam 22:32nd, 42; 2 Kgs 13:5; Isa 19:20; 33:22; 43:3; 45:15, 21; 49:26; 60:16; 63:8; Jer 14:8; Zeph 3:17; Pss 17:7; 18:42; Neh 9:271st;
  • ܫܘܙܒ (šwzb), ‘to save, deliver, preserve’: Sir 51:3;
  • ܬܟܠ (tkl) Aphel, ‘to make trust’: Sir 49:10;
  • Omitted: 1 Sam 25:31; Josh 10:6; Isa 43:11.

Niphal:

  • ܦܪܘܩܐ (pārōqā), ‘saviour, liberator’: Zech 9:9;
  • ܦܘܪܩܢܐ (purqānā), ‘salvation’: Deut 33:29; Isa 45:17;
  • ܦܨܝ/ܦܨܐ (pṣy/pṣʾ ) Ethpael, ‘to be saved’: Num 10:9;
  • ܦܪܩ (prq) Ithpeel ‘to be saved’: 2 Sam 22:4; Isa 30:15; 45:22; 64:4; Jer 4:14; 8:20; 17:14; 23:6; 30:7; 33:16; Pss 18:4; 33:16; 80:4, 8, 20; 119:117; Prov 28:18.

A.1 The Pesh, as the Tg (see below), has a preference for the verb ܦܪܩ (prq) and its derivatives. The rendering ܫܘܙܒ (šwzb), popular with some lexemes in the semantic field, is found only once (Sir 51:3). ܦܨܝ/ܦܨܐ (pṣy/pṣʾ ) appears slightly more frequently, but is still an infrequent equivalent.

A.2 ܢܦܩ (npq) Aphel, ‘to bring out’ (Ps 107:19) denotes some movement in the action of the verb, but this equivalent also appears only once.

A.3 The meaning of bringing assistance is found in the translations ܙܟܝ/ܙܟܐ (zky/zkʾ ) Pael (Judg 7:2) and ܥܕܪ (ʿdr; 2 Sam 10:11, 19; 1 Chron 19:19).

A.4 The translation ܦܪܘܩܐ (pārōqā), ‘saviour’, is found frequently, for the most part to render the ptc. מוֹשִׁיעַ.

c. Targum (Tg: O/J/K):

Hiphil:

  • חשׁב, ‘to think’:9 Ps 18:28;
  • פרוק, ‘redeemer’: Hos 13:4;
  • פּרק, ‘to redeem’: Exod 2:17; 14:30; Deut 20:4; 22:27; 28:29, 31; Josh 10:6; 22:22; Judg 2:16, 18 (Pa.); 3:9 [2x], 15, 31; 6:14, 15, 31, 36, 37; 7:2, 7; 8:22; 10:1, 12, 13, 14; 12:2, 3; 13:5; 1 Sam 4:3; 7:8; 9:16; 10:19, 27; 11:3; 14:6, 23, 39; 17:47; 23:2, 5; 25:26, 31, 33; 2 Sam 3:18; 8:6, 14; 10:11, 19; 14:4; 22:3 (Pa., 2x), 28, 42; 2 Kgs 6:26, 27 (2x); 13:5; 14:27; 16:7; 19:19, 34; Is 19:20; 25:9; 33:22; 35:4; 37:20, 35; 38:20; 43:3, 11, 12; 45:15, 20, 21 (pa.); 46:7; 47:13, 15; 49:25, 26; 59:16; 60:16; 63:1, 5, 8, 9; Jer 2:27, 28; 11:12 [1x]; 14:8, 9; 15:20; 30:10, 11; 31:7; 42:11; 46:27; Ezk 34:22; 36:29; 37:23; Hos 1:71st; 13:10; 14:4; Hab 1:2; Zeph 3:17, 19; Zech 8:7, 13; 9:16; 10:6; 12:7; Pss 3:8; 6:5; 7:2, 11; 12:2; 17:7; 18:42; 20:7, 10; 22:22; 28:9; 31:3, 17; 34:7,19; 36:7; 37:40; 44:4, 7, 8 (Pa.); 54:3; 57:4; 59:3; 60:7; 69:2, 36; 71:2, 3; 72:4, 13; 76:10; 86:2, 16; 98:1 (Pa.); 106:8, 10, 21, 17; 107:13, 19; 108:7; 109:26, 31; 116:6; 119:94, 146; 138:7; 145:19; Job 5:15; 22:29; 40:14; Prov 20:22; Lam 4:17; 1 Chron 11:14; 16:35; 18:6, 13; 19:12, 19; 2 Chron 20:9 (pa.); 32:22;
  • פרק Ithpe., ‘to be redeemed’: Isa 59:1; Jer 17:14; Hos 1:72nd;
  • שׁיזב Shaph., ‘to release, save’: Obad 21;
  • Omitted: Ps 118:25; Neh 7:29.

Niphal:

  • פורקנא, ‘redemption, salvation’: Deut 33:29.
  • פרק, ‘to redeem’: 2 Sam 22:4; Zech 9:9; Ps 18:4;
  • פרק Ithpe., ‘to be redeemed’: Num 10:9; Isa 30:15; 45:17, 22; 64:4; Jer 4:14; 8:20; 17:14; 23:6; 30:7; 33:16; Pss 33:16; 80:4, 8, 20; 119:117; Prov 28:18.

A.1 There is nothing exceptional in the renderings of the Pesh or Tg, both translating the verb by the same words as they do for many others in the semantic field.

A.2 There is a clear preference in the Tg for the verb פּרק. Only once do we find the equivalent שׁיזב (Obad 21), which is more frequent as a translation for other lexemes in the semantic field.

A.3 At Tg Hos 1:7, the Targumist avoids presenting God as acting as a warrior, and therefore turns the second verb into a third person passive (Cathcart and Gordon 1989:30; Smolar and Aberbach 1983:148–49).

A.4 In the Tg to Zech 9:9 MS V, printed in Sperber’s edition, has the Peal active, although MS Z posits a passive participle, corresponding to the Niphal in the MT. LXX, Pesh and Vg all render as active too. Comparison may be made with Ps 33:16 where in the Tg נושׁע is rendered מתפריק (Cathcart and Gordon 1989:205).

d. Vulgate (Vg):

Hiphil:

  • adiuvo, ‘to give aid to, to help’:10 Deut 28:31; 1 Chron 18:6;
  • audio, ‘to hear, to listen’: Sir 48:22;
  • auxilior, ‘to give help, aid to’: 2 Sam 10:11;
  • [[conloquor, ‘to converse with’: Sir 11:20]];
  • custodio, ‘to watch, to defend’: Josh 22:22;
  • defendo, ‘to defend, to ward off’: Exod 2:17; Judg 3:31; 1 Sam 11:3;
  • do + salutem (= תְּשׁוּעָה), ‘to give, to grant safety/ salvation’: 1 Chron 11:14;
  • dux, ‘leader, guide’: Judg 10:1;
  • eruo, ‘to bring out, to release’: Deut 20:4; Judg 10:12;
  • libero, ‘to make or to set free’: Exod 14:30; Deut 22:27; 28:29; Josh 10:6; Judg 2:16, 18; 3:9; 6:14, 15, 37; 7:2[pass], 7; 8:22; 10:13, 14; 13:5; 2 Sam 22:3; Jer 2:27, 28; 11:12; Prov 20:22; Sir 4:9; 51:4;
  • misereor, ‘to pity, to show mercy’: Sir 36:1;
  • praebeo auxilium, ‘to offer help’: Judg 12:2; 2 Sam 10:19; 1 Chron 19:19;
  • pugno, ‘to fight, to combat’: Judg 6:31;
  • redimo, ‘to redeem’: Sir 49:12;
  • salvator, ‘saviour, redeemer’: Judg 3:9, 15; 2 Sam 22:3; 2 Kgs 13:5; 14:27; 16:7; Isa 19:20; 43:3, 11; 45:15; 63:8; 14:8; Hos 13:4; Obad 1:21; Pss 17[16]:7; 106[105]:21; Neh 9:27;
  • salvo, ‘to save’: 1 Sam 4:3; 7:8; 9:16; 10:19, 27; 14:6, 23, 39; 17:47; 23:2, 5; 25:26; 2 Sam 3:18; 22:42; 2 Kgs 6:26, 27[2x]; 19:34; Isa 25:9; 33:22; 35:4; 37:20, 35; 43:12; 45:20, 21; 46:7; 47:13, 15; 49:25, 26; 59:1, 16; 60:16; 63:1, 5, 9; Jer 11:12; 14:9; 15:20; 30:10, 11; 31:7; Ezek 34:22; 36:29; Hos 1:7; 13:10; 14:4; Hab 1:2; Zeph 3:17, 19; Zech 8:7, 13; 9:16; 10:6; 12:7; Pss 6:5[4]; 7:2[1], 11[10]; 12[11]:2; 18[17]:28, 42; 20[19]:7, 10; 22[21]:22; 28[27]:9; 31[30]:3, 17; 34[33]:7, 19; 37[36]:40; 44[43]:4, 7, 8; 54[53]:3, 17; 57[56]:4; 59[58]:3; 60[59]:7; 69[68]:2, 36; 71[70]:2, 3; 72[71]:4, 13; 86[85]:2, 16; 98[97]:1; 106[105]:8, 10, 47; 107[106]:13, 19; 108[107]:7; 109[108]:26, 31; 116[114]:6; 118[117]:25; 119[118]:94; 138[137]:7; 145[144]:19; Job 22:29 [passive]; 40:14[9]; La 4:17; Neh 9:27; 1 Chron 16:35; 18:13; 2 Chron 32:22;
  • salvum facio, ‘to save, to deliver’: 2 Sam 22:28; 2 Kgs 19:19; Isa 38:20; Jer 17:14; 42:11; 46:27; Ezek 37:23; Pss 3:8[7]; 36[35]:7; 76[75]:10; 119[118]:146; Job 5:15; 2 Chron 20:9;
  • salvus, ‘saved, unharmed’: Judg 6:36;
  • servo, ‘to save, to deliver’: 2 Sam 8:6, 14; 14:4;
  • sum in praesidium, ‘to guard, to protect’: 1 Chron 19:12;
  • sustineo, ‘to support’: Job 26:2;
  • ulciscor, ‘to avenge, to take vengeance’: 1 Sam 25:31, 33;
  • Omitted: Judg 12:3.

Niphal:

  • eruo passive, ‘being released’: Num 10:9;
  • salvator, ‘saviour, redeemer’: Zech 9:9;
  • salvo passive, ‘being saved’: Deut 33:29; 2 Sam 22:4; Isa 30:15; 45:17, 22; 64:4; Jer 8:20; 23:6; 30:7; 33:16; Pss 33[32]:16; 80[79]:4, 8, 20; 119[118]:117; Pr 28:18;
  • salvus fio, ‘being saved’: Jer 4:14;
  • salvus sum, ‘being saved’: Jer 17:14; Ps 18[17]:4.

A.1 Although salvo and libero are the two most frequent renderings for ישׁע, other translations (e.g. adiuvo ‘to help’) indicate various shades of meaning.

A.2 In Judg 2:18 the translation is free and rearranged, but et liberabat will be the rendering of והושׁיעם (cf. v. 16).

5. Lexical/Semantic Fields

A.1 Both in the Bible and at Qumran ישׁע is often found in parallelism or close association with other members of the deliverance’ group: e.g. נצל (Ps 7:2; 4Q171 4:21), פלט (Ps 37:40), עזר (Ps 37:40), פדה (Ps 55:17; 11QTa 59:11), גאל (Isa 49:26; Ps 106:10), מלט (Ps 107:19; 4Q183 1 ii 3), and also חלץ (Pss 6:5; 34:7; 60:7=108:7).

A.2 Related words which are not strictly synonyms are also associated with ישׁע, such as שׁפט and דין (Pss 7:11; 54:3; 72:4; 76:10), שׁמר (Pss 12:2; 17:7; 34:19; 86:2; 145:19), זכר (1QM 10:8), and אור פנים (Pss 31:17; 80:4, 8, 20).

A.3 Other words specify the action denoted by זכר ישׁע in particular cases more precisely, such as שׁלח (Ps 44:4), קבץ (Ps 106:47), רפא (Ps 107:19), סעד (Ps 119:117), עלה (4Q381 31:2), and more surprisingly, ירשׁ (Pss 44:4; 69:36), and בנה (Ps 69:36).

A.4 ישׁע Hiphil is found in parallelism with נתן ביד ‘to give into the hand’ (Judg 7:7). The hiph. ptc. is in parallelism with מנוס ‘refuge’ (2 Sam 22:3), and with the verb ענה ‘to answer’ (2 Sam 22:42).

B.1 One of the most common words to occur with ישׁע in the Psalms (also in Isa 46:7) is ענה, ‘answer’, and synonyms such as שׁמע, ‘hear’ and נטה hiph. + אזן, ‘incline the ear’ (Pss 31:3; 71:2; 86:2). These should probably not be regarded as members of the lexical field, as their use is related not to the meaning of ישׁע as such but to the fact that, in the Psalms at least, it is so frequently used (21x) in the imperative form to express a request.

6. Exegesis

A.1 ישׁע appears to denote primarily the bringing of help to someone rather than the actual rescuing or removal of them from danger. Its agent is primarily God or a religious/military leader. The meaning, however, of rescuing or removal from danger may be possible in some prose military contexts.

A.2 In prose ישׁע denotes God’s acts in past history, including God’s saving Israel from Egypt (Exod 14:30). It is also used in the time of the Judges of the protection from foreign nations (e.g. Judg 2:16, 18). Such military contexts apply the verb both to the acts of God (1 Sam 17:47) and to those of military heroes (e.g. Judg 6:14–15; 1 Sam 9:16).

A.3 ישׁע is found in forensic contexts, but this need not be the original meaning (see B.1 below). Although it is primarily found with the noun מוֹשִׁיעַ (e.g. Deut 28:29, 31) it may be implied with this sense in the appeal of the woman of Tekoa to David to help her in her case (2 Sam 14:4; Hubbard 1997:557) and in some Psalms. The implication is that the king can dispense justice in the same manner that God does in the Psalms. The examples are few and the argumentation is tentative. In each of these instances one could argue that the verb ישׁע means merely ‘to save’ and that the context indicates the saving will be forensic. Certainly when an appeal to a king is made it denotes acquittal, but this is probably a developed sense from the general meaning.

A.4 The idiom ישׁע hiphil + יָד + לְ is used in the context of bloodguilt (1 Sam 25:26) and refers to taking revenge. It denotes specifically exercising justice oneself (with the implication that someone else has done or should do it). In Judg 7:2 God warns the Israelites that they might boast of executing the victory on their own part rather than giving credit to God (cf. Job 40:14). As already noted (Syntagmatics A.7) ישׁע hiph. is quite frequently followed by לְ instead of the more common direct object. This does not generally seem to be because the texts concerned are late (GK §117n), though the substitution of לְ for אֶת־ in 1 Chron 18:6 (cf. 2 Sam 8:6) could be explained in this way. More likely the variation is related to the use of לְ with Hiphils of some intransitive verbs, where it has been suggested that the expression is ‘properly (as it seems) a dat. commodi ’ (BDB, 511). Alternatively (or additionally), one might associate it with the exceptional frequency of nouns cognate with ישׁע (such as יֵשַׁע and יְשׁוּעָה), which is a distinctive feature of ישׁע among the words for ‘deliverance’: the verb may in these cases have been thought of as a kind of denominative equivalent to ‘bring יֵשַׁע/ יְשׁוּעָה to a person or group (see further 7. Conclusion).
A special group is constituted by instances where the subject of the verb is יָד (or a similar word like זְרוֹעַ or יָמִין) with a pronominal suffix and the ‘beneficiary’ is denoted by לְ with the same suffix. The meaning is thus reflexive: someone’s own ‘hand’ brings him the success or victory denoted by ישׁע hiph. A sequence of examples occurs in 1 Sam 25:26, 31 (where many commentators insert יד before אדני with LXX) and 33, in the dialogue between Abigail and David about how David is to respond to Nabal’s insults (vv. 10-11). The fact that in all three places the phrase is associated with incurring bloodguilt could be taken as evidence, in isolation, that it means specifically a judicial misdeed (so Sawyer 1982:1049, 1052 [1990:454, 457]). But this is improbable in the light of the full range of occurrences of this idiom, especially those in which it is applied to God in a wholly positive sense (Is 59:16; 63:5 and probably Ps 98:1). The data were assembled already by Driver (1890:200-02), who concluded that יד (and its synonyms) referred to the use of one’s own power (‘force’) to achieve one’s aims. When God does this, it redounds to his glory. But human beings must, in a widespread biblical view, rely on God to help them, for they cannot succeed on their own. Using one’s own human power is therefore viewed negatively (so also in Judg 7:2; Ps 44:4 and Job 40:14). Two clear occurrences of the idiom at Qumran fit well into this picture. CD 9:9-10 (the duplicate 4Q267 i 4-5 preserves a few letters of the context) cites 1 Sam 25:26 freely as the basis for not using force to make someone swear an oath; 1QS 6:27 uses the phrase of aggressive, arrogant behaviour towards a more senior member of the community (cf. 6:10-11). In neither case does it have a specifically legal character. The same idiom may also have been present in 4Q380 1 ii 4 and 4Q417 22:2.

A.5 Appeals to one’s ally on the basis of a treaty imply that ישׁע may in these instances have a meaning of providing assistance (e.g. Josh 10:6; 2 Sam 10:11–12).

A.6 In Wisdom literature the verb only appears twice in Proverbs and four times in Job. In Proverbs it denotes the assistance provided by God (Prov 20:22) against one’s enemy (cf. A.5) and the prolonged state of well-being given to those who follow the way of God (Prov 28:18). In Job it is three times used of saving the weak (Job 5:15; 22:29; 26:2) and once used of winning victory (Job 40:14).

A.7 The verb is most frequent in Isaiah of all the Prophets. In the Prophets the verb often denotes in oracles of salvation God’s future deliverance from the Exile (e.g.Isa 49:25; Jer 30:7; cf. acts of history in A.2). It often seems to be a call for help when in danger (Isa 37:20) or for healing from sickness (e.g. of Hezekiah at Isa 38:20).

A.8 ישׁע appears most frequently in the book of Psalms (57x) in addition to 13 psalm-like passages elsewhere in the OT (for the latter see Sawyer 1082:1055 [1990:459]). The occurrences in the Psalms relate to all the varied kinds of situation that have already been mentioned: deliverance in past history (Pss 44:4 [cf. vv. 2-3]; 98:1; 106:8, 10, 21; 107:13, 19), war (18:4, 28, 42; 20:7, 10; 33:16; 44:7-8; 60:7=108:7; 76:10 [cf. vv. 6-7]; 80:4, 8, 20), legal disputes (7:2, 11; 69:2; 71:3 [cf. v. 13]; 109:26, 31), future deliverance of Zion/Israel (69:36; 106:47), the support of the needy (17:7; 34:19; 72:4, 13; 76:10), the righteous and devout (7:11; 37:40; 86:2, 16; 145:19) and the king (18:4; 20:7, 10), as well as intervention in times of a breakdown in society (12:2; 36:7), protection in undefined circumstances against personal ‘enemies’ (3:8; 22:22; 28:9; 31:3, 17; 54:3; 57:4; 86:2, 16) and sickness (107:19; perhaps 6:5). Here especially the generality of the word is very evident. Most often it presupposes a situation of distress, but it is accompanied by מן in only about one-fifth of its occurrences and the military uses do not all arise out of the danger of defeat (note 118:28, with the parallel צלח, ‘succeed’). ישׁע hiph. overlaps with עזר in the breadth of its usage (and they are associated in 109:26 [cf. Josh 10:6; Isa 63:5; Job 26:2]), but they are complementary rather than synonymous: עזר is more focused on the relational aspect of the action, while its effect and result is more prominent in ישׁע hiph., whether it refers to deliverance or the bestowal of success and victory. The subject in the great majority of cases is God and his wonderful, mighty power is sometimes explicitly mentioned (98:1; 106:21). But so is his חסד, ‘loyalty’, in associated prepositional phrases (6:5; 31:17; 109:26: cf. 57:4), as are related words like צדקה, ‘righteousness’ (71:2), and שׁם, ‘name’ (54:3; 106:8). The most distinctive feature of the use of ישׁע hiph. here is the high frequency of the imperative, often in its emphatic form, in the appeals to God which are so characteristic of the numerous laments in the Psalter (3:8; 6:5: over twenty times in all).

A.9 In expressing God’s action to his people by ישׁע Niphal the Lord is described as ‘shield of your help’ (Deut 33:29), which is interesting considering the use of the noun יֵשַׁע with such expressions.

A.10 At Qumran ישׁע appears three times in the War Scroll, reflecting perhaps the biblical usage in military contexts (A.2), and four times in the Temple Scroll, mainly in historical references. These also appear elsewhere (CD 5:19; 4Q372 1:16; 4Q385a 18 ii 10; 4Q389 1 ii 3). The reuse of the idiom discussed in A.4 suggests its continued use in everyday speech, but ישׁע hiph. is not a prominent expression of contemporary prayer or liturgy: there is only one secure occurrence in 1QHa and three more in other texts (4Q380 1 ii 4; 4Q381 31:2; 4Q511 10:9). The contrast with the biblical psalms could not be greater, and perhaps reflects its infrequency in LBH and as a loan-word in Aramaic other than Samaritan Aramaic (Sawyer 1975:80). But the seven occurrences preserved in the Heb. of Sirach give a rather different impression, especially when compared with the rarity of ישׁע hiph. in the biblical wisdom literature.

B.1 Whilst ישׁע can be found in forensic contexts in the Hebrew Bible (see A.3 above), its origin as a forensic term, later developing from this technical to a non-technical sense, as advocated by Sawyer (1972:94-95; 1975:80), is uncertain. Scepticism regarding this origin was first expressed in 1970 by participants at the conference where Sawyer presented his findings (recorded in Sawyer 1975:83–84), and Sawyer himself admits that the question must remain open until a wider range of contexts is available (1975:80). The main pieces of evidence marshalled by him are:

  • a) its use in forensic situations in the Bible (see A.3 above);
  • b) a forensic origin explains the use of מוֹשִׁיעַ (e.g. at Deut 22:27), if it means originally ‘counsel for the defence’ (see Sawyer 1965; B.2);
  • c) the verb’s parallelism with other words that may denote legal terms (see Lexical/Semantic Fields A.2);
  • d) the appearance of legal terms in proper names in Semitic languages.

The last of these is the weakest. For a) the evidence can be interpreted in either direction. It may have had a non-technical sense and developed its use to include the technical sense, especially since the cases of parallelism (c) are not conclusive. Likewise, (b) the meaning of מוֹשִׁיעַ, as well as not denoting exclusively a ‘counsel for the defence’ in synchronic Hebrew, could have derived from the technical sense of the verb after the latter had itself developed from the non-technical sense.

B.2 In his study of מוֹשִׁיעַ Sawyer is careful not to read too much into one word (1965:486), but expresses conviction that the evidence points to his interpretation. He sees the form מוֹשִׁיעַ (which he takes to be a noun; see Formal Characteristics B.1) as denoting a specific legal office of ‘advocate’ or ‘witness for the defence’, for which there is no other word in Hebrew but there would have been a need for one.

7. Conclusion

A.1 It now appears that the root may not be related to the Arabic ‘to be spacious’, and that little semantic evidence can be gained from tracing the verbal root. The frequency of the root in personal names may suggest that it is a verb used of God, but that much may already be derived from the Hebrew evidence.

A.2 ישׁע denotes the bringing of assistance to someone in need, whether in military, civil or judicial contexts. It may also denote the actual saving of someone in battle or in history in general. From this a meaning of being in a prosperous state appears to have developed (especially in Wisdom literature).

A.3 On a few occasions ישׁע might denote the provision of defence from enemies.

A.4 In its breadth of application ישׁע is particularly close to עָזַר among the words for deliverance and as a result the translation ‘help’ has sometimes been preferred (compare Exegesis A.8). But ישׁע also remains close to other words in the group such as הציל, as the (moderate) frequency of its use with מן attests, hence the continuing popularity of the rendering ‘save’ (and compare the Versions). The following account may clarify the synchronic relationship, whether or not its possible diachronic implications (for which there is no proof) are valid. In the Exegesis section of the entry for עָזַר (A.3) it is suggested that its use in the majority of its biblical occurrences (especially in the Psalms) for ‘help’ where deliverance was involved led to its occasional association with מן like other members of the group. With ישׁע there seems to be an extension in the opposite direction. One might envisage a continuum of human experience extending from distress at one pole to equilibrium at the centre and to victory and success at the other pole. ישׁע like other members of the ‘deliverance’ group mainly represents a movement from the negative pole to equilibrium, but it was natural for it also to be applied to the movement in the same ‘direction’ from equilibrium to the positive pole of success and victory. As such it came to occupy the original domain of עָזַר, ‘help’, as well.

A.5 It has also been suggested above (Exegesis A.8) that, while עָזַר refers to the action done in its relational aspect, ישׁע refers to its effect or result.

B.1 Although Sawyer has argued that the origin of ישׁע lies in forensic contexts, the evidence is inconclusive. It is perhaps better to consider the synchronic evidence more than the diachronic.

Bibliography

For the abbreviations see the List of Abbreviations.

Abou-Assaf 1982
Ali Abou-Assaf, et al. La Statue de Tell Fekherye et son inscription bilingue assyro-araméenne (Études Assyriologiques Cahiers, 7.) Paris: Editions Recherche sur les civilisations.
Albright 1943
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Barr 1968
James Barr, Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Buccellatti 1966
Giorgio Buccellatti, The Amorites of the Ur III Period, Naples: Istituto Orientale di Napoli.
Cantineau 1930–32
Jean Cantineau, Le Nabatéen, 2 vols., Paris: Librairie Ernest Leroux.
Cathcart and Gordon 1989
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Cheyne 1899
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Clines 1989
David J.A. Clines, 1989. Job 1–20. (WBC, 17), Dallas (TX): Word.
Dohmen 2013
Ulrich Dahmen, ‘ישׁע yšʿ’, ThWQ 2:309-18.
Driver 1890
Samuel R. Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Samuel, Oxford Clarendon Press.
Dupont-Sommer 1961
André Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran, Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Fohrer 1964 [1971]
Georg Fohrer, ‘σῴζω und σωτηρία im Alten Testament’, ThWNT 7:970-81 (ET 1971: TDNT 7:970-980).
Gesenius 1810
Wilhelm Gesenius, Hebräisch-Deutsches Handwörterbuch über die Schriften des Alten Testaments. Erster Teil, Leipzig: Vogel.
Gibson 1971
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Gröndahl 1967
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Hubbard 1997
Robert L. Hubbard, ‘ישׁע’, NIDOTTE 2:556–62.
Huffmon 1965
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Knudtzon 1915
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Kraus 1978
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Lohse 1971
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Milik 1956
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Müller 1963
Walter W. Müller, ‘Altsüdarabische Beiträge zum hebräischen Lexikon’, ZAW 75:304-16.
Müller 1979
Walter W. Müller, ‘Abyataʿ und andere mit ytʿ gebildete Namen im Frühnordarabischen und Altsüdarabischen’, Die Welt des Orients 10:23-29.
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Notes


  1. HAL, 379; HALOT, 397 assumes the combination of יהוה and שׁוע, ‘Yhwh is help’. 

  2. Pace Gesenius (TPC ii:640), בְּיֵשַׁע in Ps 12:6 need not mean ‘in a wide space’. 

  3. On such problems in general see Barr 1968:86-91. 

  4. The English renderings of the Greek are based on GELS, s.v.; LEH3, s.v.

  5. GELS, 78; LEH3, 70, ‘let perish –יגוע for MT ישׁע he saves’. 

  6. GELS, 568–70, 668; LEH3, 501, 603; cf. NETS

  7. LEH3, 602, offers for σώζω passive also the meaning ‘to save oneself, escape’. 

  8. The English renderings of the Syriac are based on Sokoloff, SLB, s.v. 

  9. The English renderings of the Aramaic are based on Jastrow, DTT, s.v.; and checked against Sokoloff, DJBA, s.v. and Sokoloff, DJPA, s.v. 

  10. The English renderings of the Latin are based on Lewis and Short, LD, s.v. 

Semantics of Ancient Hebrew Database