Exodus 20:7

SPECIAL TOPIC: TAKING GOD'S NAME IN VAIN

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

Word Studies of Significant Terms

FIRST
  1. "Name" (BDB 1027) - This is the most common term for "name" and is used extensively throughout the OT.

  2. Possible etymologies - root is uncertain

  3. Special usages
    1. This is the general term for
      1. one's name (like Noah's son, Shem)
      2. one's reputation, fame, or renown
    2. It was used especially for a designation or circumlocution for God. His name, especially YHWH or combinations thereof, revealed His character and purpose; see SPECIAL TOPIC: "THE NAME" OF YHWH (OT). This special covenant name became so holy in later Judaism that it could not even be pronounced. This trend can be seen in Lev. 24:11 and Ps. 75:2.
    3. This term was used occasionally for false gods (cf. Exod. 23:13; Job 23:7; Hos. 2:19; Ps. 16:4).
    4. It was used as a memorial of a person after death (cf. 2 Sam. 8:15; Isa. 55:13).
SECOND
  1. "Emptiness" or "vanity" (BDB 996)

  2. Special usages
    1. emptiness, nothingness, vanity, cf. Ps. 60:13; 108:13 (used 23 times)
    2. emptiness of speech, cf. Pro. 30:8; Ps. 12:3; 41:7; 144:8,11; Isa. 59:4; Ezek. 13:8 (used 14 times)
    3. emptiness of persons, worthless ones, cf. Ps. 26:4; Job 11:11 (used 5 times)

  3. Translation variations
    1. English - "take lightly," "frivolously," "to misuse it," "profanity"
    2. LXX - "vain," "unprofitable," or "useless"
THIRD
  1. "To hold guiltless" (BDB 667, KB 720, Piel IMPERFECT), Exod. 20:7

  2. Special usages
    1. Niphal IMPERFECT - "to be unpunished"
    2. Niphal PERFECT
      1. to be cleaned out; purged - Isa. 3:26
      2. be clean, free from guilt - Jer. 2:35
      3. innocent, exempt from punishment - Exod. 21:19
      4. exempt from obligation - Gen. 24:8,41
    3. Piel PERFECT
      1. hold innocent, acquit - Job 9:28
      2. leave unpunished - 1 Kgs. 2:9

  3. Translation variations
    English - "guiltless," "unpunished," "acquit," "clear one"

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