In modern English is used chiefly in the phrases "to be sure" or "to make sure," and as a simple adjective it is usually either archaic or exceedingly colloquial. The adjectival use, however, is common (chiefly for 'aman, "to confirm," and its derivatives) in English Versions of the Bible, where modern English would prefer "secure" or "certain" (1 Samuel 2:35; Sirach 40:25; Acts 13:34, etc.). "To be sure that" is also fairly common in the King James Version, and occasionally (as in Deuteronomy 12:23, "Be sure that thou eat not the blood," for chazaq, "to be firm") it has rather more emphasis than in modern English. But usually the phrase is a mere periphrasis for some word meaning "to know" (compare the Revised Version (British and American) Exodus 3:19; Luke 10:11; Romans 2:2, etc.). In Proverbs 6:3, the King James Version has "Make sure thy friend" for rahabh, "be boisterous" "beset" the Revised Version (British and American) "importune." The sense is "Force him to pay his debt."
Surely in English Versions of the Bible is used almost always to qualify an entire phrase, as in Genesis 28:16, "Surely Yahweh is in this place." In modern English "surely" used in this way suggests that the statement is being argued and is therefore slightly doubtful, but in Elizabethan English the purpose is to exclude all doubt ("beyond question"). With this force the King James Version uses "surely" to translate almost any emphatic form, and the Revised Version (British and American) has conformed to AV's use, and such changes as have been made by the Revised Version (British and American) (Matthew 26:73; Luke 4:23; Revelation 22:20, etc.) are merely to preserve uniformity of rendition. The most common use of "surely" in this sense is to translate a verb when emphasized by its own part. (absolute inf. in Hebrew), as "Thou shalt, surely die" (Genesis 2:17) for "dying thou shalt die" (compare Genesis 22:17 for the Hebrew construction). In this sense "surely" is sometimes varied by "of a surety" (Genesis 15:13, etc.) without the slightest difference in meaning (compare Genesis 9:5 and 26:9). In addition "surely" is used occasionally as a simple adverb where modern English would prefer "securely" or "certainly" (compare Proverbs 10:9 and the King James Version Luke 1:1, "surely believed," the Revised Version (British and American) "fulfilled," the Revised Version margin "fully established").
Surety, besides its use in "of a surety" appears, in the Old Testament to translate `arabh, "to be surety," and in Hebrews 7:22 for egguos, "guarantor," "giver of security." Modern English prefers "security," as does even the King James Version in Acts 17:9. "Suretiship" (the American Standard Revised Version "suretyship") in Proverbs 11:15 for taqa`, "to strike (hands)."
See STRIKE; SURETY.
Burton Scott Easton
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