Is used in the Bible in two different senses:

(1) baqa` "to split," or "to rend." We are told that Abraham "clave the wood for the burnt-offering" (Genesis 22:3), and that "they clave the wood of the cart" (1 Samuel 6:14). The Psalmist speaks of Yahweh cleaving fountain and flood (Psalms 74:15), and the plowman cleaving the earth (Psalms 141:7). For other examples see Judges 15:19; Ecclesiastes 10:9; Psalms 78:15; Habakkuk 3:9.

(2) dabhaq; kollao, "to adhere to," or "to join one's self to." This meaning is the reverse of the preceding. The Psalmist speaks of his tongue cleaving to the roof of his mouth (Psalms 137:6). We are told that a man should cleave unto his wife (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5). It is said that Ru clave unto her mother-in-law (Ruth 1:14), and that certain men clave unto Paul (Acts 17:34; compare Acts 4:23; 11:23 margin).

"Cleave" is also used in this sense to describe one's adherence to principles. Paul admonished the Romans to cleave to that which is good (Romans 12:9).

A. W. Fortune

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'CLEAVE'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.