(1) In the Old Testament "dwell" is a translation of 9 words, of which by far the most frequent is yashabh, "to sit down," translated "dwell" over 400 times (Genesis 4:20; Joshua 20:4; 1 Chronicles 17:1,4,5, etc.); also very frequently "sit," and sometimes "abide," "inhabit," "remain." Another word often rendered "dwell" is shakhan or shakhen ("to settle down"), from which is derived the rabbinic word shekhinah (literally, "that which dwells"), the light on the mercy-seat which symbolized the Divine presence (Exodus 25:8, etc.). In order to avoid appearing to localize the Divine Being, wherever God is said to "dwell" in a place, the Targum renders that He "causes His Shekinah to dwell" there.
(2) In the New Testament "dwell" most frequently stands for oikeo, or one of its compounds; also skenoo, and (chiefly in the Johannine writings) meno, which, however, is always translated "abide" in the Revised Version (British and American), and generally in the King James Version. Mention may be made of the mystical significance of the word in some New Testament passages, of the indwelling of the Father or of the Godhead in Christ (John 14:10; Colossians 1:19; 2:9), of the believer in Christ (John 6:56 the King James Version; Ephesians 3:17), and in God (1John 4:15 the King James Version; compare Psalms 90:1; 91:1), and of the Holy Spirit or God in the believer (John 14:17; the King James Version 1 John 3:24; 4:15).
D. Miall Edwards
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