Grief; Grieve


gref, grev:

There are some 20 Hebrew words translated in the King James Version by "grief," "grieve," "to be grieved," etc. Among the chief are chalah, choli, yaghon, ka`ac, atsabh. They differ, partly, in their physical origin, and partly, in the nature and cause of the feeling expressed. the Revised Version (British and American) in several instances gives effect to this.

(1) Chalah, choli express the sense of weakness, sickness, pain (e.g. Samson, in Judges 16:7,11,17, "Then shall I become weak (chalah), and be as another man"); Isaiah 17:11 the King James Version, "a heap in the day of grief"; Isaiah 53:3,1, "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," "He hath borne our griefs" (choli), the Revised Version, margin Hebrew "sickness, sicknesses"; 53:10, "He hath put him to grief," the Revised Version, margin "made him sick" (chalah) (translated by Dillmann and others, "to crush him incurably"; compare Micah 6:13; Nahum 3:19); yaghon, perhaps from the pain and weariness of toil (Psalms 31:10), "For my life is spent with grief," the Revised Version (British and American) "sorrow"; "The Lord added grief to my sorrow," the Revised Version (British and American) "sorrow to my pain" (Jeremiah 45:3); ka`ac implies provocation, anger, irritation; thus Hannah said to Eli (the King James Version), "Out of the abundance of my complaint and my grief (the Revised Version (British and American) "provocation") have I spoken" (1 Samuel 1:16). Psalms 6:7; 31:9, "grief"; Proverbs 17:25, "A foolish son is a grief to his father" (i.e. source of provocation; the same word is rendered "wrath" in 12:16, the King James Version "a fool's wrath," the Revised Version (British and American) "vexation"; so also Proverbs 27:3); Job 6:2, "Oh that my grief were thoroughly weighed," the Revised Version (British and American) "Oh that my vexation were but weighed" (in 5:2 the King James Version the same word is translated "wrath," the Revised Version (British and American) "vexation"); ke'ebh, is "sorrow," "pain," properly "to hurt." It occurs in Job 2:13 "His grief (the Revised Version, margin "or pain") was very great"; also 16:6 the Revised Version (British and American), "grief"; makh'obh "sorrows," "pain," "suffering" (2 Chronicles 6:29, the Revised Version (British and American) "sorrow"; Psalms 69:26, the Revised Version, margin "or pain"; Isaiah 53:3, "a man of sorrows"; 53:4, "Surely he hath carried our sorrows"); marah and marar indicate "bitterness" (Genesis 26:35; 49:23; 1 Samuel 30:6; Ruth 1:13; Proverbs 14:10, "The heart knoweth its own bitterness, marah); puqah implies staggering, or stumbling, only in 1 Samuel 25:31, "This shall be no grief unto thee," the Revised Version, margin Hebrew "cause of staggering"; ra` (a common word for "evil") denotes an evil, a calamity, only once in the King James Version translated "grief," namely, of Jonah's gourd, "to deliver him from his grief," the Revised Version (British and American) "from his evil case" (Jonah 4:6); yara`, "to be evil," Deuteronomy 15:10, the Revised Version (British and American) "Thy heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him" (also 1 Samuel 1:8; Nehemiah 2:10; 13:8; several times translated "grievous"); charah, "to burn," "to be wroth" (e.g. Genesis 4:6, "Why art thou wroth?"), is translated "grieved" in Genesis 45:5, and 1 Samuel 15:11 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "Samuel was wroth"); the same word is often used of the kindling of anger; la'ah, "to be weary," "tired," "faint" (Proverbs 26:15), the King James Version "The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom, it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth," the Revised Version (British and American) "wearieth"; also Job 4:2; atsabh, "to grieve," "to be vexed," occurs in Genesis 6:6; 34:7; 45:5, etc.; Psalms 78:40, "How oft did they .... grieve him in the desert." Of other words sometimes translated "grief" may be mentioned quT, "to weary of," "to loathe" (Psalms 95:10), "Forty long years was I grieved with that generation"; in 119:158; 139:21, the Revised Version, margin "loathe"; chamets, implying to be bitterly or violently moved, sour (often translated "leavened"), only in Psalms 73:21, the Revised Version (British and American) "For my soul was grieved," margin, Hebrew "was in a ferment."

(2) In the New Testament "grief," "grieve," etc., are infrequent. The commonest words are lupe (1 Peter 2:19), the Revised Version (British and American) "griefs," elsewhere translated "sorrow"; lupeo, "to grieve," "afflict" (Mark 10:22, the Revised Version (British and American) "sorrowful"; John 21:17 "Peter was grieved"; Romans 14:15; 2 Corinthians 2:4, the Revised Version (British and American) "made sorry"; 2:5, "caused sorrow"; Ephesians 4:30, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God"); diaponeomai, literally, "to labor through," "to grieve self" occurs twice (Acts 4:2; 16:18 the Revised Version (British and American) "sore troubled"); stenazo, "to groan, or sigh," once only translated "grief" (Hebrews 13:17), the Revised Version, margin "groaning"; prosochthizo, "to be indignant," etc., twice (Hebrews 3:10,17, the Revised Version (British and American) "displeased"). The reference is to Psalms 95:10, where the Septuagint by this Greek word translates quT (see above).

The less frequency in the New Testament of words denoting "grief" is significant. Christ came "to comfort all that mourn--to give a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Christians, however, cannot but feel sorrow and be moved by grief, and it is to be noted that in both the Old Testament and New Testament, God Himself is said to be susceptible to grief.

W. L. Walker

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