Perpetual; Perpetually; Perpetuity


per-pet'-u-al, per-pet'-u-al-i, pur-pe-tu'-i-ti (`olam, netsach, [~tamidh):

Perpetual is usually the translation of `olam, properly, "a wrapping up" or "hiding," used often of time indefinitely long, and of eternity when applied to God; hence, we have, "for perpetual generations" (Genesis 9:12); "the priesthood by a perpetual statute" (Exodus 29:9; compare Exodus 31:16; Leviticus 3:17; 24:9, etc.); "placed the sand for the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it" (Jeremiah 5:22, the Revised Version margin "an everlasting ordinance which it cannot pass"); "sleep a perpetual sleep" (Jeremiah 51:39,57); "Moab shall be .... a perpetual desolation" (Zec 2:9), etc.; netsach, "preeminence," "perpetuity," "eternity" (often translated "for ever," Psalms 9:6), is translated "perpetual" (Psalms 74:3; Jeremiah 15:18); natsach (participle) (Jeremiah 8:5); tamidh, "continuance," generally rendered "continually," but sometimes "perpetual" or "perpetually" (Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 6:20).

"Perpetually" is the rendering of `adh, properly "progress," "duration," hence, long or indefinite time, eternity (usually in the King James Version rendered "for ever " ), in Amos 1:11, "His anger did tear perpetually"; and of kol ha-yamim, "all the days" (1 Kings 9:3; 2 Chronicles 7:16, "my heart shall be there perpetually"; compare Matthew 28:20, pasas tas hemeras, literally, "all the days").

Perpetuity occurs in the Revised Version (British and American) of Leviticus 25:23,30, "The land shall not be sold in perpetuity," "The house .... shall be made sure in perpetuity."

Perpetual is frequent in the Apocrypha, most often as the translation of aionios and kindred words, e.g. Judith 13:20, "a perpetual praise"; The Wisdom of Solomon 10:14, "perpetual glory," the Revised Version (British and American) "eternal"; Ecclesiasticus 11:33, "a perpetual blot," the Revised Version (British and American) "blame for ever"; 1 Macc 6:44, "a perpetual name," the Revised Version (British and American) "everlasting"; aenaos, "ever-flowing," occurs in The Wisdom of Solomon 11:6 (so the Revised Version); endeleches, "constant" (Ecclesiasticus 41:6, "perpetual reproach").

For "perpetual" (Jeremiah 50:5; Habakkuk 3:6) the Revised Version has "everlasting"; for "the old hatred" (Ezekiel 25:15), "perpetual enmity"; for "perpetual desolation" (Jeremiah 25:12) "desolate forever," margin "Hebrew `everlasting desolations.'"

W. L. Walker

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