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The meaning of Gather in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

gath'-er ('acaph, qabhats; sullego, sunago): "Gather," transitive "to bring together," "collect," etc., and intransitive "to come together," "assemble," etc., occurs frequently and represents many Hebrew and Greek words. It is the translation of 'acaph, "to bring together," in Joshua 6:9, the King James Version margin "gathering host"; Psalms 27:10, the King James Version margin "The Lord will gather me"; compare Numbers 12:14-15; Isaiah 52:12 King James Version margin. The phrases "gather thee unto thy fathers," "gathered unto his fathers," "gathered into the grave," etc., are frequently used for "to die" and "death" (Genesis 25:8, Genesis 25:17; Genesis 49:29, Genesis 49:33; Deuteronomy 32:50; II Kings 22:20; II Chronicles 34:28; Job 27:19; compare Jeremiah 8:2), etc.; qabhats, "to take or grasp with the hand," is frequently used of the Divine "gathering" or restoration of Israel (Deuteronomy 30:3, Deuteronomy 30:1; Nehemiah 1:9; Psalms 106:47; Isaiah 43:5, etc.; Ezekiel 20:34, etc.; Hosea 8:10; Micah 2:12; Zephaniah 3:19-20; Zechariah 10:8, Zechariah 10:10); figuratively, Isaiah 40:11, "He shall gather the lambs with (the Revised Version (British and American) "in") his arm" (compare Psalms 27:10 King James Version margin); sometimes it denotes bringing together for punishment or destruction (Micah 4:12), "He hath gathered them as the sheaves to the threshing-floor."

In the New Testament we have sullego, "to lay together," "to collect" (Matthew 13:28-30, Matthew 13:40-41, Matthew 13:48); sunago "to lead or bring together," "to gather," "to collect" (Matthew 25:26, "seek returns"; John 4:36, "fruit unto life eternal"); episunago, "to lead or bring together" (Matthew 23:37, "even as a hen gathereth her chickens"); anakephalaioomai, "to sum up under one head," "to recapitulate" (Ephesians 1:10, "that he might gather together in one all things in Christ," the Revised Version (British and American) "to sum up all things in Christ"; compare Ephesians 2:14; in Romans 13:9 the passive is translated "be briefly comprehended," the Revised Version (British and American) "summed up").

"To gather," in the sense of "to infer," occurs in Acts 16:10 as the translation of sumbibazo, "to bring together" (here, in mind), "assuredly gathering," the Revised Version (British and American) "concluding" (compare Acts 9:22, "proving").

Gatherer occurs in Amos 7:14 as the translation of bolec, from balac, to cultivate figs or sycamores, "a gatherer of sycamore fruit," the Revised Version (British and American) "a dresser of sycomore-trees" ("a nipper of sycomore figs, i.e. helping to cultivate a sort of figs or mulberries produced by the real sycamore tree" (used only by the poorest), which requires nipping in the cultivation, perhaps an occupation of shepherds; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 AD) vellicans sycamnia).

Gathering is the translation of episunagoge, "leading together unto" (II Thessalonians 2:1), "our gathering together unto him"; in I Corinthians 16:2 we have "gathering" (logia from lego) in the sense of a collection of many, the Revised Version (British and American) "collection," as the King James Version in I Corinthians 16:1.

"Gather," etc., occurs frequently in Apocrypha, e.g. "will gather us out of all the nations," sunago (Tobit 13:5); "gather them together" (1 Macc 9:7; 10:8); "Gather together our dispersion," episunagage ten diasporan hemon (2 Macc 1:27); "gathered to his fathers" prosetethe pros ton laon autou, the Revised Version (British and American) "people" (Judith 16:22; Bel and the Dragon verse 1, tous pateras; 1 Macc 2:69); "gathering up briefly," the Revised Version (British and American) "gather," suntemno (2 Macc 10:10); "gathering" in the sense of a collection of money (2 Macc 12:43), the Revised Version (British and American) "collection."

Among the changes in the Revised Version (British and American) we have "hold firm" for "gather" (Jeremiah 51:11); "Gather thee together" for "Go one way or other" (Ezekiel 21:16 margin, "Make thyself one"); for "gather blackness" (Nahum 2:10), "are waxed pale "; for "or gather together" (Job 11:10), "and call unto judgment," margin Hebrew "call an assembly"; for "even as a hen doth gather her brood" (Luke 13:34) "gathereth her own brood"; for "as the partridge sitteth on eggs and hatcheth them not," the American Standard Revised Version has "that sitteth on eggs which she hath not laid," margin "gathereth young which she hath not brought forth," text of the English Revised Version and the King James Version margin (Jeremiah 17:11).

W. L. Walker


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