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The meaning of Nothing in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

nuth'-ing (lo', lo' me'umah, etc.; medeis, oudeis): "Nothing" is represented by various words and phrases, often with lo', which is properly a substantive with the meaning of "nothing." Most frequently we have lo' me'umah, "not anything" (Genesis 40:15; Judges 14:6).

Other forms are lo' dhabhar, "not anything"; (Genesis 19:8); lo'khol, "not any(thing)" (Genesis 11:6; Proverbs 13:7); la' (Aramaic), "no," "nothing" (Daniel 4:35, "as nothing"); 'ephec, "end," "cessation" (Isaiah 34:12); bilti, "without," "save," "not" (Isaiah 44:10; Amos 3:4); 'ayin, "there is not" (Isaiah 41:24); once, tohu, "emptiness" (Job 6:18); bal mah, "not anything" (Proverbs 9:13); chinnam, "free," "gratis" (II Samuel 24:24); ma'at, "to make small," "bring to nothing" (Jeremiah 10:24); raq, "only" (Genesis 26:29); le'al, "for nothing" (Job 24:25).

In 2 Macc 7:12, we have "nothing," adverbially (en oudeni), "he nothing regarded the pains" (compare I Kings 15:21); 2 Macc 9:7 (oudamos), the Revised Version (British and American) "in no wise"; The Wisdom of Solomon 2:11, "nothing worth" (achrestos), the Revised Version (British and American) "of no service"; Baruch 6:17,26.

For "nothing" the Revised Version (British and American) has "none" (Exodus 23:26; Joel 2:3), "never" (Nehemiah 5:8), "not wherewith" (Proverbs 22:27), "vanity and nought" (Isaiah 41:29); for "answered nothing" (Mark 15:5), "no more answered anything"; "answered nothing" in Mark 15:3 is omitted; "anything" for "nothing" (I Timothy 6:7), "not anything" (Acts 20:20), "not" (I Corinthians 8:2), "no word" (Luke 1:37), "not wherewith" (Luke 7:42); for "to nothing" (Job 6:18), "up into the waste"; for "it is nothing with" (II Chronicles 14:11), "there is none besides," margin "like"; for "lacked nothing" (I Kings 4:27), "let nothing be lacking," for "nothing doubting" (Acts 11:12), "making no distinction"; for "hoping for nothing again" (Luke 5:35), "never despairing"; for "are nothing" (Acts 21:24), "no truth in"; for "nothing shall offend them" (Psalms 119:165), "no occasion of stumbling"; for "bring to nothing" (I Corinthians 1:19), the English Revised Version "reject," the American Standard Revised Version "bring to nought"; "nothing better" for "no good" (Ecclesiastes 3:12), for "not" (Matthew 13:34, different text), for "no man" (Acts 9:8), "for nothing," for "free" (Exodus 21:11); "miss nothing" for "not sin" (Job 5:24), margin "shalt not err"; "and shall have nothing" for "and not for himself" (Daniel 9:26, margin "there shall be none belonging to him").

W. L. Walker


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