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

arm (zeroa', 'ezroa', dera'; brachion; chotsen, katheph): The usual form is zeroa' from the root zara', "to spread." The arm may be "stretched out." 'Ezroa' is this form with prosthetic 'aleph (Job 31:22; Jeremiah 32:21), and dera' is the Aramaic form. Chotsen is really "bosom," thus the Revised Version (British and American) (Isaiah 49:22); and katheph is "shoulder," thus the Revised Version (British and American) (Job 31:22). Compare cheir, also, in Acts 11:21.

Figurative: The arm denotes influence, power, means of support or conquest. The arms of Moab (Jeremiah 48:25) and of Pharaoh (Ezekiel 30:21 ff.) are broken. The arm of Eli and the arm of his father's house are to be cut off (I Samuel 2:31). Because the arm wielded the sword it signified "oppression" (Job 35:9). The arms are the means of support, therefore to refuse to aid the fatherless is to break their arms (Job 22:9).

Applied anthropomorphically to God, the arm denotes also His power, power to deliver, support, conquer. His "outstretched arm" delivered Israel from Egypt (Exodus 6:6; Deuteronomy 4:34, etc.). They support: "Underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27). His arm protects (Isaiah 40:11). Yahweh is sometimes likened to a warrior and smites with His arm (Psalms 89:10; Isaiah 63:5; Jeremiah 21:5). The arm of Yahweh is holy (Psalms 98:1; Isaiah 52:10). Many other passages of Scripture might be quoted showing how the power of God to redeem, judge, protect, punish is expressed by the idea of "the arm of Yahweh."

S. F. Hunter


See more on the meaning of Arm in the Bible:
Arm {Easton's Bible Dictionary}

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