Build (To) - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words

Usage Number: 1
Part Of Speech: Verb
Strong's Number: H1129
Original Word: banâ
Usage Notes: "to build, establish, construct, rebuild." This root appears in all the Semitic languages except Ethiopic and in all periods of Hebrew. In biblical Hebrew, it occurs about 375 times and in biblical Aramaic 23 times.

In its basic meaning, banâ appears in Gen. 8:20, where Noah is said to have "constructed" an ark. In Gen. 4:17, banâ means not only that Enoch built a city, but that he "founded" or "established" it. This verb can also mean "to manufacture," as in Ezek. 27:5: "They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees…." Somewhat in the same sense, we read that God "made" or "fashioned" Eve out of Adam's rib (Gen. 2:22, the first biblical occurrence). In like manner, Asa began with the cities of Geba and Mizpah and "fortified" them (1 Kings 15:22). In each case, the verb suggests adding to existing material to fashion a new object.

Banâ can also refer to "rebuilding" something that is destroyed. Joshua cursed anyone who would rise up and rebuild Jericho, the city that God had utterly destroyed (Josh. 6:26). Metaphorically or figuratively, the verb banâ is used to mean "building one's house, i.e., having children. Sarai said to Abram, "I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her" (Gen. 16:2). It was the duty of the nearest male relative to conceive a child with the wife of a man who had died childless (Deut. 25:9); he thus helped "to build up the house" of his deceased relative. Used figuratively, "to build a house" may also mean "to found a dynasty" (2 Sam. 7:27).

Usage Number: 2
Part Of Speech: Noun
Strong's Number: H1121
Original Word: ben
Usage Notes: "son." bat 1323, "daughter." These nouns are derived from the verb banâ. They are actually different forms of the same noun, which occurs in nearly every Semitic language (except Ethiopic and Akkadian). Biblical occurrences number over 5,550 in the Hebrew and about 22 in Aramaic.

Basically, this noun represents one's immediate physical male or female offspring. For example, Adam "begat sons and daughters" (Gen. 5:4). The special emphasis here is on the physical tie binding a man to his offspring. The noun can also be used of an animal's offspring: "Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine …" (Gen. 49:11). Sometimes the word ben, which usually means "son," can mean "children" (both male and female). God told Eve that "in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children" (Gen. 3:16, the first occurrence of this noun). The words ben and bat can signify "descendants" in general, daughters, sons, granddaughters, and grandsons. Laban complained to Jacob that he had not allowed him "to kiss my sons and my daughters" (Gen. 31:28; cf. v. Gen. 31:43).

The phrase, "my son," may be used by a superior to a subordinate as a term of familiar address. Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel …" (Josh. 7:19). A special use of "my son" is a teacher's speaking to a disciple, referring to intellectual or spiritual sonship: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not" (Prov. 1:10). On the lips of the subordinate, "son" signifies conscious submission. Ben-hadad's servant Hazael took gifts to Elisha, saying, "Thy son Benhadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee" (2 Kings 8:9).

Ben can also be used in an adoption formula: "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee" (Psa. 2:7). Ben often is used in this sense of a king's relationship to God (i.e., he is God's adopted son). Sometimes the same word expresses Israel's relationship to God: "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt" (Hos. 11:1).

The Bible also refers to the heavenly court as the "sons of God" (Job 1:6). God called the elders of Israel the "sons [kjv, "children"] of the Most High" (Psa. 82:6). In Gen. 6:2, the phrase "sons of God" is variously understood as members of the heavenly court, the spiritual disciples of God (the sons of Seth), and the boastful among mankind.

Ben may signify "young men" in general, regardless of any physical relationship to the speaker: "And [I] beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding" (Prov. 7:7). A city may be termed a "mother" and its inhabitants its "sons": "For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee" (Psa. 147:13).

Ben is sometimes used to mean a single individual; thus Abraham ran to his flock and picked out a "son of a cow" (Gen. 18:7). The phrase "son of man" is used in this sense, God is asked to save the poor individuals, not the children of the poor (Psa. 72:4).

Ben may also denote a member of a group. An example is a prophet who followed Elijah (1 Kings 20:35; cf. Amos 7:14). This noun may also indicate someone worthy of a certain fate, e.g., "a stubborn and rebellious son" (Deut. 21:18). Used figuratively, "son of" can mean "something belonging to", e.g., "the arrow [literally, "the son of a bow"] cannot make him flee" (Job 41:28).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words