Cleave, Cling (To) - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words

Usage Number: 1
Strong's Number: H1692
Original Word: dabaq

Usage Notes: "to cling, cleave, keep close." Used in modern Hebrew in the sense of "to stick to, adhere to," dabaq yields the noun form for "glue" and also the more abstract ideas of "loyalty, devotion." Occurring just over 60 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, this term is found very early in the text, in Gen. 2:24: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." This usage reflects the basic meaning of one object's (person's) being joined to another. In this sense, Eleazar's hand "cleaved" to the sword as he struck down the Philistines (2 Sam. 23:10). Jeremiah's linen waistcloth "clung" to his loins, symbolic of Israel's "clinging" to God (Jer. 13:11). In time of war and siege, the resulting thirst and famine caused the tongue "to cleave" to the roof of the mouth of those who had been so afflicted.

The literal statement, "My soul cleaveth unto the dust" (Psa. 119:25; rsv, "cleaves"), is better understood as one consults the other English versions: "I lie prone in the dust" (neb); "Down in the dust I lie prostrate" (jb); "I lie prostrate in the dust" (nab); "I lie defeated in the dust" (tev). The figurative use of dabaq in the sense of "loyalty" and "affection" is based on the physical closeness of the persons involved, such as a husband's closeness to his wife (Gen. 2:24), Shechem's affection for Dinah (Gen. 34:3), or Ruth's staying with Naomi (Ruth 1:14). "Cleaving" to God is equivalent to "loving" God (Deut. 30:20).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words