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

Usage Number: 1
Strong's Number: H1234
Original Word: baqa‘
Usage Notes: "to cleave, split, break open, break through." This word occurs in all the periods of the Hebrew language and is also found in ancient Ugaritic or Canaanite. It is the origin of the name of the famous Beqa Valley (which means "valley" or "cleft") in Lebanon.

In its verbal forms, baqa‘ is found some 50 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The word is first used there in Gen. 7:11, which states that the "fountains of the great deep [were] broken up," resulting in the Flood. The everyday use of the verb is seen in references to "splitting" wood (Eccl. 10:9) and the ground "splitting" asunder (Num. 16:31). Serpents' eggs "split open" or "hatch out" their young (Isa. 59:5). City walls are "breached" or "broken into" in order to take them captive (Jer. 52:7). One of the horrors of war was the "ripping open" of pregnant women by the enemy (2 Kings 8:12; 2 Kings 15:16). Three times God is said "to split open" rocks or the ground in order to provide water for His people (Judg. 15:19; Psa. 74:15; Isa. 48:21).

In the figurative sense, it is said that the light of truth will "break forth as the morning" (Isa. 58:8). Using hyperbole or exaggeration, the historian who recorded the celebration for Solomon's coronation said that it was so loud "that the earth rent with the sound of them" (1 Kings 1:40). As here, the kjv often renders baqa‘ by "rent." In other contexts, it may be translated "burst; clave (cleave); tear; divide; break."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words