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

Usage Number: 1
Part Of Speech: Verb
Strong's Number: H3615
Original Word: kalâ
Usage Notes: "to cease, be finished, perish, be completed." This verb occurs in most Semitic languages and in all periods. In Hebrew, it occurs both in the Bible (about 210 times) and in post-biblical literature. The word does not appear in biblical Aramaic.

Basically, the word means "to cease or stop." kalâ may refer to the "end" of a process or action, such as the cessation of God's creating the universe: "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made …" (Gen. 2:2, the first occurrence of the word). The word can also refer to the "disappearance" of something: "And the water was spent in the bottle …" (Gen. 21:15). Finally, kalâ can be used of "coming to an end" or "the process of ending": "The barrel of meal shall not waste" (1 Kings 17:14).

Kalâ an have the more positive connotation of "successfully completing" something. 1 Kings 6:38 says that the house of the Lord was "finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all [its plans]." In this same sense, the word of the Lord "is fulfilled": "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation …" (Ezra 1:1). Kalâ sometimes means "making a firm decision." David tells Jonathan that if Saul is very angry, "be sure that evil is determined by him" (1 Sam. 20:7).

Negatively, "to complete" something may mean "to make it vanish" or "go away." Kalâ is used in this sense in Deut. 32:23, when God says: "I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them." In other words, His arrows will "vanish" from His possession. This nuance is used especially of clouds: "As the loud is consumed and vanisheth away …" (Job 7:9). Another negative nuance is to "destroy" something or someone: "the famine shall consume the land" (Gen. 41:30). Along this same line is the use of kalâ in Isa. 1:28: "… They that forsake the Lord shall be consumed"; here, however, the verb is a synonym for "dying" or "perishing." One's sight may also "vanish" and one may go blind: "But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape…" (Job 11:20). An altogether different emphasis appears when one's heart comes "to an end" or "stops within": "My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord" (Psa. 84:2); the psalmist probably meant that his desire for God's presence was so intense that nothing else had any meaning for him, he "died" to be there.

Usage Number: 2
Part Of Speech: Noun
Strong's Number: H3617
Original Word: kalâ

Usage Notes: "consumption; complete annihilation." Kalâ appears 15 times; one occurrence is Neh. 9:31: "Nevertheless for thy great mercies' sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them;…."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words