Midst - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words

Usage Number: 1
Strong's Number: H8432
Original Word: tawek

Usage Notes: "midst; middle." This word, which also appears in Ugaritic, occurs about 418 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods. Tawek indicates the part of a space, place, number of people, things, or line which is not on the end or outside edge. This emphasis is in Gen. 9:21: "And he [Noah] drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within [literally, "in the midst of"] his tent. In many contexts the word means "among," not necessarily in the middle: "…And he [Pharaoh] lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among [literally, "in the midst of"] his servants" (Gen. 40:20). Exod. 14:29 uses tawek as an extension of the word "through": "But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea…" The idea "within" can be emphasized with the addition of words like me‘îm, "belly, inwards," or leb, "heart": "…My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels" (Psa. 22:14). This word also sometimes means simply "in" in the sense of "mixed into something": "And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it in the blue…" (Exod. 39:3).

Tawek can mean "middle" when applied to an object or person between two others: "And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the hem of the robe…" (Exod. 39:25). The same sense but a different translation is required in Judg. 15:4: "And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails." This appears to be the meaning of the word in its first biblical occurrence: "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters" (Gen. 1:6). In Num. 35:5 the word means "in the center": "And ye shall measure from without the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits; and the city shall be in the midst…" In other passages this word signifies the hypothetical center line dividing something into two equal parts: "And he [Abraham] took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another…" (Gen. 15:10; cf. Ezek. 15:4).

In a few instances tawek is used substantively, meaning "the middle or the center part of a thing": "Sihon king of the Amorites … ruled from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and from the middle of the river …" (Josh. 12:2). The word occurs only 7 times without a preceding preposition.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words