Pride - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words

Usage Number: 1
Part Of Speech: Verb
Strong's Number: H1342
Original Word: ga’â

Usage Notes: "to be proud, be exalted." This verb appears 7 times in biblical Hebrew. The word appears in Exod. 15:1 in the sense of "to be exalted": "I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted [kjv, "he hath triumphed"]; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea" (nasb).

Usage Number: 2
Part Of Speech: Noun
Strong's Number: H1347
Original Word: ga’ôn

Usage Notes: "pride." This root occurs only in northwest Semitic languages, as in Ugaritic: gan, "pride." This noun is a poetic word, which is found only in poetic books, the prophets (12 times in Isaiah), Moses' song (Exod. 15:7), and Leviticus (Lev. 26:19). In rabbinic Hebrew, ga’ôn signifies a man of great learning. A ga’ôn was the head of the rabbinic academies of Susa and Pumpedita in Babylonia. Saadiah Gaon was one of the most outstanding.

In a positive sense ga’ôn, like the verb, signifies "excellence" or "majesty." God's "majesty" was expressed in Israel's deliverance through the Red Sea (Exod. 15:7). Israel as the redeemed people, then, is considered to be an expression of God's "majesty": "He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved" (Psa. 47:4). The meaning of ga’ôn is here close to that of kabôd, "glory."

Related to "majesty" is the word ga’ôn attributed to nature as something mighty, luxuriant, rich, and thick. The poets use the word to refer to the proud waves (Job 38:11) or the thick shrubbery by the Jordan; cf. "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling [literally, "majesty"] of Jordan?" (Jer. 12:5; cf. Jer. 49:19; Jer. 50:44).

The majority of the uses of ga’ôn are negative in that they connote human "pride" as an antonym for humility (Prov. 16:18). Proverbs puts ga’ôn together with arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech. In her independence from the Lord, Israel as a majestic God, had turned aside and claimed its excellence as a prerogative earned by herself. The new attitude of insolence was not tolerated by God: "The Lord God hath sworn by himself, saith the Lord the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein" (Amos 6:8).

The Septuagint translations are: hybris ("insolence; arrogance") and hyperephania ("arrogance; haughtiness; pride").

Some other nouns are related to ga’ôn. Ge’â occurs once to mean "pride" (Prov. 8:13). The noun ga’awâ, which is found 19 times, also means "pride": "And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart…" (Isa. 9:9). Ge’ût appears 8 times and refers to "majesty": "Let favor be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord" (Isa. 26:10).

Usage Number: 3
Part Of Speech: Adjective

Usage Notes: The adjective ge’, which is thought to be a scribal error for ge’eh, appears only once as "proud" (Isa. 16:6). Ge’eh also means "proud" in its 8 occurrences, once in Isa. 2:12: "For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty…."

Ga’ayôn, which means "pride," appears once in biblical Hebrew (Psa. 123:4).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words