Rule (To) - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words
Usage Number: 1
Strong's Number: H4910
Original Word: mashal
Usage Notes: "to rule, reign, have dominion." This term is common in both ancient and modern Hebrew. It is found approximately 100 times in the text of the Hebrew Old Testament. The word is used for the first time in the Old Testament in Gen. 1:18, where the sun, moon, and stars are designated "to rule over the day and over the night…."
Mashal is used most frequently in the text to express the "ruling or dominion" of one person over another (Gen. 3:16; Gen. 24:2). Cain is advised "to rule over" or "master" sin (Gen. 4:7). Joseph's brothers respond to his dreams with the angry question: "Shalt thou indeed reign over us?" (Gen. 37:8; the Hebrew verb here is literally "ruling will you rule," the repetition of the same root giving the needed emphasis). As Creator and Sovereign over His world, God "ruleth by his power for ever" (Psa. 66:7). When God allowed Israel to have a king, it was with the condition that God was still the ultimate King and that first loyalty belonged to Him (Deut. 17:14-20). This theocratic ideal is perhaps best expressed by Gideon: "I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you" (Judg. 8:23). With the possible exception of David, no king of Israel fully lived up to the theocratic ideal, and David himself had some problems with it.