To swear in today’s culture has a negative meaning and for good reason. However, I wanted to look up what the word swear means in Hebrew and Greek.
All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.
What Does The Word ‘Swear’ Mean In Hebrew?
alah- imprecate, utter a curse.
nasa- to lift up.
shaba- to swear.
This word is used when someone swears or takes an oath to strongly affirm a promise.
“Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.”
– 1 Samuel 20:17
In making and upholding His promises to men, God often swears by Himself:
“…and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.“
– Genesis 22:16-17
He also swears by His holiness in Amos 4:2:
“The Lord God has sworn by His holiness:
“Behold, the days shall come upon you
When He will take you away with fishhooks,
And your posterity with fishhooks.“
Interesting fact: The root for ‘to swear’ and the number ‘seven’ are the same in Hebrew. The number seven is the number of completion. Some have conjured that ‘to swear’ is to somehow ‘seven oneself’ or bind oneself with seven things. However, the relationship between these two words is inconclusive.
What Does The Word ‘Swear’ Mean In Greek?
omnuo- to swear, to declare an oath.
This word is used of affirming or denying by an oath.
“Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed.“
– Matthew 26:74
In conclusion, the word swear is more often used to speak of affirming an oath about something. That’s what the word swear means in Hebrew and Greek. I pray you found this article helpful. If so, please share this content. Also, feel free to share any thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!