The word hearken is rarely used today. However, it was a common word in the original Bible text, which is why I wanted to look at what the word hearken means in Hebrew and Greek.

But first, let’s go over what the definition of the word hearken is according to the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary:

1. To listen; to lend the ear; to attend to what is uttered, with eagerness or curiosity…

2. To attend; to regard; to give heed to what is uttered; to observe or obey.

Hearken, O Israel, to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you. Deuteronomy 4:1.

3. To listen; to attend; to grant or comply with.

Hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant. I Kings 8:30.”

All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.

What Does The Word ‘Hearken’ Mean In Hebrew?

azan- to listen.

qashab- to prick up the ears.

shama- to hear.

Shama means to give undivided attention to something and can simply imply to gain knowledge. It’s also used to describe not only to hear what is said but to obey or agree with what is being said.

 “Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him.”

– Deuteronomy 1:16

What Does The Word ‘Hearken’ Mean In Greek?

akouo- to hear, obey.

As a verb, it means “to hear.”

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

– Matthew 11:15

When God “hears” a prayer, it signifies that He answers prayers.

“Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.”

– John 9:31

enotizomai- to take in one’s ear.

hupakouo- to listen attentively.

This term can also be used in the sense to submit or obey. It’s used of obedience to:

  • God (Hebrews 5:9)
  • Christ (Matthew 8:27)
  • the faith (Acts 6:7)
  • disciples of Christ (Luke 17:6)
  • the gospel (Romans 10:16)
  • parents by children (Ephesians 6:1)
  • the Christian doctrine (Romans 6:17)
  • masters by servants (Ephesians 6:5)
  • apostolic injunctions (Philippians 2:12)
  • sin (Romans 6:12)

Also, it’s used for obedience in general.

“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”

– Romans 6:16


In conclusion, the word hearken means to hear or to listen. Although it’s not a common word today, it’s meaning is still one we used almost daily. That’s what the word hearken means in Hebrew and Greek. I pray you found it helpful. If so, please share this content. Also, feel free to share any thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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What does the word hearken mean in Hebrew and Greek?

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