Thursday, March 16, 2023

The Hebrew verb עשה ('âśâh) means "to do" or "make." A common use of עשה ('âśâh) is in the instruction to remain obedient, either by doing all that God has commanded, Deuteronomy 6:18: "Doעשית) what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, so that it may go well with you," or by remembering what God had done, Psalm 98:1: "O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done (עשה) marvelous things." In judging the lives of the kings of Israel and Judah, the biblical authors draw on this use of עשה ('âśâh) to either condemn a king, 1 Kings 16:25: "Omri didעשה) what was evil in the sight of the LORD," or praise them, 2 Kings 22:2: "He (Josiah) did (ויעש) what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of his father David."

When עשה ('âśâh) is used to convey the sense "make," it emphasizes the object created, Genesis 8:6: "At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made (עשה)." However, when activity occurs, but there is no object to be emphasized, עשה ('âśâh) can be translated simply as "work," as seen in Ruth 2:19: "Her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked (עשית)? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked (עשתה), and said, “The name of the man with whom I worked (עשיתי) today is Boaz.”

The noun מעשה (ma‛ăśeh), meaning "deed or work," is derivative of this verbal root.