Cry (To) - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words

Usage Number: 1
Strong's Number: H6817
Original Word: sa‘aq

Usage Notes: "to cry, cry out, call." Found in both biblical and modern Hebrew, this word has the sense of "to shout, yell." The word is a close parallel to the very similar sounding word, za‘aq, also translated "to cry." The verb sa‘aq is found about 55 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The word occurs for the first time in Gen. 4:10: "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground."

This word is often used in the sense of "crying out" for help. Sometimes it is man "crying out" to man: "… The people cried to Pharaoh for bread …" (Gen. 41:55). More often it is man "crying" to God for help: "… And the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord" (Exod. 14:10). The prophets always spoke sarcastically of those who worship idols: "… One shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer …" (Isa. 46:7). This word is frequently used to express "distress" or "need": "… He cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry …" (Gen. 27:34).

Usage Number: 2
Strong's Number: H2199
Original Word: za‘aq

Usage Notes: "to cry, cry out, call." This term is found throughout the history of the Hebrew language, including modern Hebrew. The word occurs approximately 70 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Its first occurrence is in the record of the suffering of the Israelite bondage in Egypt: "… And the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried [for help] …" (Exod. 2:23).

Za‘aq is perhaps most frequently used to indicate the "crying out" for aid in time of emergency, especially "crying out" for divine aid. God often heard this "cry" for help in the time of the judges, as Israel found itself in trouble because of its backsliding (Judg. 3:9, 15; Judg. 6:7; Judg. 10:10). The word is used also in appeals to pagan gods (Judg. 10:14; Jer. 11:12; Jonah 1:5). That za‘aq means more than a normal speaking volume is indicated in appeals to the king (2 Sam. 19:28). The word may imply a "crying out" in distress (1 Sam. 4:13), a "cry" of horror (1 Sam. 5:10), or a "cry" of sorrow (2 Sam. 13:19). Used figuratively, it is said that "the stone shall cry out of the wall" (Hab. 2:11) of a house that is built by means of evil gain.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words