Falsehood - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words

Usage Number: 1
Strong's Number: H8267
Original Word: sheqer

Usage Notes: "falsehood; lie." The presence of this root is limited to Hebrew and Old Aramaic. The word sheqer occurs 113 times in the Old Testament. It is rare in all but the poetic and prophetic books, and even in these books its usage is concentrated in Psalms (24 times), Proverbs (20 times), and Jeremiah (37 times). The first occurrence is in Exod. 5:9: "Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labor therein: and let them not regard vain words [lies]."

In about thirty-five passages, sheqer describes the nature of "deceptive speech": "to speak" (Isa. 59:3), "to teach" (Isa. 9:15), "to prophesy" (Jer. 14:14), and "to lie" (Mic. 2:11). It may also indicate a "deceptive character," as expressed in one's acts: "to deal treacherously" (2 Sam. 18:13) and "to deal falsely" (Hos. 7:1).

Thus sheqer defines a way of life that goes contrary to the law of God. The psalmist, desirous of following God, prayed: "Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me" (Psa. 119:29, 30; cf. vv. Psa. 119:104, 118, 128). Here we see the opposites: "falsehood" and "faithfulness." As "faithfulness" is a relational term, "falsehood" denotes "one's inability to keep faith" with what one has said or to respond positively to the faithfulness of another being. The Old Testament saint was instructed to avoid "deception" and the liar: "Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked" (Exod. 23:7; cf. Prov. 13:5).

The Septuagint has these translations: adikos / adikia("unjust; unrighteous; wrongdoing; wickedness") and pseudes ("falsehood; lie"). The kjv gives these meanings: "lie; falsehood; false; falsely."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words