Seek (To) - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words
Usage Number: 1
Part Of Speech: Verb
Strong's Number: H1245
Original Word: baqash
Usage Notes: "to seek, search, consult." This verb occurs only in Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Hebrew (both biblical and post-biblical). It appears in the Bible about 220 times and in all periods.
Basically baqash means "to seek" to find something that is lost or missing, or, at least, whose location is unknown. In Gen. 37:15 a man asks Joseph: "What seekest thou?" A special nuance of this sense is "to seek out of a group; to choose, select" something or someone yet undesignated, as in 1 Sam. 13:14: " …The Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart…." To seek one's face is "to seek" to come before him, or to have a favorable audience with him; all the world "was seeking" the presence of Solomon (1 Kings 10:24). In a similar sense one may "seek" God's face by standing before Him in the temple praying (2 Sam. 21:1).
The sense "seek to secure" emphasizes the pursuit of a wish or the accomplishing of a plan. Moses asked the Levites who rebelled against the unique position of Aaron and his sons: " …Seek ye the priesthood also?" (Num. 16:10). This usage may have an emotional coloring, such as, "to aim at, devote oneself to, and be concerned about." So God asks the sons of men (mankind): " …How long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after [sin]?" (Psa. 4:2). Cultically one may "seek" to secure God's favor or help: "And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord …" (2 Chron. 20:4). In such usages the intellectual element usually is in the background; there is no seeking after information. An exception to this is Judg. 6:29: "And when thing." Infrequently this verb is used of seeking information from God (Exod. 33:7). In a similar sense one may "seek" God's face (2 Sam. 21:1). Here baqash is clearly used of searching for information (a cognitive pursuit). Also, compare the pursuit of wisdom (Prov. 2:4)
This sense of "seeking to secure" may also be used of seeking one's life (nepesh). God told Moses to "go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life" (Exod. 4:19). Baqash may be used with this same nuance but without nepesh, so Pharaoh "sought to slay Moses" (Exod. 2:15). Only twice is this nuance applied to seeking to procure one's good as in Psa. 122:9: "Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good" (usually darash is used of seeking one's good). About 20 times baqash means to hold someone responsible for something because the speaker has a (real or supposed) legal right to it. In Gen. 31:39 (the first biblical occurrence of the verb) Jacob points out to Laban that regarding animals lost to wild beasts, "of my hand didst thou require it." Only infrequently is baqash used of seeking out a place, or as a verb of movement toward a place. So Joseph "sought [a place] to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there" (Gen. 43:30).
Theologically, this verb can be used not only "to seek" a location before the Lord (to stand before Him in the temple and seek to secure His blessing), but it may also be used of a state of mind: "But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him [darash] with all thy heart and with all thy soul" (Deut. 4:29). In instances such as this where the verb is used in synonymous parallelism with darash, the two verbs have the same meaning.
Usage Number: 2
Strong's Number: H1875
Original Word: darash
Usage Notes: "to seek, inquire, consult, ask, require, frequent." This word is a common Semitic word, being found in Ugaritic and Syriac as well as in Hebrew in its various periods. It is commonly used in modern Hebrew in its verbal form for "to interpret, expound" and then in its derived noun forms for "sermon, preacher." Occurring more than 160 times in the Old Testament, darash is first used in Gen. 9:5: "And surely your blood of your lives will I require…." It often has the idea of avenging an offense against God or the shedding of blood (see Ezek. 33:6).
One of the most frequent uses of this word is in the expression "to inquire of God," which sometimes indicates a private seeking of God in prayer for direction (Gen. 25:22), and often it refers to the contacting of a prophet who would be the instrument of God's revelation (1 Sam. 9:9; 1 Kings 22:8). At other times this expression is found in connection with the use of the Urim and Thummim by the high priest as he sought to discover the will of God by the throwing of these sacred stones (Num. 27:21). Just what was involved is not clear, but it may be presumed that only yes-or-no questions could be answered by the manner in which these stones fell. Pagan people and sometimes even apostate Israelites "inquired of" heathen gods. Thus, Ahaziah instructed messengers: "Go, inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease" (2 Kings 1:2). In gross violation of the Mosaic law (Deut. 18:10- 11), Saul went to the witch of Endor "to inquire of" her, which in this instance meant that she was to call up the spirit of the dead prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 28:3ff.). Saul went to the witch of Endor as a last resort, saying, "Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her" (1 Sam. 28:7, rsv). This word is often used to describe the "seeking of" the Lord in the sense of entering into covenantal relationship with Him. The prophets often used darash as they called on the people to make an about-face in living and instead "seek ye the Lord while he may be found …" (Isa. 55:6).
Usage Number: 3
Part Of Speech: Noun
Original Word: Midrash
Usage Notes: can mean "study; commentary; story." This noun occurs a few times in late biblical Hebrew (2 Chron. 13:22); it is commonly used in post-biblical Judaism to refer to the various traditional commentaries by the Jewish sages. One occurrence of the word is in 2 Chron. 24:27: "Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him … they are written in the story [commentary] of the Book of the Kings."