Click and meditate on...
- The LORD my Helper
- Psalm 121 Commentary
- Greek Word Studies on Help (below)
- Hebrew Word Studies on Help
- Greek Words on Help - Boao, Boe, Boetheia, Boetheo, Boethos
- Hebrew Words on Help - 'azar, 'ezer, 'ezra
Boáō (994) from boé (995) means raise a cry, call or shout of joy, pain, etc, by using one’s voice with unusually high volume. In several of the NT contexts (and many more of the Septuagint = LXX uses) crying out was in the context of one seeking help or assistance. Some uses mean simply a loud cry but in some of these situations the cry reflects a state of agitation.
Boáō is used 12 times in the NT (Mt. 3:3; Mk. 1:3; 15:34; Lk. 3:4; 9:38; 18:7, 38; Jn. 1:23; Acts 8:7; 17:6; 25:24; Gal. 4:27) and is translated NAS: called, 1; cried, 1; cry, 1; crying, 4; loudly declaring, 1; shout, 1; shouted, 1; shouting, 2.
Boao is found 114 times in the Septuagint -
Gen. 4:10; 29:11; 39:14f, 18; Exod. 8:12; 14:15; 15:25; 17:4; Num. 12:13; Deut. 15:9; 22:24, 27; Jos. 6:10; 15:18; Jdg. 4:10; 6:6; 7:23f; 9:54; 10:10, 12, 14; 12:1f; 18:22f; 1 Sam. 5:10; 7:8f; 8:18; 11:7; 12:8, 10; 15:11; 24:8; 2 Sam. 15:2; 18:26, 28; 20:4f, 16; 22:7, 42; 1 Ki. 17:10f; 18:24; 20:39; 2 Ki. 2:12; 4:1; 6:5, 26; 7:10f; 8:3, 5; 11:14; 18:18, 28; 20:11; 1 Chr. 5:20; 21:26; 2 Chr. 13:14f; 14:11; 18:31; 20:9, 20; 23:13; 32:18, 20; Neh. 9:4; Esther 1:1; 4:1; 10:3; Job 2:12; 30:7; 35:9; 36:13; 37:4; Isa. 5:29f; 12:4; 14:7; 15:4f; 22:2; 24:14; 27:5; 31:4; 34:14; 36:13; 40:3, 6; 42:11, 13; 44:5, 23; 46:7; 54:1; 58:9; Jer. 12:6; 22:20; 48:31; Lam. 2:18; 3:8; Dan. 3:4; 5:7; 6:20; Hos. 7:14; Joel 1:19; Jon. 2:2; Hab. 1:2; 2:11
The Greeks used boáō to describe the sound of certain things such as the wind and waves (to sound, resound, roar, howl).
Gilbrant on boao - Classical Greek used boaō to mean “to cry aloud,” “to shout,” “to call to someone,” “to call upon someone,” “to command in a loud voice,” and “to noise abroad something.” It also was used of inanimate objects such as the howl of the wind and the roar of the waves. Thayer notes that in classical Greek boaō was especially used to denote a manifestation of feelings or emotions (Greek-English Lexicon). In the Septuagint boaō primarily translates the Hebrew words qārâ’, “to call, name, or summon,” tsā‛aq, “to cry out,” especially for help or aid, and zā‛aq, “to exclaim or cry out,” as in an expression of sorrow or complaining (e.g., Deuteronomy 22:24; Judges 6:7; 1 Samuel 7:8 [LXX 1 Kings 7:8]; Isaiah 40:3). (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
Thayer makes an interesting comparison between 3 Greek words that all convey the idea of to call out or cry out, noting that
- kaleo in classic usage meant “to cry out” for a purpose,
- boáo meant “to cry out” as a result of or manifestation of an inner feeling and
- krazo meant to cry out harshly, often with an inarticulate and brutish sound.
In short, kaleo suggests intelligence, boáo suggests sensibilities and krazo suggests instincts. In sum, of these three words, boáo was the Greek word that especially conveys the idea of a cry for help.
For example, boáō was used by Matthew quoting the prophecy in Isaiah prophecy ("Isa 40:3 "A voice is calling [Lxx =boáō], "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness. Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.") where John the Baptist is described as "the voice of one crying (boáō) in the wilderness" (Mt 3:3, repeated in every gospel account - Mk1:3, Lu3:4, Jn1:23), here indicating that John spoke with a high, strong voice which reflected a solemn proclamation, especially a cry for the hearers to
"Repent, (present imperative = not just once but make your lifestyle one of a "repenter"!) for (explains "Why be a repenter?") the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Mt 3:2)
In the most famous cry in all eternity, the crucified Messiah in His ninth hour on the cross
"cried out (boáō) with a loud voice, "ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" which is translated, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?" (Mk15:34)
As Jesus came down from the mountain, the day after His Transfiguration, a man with demon possessed son
"shouted out, saying, “Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy" (Luke9:38).
As Jesus was telling parable to
"show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart" He explained that if an unrighteous judge would answer the pleas of a widow, "now shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?" (Luke 18:7)
As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a certain blind man sitting by the road "called out, (boáō - present tense = continually cried aloud and certainly from a context of personal need) saying, "Jesus, Son of David (in context this epithet is clearly another Name for the Messiah, e.g., see Matthew 12:23), have mercy on me!" (Luke 18:38) What a fascinating paradox -- the blind man unable to see, yet able to recognize Jesus as the "Son of David", the long awaited Messiah. God used this man's physical need to open the eyes of his heart to his spiritual need.
Beloved, is God allowing some affliction in your life today, that he might create in the eyes of your heart a desire to see Jesus? Are you, like the blind man, willing to humble yourself and cry out to Him?
"since He Himself was tempted (tested) in that which He has suffered, He is (continually) able to come to the aid (boetheo = come to the aid of someone upon hearing their cry for help!) of those who are tempted (tested - this verb is in the present tense, passive voice and is more literally "those who are continually being tested"). (Hebrews 2:18-note)
After the stoning of Stephen,
"Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them, and the multitudes with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing.7 For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting (boáō) with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed." (Acts 8:5-7)
Given the truth that usually reflects a cry of distress, how does that relate to the demons? Mark gives us a clue writing that when the Gadarenes (Gerasenes) "demoniac" saw Jesus from a distance, he began
"crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment (torture, vex, bring trouble, distress or agitation upon) me!” For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" (Mark 5:7-8)
In Thessalonica, the jealous Jews stirred up a mob to seize Paul and Silas,
"and when they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting (boáō), “These men who have upset the world have come here also." (Acts 17:6).
As Paul was being brought up for trial, Luke records Festus speaking to King Agrippa declaring
"all you gentlemen here present with us, you behold this man about whom all the people of the Jews appealed to me, both at Jerusalem and here, loudly declaring (boáō) that he ought not to live any longer." (Acts 25:24)
In these contexts, boáō means to cry aloud or exclaim (cry out, speak loudly or vehemently).
In the last NT use Paul quotes Isa 54:1 (again virtually verbatim from the LXX, the Greek Septuagint)
"Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear, break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; for more are the children of the desolate than of the one who has a husband.”
The context of this loud cry was the joy over the prophecy that the children of the heavenly city will be more numerous than those of earthly Jerusalem (Gal 4:27)
Since boáō is used only 12 times in the NT and 111 times in the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT (Septuagint abbreviated LXX), it follows logically that one can obtain a much more complete understanding of this small but vital and powerful verb from studying the OT Septuagint uses. Beloved, below you will find a brief survey of some of the occurrences and the practical, profound principles they teach that can be applied in your life. Allow yourself some time to read the passages in context and to meditate on the truths the Spirit will unfold. You will be "blessed".
In the first use of boáō, Moses records God's question to Cain -
"What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying (boáō) to Me from the ground." (Genesis 4:10)
In Exodus we read that
"Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried (boáō) to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh." (Exodus 8:12)
Preceding one of the greatest miracles in history, the deliverance of the Israelites from Pharaoh's pursuing army via the opening of the Red Sea, Moses records these words
"But (when a sentence begins with a contrast word always pause and ask what or why the "change of direction?") Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by (stand still - firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. Then (this frequent time word/phrase marks sequence, so when you encounter it, ask "when is this?") the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying (boáō) out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward." (Exodus 14:13-15)
“Why do you keep calling out to me for help?” Sometimes when we cry out for Jehovah's help, we forget that He has already given us help in His precious and magnificent promises. Here we see that Jehovah answers Moses' cry for help with instructions to walk out in faith in His promise of deliverance. Cry out yes, but don't forget to walk out in faith beloved, laying hold of His steadfast promises.
Later in the wilderness when the thirsting Israelites grumbled at Marah (bitterness) because they could not drink the bitter water, Moses records that
"he cried out (boáō) to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested (means to subject to difficulty in order to prove the quality of someone or something) them." (Exodus 15:25)
As Israel journeyed by stages on their way to Mt Sinai, there was no water, and becoming thirsty, they quarreled with Moses, grumbling against him and even questioning why he had brought them out of Egypt (bondage)! In this background we read
When Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses and opposed his leadership, God struck Miriam with leprosy. In this context we see this humble man intercede:
"And Moses cried out (boáō) to the LORD, saying, "O God, heal her, I pray!" (Nu12:13)
In the days of the Judges (a some 300+ year long period, almost 25% of Israel's OT history!) we read
"So (here "so" is not used as time phrase with the meaning of then or subsequently as in Ex 17:4 above, but as a "term of conclusion". Whenever you encounter a "so" determine by checking the preceding context how it is being used and what question it answers, such as when? or why?) Israel was brought very low because of Midian (who conducted raids on Israel's crops, stripping them like locusts and stealing their livestock), and the sons of Israel cried (boáō) to the LORD." (Judges 6:6)
God did not send immediate deliverance on this occasion. Read the rest of Judges 6 to see how He answered this cry for help. During a time in which Israel was experiencing oppression from the Philistines, God raised up the prophet Samuel. Scripture records that
"Then (time phrase marks sequence, always ask "when is this?" Read the fascinating context in 1Samuel 7) the sons of Israel said to Samuel, "Do not cease to cry (boáō) to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the LORD; and Samuel cried (boáō) to the LORD for Israel and the LORD answered him.." (1Samuel 7:8-9)
If you have read through the passages above, you are beginning to get a powerful picture of the meaning of this word little verb boáō. Below are a selected portion of the 111 uses of boáō in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. Study these uses in context (by clicking on each of the references) and you will surely attain an increased understanding of boáō. Remember to interrogate the text...who was crying out? when? to whom? why were they crying out? what was result of crying out? This simple exercise will give you a good sense of the meaning of boáō in these passages.
"When Jacob went into Egypt and your fathers cried out (LXX = boáō) to the LORD (for the context see Ex 2:23-24), then (time phrase) the LORD sent Moses and Aaron who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. 9 But they forgot the LORD their God, so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 And they cried out (LXX = boáō) to the LORD and said, 'We have sinned because we have forsaken the LORD and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve Thee.'
"I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not carried out My commands." And Samuel was distressed (LXX uses the Greek verb athumeo = disheartened to the extent of losing motivation, losing heart, or becoming discouraged - we've all been here haven't we?) and cried out (LXX = boáō) to the LORD all night." Note the text does not say Samuel complained to the LORD all night, but that he cried out.
"In my distress (Hebrew = tsar = speaks of a "tight space" and figuratively of a person's pain, distress, oppression, and the felling of being hemmed in - have you ever felt that way? Then read on to see what David's response to the affliction, a good pattern for us in similar circumstances. The LXX uses the word thlibo which means to cause something to be constricted, pressed together or upon, crowded or pressed against. This situation is bad enough when it's physical crowding as in an elevator but is far more difficult to bear when it is that deep inner oppression we've all felt!) I called upon the LORD, Yes, I cried (David could have just said "I called upon Jehovah" but he adds this verb, which in the LXX is boáō) to my God; and from His temple He heard my voice, and my cry for help came into His ears."
Beloved, we all need to remember this verse the next time we feel "hemmed in" so that we might respond as David did in his distress.
And Isaiah the prophet cried to the LORD, and He brought the shadow on the stairway back ten steps by which it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.
"And they (valiant men from tribes of Reuben, Gad, Manasseh, during the reign of King Saul) were helped (azar) against them, and the Hagrites (a Bedouin-like migrating tribe descended from Ishmael, son of Hagar) and all who were with them were given into their hand; for (term of explanation - when you see "for" pause an ask what is it explaining? It can usually be translated also as "because" and serves to explain the preceding event) they cried out (LXX = boáō) to God in the battle, and He was entreated for them, because they trusted (LXX translates with the Greek verb elipizo = to hope, to look forward to something with implication of confidence that it will come to pass) in Him."
Why were the Israelites victorious? What does crying out to God have to do with trusting in Him?
Then (time phrase when is "then"? check the context by clicking on 1Chr 21:26 for the chapter) David built an altar to the LORD there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he called (LXX = boáō) to the LORD and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering."
Talk about an answer to prayer!
When (time phrase = "When" is at the time of the first confrontation between the divided Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah) Judah (composed of 2 tribes = Judah and Benjamin) turned around, behold, they were attacked both front and rear (by huge military forces from the northern 10 tribes that broke off and now composed "Israel"); so they cried (LXX = boáō) to the LORD, and the priests blew the trumpets.15 Then the men of Judah raised a war cry, and when the men of Judah raised the war cry, then it was that God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah."
Five hundred thousand choice men of Israel fell —a staggering price to pay for turning away from God! In stark contrast, little Judah was sustained because she cried out to Jehovah. What an important lesson for believers to take to heart. The odds against us may seem insurmountable, but with God any number is a "majority"!
Then (time phrase when is "then"? From the immediately preceding context we learn that the Ethiopians were coming against Judah with "a million men and 300 chariots", which is what prompted godly King Asa to cry out for help) Asa called (LXX = boáo) to the LORD his God, and said, "LORD, there is no one besides Thee to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in Thee, and in Thy name have come against this multitude. O LORD, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee."
So it came about when the captains of the chariots (from the enemy Syrians) saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, "It is the king of Israel," and they turned aside to fight against him. But Jehoshaphat cried out (Hebrew = za'aq = primary activity implied is that of crying out in pain or by reason of affliction; Greek = boáō) and the LORD helped (Lxx = sozo = rescued him from danger) him, and God diverted them from him.
(Godly king Jehoshaphat standing before the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the Temple declares) "Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, (note how this godly king tells the nation it is to respond when enemies are encountered) we will stand before this house (the Temple of the LORD which at that time still possessed the Shekinah glory cloud indicating Jehovah's presence) and before Thee (for Thy name is in this house [His Name = His character, attributes, etc see God's Name - A Strong Tower]) and cry (LXX = boáo) to Thee in our distress, and Thou wilt hear and deliver us.'...20 And they rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said (Hebrew word simply means to say or to communicate but the LXX uses boáo = cried out), "Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust (Hebrew = 'aman = means to be firm thus providing confidence like a baby would in the arms of their parents) in the LORD your God, and you will be established (Hebrew also = 'aman = firmly founded!). Put your trust in His prophets and succeed."
But (faced with Assyrian taunts against God's powerlessness to deliver and the threat of a siege by Sennacherib) King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed about this and cried out (Hebrew = za'aq = primary activity implied is that of crying out in pain or by reason of affliction; Greek = boáō) to heaven.
Now (note that "now" is a time phrase > after hearing the Word of God the effect on the hearers was to began a long prayer of confession of sin) on the Levites' platform stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and they cried (Hebrew = za'aq = primary activity implied is that of crying out in pain or by reason of affliction, in the present context the affliction of one's soul smitten with the realization that they had sinned against the living God; Greek = boáō) with a loud voice to the LORD their God.
"I called out (Hebrew = qara = call, summon; Greek = boáō) of my distress to the LORD, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; Thou didst hear my voice.
"How long, O LORD, will I call for help, and Thou wilt not hear? I cry out (Hebrew = za'aq = primary activity implied is that of crying out in pain or by reason of affliction; Greek = boáō) to Thee, "Violence!" Yet Thou dost not save."
The uses of boáō by both Jonah and Habakkuk emphasize that the calling out or crying out is in the context of distress or affliction.
In secular Greek boé referred to a loud cry, shout, a battle-cry, the roar of the sea, the sound of musical instruments, the cry of birds or beasts.
James 5:4 "Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld (fraudulently) by you, cries out (krazo - an onomatopoeia imitating the hoarse cry of the raven) against you; and the outcry (boé) of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth."
Boé is used 7 times in the LXX - Ex 2:23; 1Sam. 4:14; 9:16; 2Chr. 33:13; Esther 1:1; Isa. 15:8; Ezek. 21:22
In the Septuagint (Greek) translation of Ex2:23 we read "Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; (anaboao = aná = emphatic, again + boáo (994) cry out cry out loud, exclaim, wail over misfortune, see uses in Nu 20:16 Ezek 11:13) and their cry for help (boé) because of their bondage rose up to God."
In the Septuagint of 1Sa 9:16 we read
"About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he shall deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to (in Greek literally "before Me") Me."
In 2Chr 33:11-13 boe translates the Hebrew word for supplication (make a humble entreaty) which Manasseh made to Jehovah after the Assyrians captured him with hooks and carried him off to Babylon. The Scripture says that:
"Therefore (check the immediate context - 2Chr 33:10 - to find out why this term of conclusion "therefore" is here) the Lord brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains, and took him to Babylon. And when (time phrase) he was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When (time phrase) he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication (boe), and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then (time phrase marks sequence, always ask "when is this?") Manasseh knew that the LORD was God."
This picture of repentance and apparent "conversion" is an amazing vignette in life of a king who had perpetrated untold wickedness, idolatry, murder of his children and desecration of the Temple. Most of us would have given up on such a despicable person, but not our longsuffering God. Yes God did send trouble and plenty of it in the form of the Assyrians with their hooks. This should have been a warning to the nation that God was getting ready to send them into captivity because of their continual sin. When Manasseh found himself in real trouble, he sincerely came back to God (repentance). Our amazing longsuffering God forgave him and restored him! When Manasseh returned to Jerusalem, he took away the strange gods and the idols out of the house of the Lord, and he repaired the altar of the Lord and sacrificed there (read 2Chronicles 33).
Boétheia (996) noun from boēthéō (997), to help from which in turn is from the combination of two words boé = a cry, exclamation + théō = to run. The incredible word picture is that of one who upon hearing a cry for help, runs to give aid to assist or to succor. Boetheia describes the assistance offered to meet a need. In secular Greek, this word was used to describe a medical aid or a cure.
Boetheia is only twice in the NT but 42 times in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - Jdg. 5:23; 2 Sam. 18:3; 1 Chr. 12:16; 2 Chr. 28:21; Esther 4:14; Job 6:13; 31:21; Ps. 7:9; 20:2; 22:19; 35:2; 38:22; 49:14; 60:11; 62:7; 70:1; 71:12; 89:19, 43; 91:1; 108:12; 121:1f; 124:8; Prov. 21:31; 24:6; 28:12; Isa. 8:20; 20:6; 30:5f, 32; 31:1, 3; 47:15; Jer. 16:19; 37:7; 47:4; Lam. 3:57; 4:17; Dan. 11:34
The writer of Hebrews encourages saints writing
Let us therefore (term of conclusion) - see preceding passages He 4:14, 15) draw near with confidence (fearlessly, boldly) to the throne of grace, that we may (note he does not say so that we "might" but in fact that we will) receive mercy and may find grace to help (boetheia) in time of need." (Heb 4:16-note)
The Amplified version describes this "help" as "appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it." Jehovah runs to our cry for help with His mercy to cover the things we should not have done, and His grace to empower us to do what we should do but do not have the power to do, both arriving in the nick of time.
Luke uses boetheia in his description of the storm tossed ship in (Acts 27:17, click to read the full chapter), writing that
"after they had hoisted (the lifeboat) up, they used supporting cables (boetheia) in undergirding the ship and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor, and so let themselves be driven along."
This procedure of passing ropes under the ship to hold it together is known as frapping, (frap is a nautical term that means to draw tight, to lash down or together). So in the midst of the storm the sailors wrapped cables around the ship’s hull and winched them tight. Thus supported, the ship would be better able to withstand the severe pounding of wind and sea. Beloved, do you see the word picture inherent in the Biblical use of (verb - boethéo, noun - boetheia) in other verses? From time to time all of saints encounter unexpected storm winds and are in need of our great Captain to batten down the hatches, sending His help that we might be able to endure the stormy trial or temptation.
In contrast to the infrequent use of boétheia in the NT, the LXX uses this word 40 times so we will look at some of the uses. Note that boétheia is the word used in Psalm 121:1,2 - click commentary.
In Psalm 7:10, the Septuagint uses boetheia to translate the Hebrew word "shield", David testifying that
"My shield (Lxx = boetheia) is with God, Who saves the upright in heart."
Shield is a metaphor picturing the protecting presence of God. Boetheia conveys the idea that upon hearing our cry for help, God runs to give His protection! What an awesome God we serve beloved.
May He send you help (Heb = 'ezer) (LXX = boetheia conveys the idea of Him sending help upon hearing your cry for help) from the sanctuary and support you from Zion!
Spurgeon writes that "Out of heaven’s sanctuary came the angel to strengthen our Lord, and from the precious remembrance of God’s doings in his sanctuary our Lord refreshed himself when on the tree. There is no help like that which is of God’s sending, and no deliverance like that which comes out of his sanctuary. The sanctuary to us is the person of our blessed Lord, who was typified by the temple, and is the true sanctuary which God has pitched, and not man: let us fly to the cross for shelter in all times of need and help will be sent to us. People of the world seek help out of the armory, or the treasury, or the pantry, but we turn to the sanctuary." (Treasury of David)
"Take hold (imperative or command) of buckler and shield, and rise up (imperative or command) for my help (Heb = 'ezra)"
Note how David boldly approaches Jehovah's throne of grace using two verbs in the imperative mood (commands) to cry out for help in his time of need!
Spurgeon adds that "The Lord is pictured armed for battle, and interposing Himself between His servant and his enemies. The greater and lesser protections of providence may be here intended by the two defensive weapons, and by the Lord’s standing up is meant His active and zealous preservation of His servant in peril. The psalmist thought of God as a real personage, truly working for His afflicted." (Treasury of David)
Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, do not be far from me! 22 Make haste to help (Heb = 'ezra) (boetheia = run to my aid upon hearing my cry for help) me, O Lord, my salvation!
Spurgeon adds that "Delay would prove destruction. The poor pleader was far gone and ready to expire, only speedy help would serve his turn. See how sorrow quickens the importunity of prayer! Here is one of the sweet results of affliction, it gives new life to our pleading, and drives us with eagerness to our God. Faith tried, faith trembling, faith crying, faith grasping, faith conquering." (Treasury of David)
O give us help (Heb = 'ezra) against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain. 12 Through God we shall do valiantly, and it is He who will tread down our adversaries (LXX = Greek verb thlibo = literally to press together or hem in, which figuratively pictures sufferings that arise from the pressure of circumstances or from the antagonism of persons)
David acknowledged that victory had to come from God. The Israelites could not obtain it without His help. Who do you cry out to for help? On whose strength do you draw, the Lord's or your own? The source of your help and your strength will determine whether you experience victory or defeat. MacDonald adds that "The believer’s enemies are the world, the flesh and the devil. In himself he is powerless to conquer them. And the help of other men is insufficient, no matter how well-meaning they might be. But there is victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who trust in Him for deliverance will never be disappointed." (MacDonald, W., Believer's Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Spurgeon: Give us help from trouble. Help us to overcome the disasters of civil strife and foreign invasion; save us from further incursions from without and division within. Do thou, O Lord, work this deliverance, for vain is the help of man. We have painfully learned the utter impotence of armies, kings, and nations without thine help. Our banners trailed in the mire have proven our weakness without thee, but yonder standard borne aloft before us shall witness to our valour now that thou hast come to our rescue. How sweetly will this verse suit the tried people of God as a frequent ejaculation. We know how true it is.
John Trapp comments deliverance by man is in vain -- As they had lately experimented in Saul, a king of their own choosing, but not able to save them from those proud Philistines.
"For the choir director. A Psalm of David; for a memorial. O God, hasten (hurry and do this quickly) to deliver me; O LORD, hasten to my help." (Heb = 'ezra)
David is urging the Lord to make haste to deliver him. He is crying out for immediate help.
Spurgeon adds that "It is not forbidden us, in hours of dire distress, to ask for speed on God’s part in his coming to rescue us...It is most fitting that we should day by day cry to God for deliverance and help; our frailty and our many dangers render this a perpetual necessity." (Treasury of David)
Warren Wiersbe asks "Has God ever been slow in your life? He was in David's. This undoubtedly was one of the psalms written when David was being harassed by King Saul. So he cries out, "Lord, why don't You do something? You're being awfully slow."
Have you ever pondered the delays of God? He is never in a hurry, but once He starts to work, watch out! He patiently accomplishes His work. David pleads, "Make haste, make haste" (v. 1). He repeats his plea in verse 5: "I am poor and needy; make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay." If right now it seems as though God is tarrying instead of working, if it seems as though He is delaying instead of acting, what should you do? Seek Him and wait on Him and love Him. Verse 4 says it beautifully: "Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, 'Let God be magnified!"' We've seen that phrase before. David, when he was sinking, said, "I . . . will magnify Him with thanksgiving" (Ps 69:30).
Here's a good lesson for us. When God is not moving as rapidly as we think He should, when our timetables do not coincide, what should we do? Rejoice in Him, love Him and magnify Him. Let Him worry about the timetable. God is always working, and we know that all things are working together for good (Rom. 8:28). But He waits for the right time to reveal His victories. Let Him watch the clock.
God's delays are a part of your character-building process. The next time God gives you a delay, encourage yourself by remembering that He never stops working for you, and He knows when and how to help you. Submit to His timetable and His care." (Wiersbe, W: "Prayer, Praise and Promises").
He who dwells in the shelter (secret place; LXX = boetheia) of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
The Hebrew word for "shelter" means a hiding place or a covering and conveys the idea of a secrecy. It is interesting that the LXX translates "shelter" with boetheia and so reads "He that dwells in the help of the Most High...".
Spurgeon adds that "The blessings here promised are not for all believers, but for those who live in close fellowship with God. Every child of God looks towards the inner sanctuary and the mercy-seat, yet all do not dwell in the most holy place; they run to it at times, and enjoy occasional approaches, but they do not habitually reside in the mysterious presence. Those who through rich grace obtain unusual and continuous communion with God, so as to abide in Christ and Christ in them, become possessors of rare and special benefits, which are missed by those who follow afar off, and grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Into the secret place those only come who know the love of God in Christ Jesus, and those only dwell there to whom to live is Christ. To them the veil is rent, and the awful glory of the Most High is apparent: these, like Simeon, have the Holy Spirit upon them, and like Anna they depart not from the temple (Luke 2:25-38); of them it is truly said that their conversation is in heaven. Special grace like theirs brings with it special immunity. Outer court worshipers little know what belongs to the inner sanctuary, or surely they would press on until the place of nearness and divine familiarity became theirs. Those who are the Lord’s constant guests will find that he will never let any be injured within his gates." (Treasury of David)
Spurgeon reminds us that "Our help for the future, our ground of confidence in all trials present and to come is in the name of the Lord. (He goes on to explain that in Jehovah's Name we find His ) revealed character which is our foundation of confidence. His person is our sure fountain of strength. Our Creator is our Preserver. He is immensely great in His creating work; He has not fashioned a few little things alone, but all heaven and the whole round earth are the works of His hands. When we worship the Creator let us increase our trust in our Comforter. Did he create all that we see, and can he not preserve us from evils which we cannot see? He has rendered us help in the moment of jeopardy. He will to the end break every snare. He made heaven for us, and He will keep us for heaven; He made the earth, and He will succor us upon it until the hour comes for our departure. Every work of his hand preaches to us the duty and the delight of reposing upon Him only." (Treasury of David)
Boēthéō (997 from boé = a cry, exclamation + théō = to run) means to run on hearing a cry, to give assistance. Boethéo means to succor (KJV reads "He is able to succour them that are tempted") which is a word you may not be too familiar with, but which means literally to run to or run to support hence, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering; as, to succor a besieged city; to succor prisoners. (succor is derived from Latin succurrere = to run up, run to help, from sub- = up + currere to run).
Boethéo is used 8 times in the NT (Mt 15:25; Mk 9:22, 24; Acts 16:9; 21:28; 2Co 6:2; He 2:18; Re 12:16) and is translated: come to the aid, 1; come to...aid, 1; help, 4; helped, 2.
Boethéo is used 77 times in the Septuagint (LXX = Greek of Hebrew OT) compared with only 8 uses in the NT. -
Gen. 49:25; Deut. 22:27; 28:29, 31; 32:38; Jos 10:4, 6, 33; 1Sa 7:12; 2Sa 8:5; 18:3; 21:17; 1Ki 1:7; 2Ki 14:26; 1Chr. 12:1, 18, 19, 33, 36; 18:5; 19:19; 2Chr. 19:2; 26:13, 15; 28:16; Ezra 5:2; 10:15; Esther 4:17; 8:11; 9:16; Job 4:20; 20:14; 26:2; 29:12; Ps. 10:14; 22:11; 28:7; 37:40; 40:13; 41:3; 44:26; 46:5; 54:4; 70:5; 79:9; 86:17; 94:17, 18; 107:12, 41; 109:26; 119:86, 117, 175; Pr 3:27; 13:12; 18:19; 20:9; 28:18; Eccl. 7:19; Isa 10:3; 30:2; 31:3; 41:6, 10, 14; 44:2; 49:8; 50:9; 60:15; Lam 1:7; Ezek 30:8; Da 6:14; 10:13, 21; 11:34, 45; Hos 13:9.
Luke give us an added picture of the meaning of the verb boethéo in his use of the related noun form, boetheia, writing that "after they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables (boetheia - KJV "helps") in under girding the ship" (Acts 27:17). Here boetheia refers specifically a rope or chain for frapping a vessel to keep the beams from separating. Frapping (derived from Mid French [fraper] to draw tight as with ropes or cables) means a lashing binding a thing tightly or binding things together.
But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, "Lord, help me!"
In the district of Tyre and Sidon a Canaanite woman repeatedly entreated Jesus to have mercy on her and her demon-possessed daughter, responding to His declaration that He "was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" with both words and actions, falling upon her knees, touching her forehead to the ground in profound reverence before Him, saying
“Lord, help (boethéo) me!” 26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once." (Mt 15:24-28).
Perhaps right now you need to take a moment and like the Canaanite woman, bow down in worship, reminding yourself that your the Lord Jesus (The LORD your Helper) is ready, able and willing to run to your assistance no matter the "size or shape" of your test or temptation
"And it has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help (boethéo) us!" 23 And Jesus said to him, "'If You can!' All things are possible to him who believes."24 Immediately the boy's father cried out and began saying, "I do believe; help (boethéo) my unbelief." 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again."
In this episode involving a demon possessed boy, his father said to Jesus that the demon had "often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help (boethéo) us (aorist imperative = "Help us at once")!” (Mk 9:22) Jesus responded to the father "If You can!’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, “I do believe; help (boethéo) my unbelief.” (Mk 9:23-24) The result? Jesus ordered the demon to leave the boy and restored him to his father. (Mk 9:25-27) And beloved Jesus is able to run to your aid when He hears your cry for His help.
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help (boethéo) us." (Play the hymn Come Over and Help U s)
On his second missionary journey, Luke records that "a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us (give us aid).” (Acts 16:9) The man of Macedonia in using the plural for himself speaks for Europe, and his cry for help Europe’s need of Christ. Paul recognized a divine summons in the vision. Kent Hughes helps us understand the picture of the verb boethéo remarking that "This was one of the great turning points of history, and we should thank God for it, for as a result the gospel has come to us in the West. Nothing makes a person strong like hearing someone cry for help! You can be walking down the street completely fatigued so that you would like to lie down on the curb and go to sleep, but then you hear a cry—someone is in trouble!—and you completely forget your weariness. Paul and his associates moved forward in the power of Christ’s strength." (Hughes, R. K.. Acts: The church afire. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books)
crying out, "Men of Israel, come to our aid (boethéo)! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people, and the Law, and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place."
Unbelieving Jews from Asia who were in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost "upon seeing (Paul) in the temple (of Herod), began to stir up all the multitude and laid hands on him, (then they began continually) crying out, “Men of Israel, come to our aid! (boethéo - Acting as though Paul had committed an act of blasphemy, they called for help in dealing with it - a vivid picture of the meaning of running to the aid of one who cries out for aid!). This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people, and the Law, and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place. For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple." (Ac 21:27-29) Wuest translates the verse as "they laid their hands on him, crying out, Men, Israelites, be bringing aid"
He says, "AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED (boethéo) YOU"; behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now is "THE DAY OF SALVATION"
Paul addressing the Corinthians, either saved (who were not living in grace) or unsaved (who had never received grace) and warning them not to receive the grace of God in vain, quotes the Septuagint (Greek of the Hebrew OT) of (Isa 49:8) where God says "at the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped (boethéo) you ("I ran to your cry and brought you aid" Wuest)” ;behold, now is “the acceptable time (now is a propitious, favorably disposed, epochal season),” behold, now is “the day of salvation” (2 Co 6:2)
For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid (boethéo) of those who are tempted.
In the OT the Hebrew word for "help" is "ezer". Samuel took a stone (eben) and named it Eben-ezer as a memorial commemorating Israel's victory (actually God's victory) over the Philistines. The Scripture records that "Samuel took a stone (eben) and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer (LXX = "Stone of the Helper" Greek = noun boēthós), saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped (boetheia) us." (1Sa7:12)
From the God of your father who helps ('azar) (boethéo) you, And by the Almighty who blesses you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel, which was very bitter; for there was neither bond nor free, nor was there any helper ('azar) for Israel.
Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was the chief of the thirty, and he said, "We are yours, O David, And with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, And peace to him who helps you; Indeed, your God helps ('azar) you!" Then David received them and made them captains of the band.
At that time King Ahaz sent to the kings of Assyria for help ('azar).
Thou hast seen it, for Thou hast beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Thy hand. The unfortunate commits himself to Thee; Thou hast been the helper ('azar) of the orphan.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help.('azar)
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; Make haste, O LORD, to help ('azar) me.
Rise up, be our help ('ezra), and redeem us for the sake of Thy lovingkindness.
But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! Thou art my help ('ezer) and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.
Show me a sign for good, That those who hate me may see it, and be ashamed, Because Thou, O LORD, hast helped ('azar) me and comforted me.
If the LORD had not been my help ('ezra), My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. 18 If I should say, "My foot has slipped," Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, will hold me up.
All Thy commandments are faithful; They have persecuted me with a lie; help ('azar) me!
Let my soul live that it may praise Thee, And let Thine ordinances help ('azar) me.
Each one helps ('azar) his neighbor, And says to his brother, "Be strong!"
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help ('azar) you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' 14 "Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help ('azar) you," declares the LORD, "and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help ('azar) you, 'Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
Thus says the LORD, "In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped ('azar) You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
Behold, the Lord God helps ('azar) Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them.
In the days of her affliction and homelessness Jerusalem remembers all her precious things That were from the days of old When her people fell into the hand of the adversary, And no one helped ('azar) her. The adversaries saw her, They mocked at her ruin.
It is your destruction, O Israel, That you are against Me, against your help ('ezer).
The writer of Hebrews encourages his readers to
"Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT SHALL MAN DO TO ME?" (Heb 13:5-6) (Click here for note)
Boethos is used 45 times in the Septuagint with a few of those uses discussed below to help understand the meaning of boethos. -
Ge 2:18, 20; Ex 15:2; 18:4; Deut. 33:7, 26, 29; 1Sa 7:12; 2Sa 22:42; 1Chr. 12:18; Esther 4:17; Job 22:25; 29:12; Ps. 9:9; 18:2; 19:14; 27:9; 28:7; 30:10; 33:20; 40:17; 46:1; 52:7; 59:17; 62:8; 63:7; 70:5; 71:7; 72:12; 78:35; 81:1; 94:22; 115:9, 10, 11; 118:6, 7; 119:114; 146:5; Isa. 17:10; 25:4; 50:7; 63:5; Ezek. 12:14; Nah. 3:9.
Notice the first use of boethos in the Lxx is used of Adam's wife Eve
Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:20 And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
Husbands, is that the way you view your mate, as your helper, your boethos? God grant that enabled by His Spirit and for the glory of the Lamb, we as husbands might see our wives as our helpers and not as our "hindrance" and that we love our wives and not become embittered against them. Amen (Col 3:19-note, cp Eph 5:25-note)
(Moses mentions his two sons by Zipporah, Gershom, and...) "...the other was named Eliezer, for he said, "The God of my father was my Help (LXX = boethos), and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh."
Eliezer is found 15 times in Scripture describing 11 individuals but the most definitive description is by Moses who records that one of his two sons by Zipporah "was named Eliezer, for he said, "The God ('elohim) of my father was my Help (''ezer) and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh." (Ex18:4)
Eliezer (from 'el = God or 'eli = my God + ''ezer= help) means "God is help", "my God is help", "God of help", "God is (his or my) help" or "My God is (a) Helper" (the specific translation depending on which Bible dictionary you consult). In short Moses' name given to Eliezer is a testimony reflecting his personal experiences with God His Helper. Every time Moses called out His name, he would be saying "God is my Helper". As an aside is should be noted that not every biblical name carries such significance and to attempt to analyze every OT character based solely on the etymology of their name may not lead to accurate interpretations. In the present case, the name Eliezer was given after Moses had killed an Egyptian and escaped Pharaoh's wrath ("delivered...from the sword of Pharaoh", cf Ex2:15) by fleeing to the wilderness of Midian. After delivering Moses, God helped him, providing a wife, a family and an occupation during his 40 year wilderness sojourn. And thus the name "God is my Helper". Now stop for a moment and think back over your life. Is there some "Eliezer" event in your life? How did you respond to God's help? Maybe you did not even recognize it then but now in retrospect you do see His Helping hand. Stop and offer thanksgiving and praise to your Jehovah 'Ezer, the LORD your Helper, for He is "enthroned upon the praises of" His people. (Ps 22:3)
"There is none like the God of Jeshurun (literally "upright one" = righteous), Who rides the heavens to your help (LXX = boethos = the Lord God "rides the heavens" on hearing the cry of His beloved to give assistance), and through the skies in His majesty." (Click here for note)
"Blessed are you, O Israel; Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, Who is the shield of your help (He is your shield and helper) (LXX = boethos = Jehovah runs on hearing the cry and gives aid) , and the sword of your majesty! So your enemies shall cringe before you, and you shall tread upon their high places." (Click here for note)
"They looked, but there was none to save (boethos). Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them.
Do not hide Thy face from me, Do not turn Thy servant away in anger; Thou hast been my help ('ezra); Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!
"Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me; O LORD, be Thou my helper ('azar)."
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help ('ezer) and our shield.
Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me; Thou art my help ('ezra) and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.
For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help (Heb = 'ezra; LXX = boethos = Who runs to give us assistance upon hearing our cry for help!) in trouble (LXX = thlipsis = narrow, a pressing together, under pressure, oppression, affliction, distress = anything that burdens and weighs down one's spirit = suffering which results when circumstances of life press hard on the soul. We all understand "thlipsis" don't we!) 2 Therefore (term of conclusion) we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. (Click here for note)
When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches, 7 For Thou hast been my help ('ezra), And in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me.
But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! Thou art my help ('ezer) and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.
And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him. 12 For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, The afflicted also, and him who has no helper ('azar).
O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help ('ezer) and their shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD; He is their help ('ezer) and their shield.
11 You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help ('ezer) and their shield.
The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is for me among those who help ('azar) me; Therefore I shall look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
How blessed is he whose help ('ezer) is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God
Jehovah is our Help and our Hope - It simply does not get much better than that beloved!
Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope (and Help) fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.