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Old and New Testament.
Boáō (994) from
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
or assistance. Some uses mean simply a loud cry but in some of these
situations the cry reflects a state of agitation.
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.
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
to describe the sound of certain things
such as the wind and waves (to sound, resound, roar, howl).
Thayer makes an interesting comparison
between 3 Greek words that all convey the idea of to call out or cry out, noting that
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
meant to cry out harshly, often with an inarticulate and brutish sound.
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.
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
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
out, saying, “Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only
As Jesus was telling parable to
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
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
- 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
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
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
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
In these contexts,
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)
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
THE NOTES THAT FOLLOW
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
context and to
on the truths the Spirit will unfold.
You will be
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
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
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
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
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
“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."
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
used almost like a
phrase) Moses cried out (boáō) to the LORD, saying, "What shall I do to this people? A little
more and they will stone me." (Exodus
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
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
phrase marks sequence, always
ask "when is this?" Read the fascinating
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
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
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
(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
boáō) to the
LORD all night." Note the text does not say Samuel complained to the LORD
all night, but that he cried out.
(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
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 conclusion
- when you see "for" pause an ask what is it there for? 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."
were the Israelites victorious? What does crying out to God have to do
with trusting in Him?
phrase when is "then"?
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!
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"!
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.
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
> 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
"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.
(fem. noun) means a cry,
an outcry or an exclamation as for help. The only NT use is in (James 5:4)
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.
"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
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."
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
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."
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
(996) noun from
(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
- 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
boetheia in his description of the storm
tossed ship in (Acts
27:17, click to read the full chapter), writing that
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.
Psalm 7:10, the Septuagint uses
boetheia to translate the Hebrew word "shield",
David testifying that
(Lxx = boetheia) is with God, Who saves the
upright in heart."
Shield is a
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!
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
"Take hold (imperative or
command) of buckler and shield, and rise up (imperative or command) for my help
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
Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, do not be far from me! 22 Make
haste to help
'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
O give us help
'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)
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."
David is urging the Lord to make
haste to deliver him. He is crying out for immediate help.
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
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
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...".
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
Our help (Heb =
'ezer) is in the name of the LORD
(see chart on the help found in
God's Name - A Strong Tower), Who made heaven and
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
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."
Boēthéō (997 from boé
= a cry, exclamation + théō = to run) means to run on hearing a cry,
to give assistance.
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).
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.
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
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,
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
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
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;
(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
(boethéo) us." (Play the hymn
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
(Hughes, R. K.. Acts: The church afire. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill.:
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."
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
(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
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.
1 Samuel 7:12
Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen,
and named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped
('azar) us." (Click
here for note)
2 Kings 14:26
For the LORD saw the
affliction of Israel, which was very bitter; for there was neither bond nor
free, nor was there any helper
1 Chronicles 12:18
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.
2 Chronicles 28:16
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
Be not far from me, for
trouble is near; For there is none to
The LORD is my strength and
my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped ('azar); Therefore my
heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. (Click
here for note)
And the LORD helps ('azar)
them, and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked, and saves them,
Because they take refuge in Him. (Click
here for note)
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.
God is in the midst of her,
she will not be moved; God will help ('azar) her when morning dawns. (Click
here for note)
Behold, God is my Helper ('azar);
The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. (Click
here for note)
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).
it the noun form of the verb
boetheo and describes one who runs on
hearing a cry to give assistance. It is used once in the NT as a
description of God our Helper. (Hebrews 13:6 -note).
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
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.
(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
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 =
= the Lord God "rides the heavens" on hearing the cry of His beloved to give
assistance), and through the skies in His majesty." (Click
"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 =
= 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
2 Samuel 22:42
"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 =
= 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
When I remember Thee on my bed, I
meditate on Thee in the night
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