Search "Behold a Proverb" by word, phrase, or topic below:

Bible Figures of Speech

Bible Figures of Speech find their origins and roots in one of the oldest languages on earth: Hebrew. The Hebrew used in the Bible, however, is known today as Paleo-Hebrew, or historic Hebrew and sounds different than what is spoken in Israel today.

It was spoken by the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japhath. Shem became the father of the Shemites, or Semites. His brother Ham went on to occupy the land of Canaan which became an Aramaic-speaking land.

The language Abraham found when he came to Canaan is what is now referred to as early Aramaic. Two languages, one root. Jesus spoke both of these languages, only he commonly spoke what is known as late Aramaic. There was yet the third branch of Noah's family who some scholars say was the predecessor of the Chaldeans, which is why Jews taken captive by these people were able to not only learn this language but author some portions of the Old Testament in this language.

This is the Hebrew Root which survived the confusion of languages known as Babel, from the famous tower by the same name. Here are some examples:


Baruch atah Adonoi Eloheinu Malech ha'olam.
El malei rachamim mashiv haruach.
Dayyan ha'emet shomei'ah ts'akah.
(Translated: Blessed are you Lord, our God, King of the universe. God full of compassion who makes the wind (spirit) blow. The True Judge who attends to calls for help.)
(Adapted from Hebrew prayers in use today)
Galeed, ca. 2100 B.C., 
Genesis 31:47, (witness heap)
Vahev v'suphah, ca. 1500 B.C., Numbers 21:14, 
(the Ancient places, that thing Moses did)
Lismi Wehu Peli s, ca. 1300 B.C., Judges 13:18 
(My name it is incomprehensible, wonderful, a mystery, secret)
Shiloah, ca. 750 B.C., Isaiah 8:6, (sent)
Messiah, ca. 540 B.C., Daniel 9:25, (Anointed One)
Bethlehem Ephrathah,  Ruth 4:11; 1 Chronicles 4:4; Micah 5:2,
another name for Jerusalem


Jegar Sehadutha(witness heap) early Aramaic ca. 2100 B.C., Genesis 31:47
Talitha Cumi, late Aramaic ca. 31 A.D., Mark 5:41, (Little girl arise)
Ephphathalate Aramaic ca. 31 A.D., Mark 7:34, (Be opened)
Hosannalate Aramaic ca. 31 A.D., Mark 11:9, 
(Save us, Help us we pray)
Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani, late Aramaic ca. 33 A.D., Mark 15:34 (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?, a parallel verse from Psalm 22:1)
Siloam, late Aramaic ca. 31 A.D., John 9:7 (Sent)
Jesuslate Aramaic ca. 1 B.C., Matthew 1:21 (salvation)
B’siyata d’shmaya,  with the help of heaven

Pearls of Wisdom

Open my riddle...

"I will incline my ear to a proverb. I will open my riddle on the harp."

Psalm 46:4 (WEB)

Photo Credit:

It has been said that the New Testament reveals that which is in the Old Testament concealed, and vice versa. 

No matter where we look in the Bible we can find gems and pearls, crowns and cloaks, doors and porches, pillars and high places. See Pillars of the Earth, or Crown Royal. They are found to the left under "P" for Pillar of Smoke and "C" for Cedar of Lebanon.

It is best to look at both sets of writings, for in so doing, many discoveries are made, ideas are planted and then grow, prophecies explained and fulfilled, and doors found for the key in your hand. The Top 100 verses page has a section known as parallelism, a figure of speech type, which compares 100 Old Testament verses to 100 New Testament verses. The Figure of Speech Dictionary to the right explains this term and many others. 

A curious thing about the parallel verses section is that from time to time the New Testament counterpart fulfills its Old Testament prophecy or shows something in reverse, or perhaps may complete a set of thoughts...

Plain Language vs. Figurative Language

"They are all plain to him who understands, right to those who find knowledge."
Proverbs 8:9 (WEB)

"His disciples said to him, “Behold, now you speak plainly, and speak no figures of speech."
John 16:29 (WEB)

Sound Counsel

"To know wisdom and instruction; to discern the words of understanding; to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young man: that the wise man may hear, and increase in learning; that the man of understanding may attain to sound counsel: to understand a proverb, and parables, the words and riddles of the wise. 
Proverbs 1:2-6 (WEB)

Here we see Bible verses, and Bible quotes, from Bible characters using figurative language and even Jesus' own disciples had commentary about this figurative language.

These figures of speech are found either as a single word or two, as seen above, known as a trope.

Otherwise they are found as a grammatical rearrangement, rhyme, or repetition structure known as a figure.

Rhetoric and its abuse

The term "rhetoric" is an adaptation stemming from a figure of speech type known as a rhetorical question. Rhetoric is what many people debate over, as in deliberation.

The term "figurative language" is an eloquent reference to illustrious spoken language using particular figures of speech. It became popular to display one's cleverness through mastery of the use of figurative language in the 18th and 19th centuries and at the same time implied one's stature in the Kingdom for being so "blessed." This became a trap and a snare.

During the latter part of the 19th century the study of figurative language got carried away by this mindset which caused the study to become abhorred due to a lofty, charismatic stature associated with its use and abuse. It did alot of harm to the image and principles of true christianity:

"Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day." 
Isaiah 65:5 (KJV)

Why may they not See?

"He said, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of God’s Kingdom, but to the rest in parables; that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’"
Luke 8:10 (WEB)

What may they not Understand?

We have a collection of tropes here to the left where they are called Bible Figures of SpeechTropes can be found individually or in group formation and clusters as above.

Sometimes they include signs and wonders embedded in their midst, such as with the following:

Sour Grapes

"What do you mean, that you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?"
Ezekiel 18:2 (WEB)

Photo Credit:

When they become a larger species, they become a linguistic entity of which there are four types. These types of classifications are found to the right in the Figure of Speech Dictionary.

Consider this well known example of Anadiplosis, which is a repetition:

Blind Leading the Blind

"Leave them alone. They are blind guides of the blind. If the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit."
Matthew 15:14 (WEB)

The four linguistic classifications are as follows:

Phonology, the attributes associated with the sound of spoken words such as with rhymes and poetry;

Morphologythe attributes associated with the way words are constructed and the word root, with variations, conjugations, and evolution, also known as etymology;

Syntax, the arrangement or groupings of tropes and other word phrases which have pleasing or musical sound qualities which include cadence, pattern, and rhythm;

Semantics, the meaning of words, the double meaning of words, and the similarities of other words that are identical, similar, or sound like another; and clever substitutions. Beware of cleverness.

Faith vs. Logic

Figure of speech study is a way of analyzing truth according to what we read. Logic is an interesting subcategory of figures of speech and falls under this domain. There are 8 types of logic as found in the Figure of Speech Dictionary to the right.

In logic there is one set of values such as 1 + 1. There is also only one possible outcome: 2. In applying the same principle to a sentence of written truth, we see that when encountering a short saying (which is a trope by definition), that more than one possible outcome could be. This would be considered illogical.

This is where a logical system fails and a system of faith rules by way of prayer and supplication. Faith requires the understanding of many things associated with language since language is our only clue, but submission of multiple truths to counsel from above provides the certainty of our path. Many mistakes made by people of faith is that they think God didn't answer their prayers.

Since we are only looking for one outcome, we often overlook another option which was the answer sought and given. And the Bible tells us the path to the answer we seek may contain a 40 day or 40 year journey, not the answer we had in mind.

The Hebrew Root

The origin of the word, "Behold," is found in the Hebrew language where it is seen written as  הִנֵּה . Most people in the "Western World" looking at this would probably say "huh"? rather than "hey", its real meaning. They would certainly not be able to pronounce it, so a convenient form of Hebrew known as the transliterated form, has emerged, similarly to what happened to the Japanese language in the latter 20th century.

"Behold", in a transliterated form, is written "Hinei", which is a compound word in Hebrew found more than a thousand times in the Bible.

The Hebrew Root word of this figure i"hey"which is also the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew Root section up above provides access to knowledge about the Hebrew language, its alphabet, and figures of speech, both in traditional Hebrew script and in transliterated Hebrew.

Each letter is a core value from which all other words evolve and are built from, from the center outward. Single syllable words have "sounds like" qualities tied to an alphabetical letter. Multiple syllable words merge the concepts of multiple alphabetical letters to build the bigger word. If the bigger words change meanings, there is a shift of paradigm or reality.

"Behold", means "hey look" in Hebrew. It consists of three letters, and basicly starts and ends with an "H" sound.

The oldest Figures of Speech

A Proverb is an example of one of the oldest forms of figurative writing style as found in the Bible. There are hundreds of classifications of Figure of Speech types and a Proverb is probably the most well-known of all.

Parables are also well known as early examples of figurative language as is the popularity of Hebrew parallelism. These two latter types are elementary in their simplicity and ease of understanding.

A Proverb by definition is, "a succinct expression of truth". The word succinct has a meaning of, concise or “neat and tidy”, maybe also short and sweet.

By unearthing small truths or simply studying the linguistic attributes of "Figures of Speech", we are led closer to God and the origins of mankind.

The farther back we go, the closer we get to the beginning, and in so doing, it paints a clearer picture of our purpose here in this temporary place and provides a degree of certainty about tomorrow. 

Behold some proverbs

Aaronic blessing
The Aaronic Blessing is the Blessing of Aaron. It reads: "Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘This is how you shall bless the children of Israel.’..."Numbers 6:23-26
Book of Jashar
The song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar...2 Samuel 1:18
Cedar of Lebanon
Cedar of Lebanon trees said, “Since you are humbled, no lumberjack has come up against us.”...Isaiah 14:8
double_edged sword
Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations...Revelation 19:15
En Hakkore
Therefore its name was called En Hakkore...Judges 15:19
Fruit of the Spirit
"...But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
God of Nahor
The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” Then Jacob swore by the fear of his father, Isaac...Genesis 31:53
He who believes
"'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water.'"John 7:37-39
Iron sharpens iron
Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend’s countenance...Proverb 27:17
Jar of oil
The jar of meal didn’t run out, and the jar of oil did not fail, according to Yahweh’s word, which he spoke by Elijah...1 Kings 17:16
Kishon River
The Kishon River is a figure of speech found in the bible which refers to an event where the River Kishon swept away the enemy of Israel's army... Judges 5:21
Loving kindness
"Yahweh is slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, forgiving iniquity and disobedience; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers....", Numbers 14:18
Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin
This is the writing that was inscribed: Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin. This is the interpretation of the thing...Daniel 5:25-26
...the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because in those days the children of Israel burned incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan...2 Kings 18:4
Ox Goad
After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad. He also saved Israel...Judges 3:31
Pillar of smoke
A Pillar of smoke as found in the bible is found:"I will pour out my Spirit. I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, fire, and pillars of smoke".Joel 2:29-30
Queen of Sheba
When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning Yahweh’s name, she came to test him with hard questions. 1 Kings 10:1
Rachels tomb
When you have departed from me today, then you will find two men by Rachels tomb, on the border of Benjamin at Zelzah. They will tell you...1 Samuel 10:2
Solid Food
" again need to have someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the revelations of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food." Hebrews 5:12
Twinkling of an eye
" a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed..." 1 Corinthians 15:52
Understanding Heart
"Give your servant therefore an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this great people of yours?”, 1 Kings 3:9
Visions of the night
My ear received a whisper of it. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, fear came on me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake...Job 4:12-14
Worthy Lamb
The Worthy Lamb is in the Bible::...saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing!”...Revelation 5:12
Yah of Praise
Yah of Praise is Hallelu-yah."Trust in Yahweh forever; for in Yah, Yahweh, is an everlasting Rock." Isaiah 26:4
“Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion.” I will tell of the decree. Yahweh said to me, “You are my son. Today I have become your father..." Psalm 2:6-7

Return to  Home 

Figure of Speech Dictionary

Bible verse
of the day