An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 10 - Practical Truth - Page 203 of 277
'I have waited for Thy salvation' (Gen. 49:18).
'Wait on the Lord, and keep His way' (Psa. 37:34).
To anyone acquainted with the Hebrew, the two passages wherein Paul
associates the words 'to gather together' with the Second Coming of Christ
will be seen in clearer light (2 Thess. 2:1; Heb. 10:25).
The word which we now consider occurs as a verb only eight times in the
whole Hebrew Scriptures.  It is translated 'to view', 'to hope', 'to tarry'
and 'to wait'.  As a noun it occurs but twice and is translated 'hope'.  The
word is sabar (and users of Parkhurst should avoid confusing this with shabar
'to break').
When Nehemiah 'viewed' the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 2:13,15), this is
the word used.  The translation from 'looking' to 'waiting' and 'hoping' is
seen in Psalm 145:15 and Psalm 104:27:
'The eyes of all wait upon Thee'.
'These wait all upon Thee'.
In one case here the eyes are mentioned and in the other they are omitted.
These wait for their 'meat in due season', and the figure of the expectant
child, or even the expectant dog that eagerly anticipates his food, should be
kept in mind.
Isaiah using this word says:
'The grave cannot praise Thee, death cannot celebrate Thee: they that
go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth' (Isa. 38:18).
'I have hoped for Thy salvation' (Psa. 119:166), said the Psalmist, and
we immediately think of Hebrews 9:28:
'Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without
sin unto salvation',
or we think of Titus 2:
'That we should live ... looking for that blessed hope' (Tit. 2:12,13).
The Waiting upon God that implies faithful service
There are seven passages where the Hebrew word shamar is translated
'wait' in the Authorized Version and about the same number in which it is
rendered 'watch'.  Its primary meaning, however, is 'to keep', a translation
that occurs 284 times.
The verb 'to keep' is somewhat ambiguous in English, having to
represent such meanings as 'to watch, to observe, to heed, to celebrate, to
guard, to defend, to maintain in order, to provide sustenance, to stock, to
preserve, to hold in custody, to detain, to reserve or lay up, to hide, to
follow, to stay', and many more shades of meaning.  In the Old Testament the
verb 'to keep' represents twelve different Hebrew words and fifteen Greek
ones in the LXX, besides fourteen combinations such as 'keep alive', 'keep
silence', etc.  Of all these words translated 'keep', the one before us is
perhaps the most suitable.