nurs, nurs'-ing: "Nurse" in the King James Version represents two different Hebrew words: In 8 passages (Ge 24:59; 35:8; Ex 2:7,9; 2Ki 11:2; 2Ch 22:11; Isa 49:23) the word--noun or verb--renders some form of the verb yanaq, "to suck." The feminine causative part. of this verb is commonly used to denote nurse or foster-mother. According to Ex 2:7 Moses' mother--"a nurse of the Hebrew women"--became, at Pharaoh's daughter's request, the foster-mother of the foundling. Joash, the son of Ahaziah, was in charge of a nurse until he was 7 years old (2Ki 11:2; 2Ch 22:11). But it is obvious that the term was used in a more general way, e.g. of a lady's maid or tire-woman. Rebekah was accompanied by her nurse when she left home to be married (Ge 24:59; 35:8). In 5 passages (Nu 11:12; Ru 4:16; 2Sa 4:4; Isa 49:23; 60:4 the King James Version) "nurse" represents the Hebrew word, 'aman, "to support," "be faithful," "nourish." The participle of this verb denoted a person who had charge of young children--a guardian or governess. Naomi took charge of Ruth's child "and became nurse unto it" (Ru 4:16). In Nu 11:12 Moses asks whether he has to take charge of the Israelites "as a nursing-father carrieth the sucking child." The same word is found in 2Ki 10:15 (the King James Version "them that brought up," i.e. "guardians of the sons of Ahab) and in Es 2:7 (the King James Version "and he brought up," i.e. he (Mordecai) adopted, his niece). Deutero-Isa uses both terms together (Isa 49:23) to describe the exalted position of Israel in the future when foreign kings and queens will offer their services and wait upon the chosen people.

In the solitary passage in the New Testament where "nurse" occurs, it renders the Greek word trophos. In this case the word does not mean a hired nurse, but a mother who nurses her own children (1Th 2:7).

T. Lewis

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