The Berean Expositor
Volume 51 - Page 5 of 181
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WIT, WIST, WOT. These are old English words meaning to know or discover. In
Gen. 24: 21 we have Abraham's servant and his attitude to Rebekah "wondering at her
held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not", that is
to learn or know whether the Lord had prospered his journey or not. Later on, when
Moses as a baby was put in a basket by the river's bank, "his sister stood afar off, to wit
what would be done to him" (Exod. 2: 4). She wanted to know what the result of this
action would be.
There is a well-known verse in Luke 2: 49 giving the Lord's reply to His parents'
reproach, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?". The N.I.V. renders
it "Didn't you know I had to be in My Father's house?". There is no word for "business"
in the Greek. In II Cor. 8: 1 the A.V. rendering is, "Moreover, brethren, we do you
to wit of the grace of God . . . . .", which means we cause you to know. Sixteen times the
A.V. translators insert to wit, without any corresponding Hebrew or Greek word or
words. This was done in 1611 for clarity. One well-known verse is Rom. 8: 23 ". . .
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body". Wit, wist, and wot are
quite obsolete today.
WITCH. Twice this word appears in the A.V. (Exod. 22: 18 and Deut. 18: 10).
In the second occurrence the word is masculine and it is difficult to know why the
translators used the word "witch" here, specially as they have rendered it "sorcerers"
where it occurs in Exod. 7: 11, Dan. 2: 2 and Mal. 3: 5.  These people were
equivalent to spiritist mediums in touch with the demonic world under Satan's
domination. The great danger of this and the possibility of it affecting the Lord's people
accounts for the extreme penalty that God prescribed.
WITHAL. This preposition is an archaic form of "with" which found its place at the
end of a clause or question. "To overlay the walls of the houses withal" (I.Chron.xxix.4)
is typical. In the majority of cases, it can be omitted as the sense is perfectly clear
without it. The A.V. uses it 24 times.
WITHS.  Delilah, we are told, bound Samson with "seven green withs"
(Judges 16: 7-9). These were seven bow-strings such as we have in Psa. 11: 2 "For, lo,
the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string . . . . .". In these
texts "withs" and "string" are the same Hebrew word yether.
WOE WORTH. Once only does this archaic expression appear in the Bible, namely
in Ezek. 30: 2 "Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Howl ye,
Woe worth the day". This means "alas, for the day". "Worth" is an obsolete verb
meaning become or happen.  "Woe betide the day" is less archaic and would be
understood at the present time.