Care; Carefulness; Careful

kar, kar'-fool-ness, kar'-fool: The English word "care" has such a variety of meanings, and so many Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible are translated by this English expression and its compounds, that it is difficult to organize them into a single brief article. We may do so, however, by remembering that into our word are really woven two strands, one Teutonic and one Latin. The former element implies a measure of trouble or sorrow, as the pain from a blow, a throb, a distress in the mind; the latter, from Latin cura, implies a stretching forward, attention to some person or thing. We can often discern these two senses side by side in the Bible, and sometimes they almost run into one another. This is so especially in the King James Version. We can treat the subject best by keeping separate, as far as possible, these two senses.

I. In the Sense of Anxiety, Solicitude.

1. Substantives:

In the Old Testament several words are translated "care" in this sense. "Thy father hath left off caring for the asses," concern about them literally, "matters of the asses" (dibhre, 1Sa 10:2). "They shall eat bread by weight, and with care" (de'-aghah, "carefulness" the Revised Version (British and American); "fearfulness" the American Standard Revised Version, Eze 4:16). The same word is rendered carefulness (the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American); "fearfulness," the American Standard Revised Version, Eze 12:18-19); and "fear" (King James Version; "carefulness," the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version, Jos 22:24). Again, "heaviness" (the Kings James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version), but "care" (the Revised Version, margin and the American Revised Version, margin, Pr 12:25). Once more, "sorrow" (the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version), but "care" (the Revised Version, margin and the American Revised Version, margin, Jer 49:23). There is also the word charadhah "trembling," "fear," "anxiety." It is rendered "trembling" (Ge 27:33 the King James Version). But "thou hast been careful for us with all this care" ("showed us all this reverence," the Revised Version, margin, the American Revised Version, margin, 2Ki 4:13).

In the New Testament, "care," in the sense of anxiety, is the meaning given to merimna, the condition of being drawn mentally in different directions, distraction of mind. "Care of the world" (Mt 13:22; Mr 4:19; Lu 8:14, "cares of this life," Lu 21:34); "care of all the churches" (2Co 11:28) ("anxiety," the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version); "casting all your care upon him" ("anxiety," the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version, 1Pe 5:7). Also in the Apocrypha, "My heart faileth for care" (1 Macc 6:10); "Care bringeth old age before the time" (Sirach 30:24). To these may be added the adjective amerimnos, "I would have you without carefulness" (King James Version; "free from cares," the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version, 1Co 7:32).

2. Verbs:

In the Old Testament (da'agh, "to have concern or anxiety for"). "Not be careful in the year of drought" (Jer 17:8). (sum lebh, "to set the heart upon"), "If we flee away, they will not care for us" ("set their heart upon us" King James Version, margin, 2Sa 18:3).

In the New Testament (memrinao), "Thou art careful and troubled" ("anxious" the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version, Lu 10:41). "He that is unmarried careth for things that belong to the Lord" ("is careful for," the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version, 1Co 7:32-34). "Members should have the same care one for another" (1Co 12:25). "Who will naturally care (the American Standard Revised Version "care truly") for your state" (Php 2:20). "Be careful for nothing" ("in nothing be anxious," the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version, Php 4:6). The Apocrypha has "careful" (Baruch 3:18) and the Revised Version (British and American) has "be not careful overmuch," where a distinction is plainly made between care in the sense of anxiety and of attention, for a person cannot be too attentive, but he may be too anxious (2 Esdras 2:27).

The impersonal verb (melei), though not quite so strong as merimnao, always implies a degree of concern higher than is felt in mere attention. "Carest thou not that we perish?" (Mr 4:38). "Carest not for anyone" (the King James Version "no man," Mt 22:16; Mr 12:14). "Dost thou not care that my sister did leave me to serve alone?" (Lu 10:40). "Careth not for the sheep" (Joh 10:13). "Cared for the poor" (Joh 12:6). "Gallio cared for none of these things" (Ac 18:17). "Care not for it" (1Co 7:21). "He careth for you" (1Pe 5:7). "Doth God care for oxen?" (better, "Is it for the oxen that God careth?" the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version, 1Co 9:9).

II. In the Sense of Attention.

1. Substantives:

In the sense of attention, with the flavor of earnestness added from the original Teutonic meaning of the word care, we have the translation of spoude, "speed," "earnest care." "What carefulness it wrought in you" ("earnest care," the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version, 2Co 7:11). "Our care for you in the sight of God" ("earnest care," the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version, 2Co 7:12). "Put the same care into the heart of Titus" ("earnest care," the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version, 2Co 8:16). We have also phronein, the infin. used as a substantive "Your care for me hath flourished" ("thought," the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version, Php 4:10). Also phrontis,"thought" ("care" the American Standard Revised Version, The Wisdom of Solomon 6:17; 7:4).

2. Verbs:

"A land which Yahweh thy God careth for" darash, "seek after") ("seeketh after," the Revised Version, margin, the American Revised Version, margin, De 11:12). "No man careth for my soul" ("sought" King James Versions margin, Ps 142:4; chashach). "We are not careful to answer" (King James Version, also compare the margin, the American Revised Version, margin; "We have no need to answer," the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version, Da 3:16). In the New Testament epimeleomai, "Take care of him" (Lu 10:34-35). "How shall he take care of the church of God?" (1Ti 3:5). phrontizo, "to be thoughtful or mindful of," "may be careful to maintain good works" (Tit 3:8).

G. H. Trever

 
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