Bitter; Bitterness

bit'-er, bit'-er-nes (mar, or marah = "bitter" (literally or figuratively); also (noun) "bitterness" or (adverb) "bitterly"; "angry," "chafed," "discontented," "heavy" (Ge 27:34; Ex 15:23; Nu 5:18-19,23-24,27; Es 4:1; Job 3:20; Ps 64:3; Pr 5:4; 27:7; Ec 7:26; Isa 5:20; Jer 2:19; 4:18; Eze 27:31; Am 8:10; Hab 1:6); the derivatives marar, meror, and merorah, used with the same significance according to the context, are found in Ex 1:14; 12:8; Nu 9:11; Job 13:26; Isa 24:9. The derivati ves meri and meriri occur in De 32:24; Job 23:2 (margin); and tamrur, is found in Jer 6:26; 31:15. In the New Testament the verb pikraino = "to embitter"; the adjective pikros = "bitter," and the noun pikria, "bitterness," supply the same ideas in Col 3:19; Jas 3:11,14; Re 8:11; 10:9-10): It will be noted that the word is employed with three principal spheres of application: (1) the physical sense of taste; (2) a figurative meaning in the objective sense of cruel, biting words; intense misery resulting from forsaking God, from a life of sin and impurity; the misery of servitude; the misfortunes of bereavement; (3) more subjectively, bitter and bitterness describe emotions of sympathy;' the sorrow of childlessness and of penitence, of disappointment; the feeling of misery and wretchedness, giving rise to the expression "bitter tears"; (4) the ethical sense, characterizing untruth and immorality as the bitter thing in opposition to the sweetness of truth and the gospel; (5) Nu 5:18 the Revised Version (British and American) speaks of "the water of bitterness that causeth the curse." Here it is employed as a technical term.

Frank E. Hirsch

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