[B-Greek] poneros & related words
Jeffrey B. Gibson
jgibson000 at comcast.net
Wed Aug 8 23:19:18 EDT 2007
Steve Wade wrote:
> I wonder if you can help me understand the meaning of poneros with a
> practical example?
Do you mean example of use? Where the term is applied in biblical literature?
> If I have correctly understood these other words and
> their application: how does poneros relate to them?
One thing you need to keep in mind is that you are comparing adjectives with
nouns. You are also ignoring that the words you point to have "non moral"
As to examples, why not look at the entries for your words in the online LSJ?
FWIW, here is an article on "bad" that I wrote for the New Interpreters'
Dictionary of the Bible.
BAD, TO BE [Heb [r; ra±, [v'r' r¹sh¹±; Gk PONHROS, PONHRIA, KAKOS,
In Hebrew and Greek usage the ascription “bad” frequently signifies a
negative evaluation of the appearance, quality, desirability, utility, or
capacity for benefit, of persons, things, actions, words, and states of being
in the light of given aesthetic norms or standards of practicality, usefulness,
or well being.
Thus, “to be bad” is to be “no good” in the sense of “worthless” or
“of little value” (Lev 27.10, 12; Num 24:13) or “corrupt” in the sense
of “unfit to be eaten” (Jer 24:2; 29:17; Matt 6:23; 7:17). It is also to
be potentially or actually “harmful”, “painful” or “injurious“ to a
person or thing or to one’s reputation (Gen 26:29; Deut 22:15; Josh 23:15; Neh
6:13; Rev 16:2), to be “unseemly”, “ugly” or “repugnant” in
appearance, character, or form (Gen 41:3; Ex 7:18; Isa 50:2), “troubling”
or “distressing” (Josh 23:15; Jer 49:23; Ps 94:13) or even “sad making”
(Gen 40:7) .
“Bad” is also part of the terminology of moral evaluation and signifies a
failure on the part of individuals and groups to act according to accepted
behavioural norms, ethical or legal standards, and covenantal obligations, or
to have any concern for the God of Israel and his ways. In addition, it is used
of actions that have the effect of hindering, harming, or severing proper
relationships to other persons or principles.
Thus “to be bad” means to be “socially and morally reprehensible”,
“evil” (Matt 24:48; Phil 3:2; Rev 2:2) and implies a capacity, tendency,
or an intent to be harmful or damaging to persons, objects, or relationships.
(Deut 17:5; 1Sam 2:23; 1Kings 16:7; Ezek 20:44; 30:12). It can also mean to be
“criminal” or “guilty” when violation of a legal code or the social
rights of others is in view (Ps 109:7), “wicked” or “unrighteous” or
“sinful” when the focus is a person or a group’s covenant unfaithfulness
(2 Sam. 4:11; 2 Kings 17:11; Mk. 8:11; Lk. 11:29), or when one is intentionally
neglectful or disdainful of one’s obligations and duties (Ps. 1:1).
Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
e-mail jgibson000 at comcast.net
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