Fret, Fretting

FRET, FRETTING. In all, seven separate Heb. terms are so tr. by the Eng. VSS. 1. חָרָה֒, H3013, the common verb “to be angry,” which appears frequently (Gen 44:18, et al.) often is tr. “fret yourself/himself,” when it occurs in the hithpa’el form, lit. “cause oneself to be angry” (Ps 37:1, 7, 8, et al.)

2. מָאַר, H4421, “painful” appears only in Leviticus 13:51, 52; 14:44 and in Ezekiel 28:24 (KJV) “pricking,” (RSV) “to prick”; the same root metathesized appears in Ruth 1:20, “Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara (bitterness, pain).” The VSS therefore are incorrect and the word should be understood as “cause yourself pain.”

3. רָעַמ֒, H8306, “to thunder,” “to cause trembling,” (KJV) “make her fret” (RSV) “to irritate her” should be understood in its secondary meaning “be humbled” as in Ezekiel 27:35 (KJV) “troubled,” (RSV) “convulsed” should be understood as “humbled.”


5. רָגַז, H8074, “be agitated,” “to tremble” (Deut 2:25, et al. frequently). KJV mistakenly trs. this term as “fret” only in Ezekiel 16:43; RSV “enraged” should be tr., “Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have provoked me...” as in Job 12:6 (KJV).

6. זָעַפ֒, H2406, “be angry,” “be embittered” (Isa 30:30) mistakenly tr. “fret” by KJV only in Proverbs 19:3, properly tr. by KJV in 2 Chronicles 26:19.

7. קָצַף, H7911, “be wrathful,” “wrath,” an Old Canaanite term, occurs as a gloss in Amarna Letter, 93:5; 82:51. Akkad. ašāšu(m), “to be afflicted,” “troubled,” is mistakenly tr. “shall fret themselves” by KJV and JPS in Isaiah 8:21. It should be tr. “they will be enraged” (RSV). Undoubtedly much of the difficulty with these words is due to the wide semantic range given “to fret” in Tudor Eng. so that it became a catchall for the more difficult and oblique Heb. verbs.

Article 2

(charah, ma’ar):

To "fret" is from for (prefix) and etan, "to eat," "to consume." The word is both transitive and intransitive in King James Version:

(1) transitive as translation of charah, "to burn," Hithpael, "to fret one’s self," "to be angry" (Ps 37:1, "Fret not thyself because of evil-doers"; Ps 37:7,8; Pr 24:19); of qatsaph, "to be angry," etc. (Isa 8:21, "They shall fret themselves, and curse," etc.); of raghaz, to be moved" (with anger, etc.) (Eze 16:43, "Thou hast fretted me in all these things," the American Standard Revised Version "raged against me"). For Le 13:55, see under Fretting below.

(2) Intransitive, it is the translation of ra`am, "to rage," Hiphil, "to provoke to anger" (1Sa 1:6, "Her rival provoked her sore, to make her fret"); of za`aph, "to be sad," "to fret" (Pr 19:3, "His heart fretteth against Yahweh").

Fretting in the sense of eating away, consuming, is used of the leprosy, ma’ar, "to be sharp, bitter, painful" (Le 13:51,52; 14:44, "a fretting leprosy"; in Le 13:55 we have "it (is) fret inward" ("fret" past participle), as the translation of pehetheth from pahath, "to dig" (a pit), the word meaning "a depression," "a hollow or sunken spot in a garment affected by a kind of leprosy," the Revised Version (British and American) "it is a fret."

Revised Version has "fretful" for "angry" (Pr 21:19), margin "vexation."