Groan

The English word, noun and verb, is an attempt to imitate the vocal sound which is expressive of severe pain or distress, physical or mental. It is cognate with the Scottish dialect word girn, and with grin in its original obsolete sense, as used in the Anglican Prayer-book version of Ps 59:6,14, "grin like a dog and go about the city"; here "grin" is a translation of hamah, and means the sound of the nightly howling of the pariah dogs in Jerusalem and other oriental cities. It is used in the Old Testament:


(2) The expression of suffering on the part of beasts, hungry and thirsty in drought (Joe 1:18).

(3) The manifestation of mental and spiritual distress as in Ps 6:6; 102:20 (the Revised Version (British and American) "sighing").

(4) Metaphorically groaning is the despairing note of Egypt in the prophecy of her overthrow by Babylon, the sound being that uttered by a deadly wounded man (Eze 30:24; similarly in the prophecy of the Persian conquest the misery of Babylon is thus represented by Jer 51:52); and the misery of Tyre when taken by Babylon is similarly described (Eze 26:15, the King James Version "cry").

The word for "sigh" (’anachah) is closely allied, and the meanings are sufficiently akin, so that the terms seem interchangeable. A sigh is physically a sign of respiratory distress due to depressed action of the heart; sighing is consequently the indication of physical weakness or mental disquietude, as Ps 12:5; 31:10; 79:11; Isa 21:2; 24:7; 35:10; Jer 45:3.

Na’aq is the crying of persons dying or starving, as in Eze 30:24; Job 24:12. A somewhat similar word, haghah, means the complaining sound like that of the cooing of doves (Isa 59:11; Na 2:7). Nehi is the sound of lamentation of the dead (Jer 9:10; 31:15; Am 5:16).