Imagine

IMAGINE, as a verb, four Heb. and one Gr. word are so tr. in the VSS. In all cases the older Eng. definition of the term meaning “the plotting” or “scheming” of a wicked design against either God or His anointed servants is implied. This notion appears a number of times in the OT. The Heb. terms so tr. are: 1. זָמַם, H2372, “drone,” “ponder,” secondarily “to think” (Gen 11:6); in all other passages tr. by KJV “thought” (Deut 19:19, et al.);

2. חָרַשׁ, H3086, “plough,” “engrave” and secondarily “to devise” (Prov 12:20); in all other passages tr. by KJV “plow” (Deut 22:10, et al.);

3. הָגָה, H2047, “mutter,” “recite” (Pss 2:1; 38:12); in all other passages tr. by KJV “speak” (Ps 35:28, et al.);

4. חָשַׁב, H3108, “think,” the most common verb of this type and tr. “imagine” nine times in the KJV but much more frequently “thought” (Gen 38:15 et al.). The JPS and all other modern VSS dispense with the older meaning of the verb “to imagine” altogether.

In the NT only one occurrence of the word is noted in the KJV (Acts 4:25) where it is used to tr. the verb Gr. μελέταω, “practice,” “meditate” and only secondarily “conspire in vain.” The context is a direct quote from Psalm 2:1, noted above under 3. All the major Eng. VSS have followed the OT reading and read “imagine a vain thing” at this place. The reading is archaic but because of its connection with the majestic second Psalm it has become one of the classics of the language.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)