Lust


The consequences of evil lust are not only privation of good, but also enslavement, suffering, and death. Shades of meaning are learned from an examination of the Hebrew and Greek originals.

The Old Testament Use

In the Old Testament נֶ֫פֶשׁ, H5883, the soul, is used as the seat of the appetites and is sometimes rendered “lust.” This would include such natural wants as the hunger of the physical body: “...they tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved” (...“by asking meat for their lust” KJV, Ps 78:18). Other passages, however, denote an Evil lust against which warning is given (e.g. Prov 6:25).

The substantive and verbs are:

(1) Nephesh, in Ex 15:9 and Ps 78:18 translated "desire"; "My desire shall be satisfied"; "by asking food according to their desire." A strong but not sensual sense.

(2) Sheriruth, meaning "obstinacy," evil imagination. Yahweh said (Ps 81:12), "I let them go after the stubbornness of their heart," a willful self-satisfaction.

(3) Ta’awah, "a delight" "a longing satisfaction," and so it came to mean "sinful pleasure." Translated in Ps 78:30, "that which they desired," intensely longed for, referring to Yahweh’s provision of food in the wilderness. Also in Nu 11:4 concerning "flesh to eat" it is said the multitude "lusted exceedingly" i.e. "craved eagerly.

(4) Chamadh, the verb meaning "to delight in," "greatly belove," "covet," probably for evil purposes. The young man is warned against the evil woman (Pr 6:25): "Lust not after her beauty." Here the bad sense is evident, for in the same connection are used such expressions as "harlot," "adulteress," "evil woman."

(5) ’Awah, meaning "greatly to desire," long after, with undue emphasis, with evil spirit though not perhaps with impure thought. In Nu 11:34 reference is made to a place called qibhroth ha-ta’wah, "the graves of lust, where "they buried the people that lusted." Ps 106:14 also refers to the Israelites who "lusted exceedingly." Translated in De 12:15,21 "desire of thy soul"; 12:20; 14:26, "thy soul desireth." These Deuteronomy passages evidently mean lust only in the good sense.

The New Testament Use


As in the Old Testament, so in the New Testament we find both meanings of the word.


(2) Hedone, delight in sensuality, hence, wicked pleasures; translated in Jas 4:1,3 "pleasures": "Your pleasures that war in your members"; "Ye ask amiss, that ye may spend it in your pleasures" (the King James Version "lust").

(3) Epipotheo means to crave intensely the wrong possession; translated in Jas 4:5 "long (the King James Version "lusteth") unto envying."

(4) Orexis, used in Ro 1:27, from context evidently meaning "lust" in the worst sense; translated "lust."

(5) Pathos, meaning "passion" inordinate affection, with the idea in it of suffering; translated in 1Th 4:5 "passion of lust."

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