‘well-fed animal.’ (Isa. 5:17; Ezek. 39:18; see also Proverbs 15:17; Jeremiah 46:21.) However, in each case, this does not mean that this ‘fattening’ was for the purpose of producing suet or layers of fat; rather, the sense again is that the animals became full-fleshed (“beefy”), not skinny.—Compare Genesis 41:18, 19.
OTHER HEBREW TERMS
Among the Hebrew terms used to describe anything in a “fat” condition are those derived from the root verb sha·manʹ. While meaning ‘to be or become fat’ (Deut. 32:15; Jer. 5:28), it also conveys the thought of “stout” or “robust.” Judges 3:29 describes certain Moabites as “every one robust [sha·menʹ, literally, “fat”] and every one a valiant man.” Sha·menʹ appears at Isaiah 6:10, where the Authorized Version reads “make the heart of this people fat,” that is, unresponsive and dull as if their hearts were enveloped in fat. The related sheʹmen is usually translated “oil.”
‘Freshness or thriving’ may be the thought behind the verb da·shenʹ, also used literally to mean ‘to be or become fat.’ If that is the case, da·shenʹ (and the related deʹshen) would imply prosperity, fertility, or abundance. Jehovah told Israel that he would bring them to a land “which flows with milk and honey, and they will certainly eat and be satisfied and grow fat [da·shenʹ].” (Deut. 31:20) We are told that those who are generous, diligent and reliant on Jehovah “will be made fat,” that is, prosper abundantly. (Prov. 11:25; 13:4; 28:25) At Proverbs 15:30 good news is said to ‘make the bones fat,’ or fill them with marrow—in other words, the whole body is invigorated. The noun deʹshen also reflects this idea of affluence, as at Psalm 36:8, where the sons of men are said to “drink their fill of the fatness [deʹshen; “abundance,” RS]” of God’s house.—Compare Jeremiah 31:14.
Interestingly, this latter word is also rendered “ashes” by many translators, as when referring to the wastes from the tabernacle’s altar of sacrifice. (Lev. 1:16; 4:12; 6:10, 11, AV, JB, RS) To other scholars, however, “ashes” does not fully reflect the original language root. They, therefore, prefer such terms as “fat-ashes” (Ro), or “fatty ashes” (NW), reasoning that the term indicates that the hot fat from the sacrifices soaked the burnt firewood below.
The idea of being well fed and healthy is expressed by the word ba·riʼʹ. It is translated “plump” (Ezek. 34:3, 20) and “healthful” (Hab. 1:16), though it may also be rendered as “fat” in describing men, cattle and grain.—Gen. 41:2, 7; Judg. 3:17.
[Heb., ʼav; Gr., pa·terʹ].
The Hebrew word ʼav is a mimetic (imitative) word taken from the first and simplest sounds of infant lips. In Biblical Hebrew and Greek, “father” is used in various senses: as begetter, progenitor of an individual (Prov. 23:22; Zech. 13:3; Luke 1:67), as the head of a household or ancestral family (Gen. 24:40; Ex. 6:14), an ancestor (Gen. 28:13; John 8:53), a founder of a nation (Matt. 3:9), a founder of a class or profession (Gen. 4:20, 21, NW, 1953, ftn.), a protector (Job 29:16; Ps. 68:5), the source of something (Eph. 1:17), and as a term of respect.—2 Ki. 5:13; Acts 7:2.
Jehovah God as Creator is called Father. (Isa. 64:8; compare Acts 17:28, 29.) He is also the Father of spirit-begotten Christians, the Aramaic term ʼAb·baʼʹ being used as an expression of respect and of close filial relationship. (Rom. 8:15; see ABBA.) All who express faith with a hope of everlasting life can address God as Father. (Matt. 6:9) Jesus Christ, the Messiah, because of being God’s chief agent of life, was prophetically called Father. (Isa. 9:6) Also, anyone who has imitators and followers or those who exhibit his qualities is regarded as a father to them. (Matt. 5:44, 45; Rom. 4:11, 12) In this sense the Devil is spoken of as a father.—John 8:44; compare Genesis 3:15.
Applying “father” to men as a formalistic or religious title was forbidden by Jesus. (Matt. 23:9) Because of Paul’s bringing the good news to certain Christians and nourishing them spiritually he was like a father to them, but in no scripture is “father” applied to him as a religious title. (1 Cor. 4:14, 15) Interestingly, Paul likened himself to both a father and a mother in his relation to the Thessalonian Christians. (1 Thess. 2:7, 11) Whereas reference is made at Luke 16:24, 30 to “Father Abraham,” this is basically in the sense of fleshly ancestry.
THE FATHER’S POSITION, AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES
As described in the Bible the father was the head of the household, being guardian, protector, the one making final decisions and the judge of the family group. (Gen. 3:16; 1 Cor. 11:3; Gen. 31:32) Among the patriarchs and in Israel before the selection of the Levitical priesthood, the father took the lead in representing his family in worship as a priest. (Gen. 12:8; Job 1:5; Ex. 19:22) The father had authority over his household until his death. If the son married and set up an independent household, then he became head over it, although due respect was still shown toward the father. When a daughter married, she came under the headship of her husband. (Num. 30:3-8) In Bible times the father usually arranged for the marriage of his children. If he came into dire financial straits, he could sell his daughter into slavery, with certain restrictions for her protection.—Ex. 21:7.
FATHERLY CONCERN FOR THE FAMILY MEMBERS
As God’s representative, the father is responsible to see that God’s principles are taught to his household. (Gen. 18:19; Eph. 6:4; Deut. 6:6, 7) His teaching and disciplinary duties also include personal instructions and commands, which the mother assists in carrying out. (Prov. 1:8; 6:20) The God-fearing father has great love for his children and exhorts and consoles them with great tenderness. (1 Thess. 2:11; Hos. 11:3) So that they might walk in the right way he disciplines them, corrects and reproves them. (Heb. 12:9; Prov. 3:12) He finds pleasure in his sons and especially does he rejoice when they display wisdom. (Prov. 10:1) On the other hand, he is deeply grieved and vexed by a course of stupidity on the part of his children. (Prov. 17:21, 25) He is to be compassionate and merciful. (Mal. 3:17; Ps. 103:13) He is to be considerate of their needs and requests. (Matt. 7:9-11) The many descriptions of God’s love and care for his people constitute a pattern for human fathers.
GENEALOGICAL USE OF FATHER’S NAME
Ancestry of a man was customarily traced back through the father, not through the mother. Thus, whereas there seems to be sound reason for believing that Luke presents Jesus’ genealogy through his mother (an exception to the general rule), Luke does not list her. Apparently he lists her husband Joseph as the son of Heli, evidently Mary’s father. This would not be improper in the least, since Joseph would therefore be Heli’s son-in-law.—See GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST.
In the absence of family names (surnames), a man was regularly distinguished by being referred to as the son of “So-and-so.” For example, Isaac was called the “son of Abraham.” (Gen. 25:19) Many Hebrew names included the Hebrew ben or Aramaic bar (or bir), “son,” followed by the name of the father as a surname, such as Ben-hur (1 Ki. 4:8, RS; “the son of Hur,” NW) and Simon Bar-Jonah (Simon son of Jonah).—Matt. 16:17, NW, 1953, ftn.; AV.