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What does the Bible mean by the word 'vanity'?

Does it mean in Hebrew and Greek the same as English or is there a deeper meaning?

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Vanity has several similar meanings translated from the following words in the King James Version:

2 Kings 17:15 - Vanity = hebel, a breath, means insubstantial, worthless and refers to idols in this passage. This is the word translated "Vanity" throughout the book of Ecclesiastes.

 

Job 15:31 - Vanity = shav, emptiness, worthlessness, lying

 

Job 15:35 - Vanity = aven, to pant, gasp, to exert oneself for nothing, trouble, wickedness, sorrow

 

Isaiah 40:17 - Vanity = tohu, formless, chaotic, empty, used here of the nations in God's estimation. Used in Genesis 1:2 "...the earth was without form" It is also used in Isaiah to describe the worthlessness of idols and idolatry - see 44:9.

 

Romans 8:20 - Vanity = mataiotes, devoid of truth, good for nothing, utterly inappropriate.  Only other occurences are: Ephesians 4:17 and 2 Peter 2:18. These speak ofthe worthlessness of the Godless way of life and the lying words of false teachers.

 

The Old Testament references do not constitute a comprehensive list just samples of each word translated "vanity" in the KJV.  In the New Testament, the word translated "vanity" occurs only in the verses cited.

 

I hope you have found this helpful.

May God bless you,
Mike,
thisisyourbible.com

 
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