Man is the rendering mostly of four Hebrew and two Greek words in the English Version. They are used with as much precision as the terms of like import in other languages. Nor is the subject merely critical; it will be found connected with accurate interpretation. In our treatment of the subject we thus supplement what we have stated under the article ADAM SEE ADAM .
1. אָדָם, adam', is used in several senses.
(a.) It is the proper name of the first man, though Gesenius thinks that when so applied it has the force rather of an appellative, and that, accordingly, in a translation, it would be better to render it the man. It seems, however, to be used by Luke as a proper name in the genealogy (Lu 3:38), by Paul (Ro 5:14; 1Ti 2:13-14), and by Jude (ver. 14). Paul's use of it in 1Co 15:45 is remarkably clear: "the first man Adam." It is so employed throughout the Apocrypha without exception (2 Esdras 3:5, 10, 21, 26; 4:30; 6:54; 7:11, 46, 48; Tobit 8:6; Eccliasiasticus 33:10; 40:1; 49:16), and by Josephus (ut infra). Gesenius argues that, as applied to the first man, it has the article almost without exception. It is doubtless often thus used as an appellative, but the exceptions are decisive: Ge 3:17, "to Adam he said," and see Sept., De 32:8, "the descendants of Adam;" "if I covered my transgressions as Adam" (Job 31:33); "and unto Adam he said," etc.
(Job 28:28), which, when examined by the context, seems to refer to a primeval revelation not recorded in Genesis (see also Ho 6:7, Heb. or margin). Gesenius further argues that the woman has an appropriate name, but that the man has none. But the name Eve was given to her by Adam, and, as it would seem, under a change of circumstances; and though the divine origin of the word Adam, as a proper name of the first man, is not recorded in the history of the creation, as is that of the day, night, heaven, earth, seas, etc. (Ge 1:5,8,10), yet its divine origin as an appellative is recorded (comp. Hebrews, Ge 1:26; Ge 5:1); from which state it soon became a proper name, Dr. Lee thinks from its frequent occurrence, but we would suggest, from its peculiar appropriateness to "the man," who is the more immediate image and glory of God (1Co 11:7). Other derivations of the word have been offered, as אָדִם, "to be red" or "redhaired;" and hence some of the rabbins have inferred that the first mall was so. The derivation is as old as Josephus, who says that "the first man was called Adam because he was formed from the red earth," and adds, "for the true virgin earth is of this color" (Ant. 1:1, 2). The following is a simple translation of the more detailed (Jehovistic) account given by Moses (Ge 2:25,18-25) of the creation of the first human pair, omitting the paragraph concerning the garden of Eden. SEE COSMOGONY.
This [is the] genealogy of the heavens and the earth, when they were created, in the day [that] Jehovah God made earth and heavens. Now no shrub of the field had yet been [grown] on the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprung up — for Jehovah God had not [as yet] caused [it] to rain upon the earth, nor [was there any] man to till the ground; but mist ascended from the earth, and watered all the face of the ground. Then Jehovah God formed the man, dust from the ground, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life; so the man became a living creature.
But Jehovah God said, "[It is] not good [that] the man be alone; I will make for him a help as his counterpart." Now Jehovah God had formed from the ground every living [thing] of the field, and every bird of the heavens; and he brought [each] towards the man to see what he would call it: so whatever the man called it [as] a living creature, that [was] its name; thus the man called names to every beast, and to the bird of the heavens, and to every living [thing] of the field: yet for man [there] was not found a help as his counterpart. Then Jehovah God caused a lethargy to fall upon the man, so he slept; and he took one of his ribs, but closed flesh instead of it: and Jehovah God built the rib which he took from the man for a woman, and brought her towards the man. Thereupon the man said, "This now [is] bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh; this [being] shall be called Woman [ishah, vira], because from man [ish, vir] this [person] was taken: therefore will a man leave his father and his mother, and cling to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Now they were both of them naked, the man and his wife: yet they were not mutually ashamed [of their condition].
(b.) it is the generic name of the human race as originally created, and afterwards, like the English word man, person, whether man or woman, equivalent to the Latin homo and Greek ἄνθρωπος (Ge 1:26-27; Ge 5:2; Ge 8:21; De 8:3; Mt 5:13,16; 1Co 7:26), and even without regard to age (Joh 16:21). It is applied to women only, "the human persons or women" (Nu 31:35), Sept. Ψυχαὶ ἀνθρώπων ἀπὸ τῶν γυναικῶν. Thus ἡ ἄνθρωπος means a woman (Herod. 1:60), and especially among the orators — (comp. Maccabees 2:28).
(c.) It denotes man in opposition to woman (Ge 3:12; Mt 19:10), though more properly, the husband in opposition to the wife (compare 1Co 7:1).
(d.) It is used, though very rarely, for those who maintain the dignity of human nature, a man, as we say, meaning one that deserves the name, like the Latin vir and Greek ἀνήρ: "One man in a thousand have I found, but a woman," etc. (Ec 7:28). Perhaps the word here glances at the original uprightness of man.
(e.) It is frequently used to denote the more degenerate and wicked portion of mankind: an instance of which occurs very early, "The sons (or worshippers) of God married the daughters of men (or the irreligious)" (Ge 6:2). We request a careful examination of the following passages with their respective contexts: Ps 11:4; Ps 12:1-2,8; Ps 14:2, etc. The latter passage is often adduced to prove the total depravity of the whole human race, whereas it applies only to the more abandoned Jews, or possibly to the more wicked Gentile adversaries of Israel. It is a description of "the fool," or wicked man (ver. 1), and of persons of the same class (ver. 1,2), "the workers of iniquity, who eat up God's people like breads and called not upon the name of the Lord" (ver. 4). For the true view of Paul's quotations from this psalm (Ro 3:10), see M'Knight, adiloc.; and observe the use of the word "man" in Lu 5:20;
Mt 10:17. It is applied to the Gentiles (Mt 27:22; comp. Mr 10:33, and Mr 9:31; Lu 18:32; see Mountenev, ad Demosth. Philippians 1:221). (J:) The word is used to denote other men, in opposition to those already named, as "both upon Israel and other men" (Jer 32:20), i.e. the Egyptians. "Like other men" (Ps 73:5), i.e. common men, in opposition to better men (Ps 82:7); men of inferior rank, as opposed to אַישׁ. men of higher rank (see Hebrew, Isa 2:9; Isa 5:15: Ps 49:3; Ps 62:10; Pr 8:4). The phrase "son of man," in the Old Testament, denotes man as frail and unworthy (Nu 23:19; Job 25:6; Eze 2:1,3); as applied to the prophet, so often, it has the force of "mortal!"
2. אַישׁ, ish, is a man in the distinguished sense, like the Latin vir and Greek ἀνήρ. It is used in all the several senses of the Latin vir, and denotes a man as distinguished from a woman (1Sa 17:33; Mt 14:21); as a husband (Ge 3:16; Ho 2:16); and in reference to excellent mental qualities. A beautiful instance of the latter class occurs in Jer 5:1: "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it." This reminds the reader of the philosopher who went through the streets of Athens with a lighted lamp in his hand, and being asked what he sought, said, "I am seeking to find a man" (see Herodot. 2:120; Homer, II. 5. 529). It is also used to designate the superior classes (Pr 8:4; Ps 141:4, etc.), a courtier (Jer 38:7), the male of animals (Ge 7:2). Sometimes it means men in general (Ex 16:29; Mr 6:44).
3. אנֵוּשׁ, enosh', mortals, βροτοί, as transient, perishable, liable to sickness, etc.: "Let not man [margin, 'mortal man'] prevail against thee" (2Ch 14:11). "Write with the pen of the common man" (Isa 8:1), i.e. in a common, legible character (Job 15:14; Ps 8:5; Ps 9:19-20; Isa 51:7; Ps 103:15). It is applied to women (Jos 8:25).
4. גֶּבֶר, ge'ber, vir, man, in regard to strength, etc. All etymologists concur in deriving the English word "man" from the superior powers and faculties with which rman is endowed above all earthly creatures; so the Latin vir, from vis, vires; and such is the idea conveyed by the present Hebrew word.
It is applied to man as distinguished from woman: "A man shall not put on a woman's garment" (De 22:5), like ἀνθρωπος in Mt 8:9; Joh 1:6; to men as distinguished from children (Ex 12:37); to a male child, in opposition to a female (Job 3:3; Sept. ἄρσεν). It is much used in poetry: "Happy is the man" (Ps 34:9; Ps 40:5; Ps 52:9; Ps 94:12). Sometimes it denotes the species at large (Job 4:17; Job 14:10,14). For a complete exemplification of these words, see the lexicons of Gesenius and Schleusner, etc.
5. מתַים, methim', "men," always masculine. The singular is to be traced in the antediluvian proper names Methusael and Methuselah. Perhaps it may be derived from the root mith, "he died," in which case its use would be very appropriate in Isa 41:14, "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, ye men of Israel." If this conjecture be admitted, this word would correspond to βροτός, and might be rendered "mortal." Other Heb. words occasionally rendered man in the A. V. are בֵּעִל, bdal, a master (husband), נֶפֶשׁ, nephesh, an animate being, etc. The Greek words properly thus rendered are ἄνθρωπος, homo, a human being, and ἀνήρ, vir, a man as distinguished from a woman.
Some peculiar uses of the word in the New Testament remain to be noticed. "The Son of Man," applied to our Lord only by himself and St. Stephen (Ac 7:56), is the Messiah in human form. Schleusner thinks that the word in this expression always means woman, and denotes that he was the promised Messiah, born of a virgin, who had taken upon him our nature to fulfill the great decree of Goci, that mankind should be saved by one in their own form. ῾Ο παλαιός, "the old man," and ὁ καινός, "the new man"-the former denoting unsanctified disposition of heart, the latter the new disposition created and cherished by the Gospel; ὁ ἔσω ἄνθρωπος "the inner man;" ὁ κρυπτὸς τῆς καρδίας ἄνθρωπος, "the hidden man of the heart," as opposed to the ὁ ἔξω ἄνθρωπος, '"the external, visible man." "A man of God," first applied to Moses (De 33:1), and always afterwards to a person acting under a divine commission (1Ki 13:1; 1Ti 6:2, etc.). Finally, angals are styled men (Ac 1:10). "To speak after the manner of men," i.e. in accordance with human views, to illustrate by human examples or institutions, to use a popular mode of speaking (Ro 3:5; 1Co 9:8; Ga 3:15). "The number of a man," i.e. an ordinary number, such as is in general use among men (Re 13:18); so also "the measure of a man," all ordinary measure, in common use (Re 21:17).