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LIKE; LIKEN; LIKENESS; LIKING - lik, lik'-n, lik'-nes, lik'-ing: (1) As a noun, "like" in modern English is virtually obsolete, except in the phrase "and the like," which is not found in English Versions of the Bible. "The like," however, occurs in 1 Ki 10:20 parallel 2 Ch 9:19; 2 Ch 1:12; Ezek 5:9; 18:10 (the Revised Version (British and American) "any one of these things"--the text is uncertain); 45:25; Joel 2:2; The Wisdom of Solomon 16:1 (the Revised Version (British and American) "creatures like those"); Sirach 7:12. "His like" is found in Job 41:33; Sirach 13:15; "their like" in Sirach 27:9. "And such like" (Gal 5:21) is only slightly archaic, but "doeth not such like" (Ezek 18:14) is quite obsolete.

(2) As an adjective "like" is common in the King James Version in such combinations as "like manner" (frequently), "like weight" (Ex 30:34), "like occupation" (Acts 19:25), etc. Modern English would in most cases replace "like" by "the same," as has been done in 1 Thess 2:14 the Revised Version (British and American) (compare Rom 15:5; Phil 2:2). So the Revised Version (British and American) has modernized the archaic "like precious faith" of 2 Pet 1:1 by inserting "a" before "like." The King James Version's rendering of 1 Pet 3:21, "the like figure whereunto," could not have been very clear at any time, and the Revised Version (British and American) has revised completely into "after a true likeness" (margin, "in the antitype").

(3) As an adverb "like" is used in Jer 38:9, "He is like to die"; Jon 1:4, "like to be broken." the Revised Version (British and American) could have used "likely" in these verses. Most common of all the uses of "like" is the quasi-prepositional construction in "He is like a man," etc. This is of course good modern English, but not so when "like" is enlarged (as it usually is in the English Versions of the Bible) into the forms "like to" (Dan 7:5), "like unto" (very common), "like as" (Isa 26:17, etc.). These forms and the simple "like" are interchanged without much distinction, and the Revised Version (British and American) has attempted little systematizing beyond reducing the occurrences of "like as" (compare Mt 12:13, and the American Standard Revised Version Isa 13:4; Jer 23:29).

(4) The verb "like" has two distinct meanings, "be pleased with" and "give pleasure to." The latter sense occurs in Dt 23:16 (The King James Version, the English Revised Version), "in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best," and in Est 8:8; Am 4:5 the King James Version; Sirach 33:13 (the American Standard Revised Version has "pleaseth" in the three Old Testament passages). The other use of "like" belongs also to modern English, although in a much weakened sense. On account of this weakening, 1 Ch 28:4 the King James Version, "liked me to make me king" and Rom 1:28 the King James Version "did not like to retain God," have become in the Revised Version (British and American) "took pleasure in" and "refused to" (margin "did not approve"). It would have been better if Dt 25:7,8, "like not to take," had been modified also into "hath no wish to take." From this use of "like" is derived liking in the modern sense in The Wisdom of Solomon 16:21, tempered itself to every man's liking" (the Revised Version (British and American) "choice"). In 1 Esdras 4:39, "All men do well like of her works" is a further obsolete use.

(5) Liken and "make like" are common. To be noted only is that, in Heb 7:3, "made like unto the Son of God," the sense really is "likened to," "presented by the writer with the qualities of." Likeness normally means "a copy of," but in Ps 17:15 it means the actual form itself ("form" in the American Standard Revised Version, the English Revised Version margin); compare Rom 6:5; 8:3; Phil 2:7, and perhaps Acts 14:11. Closely allied with likeness" is an obsolete use of "liking" (quite distinct from that above) in Job 39:4 the King James Version the English Revised Version, "Their young ones are in good liking" Dan 1:10, "see your faces worse liking." The meaning is "appearance," "appearing," and the American Standard Revised Version renders "their young ones become strong," "see your faces worse looking." Likewise varies in meaning from the simple conjunction "and" to a strong adverb, "in exactly the same way." the Revised Version (British and American) has made some attempt to distinguish the various forces (e.g. compare the King James Version with the Revised Version (British and American) in Lk 22:36; 15:7; 22:20). But complete consistency was not attainable, and in certain instances was neglected deliberately, in order to preserve the familiar wording, as in Lk 10:37, "Go, and do thou likewise."

Burton Scott Easton

Also see definition of "Liken" in Word Study

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