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Bible Q

What does the Greek word morphe mean?

The word μορφὴ (morphē, form, appearance) is a classical Greek noun best known from Mark’s brief mention of Jesus having appeared to two disciples in another morphē – which is expanded in Luke 24:13-35 where Luke says that Cleopas and the other unnamed disciples’ eyes were “holden” to not recognize Jesus.
And also from Philippians 2 where Paul contrasts Christ, having been in the form or appearance of God, took on the form or appearance of a servant.
2:6 who, though he was in the form (morphe) of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself by taking the form (morphe) of a servant, being made in the likeness (homoiōma) of a man. 8 And being found in fashion (schema) as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Paul may have had familial likeness in mind, between Christ and his Father, similar to the likeness (homoiteta) of a child to parents in both mind/soul (Greek psyche) and form/appearance (Greek morphe) shown here in 4 Maccabees 15:
15:4 In what manner might I express the passions of parents who love their children? We impress upon the character of a small child a wondrous likeness both of mind and of form (ψυχῆς τέ καί μορφῆς ὁμοιότητα) . Especially is this true of mothers, who because of their birth pangs have a deeper sympathy toward their offspring than do the fathers. (4 Maccabees 15:4 NRSV)
And it is with another family likeness that the captured kings of Midian deliberately provoke Gideon to execute them in front of the previously unhelpful men of Succoth.
Judges 8:18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What about the men whom you killed at Tabor?” They answered, “As you are, so were they, every one of them; they resembled (were in the essence form (morphe) of the sons of kings.”
Judges 8:18 καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς Ζεβεε καὶ Σαλμανα ποῦ οἱ ἄνδρες οὓς ἀπεκτείνατε ἐν Θαβωρ καὶ εἶπαν ὡσεὶ σύ ὅμοιος σοί ὅμοιος αὐτῶν ὡς εἶδος μορφὴ υἱῶν βασιλέων
It was by this form that Gideon knew that his brothers had not escaped at the raid on Tabor (which is not clearly mentioned in Judges) but had been slain by the two unrepentant proud men in front of him.

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