Word Study: Marketplace

In the NT the Greek word for marketplace is “agora” (Strongs G58, αγορα). It is found 11 total times in the NT: market (6 times); marketplace (4); street (1). A market could be found either in a dedicated square or along a street, thus, the translator’s translating “agora” street in one place. “Agora” is found in the following NT verses: Mat 11:16; 20:3; 23:7; Mark 6:56; 7:4; 12:38; Luke 7:32; 11:43; 20:46; Acts 16:19; 17:17.

There is a verb form of the noun “agora”, “agorazo” (Strongs 59, αγοραζω). It is found 31 total times in the NT: buy (28); redeem (3). Thus, “to market” is “to buy”. “Agorazo” is found in the following verses: Mat 13:34, 46; 14:5; 21:12; 25:9, 10; Mark 6:36, 37; 11:15; 15:46; 16:1; Luke 9:13; 14:18, 19; 17:28; 19:45; 22:36; John 4:8; 6:5; 13:29; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23, 30; 2 Pet 2:1; Rev 3:18; 5:9; 13:17; 14:3, 4; 18:11.

There is another closely related Greek word to “agora” in the NT. It is “agoraios” (Strongs G60). It is found 2 times in the NT and translated “baser sort” in Act 17:5, and law in Acts 19:38. An “agoraios” is an idler or lounger in a marketplace, people who did not work, and carried with them a poor reputation as thieves and swindlers. Acts 19:38 is a mistranslation of the word. The context of the verse is a craftsman who would sell his craft at the market, and those who would violate the law in the marketplace.

The Greek root word of agora, agorazo and agoraios is “ago” (Strongs 71, ago). It is found 72 total times in the NT translated bring (45 times), lead (12), go (7), bring forth (2) and misc (5).

It would seem to me that the Greek word, “agora” is a Greek-cized Hebrew word. Strongs H95 is the Hebrew word “AGoWRaH”. It is used one time in the OT (1 Sam 2:36) and is translated “a AGoWRaH (gathering) of silver.” There is a similar Hebrew word which is a proper name, AGuWR (Strongs 94). It is only found one time in the OT (Prov 30:1). Solomon is called AGuWR or the collector. Strongs H103 is AGaR meaning “to gather”. It is found in 3 places in the OT: Deut 28:39 (gather the grapes); Prov 6:8 (gather food in the harvest) and Prov 10:5 (gather in the summer). Other words in this puddle of meaning “to gather” are Strong H101/105, basin as “a gathering of water”; Strongs H104, letter (as a gathering of thoughts or words); Strongs 106, clenched hand (as for gathering); Strongs 100, marsh, (as a place where water gathers); Strongs 99, pond (again a place water gathers); Strongs H99, reservoir (same); Strongs 102, band as of troops (a gathering of soldiers or men).

As a sidebar, Latin for field or farm is “ager” as is farmer, “agricola”. The ancient Hebrew word can be seen influencing both the Greek and the later Latin.

There is another Hebrew word for “gather”, Strongs H622, ACeF. It is found 200 total times in the OT: together (51 times); gather (86); assemble (15); rerewards (1); misc (57). The word is first used in Gen 6:21 (gather good); 28:8, 17 (gather to his people as in death); 29:13 (flocks gathered), 7 (gather cattle), 8 (flocks), 22 (gather men); 30:23 (gather reproach performed by God); 30:32 (gather against me); 35:29 (Yacob gathered to people/death); 42:17 (gathered them in prison); 49:1 (gather yourself together), 29 (Yacob gathered to people/death), 33 (2 times: gather his feet in bed & gather unto his people/death). Other Hebrew words with roots of ACeF are: H609, ASA (proper name, 1 Kings 15:8 found 58 total times in OT; H610, ACuWK, found 1 time in the OT, 2 Kings 4:2, as an oil flask or pot in gathering oil. ACoWn (Strongs 611), 5 total times in the OT (Gen 42:2), hurt or mischief as a gathering of hurt. ECuWR (Strongs 612), 4 total times (Judges 15:14), manacles or bonds of prison (gathering of criminals). Strongs H613 same as H612, 2 total times, (Ezra 7:26) imprisonment. ACiYTH (Strongs 614) 2 total times (Ex 23:16), gather or ingathering of crops. ACiYR (Strongs 615), 12 total times, bound, a captive or prisoner, Gen 39:20. H616 same as H615, 3 total times in OT. H617, same as H615 & H616, a proper name pronounced the same. H618, ACaM, to heap together, a storehouse and barn, two total times, Deut 28:8 & Prov 3:10.

The first time the English word gather is used in the OT is Gen 1:9. The Hebrew word is H6960, QaVaH. It is found 49 total times in the OT: wait (30), look (14), gather (1), misc (4). It means bind, hope and look. It should not be translated “gather”

Thus, spiritually “AGoWRah” is a marketplace, a place of gathering food and products,  people and their products, to sell to others. It is a place of labor, and slothfulness is looked up in a negative manner.

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