Y O U N G P E O P L E ' S D I C T I O N A R Y O F S C R I P T U R A L • & • R E L I G I O U S T E R M S
This word always has a positive meaning in the Bible. There are at least seven
different Hebrew words used in the Old Testament which our King James Bible
refers to as “comely”. It’s very important to carefully think about the context in
which “comely” is used. The “general” meanings of “comely” in the Old Testament
could be described by words such as “grace”, “beautiful”, “seemly”, “beneficial”,
“pleasant”, “befitting”, and “restfulness”.
When Abraham was about to enter into Egypt he was afraid that the Egyptians
would kill him in order to take his beautiful wife, Sarai for Pharaoh the king.
Abraham said; “Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon”. The
word “fair” is the very same as is translated “comely” in Ecc. 5:18. “...it is good and
comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he
taketh under the sun all the days of his life...”. In both cases the Hebrew word is
“yapheh” and, depending on the ‘context’ of the passage refers to physical beauty or
to ann act which is a “pleasant” thing to do.
David is referred to in 1Sam. 16:18 as “... a comely person, and the LORD is with
him”. In 1 Sam.25:3 Abigail (who later became David’s wife) was “...a woman of
good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance...”. Again, in both cases the
Hebrew word used is “toar” which suggests a very nice physical appearance.
In the New Testament “comely” means “honorable” or “becoming” (“fitting”). In
Mark 15:43 we read that “Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor,...went
in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.” The Greek word used for
“honourable” is “euschemon” which means “dignity”, “noble” and “reputable”.
Joseph’s character was well known by all who knew him.
That same Greek word is used again when referring to the human body in 1 Cor.
12:24. “For our comely (honorable) parts have no need: but God hath tempered the
body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked”. So it
may be that an “eye” gets much more attention and honor than a “little toe”, but,
without the “little toe” the body would have real problems walking and running.
The other Greek word used for “comely” is “prepo” which has the sense of “be-
coming”, “seemly”, or “fitting”. It is used this way in 1 Cor. 11:13: “Judge in your-
selves: is it comely (“prepo”) that a woman pray unto God uncovered?” In Matt.
3:15 the Lord Jesus, when He was baptised, told John Baptist when he hestitated :
“Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh (“prepo”) us to fulfil all righteousness.”
Our personal Christian testimony before the world should always be marked by the
character of “comeliness”.