A couple of months ago I went to Bible Gateway to search for passages with the word "glory" in them. I was preparing some power points for a conference I was participating in. It was pretty amazing, since there are hundreds of verses containing that word.
I am no scholar, of course, so it will be clear that I am not trying to write a treatise on the subject of "glory" in the Bible. This is for devotional purposes, please understand. I try to stay within orthodox Evangelicalism in what I say, but please forgive any mistakes of grammar, interpretation, or anything else that might be not quite right.
So, I looked at different passages to get a feel for how the word "glory" was being used. Then I looked at a couple of dictionaries in Hebrew and in Greek. I have never studied Hebrew. Greek is somewhat more familiar to me.
I found that the Hebrew word is transliterated into English as kabod or kavod. That's pretty simple. So far, so good. Here is some of what I found out about the usage of that word in the Old Testament.
It was used for shiny things.
It was used for weighty things. Then, figuratively as people who were weighty in their importance - either an individual or a nation that deserved honor. "Heavy" or "weighty" is evidently the most basic meaning of the word. I am not sure of the etymology of the word "kabod", but I read something - that I can't find now - that gave me the impression that the first part of the word was an actual measure of the weight of something.
It was used for glory in battle.
So, I like this photo of some ancient Canaanite swords. If I understand the usage correctly, these things had kabod!
It was used for the glory of God, especially at specific times in Israel's history when God manifested His presence in a cloud of glory. This was especially meaningful to the children of Israel after they escaped from Egypt and God used the glory cloud to guide them. Thus, God's glory is associated with His abiding presence.
God's glory was manifested, too, as judgment against sin, as well as salvation.
"Kabod" was used in reference to human beings who were famous and important.
"Kabod" was used in reference to famous or important nations as well.
So, honor and fame are also meanings of the word, depending on the context of the passage.
Below you will find links to some reference material in case anyone would like to research the meaning of the word "kabod."
Great entry.: Holman Bible Dictionary.
Not so great, but helpful, I guess. The format is awkward. : Strong's Hebrew
Simple and sweet: Ancient Hebrew Word Meanings - The author emphasized that "kabod", as in God's glory, was something that could be seen. I guess that should go without saying.
Do what I did and enter the word "glory" into the search feature at Bible Gateway.