Monday, July 20, 2009

To Remember and Forget

And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: Genesis 30:22-23

In the Gospels, sometimes words do not always mean what they seem to mean. Here are a few examples: God remembered Rachel...She conceived and bore a son. "Remember" sometimes means "to do a favor for someone" or "to intervene on behalf of," as in Genesis 30:22-23, quoted above. Are we to assume that God forgot Rachel and then suddenly remembered her? Certainly not!

In Genesis 40:14 Joseph requested the chief butler to "remember" him when he was restored to his position in Pharaoh’s court. Yet the butler did not "remember" Joseph, but "forgot" him as stated in verse 23. Should we assume that Joseph only desired the chief butler to think of him from time to time once the chief butler was reinstated? No, Joseph was requesting the chief butler to intercede on his behalf with Pharaoh.

In Luke 23:42 the thief on the cross requested of Jesus, "
Remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus did not wait to grant the favor. His immediate response was, "Today you will be with me in paradise."

Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. "Forget" is another word which does not always mean what is seems to mean in English Bible translations. It can mean "not to intervene on behalf of," or "to abandon." As in Genesis 40:23, noted above, the chief butler "forgot" Joseph, or simply did nothing for him. In I Samuel 1:11, Hannah petitioned the Lord not to "forget," or abandon her, but to "remember" her; in other words, favor her with a son.

(Bivin, David, and Roy Blizzard, Jr. 1994. Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus: New Insights from a Hebraic Perspective. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers., pgs 58-59)

Donna note: To "remember" always implies that some sort of action will be taken. This is interesting to think of in relationship to the Sacrament. When we covenant to "always remember Him" it means much more than a mental exercise. It means that our actions will always reflect the covenants we have made.]


  1. P.S. the above was from me, April.

  2. I kinda figured what "remembered" meant in your examples; however, I've never connected it with the sacrament prayers. That small insight makes the sacrament mean so much more... and adds so much more "weight" to the covenant.

  3. Its also kind of a relief, when I was younger I used to get frustrated that I couldn't constantly be thinkning about the Savior, what I thought was "Always remembering Him" what a relief to learn that through our actions and testiomny.

  4. President Spencer W. Kimball taught that "remember" may be the most important word in the dictionary...

    Your comments above certainly support and shed additional light on that. Thanks for these insights, Donna!