Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Power of Speech

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

A person should not profane the valuable power of speech with which man alone was endowed. It is this ability to speak which manifestly symbolizes the uniqueness of the human being. The supremacy of speech and the power it gives humanity does not stem from the mechanics of articulation. The movements of tongue and lips are only facilitators of speech. It is rather the intelligence capable of creating the spoken communication that marks the distinction between man and animal and endows him with his crown of humanity.

The attribute of speech with which man alone was endowed is like an intelligence unto itself, coming to him directly from the Creator, and has not evolved or been synthesized from other factors. This is revealed clearly in the verse, “And He blew into his nostrils the spirit of life, and Man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). Onkolos translates this, “And He blew into his nostrils the spirit of life, and it was transformed within man to the spirit of speech.” And the Ramban explains that he who blows into the nostrils of another instills in him his own soul, and that is as it says, “And the soul of God shall make them understand.”

For it was the intelligent soul which God instilled, so to speak, in his nostrils, that became the speaking soul with which he could be clever and speak, etc.

(Kaplan, Aryeh, ed. 1991. The Torah Anthology, Book Fourteen. Brooklyn, New York: Moznaim Publishing Corporation., pg xv)


  1. Good Morning...this doesn't have anything to do with your current post, but I was wondering if you have done any research on the phrase "I will not leave thee". It seems to be cropping up a lot in the OT and wondered if you had any insights on it. Is it maybe in contrast to being 'cast off"? Thanks

  2. Sorry, I just realized this probably wasn't the place to ask such a question. Forgive forgive.

  3. Hi Jolene,

    I love it when folks ask questions--sometimes I have the answer, and when I don't....well, I love having a new thing to research. I have never thought about those two concepts together, but I will see what I have in my files.

    Thanks for writing.

  4. Could the words "I will not leave thee" be attributed to the Lord's character as He sees Israel wandering from Him? Much like the book of Haggai... where Haggai (symbolizing the Lord) shows incredible love, forgiveness, and mercy to his straying bride?

  5. I'm sure you are right about that - Especially when Ruth and Elisha, etc. are saying it. I guess my question more it an oath? or a cultural phrase? one of those Hebrew things that really means more than it says in English?

    Donna, I love your Blog! Thank you for sharing. And thanks, Laura, for your comment on my comment. :)

  6. LOL... It just dawned on me today, while beginning to prepare my Gospel Doctrine lesson on Hosea for next week, that I mistakenly said "Haggai" in my above post, rather than Hosea. Don't know where my head was, but should anyone be searching the book of Haggai (which is an AWESOME book, btw), looking for the bride/harlot... please go searching for it in Hosea instead! LOL My apologies!