Thursday, September 30, 2010

More About Fringe

The many peoples and the multitude of nations shall come to seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of Hosts: In those days, ten men from nations of every tongue will take hold — they will take hold of every Jew by a corner (Kanapf) of his cloak and say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Zechariah 8:22-23

What is taken hold of is the kanapf–corner or edge of the garment–thought to refer to the fringes of the cloak. This passage illustrates several ideas:

The confirmation of the custom that, having taken hold of the fringes of someone's garment, one could compel the wearer to obey one's request.

That the Jews of Zechariah's times–5th and 4th centuries B.C.E.–were commonly wearing and being identified by fringes.

That Jews, in Zechariah's vision, were sought after and followed as moral guides, so the identification has a positive outcome.

Originally, fringes were commonly worn on everyday outer garments, but eventually Jews wished to dress more like those around them. This was in part a desire to assimilate and also to avoid identification that could lead to cruelty and persecution.

In Greek and Roman times a special purpose rectangular prayer shawl, the Tallit, was adopted and mostly used when reciting prayers in public or private. It seemed to satisfy the need to have four corners as stated in Deuteronomy 22:12. Some individuals wore the tallit when studying Torah or beneath their outer garments.

Eventually a special garment came to be worn beneath other clothes. The arba kanfot (or tallit katan today) was a rectangle of cloth with an opening for the head and with fringes at the four corners.

"Fringes," in: Hastings, J. DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE. NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1902, pp. 68-70.

Milgrom, THE JPS TORAH COMMENTARY, Volume 4 - NUMBERS, Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 1989 - 1996, p. 410-412

Plaut, W. Gunther and others. THE TORAH, A MODERN COMMENTARY. N.Y., Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1981, p. 1123 ---------------------- 11/29/97 © Rosemarie E. Falanga, Cy H. Silver

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wool and Linen Garments

Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. Leviticus 19:19

As we can see, the fringe with the blue thread was not just worn by nobility, it was also representative of priestly dress. Most ancient Israeli garments were made of linen, both because of its easy availability and because linen garments were cooler to wear than wool.

Ancient cultures had a great deal of difficulty dying linen, so scholars assume that all dyed cloth (or threads) are wool. Some feel that the prohibition against sha'atnez–the wearing by ordinary people cloth containing both wool and linen is because such garments would resemble priestly garments that were permitted and in some cases required to be made of both linen and wool.

By mixing a wool tassel on a linen garment, "the ordinary Israelite a small way, wearing a priestly garment." "Weaving a ...[blue] thread into the tsitsit [ fringe on a tallit] enhances its symbolism as a mark of nobility. Further, since all Jews are required to wear it, it is a sign that Jews are a people of nobility. Their sovereign, however, is not mortal: Jews are princes of God."

(Milgrom, Jacob, "Of hems and tassels: Rank, authority and holiness were expressed in antiquity by fringes on garments," BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEW, v. IX, # 3, May/June 1983, pp. 61-65.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Meaning of Fringe in Ancient Cultures

In many ancient cultures fringes were a well-known style of dress rich with meaning.

Assyrians and Babylonians believed that fringes assured the wearer of the protection of the gods.

The fringed hem was ornate in comparison with the rest of the outer robe and frequently had tassels along the edges. This ornate hem was a "symbolic extension of the owner and more specifically of the owner's rank and authority. " [Donna: Think of this as one reason why David cut off the corner of Saul's robe--and why he felt so remorseful about usurping God's prerogative.]

Requests accompanied by grasping the fringes of the one from whom you wanted something could not be refused.

Exorcists used the hem of a patient's garment in their healing ceremonies.

A husband could divorce his wife by cutting off the hem of his wife's robe.

In Mari, an ancient city in what is now Syria, a professional prophet or diviner would enclose with his report to the King a lock of his hair and a piece of his hem....Sometimes the hem was impressed on a clay tablet as a kind of signature.

Fringes could also be pressed onto the clay instead of the hem. E.A.Speiser has suggested that when we press the corner fringe of the tallit to the Torah scroll we are reflecting this ancient custom.

The primary significance of the tassel in ancient times was that it was worn only by those who counted; it was the "I.D. of the nobility."


Monday, September 27, 2010

The Long-Sleeved Coat

And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; Genesis 37:23

The Eastern text reads: cotina di-pidyatha, “the coat with long sleeves.” These coats or abayas are generally worn by princes, noblemen, and learned men. The sleeves and front parts of the garments are embroidered with silk of diverse colors. Thus, the color is in the embroidery of the garment and not in the material itself. The princes and noblemen never work; therefore, they are attired with a garment with long sleeves. This is a token of honor, dignity, and the position they occupy in society.

On the other hand, a poor man neither can afford a coat with long sleeves, nor can he work while wearing it. Joseph was trained by his father, Jacob, to succeed him as the head of the tribe–in other words, Joseph was elevated to the rank of a crown prince and a scholar. The rightful heir, Reuben, had defiled his father’s bed, committing adultery with one of his concubines. Jacob’s other sons were not intelligent enough to be trained for this high office, the office of the chief of the tribe, which was political, religious, and judicial. It was Jacob who had taught Joseph to interpret dreams and sit in council and manage tribal affairs.

Moreover, the chief of a tribe must find grazing places for the flocks and the cattle of the tribe. He must provide wells, make treaties with the chiefs of other tribes, and lead his people to war if necessary. He must know something about the law, religion, stars, weather, interpretation of dreams, and many other things which are essential to the welfare of a nomad tribe in lands where the people depend on wells for water, migrate by means of the stars, and communicate one with the other through dreams and visions.

Joseph was the only lad among the sons of Jacob who could occupy such an office, so his brothers were jealous of him. All of them except Benjamin were older than he. The very fact that his father had given him such a cloak of honor proved that he had selected him to train him to take his place.

(Lamsa, George M. 1964. Old Testament Light. San Francisco: Harper Collins., pgs 82-83)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Coat of Many Colors

And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; Genesis 37:23

This translation is based on the Septuagint, Targum Jonathan and Kimchi. People have often wondered why a trifle like this gaudy garment should have provoke the murderous hatred of all the brethren. We now know from the painted Tombs of the Bene Hassein in Egypt that, in the Patriarchal age, Semitic chiefs wore coats of many colors as insignia of rulership.

Joseph had made himself disliked by his brothers for reporting on them; and Jacob, in giving him a coat of many colors, marked him for the chieftanship of the tribes at his father’s death. Add to this the lad’s vanity in telling his dreams, and the rage of the brethren becomes intelligible.

This sign of rulership was still in use in the household of King David, as is seen from Sam. 23:18, though the chronicler must explain these strange fashion in dress. The fact that in the Joseph story no such explanatory gloss is given is proof of the antiquity of the narrative. When it was first written its implications were perfectly intelligible.

(M. G. Kyle). (Hertz, Dr. J.H., The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 2nd Ed., Soncino Press, London, 1992, pg 142)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Freedman's Cap

During the first century the Romans had many, many slaves. The Romans conquered many nations and the people of those nations often became slaves. Some slaves were treated very well while others were treated badly. It was possible for a slave to become a freeman. There were several ways that this could happen but we will not discuss those here.

When a slave became a freeman, he was given a special cap. This cap was made of felt and was shaped like half of an egg. It fit very closely to the head. This cap was a sign of his freedom, and was known as the freedman's cap. When anyone saw the cap they would know that he was a free man and not a run-away slave.

There was a festival called Saturnalia. During this festival it was customary for everyone to wear the freedman's cap. One reason for this was to show that all men were equal under Roman law. Another reason was to demonstrate the freedom of the season, and compassion and good will were to prevail during the festival. But the slaves all knew that it was only for a few days. In reality, they were not the same as Roman citizens.

In Galatians 3:27-28, we read, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” All of those who have been baptized into Christ are equal in Christ. In John 8:32-34, we learn that through obeying the truth we are made free. This freedom is not just for a few days of a festival. This freedom is for eternity if we will be faithful in this life to God's Word.

In Ephesians 6:13-17 Paul gives us the armor of the Christian. It is interesting that we are to have a helmet of salvation. This helmet of salvation is our freedman's cap. Salvation says that we are saved from sin. We are no longer a slave of sin.

(Mark McWhorter , Copyright 2002, Published by The Old Paths Bible School,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Heart Protector

The Romans were known for their armies. Their soldiers were known for being well trained. The Roman soldier was known for his courage and willingness to fight. The soldier was also known for his attire. One of the things the normal soldier had was a breastplate made of bronze. This breastplate was usually the size of one hand span. A hand span was the size of an adult opening their palm and spreading their fingers as wide as they would go. Each side of the breastplate was this long. That is not a real big breastplate. The soldier had a shield to protect himself in a larger way.

But the breastplate was very important, even though small. The breastplate was put over the heart of the soldier. In fact, it was known as “the heart protector.” The Romans knew that it was very important to protect the heart. If the heart was struck by an arrow or javelin of the enemy it would kill the soldier. It was of utmost importance to protect the heart.

In Ephesians 6:14, we learn that the armor of the Christian includes the “breastplate of righteousness.” We must put on righteousness to protect our spiritual heart. Satan will always be throwing darts at our heart. Proverbs 4:23, tells us to “keep thy heart with all diligence.” In the Hebrew language it says we are to protect or guard our hearts. The only way to put on righteousness is to learn God’s word. We must read and study....

And then we must obey what we have learned. We must always be ready to put on the “heart protector” and go to war against the Devil. We must be willing to be a soldier in God’s army.

(Mark McWhorter, Copyright 2002, Published by The Old Paths Bible School,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our Spiritual Battles

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Ephesians 6:14-17

"In verses 14b-17, Paul deals with the pieces of the armor. Every small reference is a quotation or a reference from the Old Testament. In other words, the way we resist Satan is by means of Scripture. Every piece concerns Scripture and every piece is somehow related to the positional truth of the believer.

First, there is the girdle of truth. This comes from Isaiah 11:5. The girdle was bound around for three reasons: first, to allow for freedom of movement; secondly, it was used to carry weapons; and thirdly, it was used to display things outwardly. The meaning of this is truthfulness and sincerity based upon Scripture.

The second piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. This is taken from Isaiah 59:17 and it protected the vital organs. In relation to spiritual warfare, this refers to the imputed righteousness of the Messiah or positional righteousness, and also daily righteousness or practical righteousness.

The third piece of armor is ‘shoes’ of the gospel of peace. This is taken from Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15. The emphasis here is on walking. The meaning is secure footing on a sure foundation which, of course, is the Messiah and His Word.

The fourth piece of armor is the shield of faith. The purpose of the shield is to cover the whole body. It is to be used against the darts of the devil. The faith mentioned here is the principle by which we resist.

The fifth piece is the helmet of salvation. This is taken from Isaiah 59:17. This is the assurance of salvation in spiritual warfare.

The sixth piece of armor is the sword of the Spirit. This is the only offensive weapon, the others are all defensive. The sword of the Spirit is the entire, written word of God."

Each of the types of armor mentioned in Ephesians six are terms taken right out of the Old Testament.

And the main point Paul is making is that the Scriptures are the key to victory in terms of spiritual warfare. This entails learning the Scriptures well, studying them as a whole to have a comprehensive knowledge of “the whole counsel of God.”

Second, it involves applying the Scriptures to our daily lives. A third principle is to deal with specific life issues by looking up passages (using a concordance or other study tool) that directly address these issues – studying, memorizing and using such verses to resist Satan.

When Jesus was tempted three times, He resisted each by quoting Scripture directly relevant to each temptation. Obviously, He needed to know the Scriptures in order to do this. And this is exactly what Paul means when he urges his readers to put on the armor of God.


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Flesh is Nothing to be Proud Of

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; Revelation 3:17-18

The licentious society in which we live comes quite close to idolizing the naked body, but the whole tone of Scripture is in the opposite direction. The priests, for example, were commanded to wear breeches and not robes when they officiated, so that even the sight of a naked leg would not mar their service.

Women in the [churches] were to be modestly covered, and no doubt that meant legs and shoulders and chests as well as heads! In short, flesh is nothing to be proud of! It is far better for our sisters (and brothers) to cover theirs with a fair amount of clothing instead of a carefully nurtured suntan.

(Booker, George., By The Way, ChristadelphianBooksOnline, Section V)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Clothes Maketh the Man

Ora Horn Prouser wrote:

In the ancient world, clothing held symbolic value. Dress could indicate status, power or membership in an elite group. A purple robe, for example, represented royal authority (Esther 8:15); a linen ephod distinguished priests from mere worshippers (1 Samuel 22:18).

Clothing could also represent the wearer’s responsibilities. The removal of a shoe represented a rejection or a denial of obligation, as in the case of the levirate marriage (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). A garment could even stand in for its owner: For example, letters found in the ancient archives of Mari, in Syria, describe a professional prophet sending a piece of his hem to the king as both identification and a guarantee that his prophecy will come true.

Throughout the Hebrew Bible, the accumulation or receipt of clothing has positive connotations, as seen in Jacob’s famous gift of a tunic to his favorite son, Joseph (Genesis 37:3), and Hannah’s yearly present of a robe to her son, Samuel (1 Samuel 2:19). The loss of clothing and the status associated with it, however, can be humiliating, even devastating. The Ammonites, Israel’s enemies east of the Jordan, embarrass King David’s messengers by cutting their garments at the buttocks (2 Samuel 10:4-5)….

Several times in the Bible, the act of rending garments represents the gain or loss of a kingdom. The prophet Ahijah, for example, rips a garment into twelve pieces and tells Jeroboam to take ten of them, since God has declared, “I am tearing the kingdom from Solomon and I am giving you the ten tribes” (1 Kings 11:30-31). And when, earlier, Saul rips the prophet Samuel’s cloak, a princely garment that symbolizes the prophet’s calling and dignity, Samuel proclaims, “God has ripped the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one who is better than you” (1 Samuel 15:28). Ironically, Saul grasps Samuel’s cloak only as a gesture of supplication or submission, and David intends only to cut off a distinctive part of Saul’s garment—both acts, however, take on a far greater meaning in this context.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Twinkling of an Eye

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, ... 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Dr. A. Fruchtenbaum writes:

1 Corinthians 15:52 describes a change before bodies can enter Heaven. In verse 52a, the emphasis is on the quickness and rapidity of that change. It will be done in a moment. The Greek term translated moment is the word from which the English word “atom” comes. It is going to be in the “atom” of time.

Furthermore, it will also be as fast as the twinkling of an eye. This is not the blinking of the eye, but a reference to a sudden flash of recognition. It is like seeing a person one knows but does not immediately recognize. Then suddenly, that quick flash of recognition is what is meant by the twinkling of an eye. This verse emphasizes the quickness of the change.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Murder

Exodus 20:6 says, “Thou shalt not kill (KJV), and many people quote that as if it was a stand-alone verse and universally applicable, forbidding the death penalty. However, a study of the subject of the death penalty reveals a totally different picture.

First, comparing the KJV to other modern versions, including the New King James Version,
reveals that almost all modern versions read, “You shall not murder,” and doing a lexical study
of the Hebrew word shows that “murder” is indeed the better translation, especially in light of
our modern culture.

Beside that, the next chapter in Exodus proscribes the death penalty for murders, saying, “Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death(Ex.21:12).

Continued study of the scope of the subject shows that the death penalty was proscribed by the Law for several crimes, including attacking one’s father or mother (Ex. 21:15), and
kidnapping (Ex. 21:16) and, under certain conditions, rape (Deut. 22:25). In fact, every book of
the Torah, the five books of Moses, proscribes the death penalty for specific crimes, and a
detailed study of the New Testament shows that the New Testament does not forbid the death

Study will show that many of the leaders we look up to as the heroes of the Bible executed people, including Moses (Nu. 15:36), Joshua (Josh. 7:25) and Solomon (1 Kings 2:25;46). Far from forbidding the death penalty, the Bible mandates it as a means of keeping society

John Schoenheit, The Death Penalty: Godly or Ungodly (Christian Educational Services, Indianapolis, IN, 2000)

Note: Although not completely opposed, I personally struggle with some aspects of the death penalty. But I thought that this author made some interesting points.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jehu is called “Zimri.”

And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master? 2 Kings 9:31

2 Kings 9:31 is another example where the scope of a subject gives us details that enrich our understanding of the record.

The conquering warrior Jehu was approaching the city of Jezreel in his chariot, when the ungodly Jezebel looked out a window and called him, “Zimri.” Without a scope of Scripture, her statement would be meaningless.

However, from 1 Kings 16 we learn that Zimri was a general who murdered his king to gain the
kingdom, but only reigned seven days before he himself was murdered. By calling Jehu, “Zimri,”
Jezebel was apparently hoping to shock Jehu into not killing her, but working out some kind of
deal. Her tactic did not work. He killed her and took over the kingdom.

This is where an alternate translation of this verse can benefit our understanding. The NLT translation says:

When Jehu entered the gate of the palace, she shouted at him, "Have you come in peace, you murderer? You are just like Zimri, who murdered his master!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ears, Hands, and Great Toes

Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about. Exodus. 29:20

The blood applied to the right ear, right hand, and right foot signified that all the bodily members and soul and spirit faculties of priests were to be consecrated to God and His service. They represent the hearing, working, and walking members of the body.

Priest were to hear and obey God and the law, work with their hands in performing their service, and walk in all the ways of God.

(Dake, Finis Jennings., Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, Dake Publishing, Inc. Lawrenceville, Georgia, 1999, pg 185)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Under His Feet

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. Hebrews 2:8

In ancient times, the king’s throne was elevated so that everyone who visited him had to bow down before him, sometimes even kissing his feet. His subjects were accordingly said to be “under his feet.” The feet were considered the lowliest part of the body, so to be under someone’s feet was to have lower status than him.

(NavPress Bible study, Hebrews, NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO: 1989, pg 35)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

This Man Sat Down

And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Hebrews 10:11-14

“The Aaronic priests never sat down in the sanctuary; they remained standing throughout the whole performance of their sacred duties (Bruce, F.F. The Epistle to the Hebrews, New International Commentary on the New Testament, Eerdmans, 1979, page 238).” They never sat because their work was never done.

(NavPress Bible study, Hebrews, NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO: 1989, pg 131)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hearts and Kidneys

Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh. Isaiah 16:11

Karse (my belly,bowels) in this case means “my heart.” “Inward parts,” or “kidneys” mean tender mercies. Easterners often say, “My hearts burned for them; my kidneys kindled with fire.”

All these sayings are used allegorically, signifying sorrows and bitter weeping. The kingdom of Moab was to be invaded by the king of Babylon and punished for its sins.

(Lamsa, George M. 1964. Old Testament Light. San Francisco: Harper Collins., pg 648)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sitting At the Right Hand

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Hebrews 1:3

In Jewish culture, sitting at the right hand was a place of honor, privilege, dignity, and power. That Christ sat down at this exalted place indicates that His work was finished.

(NavPress Bible study, Hebrews, NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO: 1989, pg 24)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lift Up Holy Hands

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 1 Timothy 2:8

Semites, when praying, stretch out their arms and lift up their hands as though they were about to receive something. This is a gesture of supplication.

When men plead before a high official of church or state, they lift up their hands, making gestures of sincere appeal.

When they stand at attention, their hands are folded in front of them.

When people beg for mercy they also stretch out or lift up their hands. “Lift up holy hands” means to plead with a sincere heart and motive.

(Lamsa, George. New Testament Commentary, A.J. Holman Co., Philadelphia: 1945, pgs 406-407)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Adding Holiness

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:6-7

He who really knows the truth is daily more and more cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus. The verse is correct enough here but it can very easily be misunderstood. It runs: “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” That can be read as a statement of a general principle. But it is also a statement of what ought to be happening in the individual life.

The meaning is that all the time, day by day, constantly and consistently, the blood of Jesus Christ ought to be carrying out a cleansing process in the life of the individual Christian. The Greek for to cleanse is katharizein which was originally a ritual word, describing the ceremonies and washings and so on which qualified a man to approach his gods.

But the word, as religion developed, came to have a moral sense; and it describes the goodness which enables a man to enter into the presence of God. So what John is saying is, “If you really know what the sacrifice of Christ has done and are really experiencing its power, day by day you will be adding holiness to your life and becoming more fit to enter the presence of God.”
Here indeed is a great conception. It looks on the sacrifice of Christ as something which not only atones for past sin but equips a man in holiness day by day.

(Barclay, William, The Letters of John and Jude Revised Edition, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky, 1976, pgs 30-31)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Avoid This Imagining

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5

Imagination, in the Bible, does not denote a mental faculty or activity, but an evil purpose, plan, scheme, device, or argument. One Hebrew word, sheriruth, is translated "lust" in Psalms 81:12 and "imagination" in Deuteronomy 29:19 and in eight passages in Jeremiah (3:17; 7:24; 9:14; 11:8; 13:10; 16:12; 18:12; 23:17). These are mistranslations, for the word means firmness in an evil course.

"Imagine" as used in the Bible, means to purpose, plan, contrive. Its object is action; and, rather oddly, it is always directed to action that is evil or futile.

Except for Acts 4:25, where "imagine" translates a verb quoted from the Greek Septuagint, the RSV uses other words: "think" (Job 6:26), "meditate" (Psalms 38:12), "propose" (Genesis 11:6), "plan" (Psalms 140:2), "plot" (Psalms 2:1; Nahum 1:9, 11), "devise" (Psalms 10:2; 21:11; Hosea 7:15; Zechariah 7:10; 8:17).

(The Bible Word Book
, Bridges & Weigle, pg 183)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Speaking Comfortably

The heart (Leb, Strongs #3820), according to Scripture, includes not only the motives, feelings, affections, and desires, but also the will, the aims, the principles, the thoughts, and the intellect of man. In fact, it embraces the whole inner man, the head never being regarded as the seat of intelligence.

Hence we read of men being “wise hearted(Exod. 31:6; 36:2); of wisdom being put into the heart (II Chron. 9:23); of the heart being awake (Eccles. 2:23; Song of Sol. 5:2); of the thoughts of the heart (Deut. 15:9); of words being laid up in the heart (I Sam. 21:12); and of mercy being written on the tablets of the heart (Prov. 3:3). In II Kings 5:26, Elisha says to Gehazi, “Went not my heart with thee [or after thee]?” Here a combination of knowledge and feeling is implied.

There is also a beautiful expression in the Hebrew, “to speak to the heart,” which we render “to speak comfortably or friendly (Ruth 2:13; II Sam. 19:7; II Chron. 30:22; Isa. 40:2 [“Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem”]; Hos. 2:14 [“will bring her into the wilderness and speak comfortably to her”].

(Girdlestone, R.B., Girdlestone’s Synonyms of the Old Testament, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts, 1983, pg 81)