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In the Bible book Job, we see God garnished the heavens. The Biblical Hebrew reveals it’s infinitely more than decoration.
Regarding what happened before the 7-day Creation in Genesis 1, there’s practically no indication of prior activity. However, the book of Job is very eloquent in this matter. We’ll discuss the English translation of a passage where it is not easy to perceive the sense of particular sayings. That’s why we must investigate the Biblical Hebrew roots of words. Here are two different translations.
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By his (God’s) spirit he has garnished (H8235) the heavens; his hand has formed the crooked serpent. (King James Version).
By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent. (New International Version).
In what way were the heavens garnished? What is the meaning of became fair? This verse is full of surprises with formed the crooked serpent. Nothing to do with the Serpent that tempted Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. The English is impossible to understand. I’ll point you in the right direction at the end of this episode. It’s based on the 6th Key to master Bible Hebrew. Master the root meanings.
Let’s give the words garnish and became fair the star treatment. When we digest this verse as a whole, we realize it is referring to the use of God’s power to create and regulate the physical cosmos–the formation of the Universe.
Job’s story is the only place in the Old Testament that uses this verb form garnish–H8235 from the three-letter root H8531. There are quite a few one-time-only usages in the book of Job. I think this reveals the extent of the uniqueness of the dialogue through these expressions. Examine this singular vocabulary at UnlockBibleMeaning.com. Find Job 26:13 and switch to Strong’s Concordance.
Exercise: Locate H8235 and its Hebrew root. Click on the Previous / Next 5 links and see additional meanings of this word. Draw a conclusion of a deeper understanding of garnish.
Do the exercise now, before continuing 🙂
A deeper meaning for garnish
שִׁפְרָה shiphrâh shif-raw’; from H8231 (שָׁפַר); brightness:
KJV – garnish.
שָׁפַר shâphar shaw-far’; a primitive root; to glisten, i.e. (figuratively) be (causatively, make) fair:
KJV – ⨯ goodly.
שַׁפְרוּר shaphrûwr shaf-roor’; from H8231 (שָׁפַר); splendid, i.e. a tapestry or canopy:
KJV – royal pavilion.
שְׁפַרְפַר shᵉpharphar shef-ar-far’; (Aramaic) from H8231 (שָׁפַר); the dawn (as brilliant with aurora):
KJV – ⨯ very early in the morning.
A glistening royal pavilion, a canopy. Isn’t that a wonderful description of a night sky? The bright stars illuminating the sky dome. To pursue your study, click on Hebrew Concordance for H… and see the contexts where these words appear. For instance, H3238 only occurs in one place… you figure it out :).
Notice that H8235-garnish derives from the primitive root H8231, which is the most basic structure of a word. Now, for another fundamental principle in the understanding of the relationship of Biblical Hebrew words.
Every Biblical Hebrew word based on the SAME ROOT (in this case: H8231) is related to ALL the OTHER WORDS (in this case: H8235, H8237, and H8238) based on that SAME ROOT.
A derivative of H8231 is H8237, translated in the KJV as royal pavilion. In the book of the prophet Jeremiah, we see the literal pavilion in all its glory:
And say to them, Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal pavilion (H8237) over them.
Here’s the understanding of Job’s words when he uttered (in Biblical Hebrew) “by his spirit he has garnished the heavens.”
To garnish the heavens refers to creating a splendid bejeweled tapestry for a royal pavilion that glistens and is goodly, fair, and bright. Notice that all these words come from the KJV translators and Strong’s references. There’s no interpreting or speculation.
Could we have a more marvelous depiction of what spreads aloft over our heads? An interwoven array of jewels on a vast twinkling rotunda: our bespeckled sky and the outreaching universe. One Biblical Hebrew word, garnish, leads us to the Hebrew root, Key 6, and then on to other derivative words. Combined, they unlock deeper Bible meaning. Now we can stop to admire the heavens God has shaped and garnished with myriads and myriads of dazzling scintillating celestial bodies.
To understand the revealing meaning of crooked serpent, I invite you to read this article. Next, a few words about Strong and Biblical Hebrew word roots and we’ll move on to the final all-important Key. Nice.
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