- 1 A Biblical Hebrew word story. Key 7, to unlock Bible meaning. No one talks about this, but it is THE key to how to read the Bible.
A Biblical Hebrew word story. Key 7, to unlock Bible meaning. No one talks about this, but it is THE key to how to read the Bible.
A word story takes us full circle back to Key 1 and encompasses all the other keys. Each Biblical Hebrew word narrates its own story. That’s why the King James translators (and other translators for other versions) end up using MULTIPLE words in English to translate ONE Biblical Hebrew word. The result is we end up with a jumbled list of English or other foreign language words that don’t seem to make sense.
(Bible Course, Unlock Bible Meaning with the 7 Keys to Master Biblical Hebrew, Key 7)
Yet somewhere, somehow, there’s a relationship between all these inconsistent words. Readers rarely understand it, but that association of seemingly erratic words is a story. Yes, practically every word, and especially the roots, has a story to tell. Their narratives unlock Bible meaning.
Word-for-word Bible translations into any language lose ALL this more profound comprehension. We must let each Biblical Hebrew word tell its interesting story.
Each story is a minor puzzle that fits within the major puzzle picture.
Here’s what you must understand. Each word can have multiple meanings (Key 1), opposite meaning (Key 2). Be concrete and abstract (3). Be literal and figurative (4). Be a name with meaning (5) and possess a base known as a root (6) that often associates with other roots. Do you envisage the depth of Biblical Hebrew? Do you see that it is impossible to translate a Biblical Hebrew word with just ONE word? Translations can be helpful, but the fact is, at best they reveal PART of the meaning, and at worst, they HIDE the DEEPER meaning.
The King James translators were absolutely correct in their multiple translations for each Biblical Hebrew word. It is those translations that Strong assembled and in his annotations commented mainly on the SEVEN KEYS which The Explanation has laid out for you.
Every Biblical Hebrew word unlocks a story that incorporates many, if not all, of the 7 keys to master Biblical Hebrew.
Here’s a relevant diversion. The other day I watched a TV program about firearms in the USA. The organization To Prevent Gun Violence performed an eye-opening experiment when they opened a “gun store” in NYC. Watch the video.
Every gun has a history. Just like every Biblical Hebrew word has a hi-story. Clients who went into the store to buy a gun came out with a mindset change because the story of each gun had so much meaning. In the same way, Biblical Hebrew words have so much meaning, it can change your mindset about the Bible and its relevance to the 21st century.
Here are some short Biblical Hebrew word stories. My intention here is not to narrate the entire story, use the links to see the FULL story for each word which I’ve related in The Explanation series. I want you to see the value of each story in relation to the ENTIRE story. We’ll be discussing the Creation story in Genesis 1. Use the Bible study tools at UnlockBibleMeaning.com to check each word story.
Beginning ≠ without form and void
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void;
> God created is bara (Strong’s H1254) which means to make fat and incorporates the idea of healthy.
> Without form and void is the well-known phrase tohu va bohu. From H8414 and H922, this means waste and emptiness.
These two stories are telling us what God created HEALTHY became CHAOTIC. Let the Bible tell its own story.
Darkness ≠ Spirit of God
…and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Do you see the parallel story of opposing forces and concepts in this passage? This is the crucial first five minutes of the plot that you must grasp to understand the rest of the story. In the description of a non-fiction book, we’re told to state the PROBLEM and then the SOLUTION. That’s exactly what the author of Genesis dynamically describes here.
> Darkness on the face of the deep = the problem. The Serpent through its power caused the Darkness on deep.
> Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters = the solution. God through His Power, the Spirit, is going to act on the water and the entire environment. God is the first environmentalist. As we know from the rest of this first chapter of Genesis, He sets ecology in motion; He creates a unique sustainable environment exactly what humankind needs to exist. To our knowledge, nowhere in the entire universe is there anything that even comes close to what we have on Earth.
These first stories in the Bible should awaken you to reality. Just like coming out of the “gun shop.”
And then comes one of the best-known, and least understood, statements in the Bible. Why least understood? Because of the limitations of English words. Read the statement. What does it really mean?
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
What does Strong have to say?
אוֹר ʼôwr ore; from H215 (אוֹר); illumination or (concrete) luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.):
KJV – bright, clear, + day, light (-ning), morning, sun.
Ah, concrete, that’s half of Key 3. He adds in every sense but doesn’t mention abstract. Do you see the abstract concept he refers to? Happiness. That first day of creation, God introduced happiness into a chaotic world. Those are the two sides of the fullness of Key 3.
You can also view Light as literal with its figurative counterpart, Light represents God’s Word, His Truth which He also introduces right at the outset of the remake of Earth. That’s Key 4. Do the study to see that figuratively light is equivalent to Truth and God’s Word.
Now, let’s look at the root of H216, that’s Key 5
אוֹר ʼôwr ore; a primitive root; to be (causative, make) luminous (literally and metaphorically):
KJV – ⨯ break of day, glorious, kindle, (be, en-, give, show) light (-en, -end), set on fire, shine.
Strong uses metaphorically. The Explanation uses figuratively. This is key 4. But Key 6, the root, throws added light (pun intended) to unlock Bible meaning. Look at glorious and shine. There’s much more than just physical light involved. What is ultimate glory and shining? That directs us to Key 4, the meaning of a name. When you read “Let there be light” you don’t think of it in terms of a NAME. But, those rays of sunshine have a name, light. Figuratively and in the literal spirit world that NAME belongs to and identifies a Spirit Being.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world.
The Light is God, Jesus Christ. Note that the word Light has a capital L, it is both a name and a description at the same time. This is Key 5. Do you see the relationship of the literal light at the BEGINNING that SHINES (one translation of H215) in the DARKNESS and the literal presence of God then and the figurative prophetical Coming of Jesus Christ referred to by John?
We see that light has various nuances and meanings which is Key 1 and light can blind a person. This was the case for the Apostle Paul in Acts 9. Concentrated light kindles, burns and consumes anything and everything. This the contradictory nature of light which corroborates Key 2 to master Biblical Hebrew.
The first act of God, let there be light, involves ALL the 7 keys. The Biblical Hebrew word light is a story all by itself. If you only read it scientifically or mechanically you miss 99% of the meaning, and the most important significance at that.
Light on the first day and sun on the forth day
I’ll conclude this by reminding you of the supposed contradiction that Bible opponents try to throw in our face. LIght on the first day when God made the sun and moon only on the fourth day. The heavens already existed on the first day with the sun and moon. From them came the light of the first day AND the first night. When you read the events of the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-19), God made (not created) the two great lights to RULE over night and day and to be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. The forth day, God set in motion the yearly calendar with the seasons for the BENEFIT of humankind. We have a saying, “Timing is everything.” It is the positioning of the sun, moon and earth that is everything.
Genesis 1:17, “And God set (H5414, נָתַן – naw-than) them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,” Study that Biblical Hebrew word. Among many meanings you’ll find, appoint, assign, distribute, fasten, ordain, restore. God set the stage for chronobiology on which all life on Earth depends. A feat of amazing precision and interdependence that no-one can explain or comprehend. Unless you believe in God and His power. As it says in verse 17, “to GIVE LIGHT on the earth.” Chronobiology is evidence of that light.
I hope light has taken on new light for you. Take time to meditate on that.
Moved and flutter
Scholars have spent an endless amount of time and writing reams of material on the nature of God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit. The first five minutes define the nature with the story of the word moved.
Genesis 1:2, “God’s Spirit moved (H7363) over the water.” Some translations say hovered. What’s the story? To be forthright, it is rather brief but very revealing. Please recognize that within the first two verses of the Bible, we have the major players (if I may dare to call them that, with all the respect we should have) of our story. We have God (elohim which is plural and encompasses the Father and the future Son. please see this link), we have the Serpent who is the instigator of the darkness, and tohu va bohu we witness. See this link. And finally, we have the Spirit of God.
It is instructive to see the verb, the action, associated with the Spirit. Here is Strong’s reference, which is a root word, to do with Key 6 to master Biblical Hebrew.
רָחַף râchaph raw-khaf’; a primitive root; to brood; by implication, to be relaxed:
KJV – flutter, move, shake.
Three translations and meanings (Key 1). We will locate ALL usages of this word in the Old Testament. That’s the way to tell the raw-hkaf word story. There are only three occurrences. One for each of the translated words.
10 He [God] found him [an impoverished people] in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
11 As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters (7363) over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings:
12 So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;
When God’s Spirit moved over the waters that covered earth it is God’s Spirit fluttering over, taking care of his creation. Notice verse 13 above honey and oil out of the rock. This is exactly what the moving Spirit accomplishes in Genesis 1. God accomplishes the revitalization of this barren planet. Out of dry land, He is going to create the flora and fauna. The same verb form describes the movement of the Spirit and the eagle. There’s nothing pejorative here, they are compassionate, caring actions.
The final usage is that of bones moving or shaking at it is more adequately translated.
Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake (H7363); I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.
That’s the full context. We have to tell the story of the word רָחַף – raw-khaf. I’m going to leave it up to you. But you have to answer the question. Is this how you’d refer to the Spirit if it were a person of the Godhead?
There is another reference to spirit in Genesis 3, In English you’d never ever know it. It’s in Genesis 3:8, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Ruach, spirit, H7307 is cool. The Lord God walk in the spirit of the day… Whatever does that mean?
Well, I will not explain it here. Please click the link and go to the article in the book Agony of Humankind to see the meaning. I include it in this context so you can see that translation can take AWAY from real meaning. Also to help you corroborate your reply to the above question of the nature of the Spirit of God.
Evening – erev and Morning – boker
For this Key 7, and in this lesson we’ve only studied Biblical Hebrew words in the first five verses of Genesis. We haven’t even covered all of them. We’re beginning, just starting to comprehend the depth of meaning of each word. The word story, the minor puzzle within the coherent, complete puzzle that is the Bible.
These two last words are just common periods of every day. And we don’t give them more thought than that. We should.
In Genesis 1:5 below notice the first sentence with and/and. In the second sentence, we again have and/and–in juxtaposition, for emphasis, two separate phrases: And the evening and the morning… Two distinct phases, each with a complementary figurative meaning.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening (H6153 erev) and the morning (H1242 boker) were the first day.
Three Hebrew words that tell a story, the complete story. They merit deeper reflection, far beyond a rapid read of this short verse. The first word is erev for evening.
עֶרֶב ʻereb eh’-reb; from H6150 (עָרַב); dusk:
KJV – + day, even(-ing, tide), night.
עָרַב ʻârab aw-rab’; a primitive root (rather identical with H6148 (עָרַב) through the idea of covering with a texture); to grow dusky at sundown:
KJV – be darkened, (toward) evening.
עָרַב ʻârab aw-rab’; a primitive root; to braid, i.e. intermix; technically, to traffic (as if by barter); also or give to be security (as a kind of exchange):
KJV – engage, (inter-) meddle (with), mingle (self), mortgage, occupy, give pledges, be(-come, put in) surety, undertake.
There are about 10 other words with this identical root ערב (ayin, raish, bet-from right to left): take pleasure in, be sweet (H6149), be darkened (H6150) mingle (self), mix (H6151). Arabia, mingled people (Ezra 9:2), mixed (multitude), woof, the web (or transverse threads of cloth); also a mixture, (or mongrel race) (H6154). divers sorts of flies, swarm (H6157). Arabah, champaign, desert, evening, heaven, plain, wilderness, the (generally) sterile valley of the Jordan (H6160). Pledge, a pawn (given as security), or (metaphorically) a bondsman (H6061-2).
The above is a summary, but let’s ask the audience the question. Who has meddled? Intermixed? Darkened? Made sterile? Who has threaded a web? Who has made a mixture? Who is a bondsman? Who has caused humans to be pawns? These are all meanings of erev as Strong’s shows above, Key 1 comes into full play here. All these descriptions have a common denominator, pointing to the same individual. Guess who (if you don’t know, click to find out).
We also find one reference, as seen above, in Strong’s H6157 to swarms of flies, mosquitos. At first glance, you might not see the connection, but some people have elevated the fly to god level and worship it. The Bible calls it Beelzebub or Baalzevov; zevov is the Hebrew for fly (2 Kings 1.2). From a Biblical point of view, we associate this adoration with denounced devil worship (Mark 3.22-23).
Notice in H6149 that this same root is also pleasant, sweet… This appears to oppose the description of the Serpent who is being referred to figuratively here. This is a good example of Bible-wide corroboration. We know the crucial point here: darkness, night, and evening have strong references to the Serpent. How can sweet apply to this infamous character? Pro 20.17 points us in the right direction: “Bread of deceit is sweet (H6149) to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.” Understand that what looks good on the outside (alcohol, sex, quick money) can turn into hell if not used properly. We’re plunged into figurative darkness.
In contrast to and following evening is morning. It may dawn with the soft glow of rays of light escalating the horizon, dark yielding to light, but it is a separate positive progression.
בֹּקֶר bôqer bo’-ker; from H1239 (בָּקַר); properly, dawn (as the break of day); generally, morning:
KJV – ([phrase]) day, early, morning, morrow.
בָּקַר bâqar baw-kar; a primitive root; properly, to plough, or (generally) break forth, i.e. (figuratively) to inspect, admire, care for, consider:
KJV – (make) inquire (-ry), (make) search, seek out.
Boker is translated by morning. From the alternative words above, it contains the concept of breaking of day, evening dissolving into the morning. The light and warmth emerging, intensifying, engulfing, finally replacing the black and cold.
Read Psalm 27:4 for an associated meaning of morning, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire (H1239) in his temple.” Morning is a literal time of day. This other translation is the figurative parallel. Key 4 unlocks the deeper Bible meaning that out of and following the darkened wilderness (erev) state of mind comes inquiry, the right kind of questioning. Why am I in this negative situation? After the black and cold, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a glimmer of hope.
Boker contains the realization that in the existing dark confusion there’s an instigation to inquire, search out and seek for some answers. It’s an honest examination that starts dimly and brightens with patience, a careful inspection of issues and details that light can reveal. Morning is the breaking of new ground.
We also understand why we have the order evening > morning. The 24 hour day starts in the evening, NOT at midnight or the morning as society practices today. This figurative meaning is going from the dark confusion of the evening and night into the positive inquiring morning and the LIGHT of day. Read more details here. The world is in the DARK, but the LIGHT is coming.
Quickly reading “and the evening and morning…” in Genesis 1.5, in your native language, solely refers to the movement of time. In Biblical Hebrew there’s a clear figurative meaning for evening and morning: inquire, search and plow. Once again, this is not Sam’s interpretation. Psalm 27.4 clearly uses the Biblical Hebrew root that way, The Explanation is pointing this out to you. The Explanation is an inquiry into what God is telling us through the Bible. The design of this course to Unlock Bible Meaning with the 7 Keys to master Biblical Hebrew is to help you inquire and dig out what it really says.
This blog post is an excerpt from Key 7 of the Bible Course Unlock Bible Meaning with the 7 Keys to Master Biblical Hebrew.
Dig Deeper into The Explanation
Join The Explanation Newsletter to stay informed of updates. and future events. No obligations, total privacy, unsubscribe anytime, if you want.
The Explanation series of seven books. Free to read online or purchase these valuable commentaries on Genesis 1-3 from your favorite book outlet. E-book and paperback formats are available. Use this link to see the details of each book and buy from your favorite store.
Since you read all the way to here… you liked it. Please use the Social Network links just below to share this information from The Explanation, Key 7. Each Biblical Hebrew Tells a Fascinating Story