The best Bible I bought was an NASB translation that has both the Hebrew and the Greek words at the back.  So select words are bolded and then the Strong’s index number is listed as a side script and one can flip to the back and see the meaning in multiple nuances.  It’s VERY cool.  My study is exponentially enriched because I can glean extra pickings and plumb the very context and significance of a term.  I knew I wanted this kind of reference tool as soon as I learned that the Holy Spirit was given to us as a deposit or pledge, as an ‘arrebon’ (Strongs-328).  The reference describing this ‘arrebon’ mentioned that that word is used today in Modern Greek to mean ‘engagement rin’.  That just made me love God all the more!  What a great image of God’s commitment to us!

Today I want to tell you about my four favorite Hebrew words and how they have become friends:  The first one is: # 6960- qavah.  It means to wait patiently.  Psalm 40 commences, “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of slimy pit, out of the mud and mire.”  Qavah has the sense of binding cords or strands.  I picture David in a pit, confidently waiting on God because he is praying continually.  But all the while he is praying, he is preparing for his assured rescue by weaving a rope from materials found in the pit.  Qavah is assuredly NOT passive.  We pray, thus casting  all our cares on Him.  We know He is going to help and rescue when the time is right.  So we start our preparations as best we can from our end.  We don’t wring our hands and worry.  Qavah appears 53 times in the OT.

Related to waiting patiently is the Hebrew word for trust – # 982 – Batach. Earthy me thinks ‘buttocks’ – hay, I need a mnemonic device!   The meaning of trust is expansive enough to include a good sense of being ‘care-less’, made secure, emboldened, made confident, an utter reliance on something.  It occurs 129 times in the OT.  Psalm 37:3 is a favorite of mine– Trust in the Lord and (you will) do good.  And then again from Psalm 40:4, Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust. This word trust is a version of Batach – it is mitbach  – # 4009.

The next two Hebrew words are often paired together.  They are loving-kindness and truth/faithfulness.  Khesed, # 698 is the Hebrew word for loving-kindness.  I don’t understand how some people blithely dismiss ‘the God of the Old Testament’ as being different from the Jesus of the NT.  God the Father and Jesus are one.  Both are Loving-Kindness in person.  Not fewer than 253 times does this attribute of God appear in the NT.  David relies on God’s ‘khesed’ to protect him.  Numbers 14:18The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in  ‘khesed’ and forgiving sin and rebellion.  Hosea 6:6 For I desire ‘khesed’, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

As a twin to ‘Khesed’ is the Hebrew word ‘Emeth’.  It means both truth and faithfulness.  It is used 128 times in the OT.  Because God is a God of truth, He is faithful to His word, to His character.  What He says is true.  What He says will come to pass.  I can depend on Him to tell it like it is and not change His mind.  Psalm 19:9 says that the law or ordinances or the Word of God is ‘emeth’, meaning that it is sure.  In Psalm 31:15, He is called the God of Truth.  The psalmist, so in love with ‘God’s truth’ swears in Psalm 40 that he does not withhold God’s ‘emeth’ from other believers.  What could be more beautiful than Psalm 85:10, “Khesed and emeth meet together” – ‘Loving-kindness’ and ‘faithfulness/truth’ come together in God.

These Hebrew words are becoming familiar friends that comfort me.  As I read my Bible each day, I am excited to spot them, these signposts of God’s character, and indicators of God’s promises.  I praise God for our love of His Word…..which means our love for Him, the Logos.  And don’t forget that the concept ‘logic’ is tied to the Greek word Logos.   But delving into those riches will have to wait –  for another post,  about my favorite Greek words.

I just want you to realize that since you & I are made in God’s image, equipped to use and savor and understand words, that there is a treasure trove in the Hebrew and Greek languages.  Since God’s communication to us is written in those languages, treasures lie just below the surface, waiting to be retrieved.  Happy digging!