John T. Willis

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Heart Knows, Discerns, Understands--IX

Three Hebrew verbs are connected with the "heart" in the sense of "know, understand, discern, be intelligent" and the like.

1. The Hebrew verb bin means "to discern, be intelligent, have understanding."
     In response to Solomon's prayer in his dream at Gibeon, Yahweh says: "I will give you a wise and understanding HEART [NRSV mind]." 1 Kings 3:12.
     Proverbs 15:14 says: The HEART [NRSV mind] of one who has understanding seeks knowledge,
                                             but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
The same language and idea appears in Proverbs 8:5; 18:15; Daniel 10:12.

2. The Hebrew verb yada` means "to know."
     Moses said to his sinful people in the Plains of Moab in Deuteronomy 29:4: "But to this day the Lord has not given you a HEART [NRSV mind] TO UNDERSTAND, or eyes to see, or ears to hear."
     Proverbs 14:10 says: The HEART KNOWS [is well aware of] its own bitterness,
                                             and no stranger shares its joy.
     Ecclesiastes 8:5 says: Whoever obeys a command will meet no harm,
                                              and the wise HEART [NRSV mind] will know the time and way.
     In Jeremiah 24:7, Yahweh gives Jeremiah this assurance: "I will give them [God's people] a HEART to KNOW that I am the Lord."
     The same idea also appears in Ecclesiastes 1:17; 7:22, 25; 8:16. The point is that according to the Bible the HEART has the God-given capacity of KNOWING and UNDERSTANDING ideas and situations in life.

3. The Hebrew verb halak means "to walk, go, come." In 2 Kings 5:26, when Gehazi got some of Naaman's possessions wrongfully, Elisha said: "Did I not go with you in HEART [NRSV spirit] when someone left his chariot to meet you?" To "go in heart" means to perceive or understand.

Biblical speakers and writers emphasize that the HEART is subject to the person. God, the Creator of he HEART, can hide it from wisdom or imbibe it with wisdom, but ONLY in harmony with the will of the person. The "heart" is capable of perceiving abstract facts and personalities. The "heart" is WISE by mastering a particular craft or by mastering an individual.
   Proverbs 12:23 says: One who is clever conceals knowledge,
                                             but the HEART [NRSV mind] of a fool broadcast folly.
   Proverbs 22:15 says: Folly is bound up in the HEART of a boy,
                                             but the rod of discipline drives it far away.

Share YOUR insights and concepts and experiences and thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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