John T. Willis

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Destroying and Removing the Heart; Heart of Little Worth--XVI

The Hebrew word lebh [English heart] is the direct object of three Hebrew verbs which mean to "take away" or "destroy."
    1. The Hebrew verb sur in the hiph`il means "to remove, take away." Job 12:24 says:
         "He [Yahweh] strips [takes away] heart [NRSV understanding] from the leaders of the earth,
                and makes them wander in a pathless waste."
    2. The Hebrew verb laqach means "to take away." Hosea 4:11 says:
         "Wine and new wine
                 take away the heart [NRSV understanding].
    3. The Hebrew verb 'abad in the pi`el means "to vanish, blot out, do away with." Ecclesiastes 7:7 says:
        "Surely oppression makes the wise foolish,
                 and a bribe corrupts [destroys] the heart."
All of these texts use "heart" in the sense of human understanding.

In connection with this, one should consult Daniel 7:4. Daniel saw a vision of four great beasts coming up out of the sea. Daniel 7:4 says:
    "The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings.
      Then, as I watched, its wings were plucked off,
       and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a human being;
       and a human heart [NRSV mind] was given to it."
Here, a man's heart means a man's understanding.

Finally, the Hebrew noun lebh [English heart] occurs once with the Hebrew substantive me`at [English a little, fewness, a few]. Proverbs 10:20 says:
     "The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
           the heart [NRSV mind] of the wicked is of little worth."
This verse emphasizes the smallness of a wicked person's understanding.

Like in many other biblical texts [Old and New Testament], the word "heart" may mean the "mind" or the "understanding."

Share YOUR insights and understandings and imaginations and biases and thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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