John T. Willis

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Heart is Comforted--XX

Two idiomatic phrases connected with the heart meaning comfort appear in the Hebrew Bible.

1. The Hebrew expression dabhar `al, "speak upon, to" is connected with the heart EIGHT times.
     a. After Jacob died, Joseph assured his brothers that he had no intention of harming them in spite of the fact that they had tried to kill him. Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:21:
          "So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones."
           In this way he assured them, speaking kindly to them [Hebrew: speaking to their heart].
     b. When a certain Levite separated from his wife at Bethlehem, after four months, "Then her husband set out after her, to speak tenderly to her [Hebrew: to speak to her heart] and bring her back" (Judges 19:3).
     c. When Boaz helped Ruth in the fields near Bethlehem, Ruth responded: "May I continue to find favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly [Hebrew: spoken to my heart] to your servant, even though I am not of your servants." (Ruth 2:13).
     d. According to 2 Samuel 19:7, Joab sternly charged David to "speak kindly to his servants," Hebrew, speak to the hearts of his servants.
     e. 2 Chronicles 30:22 says: "Hezekiah spoke encouragingly [Hebrew: spoke to the heart] to all the Levites who showed good skill in the service of the Lord."
     f. 2 Chronicles 32:6 says: "He [Hezekiah] appointed combat commanders over the people, and gathered them together to him, in the square at the gate of the city, and spoke encouragingly [Hebrew: spoke to the heart] to them."
     g. Isaiah 40:2 says:
         "Speak tenderly [Hebrew: Speak to the heart] to Jerusalem,
                and cry to her
          that she has served her term,
                that her penalty is paid,
          that she has received from the Lord's hand
                double for all her sins."
     h. In Hosea 2:14 [Heb. 2:16], God says to Judah:
          "Therefore, I will now allure her,
                and bring her into the wilderness,
            and speak tenderly [Hebrew: speak to the heart] to her."

2. The Hebrew expression barakh be, "to bless in," occurs once in Deuteronomy 29:19 [Heb. 29:18]:
    "All who hear the words of this oath and bless themselves, thinking in their hearts."

3. The Hebrew verb chayah, "to revive," appears once with "heart" in Isaiah 57:15:
     "For thus says the high and lofty one
            who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
       I dwell in the high and holy place,
            and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit,
       to revive the spirit of the humble,

God encourages and comforts the hearts of God's faithful people in mysterious ways. Be thankful for his presence and his mighty acts.

Share YOUR experiences and motivations and shortcomings and encouragements and reversals with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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