John T. Willis

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Heart is Large and Empty--XV

1. There are three expression used with the word "heart" in the Bible which emphasize the superior quality of understanding which an individual has.
    a. The Hebrew adjective koah means "strength, power." Job 36:5 says:
        Surely God is mighty and does not despise any;
             he is mighty in strength and HEART [NRSV understanding].
For God to be mighty in heart means he has great superior quality of understanding.
    b. The Hebrew adjective rohab means "breadth, width." 1 Kings 4:29 says:
         God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment , and BREADTH OF HEART [NRSV
                           breadth of understanding]
          as vast as the sand on the seashore.
God gave Solomon great understanding as broad as the sand on the beaches of the world.
    c. Elihu said to Job in Job 34:10, 34:
        Therefore, hear me, you who are A MAN OF HEART [NRSV you who have sense]. A man of heart means a man of understanding.

2. In antithesis to the idea of having great understanding is the idea of lacking understanding. Three phrases used with the "heart" convey the idea of lack of understanding.
    a. The Hebrew adjective haser means "lack, need." Ecclesiastes 10:3 says:
        Even when fools walk on the road, THEY LACK HEART [NRSV sense],
               and show to everyone that they are fools.
    b. A similar phrase is "has no heart" [sense].  Proverbs 6:32 says:
        But he who commits adultery HAS NO HEART [NRSV sense];
                he who does it destroys himself.
A lack of heart means a lack of understanding.
     Very similar ideas also appear in Proverbs 7:7; 9:4, 16; 10:13, 21; 11:12; 12:11; 15:21; 17:18; 24:30. Proverbs 15:21 in particular is significant:
        Folly is a joy to one who HAS NO HEART [NRSV sense],
                but a person of understanding walks straight ahead.
     c. The Hebrew substantive 'ayin means "no, nothing." Proverbs 17:16 says:
         Why should fools have a price in hand
                to buy wisdom, when THEY HAVE NO HEART [NRSV mind] to learn?
         Hosea 7:11 says:
         Ephraim has become like a dove,
                silly and WITHOUT HEART [NRSV sense];
                they call upon Egypt, they go to Assyria.
To have NO HEART is to be without common sense or understanding.

Share YOUR insights and questions and ideas and reversals and concepts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis