Nugget 217: Peace on Earth

Nugget 217: Peace on Earth

The night of Jesus birth, a host of angels appeared to the shepherds watching the flocks just outside of Bethlehem and sang their heavenly chorus, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14) Peace! The Hebrew word is shalom (שָׁלוֹם). The world at the time of Jesus’ birth was anything but peaceful, so I am sure the shepherds were pleasantly surprised to hear the angels announcement.

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Nugget 216: Israel – Prince with God

Nugget 216: Israel – Prince with God

The Etymological Origin of the Word ‘Israel’

According to Webster, etymology is, “the tracing of a word back as far as possible in its own language.” The first occurrence of the word ‘Israel’ (yisrael) – יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל in the Hebrew Bible is found in this week’s Torah portion in Genesis 32:28. In this passage, the angel of the LORD confronts the patriarch Jacob at Peniel and changes his name: “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” What does ‘Israel’ ( יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל <-) mean? First, note that the last two letters, אל, (El), is one of the names for God and occurs 6,581 times in the Hebrew T’nakh.  [The longer form of this word is אלוהים (Elohim) and occurs 2,602 times in the T’nakh.] (more…)

Nugget 215: Jacob’s Ladder

Nugget 215: Jacob’s Ladder

The first line of text in this week’s Torah portion:

וַיֵּצֵ֥א יַעֲקֹ֖ב מִבְּאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ חָרָֽנָה <
For the Hebrew students, I will write the Hebrew in transliteration and translation: Vayetze (and went out) Yakov (Jacob) mi-be’er sheva(from Be’er Sheva) vahYehlech (and walked) haranah (to Haran). Pay attention that in Hebrew, the verb likes to be first in the sentence because it is the most important part of speech.  The first word in the text is the name of this Torah portion – וַיֵּצֵ֥א -(vayetze).  The root (יצא) means ‘to go out’ or ‘to come out’. This Torah portion begins and ends with two major events concerning stones and has a third event in the middle! Let’s look at each. Gen. 28:10-15 is a very important passage because here God reconfirms His covenant with Jacob:

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Nugget 214: An Ancient Promise Fulfilled

This Hebrew text of this week’s Torah portion, Genesis 12:1-17:27, begins with the phrase ( לֶךְ־לְךָ֛) Lech-Lecha. The word, לֶךְ (Lech) is from the Hebrew root ( הלכ) and means to walk or to go. Thus the Hebrew phrase lech-lecha literally means, “You go!” In the KJV, it is translated as, “Get thee out”. 

Genesis 12:1-3 is known to Bible scholars as the Abrahamic Covenant because here God first made His covenant with Abram:

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (more…)