Ancient Hebrew Research Center

Biblical Hebrew E-Magazine

January, 2006                                                    Issue #023


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Biblical Word of the Month – Prayer (3)

Name of the Month – John

Question of the Month – The mark?

Verse of the Month – Genesis 4:5




Biblical Word of the Month – Prayer (3)

By: Kathy Nichols


 (ShL) meaning to “draw out”. The new picture we have in ShL is the  which is a picture of teeth meaning “to press, devour, eat and also double/two and is the “Sh” sound.


Shael  is to draw out something that is not known.  This word is used frequently in asking for God’s direction and counsel. 


Joshua 9:14 “… And the men sampled some of their food, but didn’t seek theadvice of Adonai.”   “Seek the advice” is “shael”.


Is 30:2” ‘Woe to the rebellious children’, says Adonai, “They make plans, but the plans are not mine; they develop alliances, but not from My Spirit.. They go down to Egypt, but don’t consult me (shael)….”


The Father of Zerubabel was Shealtiel which means “I have asked God”.  No doubt he asked God many times for restoration, then saw the fulfillment through his own son – what a blessing.


The “shuwl” or edge of the robe worn by the priests when they ministered had pomegranates and bells on them.  Isaiah saw the “shuwl” of God fill the temple. (Is 6).  In Mathew 14, Mark 5 and Luke 8 we read of people touching the “shuwl” or hem of Jesus’ garment and being healed.  One woman particularly had faith for healing, and when she touched the hem/shuwl of Jesus garment, was instantly healed.  Jesus knew power had gone out of Him and so he asked the crowd to the surprise of the disciples watching the people pressing against Him.  The woman came forward.  She had certainly been healed by “drawing out” the power of God.  Jesus answered her prayer and commended her faith. 


Many times we may ask why some prayers take so long to answer.  It is important that we trust and persevere in prayer, even when there is seemingly no solutions and the answers to our prayers are being “drawn out”.   Like we read earlier in Luke 18 “.. Is he delaying long over them? I tell you that he will judge in their favour, and quickly! But when the Son of Man comes, will he find this trust on the earth at all?” Our “quickly” and God’s “quickly” many times don’t coincide because we like fast answers to prayers, especially when we are in a tight or difficult place.  We may experience a lengthy delay before God answers some prayers.  This can be because the overall purposes of God are more important to Him than our individual prayers or needs.  Of this we can be certain - God will bring about His justice on His return.  As Jesus says in the book of Revelation “I will come quickly”.  From our human point of view it doesn’t seem quick at all, but God doesn’t lie and from his perspective the timing will be perfect.  The important thing is that we trust in Him whether we receive immediate or delayed answers.  We were pleased to receive a fast answer to prayer last week.  My fourteen year old daughter told us two girls from her year which she knew had run away from home and the parents were obviously very anxiously trying to find them with the help of the Gardai (Police).  Leanne and I prayed about the situation then and there during the afternoon.  By 11pm that night we heard that the parents were on their way to collect the girls who were found safe and well outside Dublin, around three hours from where we live. 


Solomon, the son of David, the man who loved wisdom.  His name comes from shalam meaning peace and completeness.  The root ShL “to draw out” enables us understand Solomon’s name even more when we remember the Lord appeared to him in a dream asking him what he wanted.  (1 Kings 3).  The word used for “ask” shael is also from the ShL root.  Solomon pleased the Lord by asking for wisdom.  Wisdom was the means by which everything was created.  Solomon by lifting his voice for wisdom and seeking her foremost and above all else, was able to draw out the most precious treasures of God’s greatness and apply them to governing the people in justice, righteousness and with great prosperity and peace. (1 Kings 4:25) To prosper is a drawing out of what is needed.  He also possessed great knowledge in understanding creation.  All this in turn inspired the nations of the earth to come to hear, seek and draw out the wisdom of the God of Israel for themselves by coming to Solomon. (1 Kings 10:24)



Special thanks to my ongoing Hebrew teacher Fr John Durkan and also Jeff Benner for his awesome research and personal encouragement.



Name of the Month - John

By: Kathy Nichols


This name is a Form of ”YHVH” and "HhNN" meaning favour. Combined this name means “The Lord favoured”. (Strongs 3110) and John was very much favoured by God, and we will see why.


Luke 1:17 the birth of John the Baptist as told to Zacharius by the angel Gabriel “…and he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts...”


Mathew 11:11 “Yes, I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Immerser!  Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he! For all the prophets and the Torah prophesied until John. Indeed, if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, whose coming was predicted….”


However in John 1:19 Priests and Levites asked John himself if he was Elijah, or “the prophet”.  He answers “no”. 


So was John unaware that he had come in the spirit and power of Elijah?  Did his father not tell him the prophecy he received from the angel Gabriel?  It would seem he was unaware, and that John saw himself solely as the voice in the wilderness calling people to repentance.   In the same passage John then goes on to say he is not good enough even to untie the sandals of Jesus. (John 1:24-28).  Just as Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped at, John did not see equality with Elijah something to be grasped at but humbled himself also like Jesus even to his death.


Math 3:4 John wore camel’s hair as clothing with a leather belt and ate locusts and wild honey. Elijah also wore a girdle of leather (2 Kings 1:8).


John’s diet consisted of locusts.  The most frequently used word for locust is "arbah" where the child root rabah means “abundance”, see AHLB 1439 (H).  Honey very much represents the sweetness of the words of God (Psalm 119:103).  Although John lived in the desert he must have truly “eaten the words of God in abundance”.  This diet gave him the preparation required for God’s purposes and thus receiving great favour with God.


AHLB 2016 – A young camel (barek) also has the same letters as firstfruit and is from the same root meaning “choicest”.  So what could the connection be?  Possibly that John received the Lord’s favour by being His choice for the role of forerunner to Jesus.  But was the symbolism of John’s attire also that it represented the firstfruits of the coming of the Spirit of Elijah?   Jer 2:23 reads that the young camel is swift, possibly like the feet of Elijah which ran faster than Ahab’s chariot to Jezreel! 1 Kings 18:46.  Gen 49:3 interestingly speaks of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn being the beginning of his strength. There is the definite beginning of the strength and power of God that came with John the Baptist bringing the kingdom of God to birth.  



Question of the Month – The mark?

By: Jeff A. Benner


Q: What is the mark placed on the foreheads in Ezekiel 9:4?


A: The Hebrew for the phrase in question reads "vehitvita tav al mitshhot ha'anashim". The word vehitvita means "and make a mark". The base word is the verb tavah meaning "to make a mark". The second word "tav" is a noun meaning a mark and comes from the same root as the previous verb tavah. The rest of the phrase "al mitshhot ha'anashim" means "upon the foreheads of the men".


There is two ways to interpret this phrase. The first is to translate this passage as "make a mark of a mark on the foreheads of the men" where the type or style of the mark is not indicated. Secondly, because the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called the "tav" it is possible that this passage is saying "make a mark of the letter tav on the foreheads of the men". If this is true then the mark was the letter tav. At the time of Ezekiel this letter would appear as + or x. But in ancient Hebrew it appeared more like the cross shape we are all familiar with, kind of like the letter t (without the tail at the bottom).


Personally I believe the second interpretation is the better translation.




Verse of the Month – Genesis 4:5

By: Jeff A. Benner


וְאֶל־קַיִן וְאֶל־מִנְחָתֹו לֹא שָׁעָה וַיִּחַר לְקַיִן מְאֹד וַיִּפְּלוּ פָּנָיו׃

But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (ASV)


וְאֶל (ve-el)

The base word is אל (el) meaning "to" or "toward" with the prefix ו (ve) meaning "and".


קַיִן (qa-yin)

This is the name of Adam and Hhava's (Eve) firstborn son usually transliterated as Cain.


וְאֶל (ve-el)

The same as the first word in this sentence.


מִנְחָתֹו (min-hha-to)

This base word is מנחה (min-hhah) meaning a donation or offering. The suffix is the possessive pronoun meaning "of him". Because the base word is feminine, ending with the letter hey and is in possessive (donation of...), the letter hey is exchanged for the letter tav.


לֹא (lo)

This is the word meaning "no", commonly preceding a verb in order to negate the action of that verb.


שָׁעָה (sha-ah)

This verb means "to look with respect". The conjugation (or I should say the lack of any prefixes or suffixes to the root) of this verb identifies the subject of the verb as third person, masculine, singular and the tense of the verb as perfect. This word should be translated as "he looked with respect".


וַיִּחַר (vay-yi-hhar)

The base word is חרה (Hharah) meaning "to flare up with great anger". The prefix י (y) identifies the subject of the verb as third person, masculine, singular and the tense of the verb as imperfect. The prefix ו (v) means "and" but also reverses the tense of the verb from imperfect to perfect. This word would then be translated as "and he flared up with great anger".


לְקַיִן (le-qa-yin)

Again we have the name Qayin but prefixed with the letter ל (l) meaning "to" or "towoard".


מְאֹד (me-od)

This word means much or great.


וַיִּפְּלוּ (vay-yip-lu)

The base word is נפל (naphal) meaning "to fall". When a verb begins with the letter נ (n), the נ is dropped from the word when conjugated. The prefix י (y) and the suffix ו (u) identifies the subject of the verb as third person, masculine, plural and the tense of the verb as imperfect. The prefix ו (v) means "and" but also reverses the tense of the verb from imperfect to perfect. This word would then be translated as "and they fell".


פָּנָיו (pa-nav)

The base word here is פנה (panah) meaning face, but in Hebrew this word is always written in the plural form - פנים (paniym). The suffix ו (av, but usually pronounced with an "o" except in some cases such as this) is the possessive pronoun meaning "of him". Because the base word is written in the plural with the suffix ים (iym)  and is followed by the possessive pronoun the letter ם (m) is dropped. Note: The phrase "faces fell" is an idiomatic phrase in Biblical Hebrew to mean "sad".



The following is a literal rendering of this verse from its Hebraic meaning.


And to Qayin and to his donation Yhwh did not look with respect and Qayin greatly flared up with a fierce anger and his faces fell.


Copyright © 2006

Jeff A. Benner

Ancient Hebrew Research Center


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