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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Words



Command
By Jeff A. Benner
מִצְוָה mits'vah
The word command, as well as commandment, are used to translate the Hebrew word mits'vah but does not properly convey the meaning of mits'vah. The word command implies words of force or power as a General commands his troops. The word mits'vah is better understood as a directive. To see the picture painted by this word, it is helpful to look at a related word, tsiyon (which is also the name Zion) meaning a desert or a landmark. The Ancient Hebrews were a nomadic people who traveled the deserts in search of green pastures for their flocks. A nomad uses the various rivers, mountains, rock outcroppings, etc as landmarks to give them their direction. The verbal root of mits'vah and tsiyon is tsavah meaning to direct one on a journey. The mits'vah of the Bible are not commands, or rules and regulations, they are directives or landmarks that we look for to guide us.

Strong's: #4687



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