WORD STUDY – FEET SWELL
Feet – Hebrew: Regal – foot, to go about, to spy.
Swell – Hebrew: Basak – to swell, soft, doughy
Deuteronomy 8:4:”Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee. Neither did thy feet swell these forty years.”
For forty years Israel wandered in the wilderness, not allowed to enter the Promised Land. God explained that this was done to chasten Israel as a father would chasten a child. Yet, as a father may chasten a child, he does not stop loving the child or caring for the child. He does not stop providing for the child or supporting the child. So too God may have chastened Israel but He never stopped loving them, caring for them, supporting them or providing for them. Yet, you don’t think of those things while being chastened.
God reminded them that their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet swell. Odd that God would miraculously provide in these areas. In their wanderings the children of Israel could have obtained the necessary material to make clothing. So their feet didn’t swell, what’s the big deal about that? Well the obvious thing is that God was watching out for even the most minor details of caring for his people. The word for “garments” is “samal” which is also a word for covering. The word for “waxing old” is “balah” which has the idea of losing vitality and usefulness. This idea of the clothes never wearing is a play on words also showing that God’s covering of protection over his people never diminished after 40 years.
The word for “swell” is “basak” which means soggy or doughy. When used to modify “regal” or feet, it is a picture of your pace being slowed due to fatigue. This is especially important to the elderly who had to keep up with the younger people who could walk faster and further. It is sort of like someone saying “My feet feel like lead.” In a sense God was keeping the people youthful despite the fact that they had aged forty years.
Again God is sort of making a play on words. He is saying that he has taken care of the little things that one may not even think about, like their clothes wearing out or even their feet swelling. But not only that, at the same time he shows that he has taken care of the larger things like His constant covering of protection, protecting them from the extreme dangers of the desert like storms, pestilence and depravation. Once more he kept their bodies youthful enough despite their age so they could keep up with each other while traveling.
My journey to God’s heart sometimes feels like I am wandering in a wilderness. Yet, I don’t stop to consider the fact that my mind still works, I can still parse a verb, see and read my Hebrew Bible, and sit at a key board. I’ve met many my age who can’t do that. So with joy I can continue my long journey to God’s heart knowing He continues to give me the wherewithal to do so.