Word Study: Curse


Jeremiah 17:5: “Thus said the Lord; ‘Curse be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm whose heart, departeth from the Lord.”
Curse – Hebrew: ‘aror – Curse, to remove the influence of God.
Thank goodness this verse was written in Hebrew and not English. Just because some English speaking lexicographer decided that “aror” means curse in English, everyone jumps on the band wagon declares that God curses people or invokes evil on people according to our English definition of the word curse.
Curse in Hebrew is aror which comes from the idea of a situation where God is not present. To curse someone is to demand that God removes His protective covering, His Succoth or arm of protection from that person.
In Jeremiah 17:5 the word “aror” is in a passive voice. Hence, this is not an action of God, but a result of what will happen if we trust in the arm of the flesh. A good example of this is Hezekiah in Isaiah 38.  The Babylonians are at Judah’s door step ready to be evangelized, hungry for God Jehovah and what does Hezekiah do with these potential converts?  He starts to show off his wealth and power.  Let me digress, in Isaiah 38 we learn Hezekiah is about to die.  God grants him 15 more years and as a sign He pulls a time travel stunt on Ahaz’s sundial holding back 40 minutes.  Hezekiah was not the only one to marvel at this sign.  The Babylonians were devoted star gazers and when things got a little messed up in the skies due to God’s little time relativity trick, the Babylonians figured that this is one God we need to check out to help us in our fight against the Assyrians.
Can you dig it, here God does this great miracle, grants Hezekiah an extended life and even gives him the opportunity to team up with a mega-nation and make a name for God and what does Hezekiah do?  He shows off what a powerful and anointed king he thinks he is. Hezekiah was trusting in the “arm of the flesh” and we learn in Jeremiah 17:5 that God will curse such a person.
“Arm of the flesh” is “basar (arm, strength) zera’o (flesh, human initiative).”  Which means to plant or conceive in the flesh. To depend on the strength of human initiative).   The problem is not looking to the flesh to pull you through.  I mean God uses secular work, human skills and knowledge.  He uses the physicians, lawyers, politicians etc.    But is out “zera’o (arm, strength)” in Jehovah or in “basar (flesh, human initiative).”    If our strength (zera’o) lies in the flesh (basar) then God will curse us.
How often we venture out on our own strength and think nothing of it, little realizing that we are cursed or we are going this venture without God.

One thought on “Word Study: Curse

  1. Can you help us with the word curse? אָ רַ ר

    We are having trouble with the small symbols below the letters. These letters came from the Blue Letter Bible concordance.

    We have read your word study on the word curse and your current post on God’s wrath. Our question is does God curse people? And if so how does He do it?

    We have purchased your Hebrew Study Guide and are wondering how do we search the Lexicon (Davidson). Do we need to save it somehow in a different format? For instance how do we find the word curse in the Lexicon provided?

    This is our definition: (smiles)

    “Without the headship of God which comes from a willingness to submit to God by continually following Him (a bend in your path) you will be lacking and falling short in righteous leadership from Holy Spirit.”

    But this is something we do not God. So how does God curse people if we are doing it?

    How did we do?

    Thank You
    Rob and Machele Overall

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