WORD STUDY – CRY OUT – קלנו
Deuteronomy 26:7: “And we cried unto the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our cries and saw our affliction.”
Hebrew is a language of relationships. Rabbis, such a Samson Hirsch for whom Hirsch College is named after have taught for centuries that words in the Hebrew which have similar spellings are related. So are words in a triliteral root where the first two letters are similar and the final letter different are related. Some words spelled forward and backwards are related. Words spelled with an Ayin (silent sound) and Aleph (also silent) may have a relationship. Often these similarities are used to create word plays. Words which carry the same root are always related although they may have seemingly entire different meanings. For instance, in English we have the word trunk. It could mean the main body of a tree, a piece of luggage or an elephant’s nose. The word in English is spelled and sounds identical to each other, yet their meanings are totally unrelated nor do we even look for a relationship. Only by its use in the context will you know what the meaning is. Yet, in Hebrew and with other Semitic languages you would search for a common meaning to enhance your understanding of a word. If we did that in English we would consider, “what does a log, a piece of luggage and an elephant’s nose have in common.” We could conclude they are all cylindrical. Many years ago people carried their belongings in blankets rolled up like a log or elephant’s nose. Of course we would not do that in English, but in Hebrew it could be an excellent tool to aid in our understanding of a Hebrew word.
Another aid would be the use of the Gemetria or numerical associations. You see there are no numerical numbers like we have in English. We have 1,2, 3 etc. Hebrew has no such numbering so they use their Alphabet and thus one is the letter Aleph, two is the letter Beth. This is how we find meanings within numbers. For instance the number three represents a father. Why? Because it is spelled Aleph Beth. The Aleph is the number one and the Beth is the number two and when you add one plus two you get three therefore the numerical value of father is three. But more than that you use the Gemetria to show relationships between words. When the numerical value of one Hebrew word equals the numerical value of another Hebrew word you seek a relationship between these words.
The Western world pretty much rejects the Gemetria and relegates it to that area of religion that goes off on supernatural things. However, in Europe the Gematria is an academic pursuit in many Universities.
If fact, it appears the Bible itself teaches the existence of a Gematria. In Revelation 13:18 we are told: “Here is wisdom, let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast.” We learn that 6 is the number of man and 666 is the number of the beast according to this passage in the Inspired Word of God. That is, clearly and simply, using the Gematria to gain some deeper understanding. The gematria is a 3000 year old study by Jewish sages who assign certain numeric values to the Hebrew alphabet. From these values they seek associations between various words.
Let me give you an example from Deuteronomy 26:7. This is a wonderful promise. When we cry unto the Lord He hears our cries and sees our afflictions. But, soft, that is just a package that needs to be open. Open it up and you find many little gifts inside. These gifts are found when you do a word study on cry and affliction. You find more little treasures when you seek the meaning behind each Hebrew letter in each word. There is a pleasant surprise when you search out the root word and it’s historical origins. Among the many tools God has given us to study His word, you may discover the Gemetria is also a valuable tool. After all numbers are very prominent in the Bible, we have a whole book called Numbers. Where is the Spiritual value in Genesis 6:15 where Noah is told to build the ark 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high? We argue over what a cubit is never looking at the possibility that there may be a greater message in the numbers. Who needs to know what a cubit is when you have a powerful spiritual lesson in 300, 50, and 30. The Hebrew words for thick darkness, oppressed, desolate, astonished, weakness, folly, crossroad, flock, goats and many others all have a numerical value of 380. The ark represents God freeing Noah from oppression, darkness, desolation, weakness. It represents something astonishing that God will do. Building the ark was considered a folly be many observers and animals, flocks and goats were brought on the ark. The whole story of Noah is told in the numerical value of the dimensions of the ark.
So now let’s take the word in Deuteronomy 26;7: our cry. It is the word spelled Qop which is also the number 100, Lamed which is the number 30, Nun which equals the number 50, and Vav which is the number 6. This totals 186. That is the numerical value of the word qolenu which means our cry. Now let’s look for other Hebrew words that have the same numerical value. Well, the very next word our affliction is ‘aneynu which is spelled Ayin = 70, Nun = 50, Yod = 10, Nun = 50, and Vav = 6. The total numerical value of our affliction is (surprise) 186. Co-incidence or God-incidence? You choose, but no doubt the words are related. Our affliction causes us to cry out.
Let’s drill down deeper. You have the Hebrew word kesalemo which means after his image. The numerical value of this word is also 186. Ever consider the fact that God is afflicted and cries out in His affliction? Everytime we sin, everytime a sinner dies and goes to Hell, is not God afflicted, does he not, like a parent, feel the pains of affliction or the sufferings of His children? We are after all made after His image. So if we suffer it stands to reason we inherited that trait from our Heavenly Father. After His image and crying out in our affliction having the same numerical value could also mean that He not only feels empathy for our affliction, but that He also feels the very pain of our affliction.
Hey, look at the letter Qop itself in the word our cry. It is spelled Qop = 100, Vav = 6, and Pei = 80 which totals 186. Qop means growth and holiness. In our crying out to God in our affliction we will grow in holiness. Did not David say in Psalms 119, “But for my affliction I would not have sought the Lord.” Affliction can be a road to holiness if we call out to God.
This has turned into a longer study than I usually do so let me end with just one more word association. Henimesa’ also has a numerical value of 186. This is an interrogative Qal imperfect form from the root masa and means can we find?
When you go through affliction that is a good question to ask: “Can I find God in this affliction?” And may I leave you with that Can we find God in the Gematria? You decide.