WORD STUDY – SORROWFUL SOUL – נפשׁ באד
Jeremiah 31:25: “For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.”
Yesterday I talked about a weary soul. Today I have been researching the idea of a sorrowful soul. There is a difference between having a soul that is weary and a soul that sorrowful. Off hand if I were to ask you for the difference you might say that a weary soul is one that has just been through the ringer so to speak. Tough day at the office, car breaks down on the way home and then when you get home you find a toilet is broken. You are just emotionally drained. A sorrowful soul would be when you have lost a loved one, or a friend has rejected you or you are suffering from a broken relationship. Maybe your beloved dog or cat passed away, or you failed to achieve a promotion on your job or be hired for the job you were hoping to get. Maybe you were rejected from the college you hoped to attend. The feelings here would be a sorrowful soul.
Examining this in the Hebrew I would have to say that this probably explains it best. Yet I think the Hebrew does offer an even greater depth of understanding of what a sorrowful soul is and why it needs to be replenished. The weary soul needs to have a good bath as we learned yesterday, the sorrowful soul needs to be replenished.
First the word sorrowful is a unique word in the Hebrew. Unique in the sense that I rarely run across it. It is the word da’ab. In its Semitic root is it a word used by one who has lost either through robbery or carelessness the special clothing he wears to protect himself from the sun. Thus, as he continues his journey under the hot sun he quickly grows faint and languishes under the intense heat. Da’ab is the loss of something that has fulfilled you and when you lose that fulfilment you feel an emptiness or hole in your heart. It is the feeling of being sapped of all your energy so that you can barely move. In the Hebrew it is not used to express a physical weariness, but an emotional weariness that results in a physical weariness.
Have you ever been so emotionally drained by sorrow that you cannot even get out of bed. It is like an emptiness inside of you? That is da’ab. This is not just a simple sorrow that you get over like your favorite team losing an athletic event. This is a sorrow that you experience on a deep personal level like the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job. A sorrow that leaves you feeling empty. It is a sorrow that causes you to seek isolation, to crawl into a corner and want to be left alone so you can lick your wounds and like the old dog you will snarl at anyone comes near to help.
God is promising to replenish your da’ab sorrowful soul. To fill your soul again. It is interesting that God does not promise to rapha’ or heal your sorrowful soul but to male’ your soul. The word male’ basically means to fill in an empty space. It is a word that is used for a winepress. When the grapes are pressed, all the empty space between the press and the grapes are filled in but become so filled that juice is squeeze out of the grapes and escapes through a small opening. That juice is then fermented and becomes wine, so of which is often used to bring joy and sometimes for medicinal purposes. I Timothy 5:23, a little wine is good for a stomach and frequent illnesses. Thus this male’ of the da’ab, the replenishing of the sorrowful soul does more than fill that hole in your heart, it also produces something that will bring joy and healing to others.
Replenish may not be the most descriptive word to use here. God does more than just fill that hole in your heart that has been left there by the loss of a loved one. He will also squeeze out that juice, that sweet, nourishing part that that your loved one put in your heart to be shared with others to bring them joy and healing.
I had a woman on my disability bus the other day that the residents of her senior community call The Angel. She is the one you can always depend upon when you need help or comfort. She will be right there Johnny on the spot or offer whatever assistance she can give. She told me one time of the wonderful marriage she had, the loving husband that took care of her, loved her and how they lived such a full life. Their one son was a joy and never seemed to have gone through a rebellious stage and was always so helpful, loving and encouraging. Both had passed away leaving a big hole in her heart. She said she went off and just isolated herself and would not leave her house or talk with anyone.
One day, however, in the midst of her grief and sorrow she called out to God to fill that hole in her heart. He did but when He did He cause her to continually think on the love of her husband and son and what they taught her about loving such that she left her home and began to love others the way her husband and son loved. You see, God did more than fill her heart or replenish her heart. He male’ her heart, he put it in a winepress and squeezed out all those sweet and nourishing memories of the love of her husband and son and let it flow to others.
You see God designed us to grieve, we must go through grieve as unpleasant as it is, but God designed that grief to be a winepress a male’ which He can use to squeeze all those wonderful things of the one we grieve over left in our hearts so we can share it with others.