WORD STUDY – INVINCIBLE עוז
Psalms 29:11: “The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.”
For thousands of years every Jewish child would begin studying Biblical Hebrew at the age of three. The idea was not to prepare them for their bar mitzvah although this is no doubt the intended purpose of many who after their bar mitzvah never open a Hebrew Bible again, but there are many who do take their bar mitzvah serious and for the purpose intended. At the age of thirteen they are considered ready to assume their responsibilities of following the laws of God. Bar Mitzvah means son of the law unlike Ben Torah which is son of the Holy Scriptures. Torah, of course, has many meanings and only the context will tell you which meaning to use.
Anyways a Jewish child spends 8-10 years preparing for his Bar Mitzvah by learning Classical Hebrew. The real reason they learn Biblical Hebrew other than for tradition sake is that many Jewish rabbis do not trust the English translations of the Holy Scriptures. They recognize that when the Scriptures are translated there is a certain amount of bias and prejudice that goes into a translation. When they say they want private interpretation of Scripture they mean right from the inspired text and not from someone’s idea of interpretation reflected in their own translations.
I find it hard to believe that with the rise of home schools and Christian schools and the demand in our education system for children to study a foreign language that parents don’t seek to teach their children Greek and Hebrew like the Jewish parents do. It is like, no not like, but it is that we do not trust our ability to translate on our own, we must have leaders do it for us and we will follow them. It won’t happen in my lifetime, but I do foresee a day when there will be another reformation. In the first reformation Martin Luther sought and fought for private interpretation of the Scriptures. At that time people followed and believed whatever the church told them to believe. If the church interpreted Scripture as teaching the universe revolved around the earth, then by golly people would believe it. They were not educated enough to try to figure it out themselves and if a man named Galileo invented a telescope which proved that the Sun did not revolve around the earth, then Galileo was a heretic and should be burned at the stake.
Things have not changed much today. We may have Bibles of our own, but everyone has their own favorite translation and to them that is the truth. As a teacher of Biblical languages I have learned that people are just too lazy, even pastors are too lazy to really study the Biblical languages or they just do not trust it in the hands of a novice.
Ok, enough ranting. This verse is an excellent example why we must have private interpretation of Scripture, because God is telling us many things in this passage, not just one thing. Note: “The Lord will give strength to his people.” Oh so wonderful, but stop and think? What does it really mean. Is God talking spiritual strength, emotional strength, physical strength or all kinds of strength? My answer is just that, my answer. My answer speaks to me and my need. I am going to give you my answer but it is biased, based upon my personal need and how God is speaking to me and He just might speak differently to you. The only problem is, if you haven’t study Hebrew you may disregard God’s leading and follow my teaching because, I am a Hebrew teacher.
Ok the word for strength here is oz, like in the Wizard of Oz. Maybe Frank Baum was really Jewish and studied Hebrew and he was speaking how this Wizard was a wizard of strength. That is cool, only he didn’t get that name from the Hebrew, but from a filing cabinet labeled o-z. It is very easy and tempting to play little games like that, especially when people have not studied Hebrew. Such games are played all the time by preachers who claim to know Hebrew but possess very limited knowledge because they are too lazy to really dig deep into the Word of God. They learn just enough Hebrew to preach from the pulpit and wow!!! their congregations.
Actually the word strength is ‘oz and is spelled Ayin Zayin. Basic Hebrew will tell you something is missing. Every word is made up of a minimum of three letters. This has only two letters and thus there is a third letter somewhere. Fascinating. BDB and the Davidson lexicon will tell us that the root word is Ayin Zayin Zayin which is true and means a strength in various applications such as force, security, majesty or even praise. It is both a material and physical strength. It is a strength of boldness, and even in a strength to be insolent.
As you can see this is pretty comprehensive and God will provide whatever strength you may need. But say, why does the root word have to be Ayin Zayin Zayin? After all the word is Ayin Zayin has a vowel between them, an o which logically would suggest the root word is Ayin Vav Zayin. Now some, if not most, Hebrew teachers teach they are both the same word. Perhaps, but when searching this out in extra Biblical literature I find there is a difference. Ayin Zayin Zayin is strength and might, but lacks something. Ayin Vav Zayin is also strength and might, but not lacking this something. It is spelled with a Vav. The Vav is a connection to heaven and this is a strength coming from God where the Ayin Zayin Zayin is just natural strength.
Thus in Psalms 29:11 I personally disagree with tradition and others teachers who follow the teachings of others who follow the teachings of others who follow the teachings of others and I use the favorite saying of the Prime Minister of Israel Netanyahu: “Who says?” I want the right to my private interpretation here. Now I am not alone, there are voices out there that teach this and I am really following a minority Jewish view from rabbis who teach the Authentic Hebrew, that is Hebrew before the vowels are added, in other words before the Masoretic text.
You see they teach that the Vav indeed creates a difference from the Ayin Zayin Zayin strength is a strength that is natural but the the Ayin Vav Zayin strength is connected to God and thus Ayin Vav Zayin has a meaning that Ayin Zayin Zayin does not have, that is Ayin
Vav Zayin the strength that comes when connected with God gives us strength that makes us invincible.