WORD STUDY – GIVEN IN MARRIAGE
Deuteronomy 32:30: “How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?”
Deuteronomy 32:30 is poetry. Poetry is an art form. Art is meant to convey a feeling, arouse an emotion. There is the story of a famous painter whose art was placed on exhibited in an art institute. The artist himself sat on a bench in the exhibition area and observed the people as they passed through observing a painting that he took great pride in. At the end of the day a guard, not knowing it was the artist told the artist that the museum was closing and commented that the painting was truly a great work of art. With that the artist jumped up and angrily declared: “It is not art and it must be removed.” The guard was shocked and said; “How can you say that, this was painted by a world renowned artist.” The artist replied; “No matter, it is not art. For you see, I am that artist and this is my painting. All day I sat here watching people study my painting and no one person expressed one word or feeling. I wished they would have hated it and expressed their hatred, then I would know that I at least aroused some emotion in someone.” You see art is meant to arouse an emotion in you, if it doesn’t it is not art. I receive many reviews on my books and people say things like: “Great books” “I learned a lot.” “Very insightful, highly recommend” These reviews mean nothing to me. The reviews that mean the world to me are the ones that say: “I fell in love with God all over again.” “I wept as I read chapter…” For you see, as a writer I do not write just to impart information but I write to arouse an emotion or feeling in my readers.
When you enter poetry in the Scriptures you are entering a beautiful garden. So walk with me through this beautiful garden of the Holy Scriptures and let’s observe this beautiful flower known as Deuteronomy 32:30. I used to teach speed reading in College and one thing I would tell my students is that you never speed read through poetry. You read it like you look at a flower. You see a flower and say: “Oh, oh, what a pretty flower.” But to get to the real beauty and appreciation for this flower, you inspect it one petal at a time. So too with Deuteronomy 32:30 you say “Oh, oh, what a beautiful verse.” But to get the real beauty of this verse and appreciation you examine each petal or word.
The first petal or word I observe is the word markan rendered as sold. This is indeed a work of genius that God would use the word markan and not mimkar which also means to sell. By using the word markan God made use of a double meaning. You see markan rendered in this verse not only means sold but sold in the sense of giving in marriage. In ancient times, as is still the case in some cultures, a bride’s father often gives a dowry to the bridegroom hence the use of the English word sold. Yet, the emphasis of markan should be upon the idea of marriage rather than selling. This perfectly fits this other petal right next to it sagar. Sagar is rendered here as surrender but it is surrendering yourself to be taken in captive. In its Semitic root it has the idea of sealed or locked together. The emphasis is not on surrendering but being sealed or locked together. Thus, this can be read as: “How can one chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight except their Rock (God) had given them in marriage and Jehovah has sealed or locked them together.” The world loves a lover. Most of us love to hear of someone in love and a loving marriage. Thus, to add the idea of a married couple united in service to God creates a real emotion in us.
Here is a large and very colorful petal, the word one. You see in Hebrew there are two words for one. There is the cardinal number one ‘achath like in 1,2,3,4… Then there is the ordinal number which is echod. This is a number of position like the first place, the number one song, or number one best seller. It does not have to be one person, it could be one team. In a couple weeks there will be Super Bowl and one NFL team will be the number one team, although a team has many members.
It is the word echod that is used here for: “How should one chase a thousand.” In other words, how could the best of the best, the number one champion chase a thousand away. Still, how could two (remember this is the poetic picture of a man and woman in marriage) give chase to ten thousand, were it not for suram (rock, fortress, refuge, poetic picture of God, in third person singular – their), their rock, that Jehovah has sealed.
Two meanings are very apparent here. One cannot realistically give chase to one thousand, a man and woman united in marriage cannot realistically give chase to ten thousand but united with the Rock or God that one man can give chase to a thousand and a man and woman united together and with God can give chase to ten thousand.
I know a Christian writer who has authored many books. I notice a number of his books are co-authored with his wife. I knew his wife before she married him and unless she did go back to school she only had a high school education. The husband has a Ph.D. from a prestigious university. The books I am most interested in reading are the ones co-authored by his wife because I know the two of them collaborated in a loving relationship and that book will give chase to ten thousand where the ones he authored alone will only give chase to just a thousand.
God can do mighty things with just one person, even give chase to a thousand. But just imagine what God can do with two who are united in love, marriage and God, they will give chase to ten thousand.