Tag: Ark



Genesis 7:1 “And the Lord said unto Noah, ‘Come thou and all they house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.’”


I sometimes receive correspondence from those who read my studies asking where I came up with a particular rendering for certain words. They say that they have searched out the lexicons and Strong’s and found nothing that even remotely suggest the rendering I came up with.


The Semitic languages like the Akkadian, Sumerian, Ugaritic, Phoenician or Aramaic  share many words, called loan words, and sometimes I will trace a particular root word through its Semitic origins to see if there is an application for a certain Semitic root to the particular verse I am studying.


Then in many cases I will go to the masters of the Hebrew language, the Jewish sages and rabbis who have a much deeper understanding of the language than I and most Christians including Christian scholars would have.  In Genesis 7:1 I found an interesting rendering for the word tebah which we render as ark.  Rabbi Yisroel Ben Eliezer who was an eighteenth century Rabbi and one such master of the Hebrew language writes that another rendering for the word tebah is word.  Hence Rabbi Ben Eliezer renders this passage as, “And the Lord said unto Noah, ‘Come thou and all they house into the word.’”


Rabbis Ben Eliezer indicates that this is a play on the word tebah with its dual meaning of both ark and word and is suggesting that God not only instructed Noah and his family to enter the ark, but to also enter into a time of prayer and study of the Word of God.


As a Christian I see an even more profound play on words here.  In John 1:1 we learn that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  The Word as we Christians view it is Jesus Christ and when we enter into the Word we receive life eternal.


Even here in the story of the flood, God is giving us a picture of his plan of Salvation.  Just as Noah and his family had to enter the ark (tabah) to be saved from the destruction of the  flood, we must enter into the tabah, the Word or Jesus Christ to know and experience spiritual salvation from the destruction of the fires of hell.


This word tabah (ark, word) comes from the Egyptian word for a coffin or sarcophagi. In ancient Egypt the sarcophagi was used in preparation for the afterlife.  Many spells were written on the sarcophagus which was to be a vehicle to the afterlife. Hence we have the origin of the rendering for tabah as word.  With this picture we find that the word tabah to be appropriate for an ark of safety.  It would also be appropriate for the Word in Jesus Christ who is our ark to safety from eternal destruction.


Even today as we look around and wonder if the judgment of God is going to fall upon us or upon our nation we have only to look to our tabah (ark, Word) for our safety. If our nation comes under the judgment of God we will most likely hear God say to us, “Come now and all they house into the tabah.


I read where one rabbi commented on why God made Noah spend 120 years building an ark.  God could have figured out an easier way to protect Noah and his family.  However, I agree with the rabbi who said that God had Noah spend 120 years visibly building an ark of safety to warn the people of the coming judgment and give them a chance to repent.


I read a news article this morning that when Israel came to the United States for a routine re-supply of missiles recently for their Iron Dome that they purchase from the United States, Congress and the Pentagon refused shipment. No reason was given, but the Red Alert APP on my IPAD has been sounding more than ever. Although there is little in the news media about a new round of attacks it seems Hamas has stepped up their attacks to drain Israel of their defensive missiles.  I can’t believe the United States would not supply the needed missiles for Israel’s Iron Dome, particularly since Israel is paying for them.  I belong to that school of thought that if this nation turns its back on Israel we will face the judgment of God.


I am concerned as to how this would break God’s heart as well as leaving Israel without its defense.   As far as this nation coming under judgment, yeah, like Noah I am joining in the voices that are being raised to warn of coming judgment and I am pointing my tabah, my ark of safety, The Word as their only means of salvation.  If judgment does fall on this nation I am confident that I am a queen in the palm of God’s hand during judgment and I will hear the voice of God say, “Come thou into the tabah (the ark, The Word).


Numbers 10:35: “And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let your enemies be scattered; and let them that hate you flee before you.”


Do you ever stop to think what enemies Moses is talking about?   It really does not appear that there were any enemies really threatening Israel at this time.  Here’s a question that comes to my mine, what is the difference between an enemy being scattered and those who hate God fleeing from Him.  Secondly, why does Moses ask that his enemy be scattered?  Why not defeated, or destroyed.  If they scatter they can just regroup and come charging back?


There are basically two words in the Hebrew for enemies.  One is sonei and is almost onomatopoeic, that is that it sounds like what it is, sort of like a hissing sound of a snake announcing it’s poisonous presence.  That is not the word used here.


This is the least common word for enemy, oeyev.  It both sounds and appears like the word ohev  which is the word for loveOeyve is the word used for the enemy who masquerades as a friend.  Enemy is a pretty harsh word here.  Oeyev carries more of  the idea of a political type friend.  Abraham Lincoln once said: “Lord, protect me from my friends. I can take care of my enemies myself.”  These are not the Yadiyad friends these are the oeyev friends, fair weather friends, those who seek your friendship because you have something to offer them. Generally, these type of friends, are always doing you a favor or being helpful for the old “You scratch my back I scratch yours.”   In a relationship with God, they are the ones who are desparately seeking His presence because they are troubled, they need help, they want peace because they have no peace.  These are the ones that Moses is saying: “Let them be “scattered.”


Now we need to see the picture here.  Moses is standing before the ark of the covenant and before the ark he is experiencing  the very presence of God.  Can you relate to this?  Here you are surrounded by the presence of God, just enjoying his presence and around you are the these people who are trying to work up the presence of God though shouting, singing or whatever human methods.


Now scattered is a good thing. This was a prayer for a blessing.  The word scattered is pavas. This has the idea of confusion.  The Pei represents freedom the Vav which represents something other than God and the Sade represents humility.  Among the people of Israel were those who did not reject God, but they felt they had to approach God religiously. You know, sing a certain praise song, shout, pray a certain prayer, sort of work or pump up the presence of God. Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seems right unto man but the end thereof is destruction.”  Moses standing before the ark of the covenant did not do any of these things to experience the presence of God, God just shines His presence because He wants to.  He is not a computer where you have to type in the command perfectly.  You forget the dot before the com and that e-mail bounces right back to you.  Moses is praying, “God, give them freedom from the dependence upon that which is not you, freedom from trying to make sure they have the dot before the com to get your presence. Confuse their thinking on what they feel is the right way to You  and just let them humble themselves before you.


But soft, there is more.  Next Moses says: “Let them that hate you, flee before you.”  The word hate is the word shana in Hebrew.  It has the idea of making a choice.  You know, “Esau I hated, Jacob I loved.”   It is more of the idea of  “I have not chosen Esau.”   Here is the same word where Moses is saying, “But, for those who do not choose you, who really do not want you, let them navas or flee.  This flee is to flee from a covering, or protection.  Let them flee from the covering of your pani or presence.


Maybe the next time you enter into the presence of God and you find someone who is trying to enter His presence through his shouting, singing, or whatever way to pump it up.  Rather than pray: “God, make that person shut up so I am not so distracted,”  you could pray like Moses: “Arise O’God and let this one who is seeking you be freed from his earthly human attempts to enter you presence and just allow him to humble himself before you.”


Too often when we really enter the presence of God all we want to do is praise and worship and hog it all for ourselves.  Do a little Moses and use this opportunity to pray your brothers and sisters into His presence as well.


{Word Study} Take, Seize “Lakach”

I Samuel 4:3: “And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us today before the Philistines?  Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.”

Take, Seize – Hebrew: lakach – Take, fetch, to seize control or take possession of something that is not yours.
In the Hebrew the nation of Israel is asking: “Why did God defeat us? ” Israel was shocked that God had let them down.   I am surprised too, the only sin that is mentioned is with the house of Eli and his corrupt sons running the worship services.  Is God punishing the whole nation because of the sins of the religious leadership? Their sin was not in their acts but their hearts. Perhaps the next move by Israel is a clue as to the heart of the nation which shows they were no better than their leadership.

The elders said: “Let us take the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us.”  The word for “take” or “fetch” is “lakach” which is taking possession or control of something that is not rightfully yours.   They then added the word: “elinu” which is rendered “unto us.”  Using this form suggest a play on words for “our god.”    In other words they were saying they would seize control of the ark of the covenant to be a god for them.  Then they said “that it might save us.”  Some translations will say that “he might save us.”  Indeed there is no neuter pronoun in Hebrew, but the syntax does suggest that the elders are saying “it” the ark of the covenant and not “He” or God will save us.

Think about it. The most sacred object in the land, the object where the very presence of God rested became an idol, a god.  They knew enough to know that the ark could only be carried by a priest and they either bribed or forced the sons of Eli to carry the ark into battle.  However, they did not know enough to know that it really didn’t matter for apparently the presence of God was not going to manifest itself at this time on the ark. The midrash suggests that the nation of Israel was to consult the ark.  Apparently, they did not need to carry the ark into battle, only consult with God as to what to do in battle.  In other words, the elders had the right idea, but the wrong approach.

In my own life when I enter into battle and get defeated and crawl back licking my wounds, I begin to ask: “God, why did you let me down?”   Then just like Israel I go and seize the Ark.   I start to carry my Bible around, I make sure I read it every day, I play only religious music and spiritual songs.  I begin praising and worshipping because I have heard that brings the power and presence of God.  I listen to testimonies of others who were victorious and try to follow their steps to victory.  I am then ready to go back into battled.  I now have the Ark with me and I  am certain that “it” will save me, yet I end up suffering even a worst defeat.  So what went wrong?  All my good religious practices were “elinu” for me, or a god to me.   They were used to bribe God but not to consult God.

Sometimes the enemy can use even the most sacred thing in our lives to deflect us away from the heart of God. That little cross we carry in our pocket or around our necks become objects or good luck charms to ward off evil things rather than serving as a simple reminder of the one we love.