Saturday, November 1, 2008

To attend and to speak (to listen and to witness)

This post is a footnote to Fred's post, Whoever gives up his or her own point of view to follow Jesus...becomes a person capable of facing anything.

Proverbs 21:27-31 (from the Interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English), a literal translation of the Hebrew:

"The sacrifice of the wicked is hateful: how much more when he brings it with an evil intent! A false witness shall perish; BUT THE MAN WHO ATTENDS WILL SPEAK FOREVER. A wicked man hardens his face, but the upright sets up his way. There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel before the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but to the Lord belongs deliverance." (Proverbs 21:27-31)

The word that is translated as "attend" is, in Hebrew, "shema," the first word of the prayer, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one..." It is also the root of the name "Simon," or in Hebrew, "Shemon."

Here are excerpts from Strong's translation of "shema":

"To hear intelligently (...attention, obedience...) ... hearken, obey, publish, understand, obedient, diligently ... consent, consider, be content, give ear, indeed, listen, proclaim, regard, ... witness ... undivided attention... to gain or get knowledge ... suggests summoning the person ... Hearing can be both intellectual and spiritual... To hear means not only to hear what is said, but to agree with its intention or petition ... To have a hearing heart is to have discernment or understanding... An annunciation."

The Hebrew word for "speak" used in this proverb is "dabar." Here is the definition:

" arrange; but used figuratively (of words), to speak... promise, tell, commune, pronounce, utter, command ... answer, appoint, bid, declare, destroy, give name, rehearse, be spokesman, subdue, teach, think, use... This verb focuses not only on the content of spoken verbal communication but also and especially on the time and circumstances of what is said. Unlike 'amar,' (to say),' 'dabar' often appears without any specification of what was communicated. Those who 'speak' are primarily persons (God or men) ... In 2 Samuel 23:2 David says that the Spirit of the Lord 'spoke' to him ... Among the special meanings of this verb are 'to say,' 'to command,' 'to promise,' 'to commission,' 'to announce,' to order or command,' and 'to utter a song.' [...]" When the word 'dabar' is used as a noun, it means "word" or "utterance." Here is a bit from that definition: "...The 'word' of God indicates God's thoughts and will..."

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