Untangling Hebrew

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Hebrew Word of the Day

Today's Hebrew word leads us across all kinds of little rabbit trails... and, ok, we're not in this parasha anymore but I'm still thinking about it so we'll follow these trails for another day.

Gen. 21:1 "ADONAI remebered Sarah as he had said, and ADONAI did for Sarah what he had promised."

פקד PAKAD - "visit, appoint, command"
So our verse might be better translated, "Adonai visited Sarah..." This is the same word which is used in 1 Sam. 2:21- "So ADONAI took notice of Hannah, and she conceived and bore three more sons and two daughters." (This happened shortly after she fulfilled her vow and brought Samuel to the tabernacle to be raised by Eli the priest.)
This word is also used in Ps. 8:4- "What is man, that you remember us, and the son of man, that you visit us?"

There are two other related words we'll look at today:
פקוד PAKOOD- "appointed mandate, commandment, precept."
Such as found in Ps. 19:8 (v. 9 in the Hebrew)- "The precepts of ADONAI are right, rejoicing the heart." and in Ps.119:4- "You laid down your precepts for us to observe with care." So what do we learn from this? That not only are "pakood" precepts and commands, but also our mandate, and indeed the result of an intimate visit from God. No wonder they bring such joy to the heart, and we observe (heb. "guard") them carefully.

פקיד PAKEED- "a superintendent, governor, or officer"
Gen. 41:34- "Pharaoh... should appoint supervisors over the land..."
This facet of "pakad" reminds me of when Paul wrote that the Torah is a "tutor" to lead us to Messiah...
All this from one little word, "visit"- into a wide spectrum of words which have a common base of meaning. This is why I love Hebrew!


Anonymous dzanr said...

The shoresh PAKAD can also mean an account of someting, or to count something. See Exodus 38:21

10:35 AM  

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