What a surprise I had in Genesis this morning! I know that my English Bible has lost something in translation. The totality of loss still shocks me.
By happy accident, I am currently doing a word study of The Way, which has brought me to Genesis 28:20.
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in The Way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear,… Genesis 28:20 RSV
The passage follows Ya’qob’s (Jacob in Hebrew) dream of the stairway to heaven (Genesis 28: 10-22). Yo’qob had met YHVH, the LORD, as he fled the wrath of his brother Esau, leaving behind the inheritance he cheated him out of.
Grandfather Abraham and Daddy Issac had become wealthy, powerful men, blessed by YHVH, because of the inheritance that was now Ya’qob’s. But wealth and power do not seem to be his destiny. He is alone, running for his life, sleeping under the stars with a stone for a pillow, in a place he has never visited, not knowing where he is going. He has lived his life “by hook or by crook:.” We know him as the original “mamma’s boy.” Now, on his own, without daddy’s wealth, it seems as if he is making a foxhole bargain with the Almighty. But is that what’s happening here? Should I follow Ya’qob’s apparent example on my journey through life and make “if-then” deals with the Almighty?
In English it looks like a vow is made based on God proving himself to be good but that is not what is going on in Hebrew. Translators have added the “if” and translated the word HAYAH as “will be” Ya’qob does not put any conditions on the Almighty. The passage is not in the future tense. It simply says, “Elohiym is with me…
HAYAH is a very common word in Scripture. When I first studied it I had a difficult time grasping the meaning until I learned that it is the word used in Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he is and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6
Ya’qob is saying “The Almighty IS with me…
There is no challenge here. No conditions are laid out that require God to prove himself to Ya’qob. Instead of a challenge to the Almighty, there is the sweet realization that he has not lost everything of true value. He still has the hope of the promise given to Abraham, to Issac and now to him. Elohiym IS . The challenge is to Ya’qob to conform his life to The Way of Righteousness. The Almighty guards (keeps) those who walk in The Way within his protective hedge of thorns, feeding us, clothing us, that we may reach our destination in shalom, peace.
Mrs. Hagerty; July 19,2016
We are still on our urban farm, we are just resting for this season… sort of. There is still work to be done, animals to care for and food to enjoy. God IS!
Today, February 11, 2015, in Everett; the river of rain has ceased. The ground is squishy, and the slugs think life is good (until they cross my path!). Today is forecast to be warmer then yesterday, 60/48 with no chance of rain. The moon is just past full. Sunrise at 7:21, setting at 5:25. That extra hour in the evening energizes me! We are up to 10 hours and 4 minutes of daylight. Whoo-hoo!