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Blessing and cursing in scripture

Author Stephen Pidgeon - Friday, November 13, 2020 at 11:13 AM

 

Recently a friend of the Cepher wrote us concerning an interesting phrase found in the Cepher Iyov (the book of Job).  Here is the verse:

Iyov (Job) 2:9
Then said his woman unto him, Do you still retain your integrity? Bless Elohiym, and die.

Most texts read “curse God and die” in this passage. In fact almost all English bibles use this phrase.  The exception is Young’s Literal Translation:

And he taketh to him a potsherd to scrape himself with it, and he is sitting in the midst of the ashes. 9 And his wife saith to him, `Still thou art keeping hold on thine integrity: bless God and die.' 10 And he saith unto her, `As one of the foolish women speaketh, thou speakest; yea, the good we receive from God, and the evil we do not receive.' In all this Job hath not sinned with his lips. Job 2:8-10 YLT

Now, why would they say such a thing? It has to do with what is found in the Ivriyt (Hebrew).

But before we go there, let us look at a couple of words that are translated as the word curse, shall we?

The first word is qalal (קָלַל) (Strong's H7043). This is a primitive root generally construed to mean to be (causatively, make) light, literally (swift, small, sharp, etc.) or figuratively (easy, trifling, vile, etc.): to abate, make bright, bring into contempt, to curse, despise, or make vile.

Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 8:21-22
And Yahuah smelled a sweet savor; and Yahuah said in his heart, I will not again curse (קָלַל) (qalal) the ground anymore for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite anymore everything living, as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

There is a feminine form of this word, which is qelalah (קְלָלָה) (Strong's  H7045), which means vilification or cursed.

Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 27:11-13
And Ya`aqov said to El־Rivqah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man: 12 My father perchance will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse (qelalah) upon me, and not a blessing. 13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be your curse (qelalah), my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.

Neither of these terms are found in the verse we have set forth from the Cepher Iyov (Job). Let us continue with our review.

The next word we see in the Ivriyt that is construed as meaning curse, is the word arar (אָרַר) (Strong's H779); a powerful primitive root meaning to execrate or to bitterly curse.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 22:11-12
Behold, there is a people come out of Mitsrayim, which covers the face of the earth: come now, curse (arar) me them; perchance I shall be able to overcome them and drive them out. 12 And Elohiym said unto Bil`am, You shall not go with them; you shall not curse (arar) the people: for they are blessed (בָרוּךְ)(barucha).

So what about our passage in Cepher Iyov (Job)? Is it “curse Elohiym and die”? Let us look at the Ivriyt (Hebrew):

בָּרֵךְ אֱלֹהִים וָמֻת׃

Transliterated: Barach Elohiym v’moot.

Strong's assigns the number H1288 (בָּרַךְ) which they claim is pronounced barak (inaccurately), and they claim it is a primitive root meaning: to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason).

But is it a primitive root?

Consider the word (בָּרָא) bara (Strong's H1254), which also is identified as a primitive root, meaning (absolutely) to create; (qualified) to cut down (a wood), select, feed (as formative processes):—choose, create (creator), cut down, dispatch, do, make (fat).

Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes) 12:1-7
Remember now your Creator (bara) in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them; 2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3 In the day when the guarders of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow them-selves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of mu-sic shall be brought low; 5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goes to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the ruach shall return unto Elohiym who gave it.

So if bara is the primitive root of barach, then we see that the kaf sofit (final kaf) (ך) gives us a prefix indicating the personal attentive – the directionalized aspect of the word meaning “may the Creator be upon you”, or “within you.”

As a consequence, we don’t see the curse aspect of the word barach, and we became unwilling to construe the word as meaning curse for this singular application within scripture, as the verse in Job is the only place where it is translated as “curse”.

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