Jeremiah 23:2

Ben Crick ben.crick at
Sun Sep 13 01:11:07 EDT 1998

On Thu 10 Sep 98 (19:23:18), rhutchin at wrote:
> In the following two verses, the same Hebrew word is translated as
> visiting, visited, and visit.  Could someone explain this word and why
> it can be used in seemingly opposing contexts?

[Exodus 20:5 and Jeremiah 23:2 snipped]

 Dear Mr Hutchin

 Paul Zellmer has given you an excellent response. FWIW, here is my 2 cents'

 "Visit" is a word which can mean good news or bad news. When God visits
 a nation, it may be be either to praise or to blame; to punish or to redeem
 them from punishment. So In Gen 50:24,25 and Ex 13:19 we find:

 We'eLoHiYM *PaQoDh YiPhQoDh* 'eThKheM  (or very similar); God's visitation
 will be certain and sure, and will be to their advantage.

 But in Ex 32:34, the visitation will be to their detriment:
 uWBeYoWM *PaQeDhiY uWPaQaDhTiY* `aLeYHeM HaTTa'ThaM:

 Notice in both cases the repetition of the root PQD to emphasize the
 certainty and inexorability of it all.

 So we see that the meaning of PaQaDh depends on the context. We have both
 contexts in Ex 20:5. He will "visit" the iniquity of the fathers unto the
 third and fourth generation of them that hate Him; but (verse 6) will show
 "mercy" CheSeDh to thousands [of generations La`aLaPhiYM = Le'eLePh DoWR,
 compare Deut 7:9] of them that love Him and keep his commandments.

 The One who visits, or the one who has charge over the people, is the
 PeQuWDh. See the discussions in RB Girdlestone, /Old Testament Synonyms/,
 reprint, Eerdmans, page 208f and page 254f.

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 <ben.crick at>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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