[b-hebrew] Exodus 20:6 - ...for/in vain...
adgolek at gmail.com
Sat Apr 14 10:51:34 EDT 2007
what do you say about it - http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/40_exodus1.html ?
I think about "leshav" (לַשָּׁוְא). Do you agree that it means "for/in vain"
less than "(in) falsely"?
By: Jeff A. Benner
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain
Take (Strong's #5375)
The Hebrew verb behind this English word is נשא (nasa) and is a very generic
verb used in a wide variety ways in the text. This word has been translated
as lift, carry, accept, exalt, regard, obtain, respect and many other ways.
In the context of this verse it is the "name" that is being "lifted up." One
lifts up a name by making it known to others.
Name (Strong's #8034)
In our modern western culture a name is nothing more than an identifier,
really no different than being assigned a number. The Hebrew word for a name
is שם (shem) But, in the Ancient Hebrews culture the "shem" is much more
than just a name it is the "breath" of the individual. To the Hebrews the
breath is more than just the exchange of air in the lungs it is his
"character," the internal qualities of an individual that make him unique.
This idea of the word shem meaning character can be seen in 1 Kings 4:31,
"and his fame was in all the nations round about." Here, the word fame is
understood as his "character."
All Hebrew names are words with meaning and these words reflects their
characters. For instance, Eve (Hhavah in Hebrew) means "life" because she is
the mother of all the living (Hhay, a related word to Hhavah, see Genesis
3:20). The names for God is no different. The name Yahweh means "he exists"
and God (Elohiym) means "one of power and authority." Some other names of
God include "Jealous" (Exodus 34:14), "One" (Zechariah 14:9 which literally
reads "his name is one"), Holy (Isaiah 57:15) and others. What is God's
name? Most will answer with Yahweh or God but we must remember that a name
or shem in Hebrew is the character of the individual so the correct question
should be "What is God's character?"
Vain (Strong's #7723)
The third word that we need to understand correctly is the word "vain." This
is the Hebrew word שוא (sheva). This word literally means "empty" and vain
actions are empty of substance. This word can also be understood as
"falsely" in the sense of being empty of its true substance. This idea can
be seen in Exodus 23:1, "You shall not utter a false report." The word
"false" is the very same Hebrew word שוא (sheva).
Now that we have a more complete understanding of the words in the passage
we are able to make a more Hebraic interpretation.
You shall not represent the character of Elohiym Falsely
So, what does this mean? In another study we saw that when it says "God
created man in his own image" it is in fact saying that God had placed
within us a representation of himself. This representation is his shem or
character and we are to show this character to others. If however, we
represent that character falsely, in other words live our lives contrary to
the character of God, then we are violating this command.
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