Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The "Angel" of Zechariah 1:12

From a conversation dated 1/10/2000:

MY ORIGINAL QUESTION: In Zech. 1:12, 13, God is said to address His angel with "comforting words." The angel shows that he is ignorant of how Yahweh's purposes will work out and he even poses a question to God (Zech. 1:12).

How does this tie in with NT theology? Well, I've often heard some commentators say that the Malak YHWH is the "pre-incarnate" Christ. If this is true, then would not the angel in Zech. 1:12, 13 be the pre-existent Messiah? Would this not also mean that prior to his "self-emptying" the Son of God was not Omniscient? This question has been on my mind for a while. I'm just wondering how those who believe that Jesus is fully God and fully man(VERE DEUS ET VERE HOMO) deal with it.

INTERLOCUTOR RESPONSE: Edgar's question is puzzling because I don't know of any commentator that identifies the ML)K-YHWH in Zech. 1:12 as a theophany.


Here are what some theologians and commentators say about this issue.

In the Word Biblical Commentary, Ralph Smith writes that "the angel of Yahweh [in Zech. 1] is not to be identified as Yahweh in this case" (p. 190). Smith does not say why this is the case and I was not aware that a theopany must occur for the Malak YHWH to be identifed as YHWH, but Smith does believe that because the angel intercedes in Zech. 1: "he may represent a forerunner of Michael, the patron angel of Israel" (p. 190).

Charles Ryrie has this information from his Basic Theology:

"As discussed in chapter 40, the Angel of Yahweh is a Christophany, a preincarnate appearance of Christ. The Angel speaks as God, identifies Himself with God, and exercises the prerogatives of God" (p. 130).

To support his statements, Ryrie lists Zech. 1:12 and applies it to Christ. To me, Ryrie evidently believes that Zech. 1:12 is a Christophany. Later he writes, "Clearly the Angel of Yahweh is a self-manifestation of Yahweh, for He speaks as God, identifies Himself with God, and claims to exercise the prerogatives of God."

Again he cites Zech. 1:12--but he adds that "He is distinguished from Yahweh
(Gen. 24:7; Zech. 1:12, 13)" because he is the second Person of the Trinity.
So Ryrie observes that the Angel in Zech. 1:12 is a manifestation of the
"pre-incarnate Christ." His words are in harmony with Eric Myers of Duke, who
calls the Malak YHWH in Zechariah, Yahweh's "alter ego" (See the Anchor Bible Commentary on Zech. 1-8).

The Complete Word Study: Old Testament also claims:

"This is the first of Zechariah's night visions (Zech. 1:7-6:8) and is significant because the 'angel of the LORD' (a phrase throughout the Old Testament) is a reference to a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ" (ftn. on Zech. 1:7-17).

Best regards,


Duncan said...

There is more than one visionary messenger in this account.

Edgar Foster said...


I agree, but there's only one messenger identified as "angel of Jehovah [YHWH]" by the narrative, right?

JimSpace said...

Great exchange culled from the archives.

Very good question about this angel's identity and understanding.

The Nelson Study Bible has this comment:
"The prophet overhears a conversation between the Angel of the LORD and God. This may be a conversation between the pre-incarnate Jesus and the first Person of the Trinity, God the Father (see Ps. 110). It is certainly an allusion to Jesus’ role as Intercessor. As the author of Hebrews states, Jesus lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25) at the right hand of the Father."

Additionally, the KJV Bible Commentary (p. 1797) says:
"This verse records a most wonderful truth—the intercession of the angel of the LORD (the Second Person of the Trinity) with the LORD of hosts (the First Person of the Trinity) on behalf of His people, Israel!"

How interesting it is that the Trinitarian scholar(s) responsible for this comment overlooked the obvious problem of how the pre-incarnate Second Person of the Trinitarian Godhead was ignorant of the modus operandi of the First Person of the Trinitarian Godhead and needed comforting from Him. (And later during the incarnation needed comforting from angels even though he in reality never ceased being the Second Person of the Trinity.)

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks again, Jim. Your post illustrates how commentators tend to interpret the Malak YHWH as the preincarnate Christ, yet they do not seem to perceive a difficulty here with the angel's nescience although he existed in a
"preincarnate" state, so that they cannot appeal to his humanity in order to account for his apparent lack of knowledge.

JimSpace said...

Great point! Trinitarianism "cannot appeal to his humanity in order to account for his apparent lack of knowledge," and need for comfort as well.

If this Malak YHWH is the prehuman Christ, then there is a documented case when he was nescient about his Father's will and needed comforting.

Duncan said...


Yes, I agree. But this reminds me of an interesting point.

The Word of the Lord (Genesis 15:1)
The Voice of the Lord (Genesis 3:8)
The Face of the Lord (Genesis 4:16)
The Name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26)
The Eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8)
The Garden of the Lord (Genesis 13:10)
The Angel of the Lord (Genesis 16:7)
The Way of the Lord (Genesis 18:19)
The Mount of the Lord (Genesis 22:14)

All terms in the construct state but so is יראת יהוה (The fear of Jehovah)

The first word in the construct belongs to the second word.

So are we to Fear Jehovah or is it Jehovah's Fear?

From the parent route "yar" to flow (see H2975). Water & wind (ruach) flow.

Edgar Foster said...

One Hebrew grammar makes this point about the construct state:

"The meanings expressed by the construct relationship are
similar to English 'of'".

Examples include:
‘the word of YHWH’ = ‘YHWH'S word' (Ezek 1:3)

(Prov 1:7) ‘the fear of YHWH.'

the garments of holiness = ‘the holy garments’ (Exod 29:29)

A similar ambiguity exists in Greek and English. For example, "the love of God" or "the love of the Christ." Is it the love God/Christ have for us, or the love we have for God/Christ?

We have to determine the meaning by appeal to context. The Angel of YHWH is likely the messenger [angel] belonging to YHWH (i.e., his representative).

Edgar Foster said...

The grammar gives another example: the word of the king (i.e., the word belonging to the king).

Or the word spoken/uttered by the king.

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks again, Jim. I also like your latest entry and the picture that accompanies it. :)

Good night, all.

Duncan said...

Thanks for the example edgar , but I think that you may not be getting my point. I agree that the messenger is of YHWH and/or from YHWH.

The problem as I understand is the interpretation of the "fear of Jehovah". It is his fear not ours?

When the final letter of the first word changed from ה to ת this indicates the construct state of ancient Hebrew - not to be confused with modern Hebrew.


This type of construct does not exist in English.

So how should we understand for example proverbs 15:33 because the fear is not ours?

Duncan said...


Duncan said...


Duncan said...

Just for clarity, I do know that what I am saying contradicts bible.net commentary but but there is no evidence of their claim. In fact every other construct that I have listed, all other constructs, the first word always belongs to the second, YHWH (no exceptions). So the commentary explanation is highly suspect and the burdon of proof is on these commentators to justify their assertion.

The term they translate as fear is a poor gloss for the term used.

Edgar Foster said...

Hi Duncan,

I don't understand how I'm not getting the point since all the examples that I gave illustrate the grammatical function of constructs.

The "fear of Jehovah" in context obviously means our reverence for God as opposed to being fear that he has for another personage/entity.

To be clear, I only said the ambiguity exists in English, not that English has a construct state.

Could you point out what the difficulty with Prov 15:33 is?

CEV translates the verse:

"Showing respect to the Lord
will make you wise,
and being humble
will bring honor to you."

That seems to be the thrust of the passage.

Edgar Foster said...

I read both sources that you provided, Duncan, and nothing I see discounts "fear of Jehovah" being reverence that we have for YHWH. Even the pdf mentions the objective genitive, "the mourning of an only son."

Duncan said...


Your example is not of YHWH & you will not be able to provide one. The context is nothing like certain in light of earlier exodus 31:3. As I said the term is from the root to flow. Fear is the flow of bodily functions but water & wind \ ruach flow also.

The flow (related to words meaning river and rain) of YHWH is instruction in wisdom, and humility goes before honor.

Duncan said...



Edgar Foster said...


I gave examples to illustrate how the Hebrew construct can function subjectively or objectively. So while "the fear of YHWH" could be subjective which would mean "fear that YHWH has," it's likely objective instead (i.e., the fear that God's worshipers have for him).

You've read what tyhe NET Bible says about the matter; I would also recommend Gesenius' grammar and its discussion of the Hebrew construct state. He too says the construct could be used subjectively or objectively. There are also plenty of interpreters who understand "the fear of YHWH" to be awe that God's worshipers have for him.

As for Hebrew lexicons, I would recommend BDB, Gesenius and the more updated HALOT.

I'll consider alternative views like the link you supplied, but I wonder about the evidence for understanding "fear of Jehovah" or the underlying Hebrew as you suggest. The understanding is possible, but is it probable?

Here is Gesenius: http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3374&t=KJV

Edgar Foster said...

Gesenius lists Ps 19:10 [Ps 19:9] as an example of metonymy, so that it does not refer to the dread that God's people have for him: a number of others follow him here. But Prov 1:7 (and other texts) apparently refer to our fear toward God as object. It goes back to the construct functioning subjectively or objectively.

Duncan said...


It seems to me that that the rabbis understand quite clearly the relashionship of a word to it,s root that the scholars seem to mis. I am saying nothing new.

From Strong's concerning the primitive root,

A primitive root; properly to flow as water (that is, to rain); transitively to lay or throw (especially an arrow, that is, to shoot); figuratively to point out (as if by aiming the finger), to teach:-- (+) archer, cast, direct, inform, instruct, lay, shew, shoot, teach (-er, -ing), through.

When it is said that this word means fear or reverence this is not consistent with Hebrew roots and thinking. This word has one meaning that covers those ideas and others. The concrete meaning is "flowing of the gut" which can be applied as fear (losing bowel control) or reverence (butterflies in the stomach). Yarah (To throw as a flow) from which Torah is derived is closely related to yara root of the verb yarah from which comes the noun yirah. The ruach flows from YHWH so I do not see my conclusions as anything radical.

Duncan said...

Prov 1:7 can be translated as the flow of YHWH is the summit\best of knowledge.

Edgar Foster said...


the question is an interesting one, but I guess we've ventured far from the issue raised by the OP. There are plenty of areas where we undoubtedly part ways.

I'm not as certain about the roots of Hebrew words as you are; it's also my understanding that synchronics trumps diachronics in linguistics and Bible studies.

Furthermore, when I consult multiple Jewish sources, I find that they understand yirah as meaning "fear," "piety" or reverence. To be honest, I'm very skeptical about the "flow" understanding--but I try to keep an open mind.



Duncan said...


The language as used at any given point in time is important & changes of grammar & usage do occur but if we assume that the proverbs were written with a familularity of torah & its word usages , this coming from the people of the book (which is why all my examples come from Genesis).


This agrees with my opinion that culture is probably even more important & the author would already know that rhuach of YHWH can produce wisdom.

But I will do some more reasearch on construct state & come back to this when I have something more concrete.

Thanks for sharpening my face.

Edgar Foster said...


For the record, I mainly dabble in Hebrew: it's not my expertise although I enjoy reading studies about ancient Judaism and like articles that deal with Hebrew exegesis.

Culture is the sine qua non of understanding a language. I fully agree with an approach that realizes culture's importance in learning a tongue.

These discussions sharpen me too.



aservantofJehovah said...

Eccesiastes12:13HCSB"When all has been heard,the conclusion of the matter is:FEAR God and keep His commands,because this is for all humanity."

JimSpace said...

Well thank you for the intellectual stimulation!

aservantofJehovah said...

You're welcome.

aservantofJehovah said...

One more:deuteronomy2:25ASV"this day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the peoples that are under the whole heaven,who shall here the report of thee,and shall tremble,and be in anguish because of thee."

JimSpace said...

The Keil and Delitzsch commentary claims:

The circumstance that the angel of Jehovah addresses an intercessory prayer to Jehovah on behalf of Judah, is no more a disproof of his essential unity with Jehovah, than the intercessory prayer of Christ in John 17 is a disproof of His divinity.

By saying this though, they must overlook the blindingly obvious fact that this is their pre-incarnate Christ who didn't have the benefit of his week and ignorant human nature.

Duncan said...


In deuteronomy 2:25 examine the word translated "dread".

From H6342; a (sudden) alarm (properly the object feared, by implication the feeling): - dread (-ful), fear, (thing) great [fear, -ly feared], terror.

Even if yirah only means reverence or fear what contextually dictates a translation of fear at Eccesiastes 12:13?

Here is another example which you may find objectionable to modern sensibilities.

Ezekiel 30:13.
"and I shall certainly put **fear** in the land of Egypt."

So fear - to flow from the bowels.

Now look at Ezekiel 30:15.

"And I will **pour** out my rage upon Sin, the fortress of Egypt, and cut off the crowd of No."

A primitive root; to spill forth (blood, a libation, liquid metal; or even a solid, that is, to mound up); also (figuratively) to expend (life, soul, complaint, money, etc.); intensively to sprawl out: - cast (up), gush out, pour (out), shed (-der, out), slip.

Now from the same primitive root.

Deu 23:1 "No man castrated by crushing the testicles or having his **male member** cut off may come into the congregation of Jehovah.

privy, 1

So I leave to your imagination what is probably being implied at Ezekiel 30:15.

Edgar Foster said...


I'm glad you included the remark by K & D. It seems to be an example of question begging or ad hoc explanation. Like you say, the Incarnation cannot be used for the account in Zechariah: the two situatioins are not analogous.

Edgar Foster said...


I'll let aservant address your questions if he wants, but I would urge caution regarding Hebrew roots/etymology. The Jewish sources I check seem to have no problem understanding yirah as fear.

Duncan said...


Hebrew is a concrete language & fear is somewhat abstract but the feelings/effects that fear produces are not (not to be confused with modern Hebrew which is as abstract as any western language).

I have no problem interpreting yirah as fear or reverence when the context indicates but I do not assume that they are the only possibilities of interpretation.

Hebrew does have abstracts but they are described in concrete terms.

BTW the designation "primitive root" is not chronological in Hebrew - this language is constructed. Have you heard of Edenics?

Gen 9:2 H4172 from a root that means to throw as opposed to flow. Can you see the difference in magnitude?


I am collecting more data & I can prove very little (I would be amazed if I could) - but I guess that's no different to anyone else at the moment.

aservantofJehovah said...

@Duncan I was in the main attempting to address your point about sentence structure and what it may imply with regard to the subject or object of the verse.The verse is fairly self explanatory the Hebrews were to be come the object of the dread and fear(yira)spoken of here sentence structure not withstanding.I likewise find the common rendering of"yira" as "fear or reverence"at ecclesiastes12:13 appropriate,eagerness for the approval of the object of our reverence motivates us to loyal obedience.As for Ezekiel30:13-15 one can play those kinds of word games using any root term in any language or for that matter any word.As was said before context is king.

JimSpace said...

Hi aservantofJehovah, I appreciate your contributions here, but I meant my compliment of intellectual stimulation for Edgar. :-)

I prepared a blog post on this subject for any who are interested:
Who was the Interceding Angel?

Edgar Foster said...



As has been my point with most of my discussions on this point with Edgar you cannot play these kind of word games in just any language. These are concrete terms which Jeff Benner has done a fairly good job at demonstrating at least some of the basic principles.


The symbols are a reflection of the culture. The symbols are words in themselves. The word strings are constructs in a very ordered fashion. As someone who programs low level machine code I can see the beauty of its efficient structure. It is absolutely nothing like comparing the etymology of oxford English, to London English, to middle English, the Germanic, Celtic, Britannic etc.

This language stems from no other language & is not abstract in the way that languages born from other tongues are. This is no arbitrary collection.

Going back to Ezekiel 30:15

חמא / חמה
chêmâh / chêmâ'
BDB Definition:
1) heat, rage, hot displeasure, indignation, anger, wrath, poison, bottles
1a) heat
1a1) fever
1a2) venom, poison (figuratively)
1b) burning anger, rage

This root is "separate water" in the making of ancient cheeses


This was also done in a bag from the heat of the sun.

sun (heating the content of the bag)
black (colour of wood when burned)
heat (Natural body heat as well as the time of heat when animals mate)

(But we have a word using the same root characters


Feminine active participle of an unused root apparently meaning to join; a wall of protection: - wall, walled.

Strongs recognizes that this has no root connection & this makes this an re-adoption from another language branch.)

The general root meaning is heat & this is where we see the poetic nature of the Hebrew saying the same thing two different ways, into verse 16

BDB Definition:
1) fire
1a) fire, flames
1b) supernatural fire (accompanying theophany)
1c) fire (for cooking, roasting, parching)
1d) altar-fire
1e) God’s anger (figuratively)

from the root - "a strong pressing down". A fire is made by firmly pressing a wooden rod down onto a wooden board and spinning the rod with a bow drill. Wood dust is generated from the two woods rubbing together and is heated by the friction creating a small ember in the dust. Small tinder is then placed on the ember and is blown ignited the tinder. (eng: ash - as the product of fire)

Form this root comes

Furnace (fire)
Foundation (pressing down of the ground)
Rasin cake (pressed down into a cake)
Despair (pressing down on the person)
Black (charring from the fire)
Pillar (a strong pressing down on something).

So verse 15 heat & verse 16 fire.

To translate as anger & fire loses some of this connection.

As Edgar seems to agree, one cannot work without culture. Even with the divide in time between genesis & Ezekiel the culture changed very little - so why should the understandings?

If you feel that the context dictates a translation of fear as opposed to reverence (with it's difference of connotation) then I have no way of arguing otherwise but I must strongly disagree that all languages are the same.

aservantofJehovah said...

@Duncan 1)I have no problem with much of what you're saying we only differ in your insistence that examples of the same or similar kinds of constructions from ancient roots cannot be found in English or other languages.If that is the point you are trying to make you need to try a different approach.
2)I have never seen any reference list fear and reverence as antonyms having said that,I of course make no claim to having seen every such reference work perhaps you can cite one where such a list is published.If you would return to my post and read a bit more carefully you will note that I stated that either fear or reverence would be acceptible renderings at ecclesiastes12:13 'reverence' falls within the semantic range of 'fear'3)Proverbs2:5 refers the knowledge of God (i.e Jehovah),in your opinion does this pertain to what we know of Jehovah or to what Jehovah knows about everything.
@Jimspace,Naturally I'm disappointed to learn that you do not find my contributions 'intellectually stimulating',but am nonetheless consoled by your 'appreciation' for their other virtues.

Duncan said...


As far as lists of antonyms go, I do not know of any exhaustive list but this book may have some useful advice on establishing these relationships.


He recommends the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (DCH) edited by David G. A. Clines. It is quite pricey as it is an 8 volume set. It focusses on DSS usages more than roots.

That said, many antonyms are cultural & geographical. To get a flavour of the culture see a study like:-


Obviously, we do get a shift from the nomad to the civis & agriculture becomes more prominent over time. What we have to watch is interpretation through our own culture. ie. The KJV using the term “meat” instead of “food” (Gen 1:29) or using “till” instead of “serve” (cultivation in the horticultural sense, not the agricultural) at Genesis 2:5 (compare Deut 13:4), where the land is enhanced rather than degraded.




These were semi nomadic peoples who created what are now thought to be the most productive soils on the planet, (it demonstrates some of the possibilities for the future) & we know that the fertile crescent got it's name from a time when it was very different to today. Northern Africa was covered in trees including olive groves.

Duncan said...


Your question about Proverbs 2:5 is a difficult one & this video might give a kind of answer:-


Sorry, it cannot be more clear.

Duncan said...


Let me list problems rather than specific solutions.

môrâ' / môrâ' / môrâh
BDB Definition:
1) fear, reverence, terror
1a) fear, terror
1b) reverence
1c) object of reverence
1d) awe-inspiring spectacle or deed

So it appears that reverence is synonymous to two type of fear or is there a different perspective to this that out culture & language stops us accessing?

As far as Jewish tradition goes, there are three levels or yirah:-

yirat ha'onesh: יִרְאַת הָענֶשׁ
yirat ha-malkhut: יִרְאַת הַמַּלְכוּת
yirat ha-rommemnut: יִרְאַת הָרוֹמְמוּת

LXX from ABP Job 28:28

And he said to man, Behold, godliness is wisdom; and being at a distance from evils is higher knowledge.

Fear avoided as opposed to

LXX ABP Proverbs 2:5 then you shall perceive the fear of the lord , and [full knowledge of God you will find].

In this instance fear is φοβον.

Thayer Definition:
1) fear, dread, terror
1a) that which strikes terror
2) reverence for one’s husband

which seems inconsistent with the type of definition that we are discussing & seem related more to morah.

These kinds of difficulties to some extent can be avoided when we have access to the concepts as embodied in the symbols. The symbols that IMO the Torah was originally written in & transmitted over a long period of time and even when simplified the concepts would still be understood as the culture was fairly constant.

aservantofJehovah said...

1)I was referring to the english words that are used to render 'yira'If you examine any good english dictionary you are likely to find 'reverence'listed as falling in the semantic range of 'fear',So we ought not to be surprised that both terms used as renderings of 'yira'
2)Sorry to say Duncan but that video does not even obliquely address my question re;proverbs2:5
3)Synonymous does not mean identical in meaning a synonym need only fall within the range of its counterpart.As has been stated before 'reverence' would fall within the spectrum of 'fear' and hence is synonymous to fear
Definition two of G5401 could fittingly be used in reference to God who is called husband of the his congregation of sanctified worshipers.The only 'problem'is that Jehovah God can never experience 'Yira'or'phobos'assuming that these renderings are accurate.But this would only be a problem for those who share your theory.

Duncan said...


The semantic range of English terms are not really relevant when translating Hebrew. Both terms would have to within the semantic range of the original term. In this case awe is also a good translation.

A construct does not have to be subjective OR objective, it can be both. yhwh owns his yirah, but such yirah can represent the commodity of others fearing yhwh.

IMO G5401 pt 2 is more relevant to NT interpretation and word usage since I know of no other examples of this usage but perhaps Edgar can let us know what bdag has to say?

Edgar Foster said...

For φόβος, BDAG states that the word has the sense, "panic flight" in Homer, then it could mean (depending on the context or referent), "intimidating entity," "intimidation" (1 Pet 3:14)

"someth. terrible/awe-inspiring, a terror" (Rom 13:3)

"fear, alarm, fright" (John 7:13; 19:38; 20:19)

"specif. of slavish fear" (Rom 8:15)

"reverence, respect" (toward God or humans)

See Acts 9:31; Phil 2:12; 2 Cor 7:1; 1 Pet 2:18

Compare the verbal use of the word in Lev 19:3 (OG/LXX)

Duncan said...


So a wide range of NT usage but as far as OT usage goes Lev 19:3 does groups this with the sabbath (exodus 31:15) so the implication may be something more than normal respect maybe even a veiled threat (exodus 20:11 & 12)?

Duncan said...

As far a semantec range is concerned this is the kind of reference may be useful, but again, very expensive and no English translation available to my knowledge.


Edgar Foster said...


I don't necessarily see the command as a veiled threat, although the Sabbath inclusion is noteworthy. It's not the only time that God's people are commanded to fear humans.

Duncan said...

The great battle against Darius did not take place at Arbela, as many writers say, but at Gaugamela. Men say that this name means ‘camel’s home’ in the local language, since one of the ancient kings escaped his enemies on a swift camel and gave the beast a home there, with villages and tax revenue to pay for its upkeep. There was an eclipse of the moon during September about the time of the beginning of the Mysteries at Athens, and on the 11th night after the eclipse, when the armies were in sight of each other, Darius kept his forces at arms and went through the ranks by torchlight, but Alexander, while his Macedonian forces were resting, stayed in front of his tent with the seer Aristander, performing secret rites and offering sacrifices to the god Phobos.



Duncan said...

XXVII. This was the origin of the war with the Amazons; and it seems to
have been carried on in no feeble or womanish spirit, for they never
could have encamped in the city nor have fought a battle close to the
Pnyx and the Museum unless they had conquered the rest of the country,
so as to be able to approach the city safely. It is hard to believe, as
Hellanikus relates, that they crossed the Cimmerian Bosphorus on the
ice; but that they encamped almost in the city is borne witness to by
the local names, and by the tombs of the fallen. For a long time both
parties held aloof, unwilling to engage; but at last Theseus, after
sacrificing to Phobos (Fear), attacked them.


Duncan said...


Edgar Foster said...

A few more remarks on Jewish "fear" of God:


aservantofJehovah said...

@Duncan:you claimed that the semantic range of English terms would be irrelevant to a translator of Hebrew to English;I submit that it would depend on how precise a translation said translator had in mind.To take our present discussion as an example 'fear' is a rather broad term while 'awe' is bit narrower in its range of meaning.So if our hypothetical translator was satisfied that the context was sufficient to make the sense of the broader term clear to the target audience he might op to use it.If on the other hand our translator was minded to do all possible to avoid misunderstanding he might op for the rendering with the narrower range of meaning.
2)You said that a single referrent could be both subject and object of a given statement;Only if the verb in question was reflexive.i.e the subject were acting upon/toward itself.The most common examples of this involve inflections of the verb 'to be'.So then is it your position that Jehovah God is both the subject and object of the 'yira'mentioned at proverbs2:5 and of course he would fully know himself but is that the knowledge of God to which this verse refers in your opinion?
3)It is noteworthy that the ancient scribe much closer in time to the culture of the bible writer chose a rendering so close in its range of meaning to 'fear'

Duncan said...


3. The nature of Phobos is well documented in Greek tradition as deimos & Phobos (dread the personification of terror & irrational fear) but with the texts available to me it does appear the Phobos became the dominant term used for both conditions.


Compare 1 peter 5:8 the lions raw not used during hunting but rather to irrationaly scare prey out of protected areas.

Over time it just becomes a generic term for many types of fear, as is normal with koine.


Awe includes rational fear but has other components or aspects that are not fear. But it's all very debatable as to precise combination. Fear is a very broad concept & this is why Hebrew has more than one term defined as fear (rational\irrational).


Appropriate or inappropriate.

As time permits I will come back to point 2.

aservantofJehovah said...

I'd say that 'fear' as commonly used implies apprehension re:imminent peril of some sort whether real or imagined.Awe on the other hand is that sense of smallness/vulnerability inspired by an encounter with something grand even transcendent see exodus3:6.The apprehension in this case is not due to any specific threat,but due to the feeling of utter defenselessness/vulnerability/admiration. such an encounter would inspire in the one experiencing it.

Duncan said...

Edgar & servant,

Thought you both might appreciate the probable role of proto-semitic from emerging archaeology. All very tentative at the moment but IMO worth serious consideration.


This is why I believe the pictographical roots are so important.

Duncan said...


Notice the language you used in your last comment. You use the term "inspired" twice.

Proverb 2:6

(1)For Jehovah himself gives wisdom; (2)out of his *mouth* there are knowledge and discernment.

Again a Hebrew poetic mechanism - stating the same thing two ways.

From H6284; the mouth (as the means of blowing), whether literally or figuratively (particularly speech);..

"The ἁπ. λεγ. אפאיחם, which has been rendered in very different ways, cannot be regarded, as it is by the Rabbins, as a denom. verb from פּאה, a corner; and Calvin's rendering, "to scatter through corners," does not suit the context; whilst the meaning, "to cast or scare out of all corners," cannot be deduced from this derivation. The context requires the signification to annihilate, as the remembrance of them was to vanish from the earth. We get this meaning if we trace it to פּאה, to blow, - related to פּעה (Isaiah 42:14) and פּהה, from which comes פּה, - in the Hiphil "to blow away," not to blow asunder."


The mouth blows.


Related to the verses in question is how we interpret "beginning".

1Sa 2:29 Why do YOU men keep kicking at my sacrifice and at my offering that I have commanded [in my] dwelling, and you keep honoring your sons more than me by fattening yourselves from the **best** of every offering of Israel my people?

1Sa 15:21 And the people went taking from the spoil sheep and cattle, the **choicest** of them as something devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to Jehovah your God in Gil'gal."

The concrete is "head" or "summit" which can be interpreted as a beginning if context dictates (like the head waters of a river). So what in each context necessitates a temporal component?

Pro 15:33 The fear of Jehovah is a discipline toward wisdom, and **before** glory there is humility.

This term concretely "to turn and face". The problem is that we can easily impose a time component to "before" in English. Many verses translate this as face.

Also the Hebrew term translated "glory" concretely translates as weight (a weighty/heavy thing carrying authority - gravitas).

So in conclusion, my suggestion is that even if the translation remains "fear" the Hebraic idea is all about allowing Jehovah to inspire our actions & these will be the best of actions.

Hope this makes a little more sense as to why I emphasize the root - to flow.

Edgar Foster said...


I've started the spring semester, therefore my time is minimal at this point. But Crawford Howell Toy directs our attention to Proverbs 22:4 to elucidate Prov 15:33. Michael Fox and Brother Rolf Furuli (from Norway) might both have interesting things to say about these passages.

See Toy's work at http://books.google.com/books?id=33Z6EL5eIBkC&pg=PA318&focus=viewport&output=html

Duncan said...


Thanks again.


Pg 10 & 11

Pg 36

Pg 318,319

Pg 414,415

Thanks for the names, I will investigate.

Duncan said...



aservantofJehovah said...

So (if we go with your theory) then a loose english paraphrase of proverbs15:33 might read "The reverential awe that an intimate relationship with Jehovah inspires(breathes into[one])is the foundation of true wisdom,and the foundation of true exaltation is humility." or the substance.The fear would be his possession in that he is its source although he is not subject to it.Likewise the humility and the exaltation have Jehovah as their source and so can be spoken of as his possessions although he is neither the one humbling himself nor being exalted in this context.
Interesting.Although the lack of a corroborating reference can be invoked as a difficulty.

Duncan said...


Ancient Hebrews primary coin is concrete active illustration & the way it describes our relationship to Jehovah does seem quite alien to our greco roman, western thinking with regards to what Jehovah will and will not do.

See Numbers 6:24


That Jehovah would ever in any way "kneel down before" & give gifts too us?!?

This can enhance our understanding of the wording of verses like James 1:17.

This kind of thinking may bolster the idea of how we might interpret yirah?

aservantofJehovah said...

Hebrews7:7nrsa"It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior." It shouldn't surprise us that jehovah is nothing like the self important human rulers of the present age.He is the ideal of servant lesdership personified.