Abstract vs. Concrete – Part 22 min read

Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God,

Deuteronomy 1:32 (KJV)

Believe – Back to our study about abstract and concrete concepts. Remember that Hebrews are very concrete in their language, so the Biblical concepts and worldviews will be rooted in concrete meanings that appeal to our senses. Greek concepts tend to be very abstract and are intangible.

The word “believe” above is the Hebrew verb ma’aminiym which is the Hiphil form of ‘aman from the last post. Remember that the Hiphil form of ‘aman is causative and means “to make secure” and can be translated as “support.” So let’s try that in place of the translated word “believe” above.

Yet in this thing ye did not support the Lord your God,

The verse begins to reveal something a bit differently. What does it mean to believe in God? We know and trust that He’s going to do what He’s going to do. It’s a passive stance. But what does it mean to support God? The concrete meaning of support shifts the responsibility onto ourselves. It becomes a stance of action.

It’s common for Hebrew to express abstract ideas in concrete roots. They were able to write figuratively, but still with concrete terms. Take a look at this.

[…] Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: […]

Exodus 17:14 (KJV)

The verse above is the King James translation. But take a look at Jeff Benner’s mechanical translation of this verse.

[…] Write this memorial in a scroll and place it in the ears of Yehoshuah. […]

That’s much more concrete. Just place it in the ears! But yet we still know it’s speaking figuratively, right?

The little things do matter. In fact they bring a greater intensity to the text and to our relationship with YHVH. Take the time to research, and study to show yourself approved. It will reveal great mysteries and strengthen you in your walk.

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