ver. 2.0.14.11.21
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to http://classic.studylight.org/
Problem finding something? Get the StudyLight-HowTo PDF file or read the "Frequently Asked Questions"

Hebrew Thoughts

midh'bâr - מִדְבָּר (Strong's #4057)
Wilderness, desert

midh'bâr 'wilderness, desert' מִדְבָּר (Strong's #4057)

"the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness..." (Genesis 16:7, NKJ)

The word מִדְבָּר midh'bâr "wilderness, desert" (Strong's #4057, x271) derives from דָּבַר dâbhar "to speak, arrange/order, lead" (Strong's #1696, x1143) in the sense of "driving to pasture" (Exodus 3:1), rather than being a desolate place. Instead, it is often a place for grazing and its inhabitability is only relative. The מִדְבָּר midh'bâr of Jordan and of Judah both contain cities and whilst that of Sinai lacks large built up towns there are many oases there.

In Psalm 65:12 [Heb. v13] "the pastures of the wilderness drip" in a passage speaking of the earth and God's bounty, rather than barrenness. The מִדְבָּר midh'bâr is also where God spoke דָּבַר dâbhar, hence in some historical and theological sense for Israel it is also the place of speech. Subsequent mystics and prophets would go out to the מִדְבָּר midh'bâr to hear God's voice.

Indeed Song of Solomon 4:3 uses מִדְבָּר midh'bâr for "mouth/speech" - "Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech/mouth is comely". Ironically, the general lack of habitation might make for the wilderness being a more silent place than towns or cities.

Job 38:26 gives a clue that in general it refers to space without habitation "where no man is, the wilderness, wherein there is no man". The fact that many of the places called Wilderness were subsequently populated does not counter this.

Its main use, then, is for wilderness or desert by which it is translated 99% of the time. It occurs most frequently in the various passages detailing Israel's wandering in the wilderness, hence Exodus (25x), Numbers (44x) and Deuteronomy (19x). Numbers is actually called בְּמִדְבַּר BeMidhbar in the Hebrew from its very first verse opening with the words "And God spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai". The Psalms, Isaiah and Jeremiah, also account for around 20x instances each.

Isaiah 32:15 at first describes the wilderness as something less than a fruitful field and then virtually equates it through the parallelism of v16. So a wilderness need not be or remain either empty, dry or barren.

Though the wilderness is sometimes described negatively as without food, fountains, grapes, water, or rain, nonetheless the question: "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" (Psa 78:19) is intended to be rhetorical.

Its second use in the Bible, in Genesis 16:7, where an angel meets Hagar in the wilderness is by a fountain, so not totally barren, and the ensuing prophecy is Ishmael's birth, long and fruitful lineage, that would populate the Arabian מִדְבָּר midh'bâr.

   
Comments

Copyright Statement
'Hebrew Thoughts' Copyright 2014© KJ Went. 'Hebrew Thoughts' articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions: 1) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each article, along with a link to www.biblicalhebrew.com and www.studylight.org/col/ht/  2) 'Hebrew Thoughts' content may not be arranged or "mirrored" as a competitive online service.

Subscribe …
Receive the newest article each week in your inbox by joining the "Hebrew Thoughts" subscription list. Enter your email address below, click "Go!" and we will send you a confirmation email. Follow the instructions in the email to confirm your addition to this list.
ADVERTISEMENT
Download the Language Fonts
Below you will find links to the TrueType font(s) used in this resource. Simply right-mouse click the link and save it to your fonts

Once you have finished you might need to close all open browsers and open your fonts directory to initialized the font(s) you just installed.

SIL Ezra Hebrew font
AHL Early Hebrew font
Meet the Author
KJ Went has taught biblical Hebrew, hermeneutics and Jewish background to early Christianity. Their "Biblical Hebrew made easy" course can be found at www.biblicalhebrew.com.

Why not consider Greek, Aramaic, Biblical or Modern Hebrew online, it's easier than you think.

BMSoftware, founded by KJ, offer a wide range of biblical, Hebrew, Greek and multilingual software for theological use.

'Hebrew Thoughts'

zâqên - זָקֵן (Strong's #2204)
To be old

Read Article ยป
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology