He shall call upon Me,
and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
So David inquired of the LORD,
“Shall I pursue this troop?”
“Shall I overtake them?”
And He answered him,
“Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”
“It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God….
Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
So she said to him,
“I am the daughter of Bethuel, Milcah’s son, whom she bore to Nahor.”
Virgin Of God
House Of God
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
saith the LORD,
thoughts of peace,
and not of evil,
to give you an expected end.
O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
that bringest good tidings,
get thee up into the high mountain;
that bringest good tidings,
lift up thy voice with strength;
lift it up,
be not afraid;
say unto the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
Without further argumentation, BDB Theological Dictionary assumes a text error and derives the first part of Bethuel from the Hebrew word מת (mat), meaning man and reads Man Of God for a meaning of Bethuel. But Bethuel starts with bat, not with mat and this explanation seems rather uncalled for.
In Hebrew there are two words בת (bat); one means daughter (see בן, ben), the other one indicates a measure of volume equal to about 22 liters. The central ו (waw) of our name could be due to a third personal possessive pronoun: his, which would give the name Bethuel the meaning of His Daughter Is El. But since El is decidedly masculine, this interpretation can scarcely be seriously maintained.
Bethuel was the father of Rebekah who was a key-element in bringing forth the nation of Israel.
mostly it denotes the realm of authority of the house-father, or אב (ab)
In the larger economy, a house interacts with other houses. These interactions are governed by the אב (ab), or “father” and executed by the בנים (benim), or “sons”: those people living in the house, irrespective of any biological relation with the אב (ab). The “sons” combined add up to אם (’em), which means both “mother” and “tribe”.
The fundamental meaning of the word בית (bayit) appears to be a kind of enclosure, specifically for keeping, safekeeping or containing, and is contrasted by a wide array of specialized words meaning any kind of specific habitat, ranging from tent to palace. In that sense, the word בית (bayit) does not denote a specific kind of building, but rather the function of container. As such it is aptly used to describe a ship’s hull (Genesis 6:14). In Genesis 6:14, Exodus 25:11, 37:2 and 1 Kings 7:9 occurs the term מבית ומחוץ, which means ‘on the outer housing’.
In Exodus 28:26 and 39:19 our word appears to denote the ephod’s harness. In these instances, our word is followed by the letter ה (he), and this prefix often refers to a movement towards. But this same prefix may also turn a masculine word into a feminine one. The rule isn’t wholly waterproof, but masculinity tends to describe individuality and femininity sociality. A feminine version of בית namely ביתה would in theory describe some kind of collective, perhaps many little elements like knobs or rings.
One very important usage of the word בית (bayit) is to describe the entire membership and economy of one’s household. Hence the Bible speaks of the house of Jacob (Genesis 35:2, 46:27), the house of David (2 Samuel 7:11) and the house of Israel (Exodus 16:31). That the word בית (bayit) emphasizes collectivity much more than a physical building or even biological descent becomes evident when Abraham (then the biological father of only Ishmael) is told to circumcise all males in his household, regardless of whether they were born there or bought (Genesis 17:12-13, 18:19). Members of a household are usually referred to as benim, meaning ‘sons.’ Read our article on the name Ben for a closer look at that marvelous word (and see our article on the verb περιτεμνω, peritemno, to circumcise).
Most translations of Proverbs 8:2 appear to take the word בית to come from בין (ben), meaning between, but the reference to high places suggests that ‘wisdom’ stands both on the tops of high places, as well as on all roads toward the temple. The alternative and apparently most popular reading suggests that wisdom stands there where paths meet at the peaks of high places. That wouldn’t have been many.
• אלה (‘eleh), meaning these. Follow the link to read our article on this and the next three words
• אלה (‘ala), to swear; derivative אלה (‘ala) means oath.
• אלה (‘ala), to wail.
• אלה (‘alla), oak, from the assumed and unused root אלל (‘ll). Follow the link to read more on these and the next words
• אלה (‘ela), terebinth, from the root אול (‘wl).
From מלכה (malka), queen, which in turn comes from the noun מלך (melek), king.
The noun מלך (melek) means king, and a king is not merely a glorified tribal chief but the alpha of a complex, stratified society, implying a court and a complex government.
The Bible insists that a society must be governed by a triad of anointed sovereigns, namely prophets, priests and the king. A good king causes his people to be prosperous and peaceful whereas a bad one causes poverty and strife. The difference between the two is dictated by how close to the Law of Nature (a.k.a. the Word of God) the king operates. A kingdom that is wholly in tune with the Law consists of only sovereign individuals and is thus without a physical king.
An Aramaic cognate verb מלך (malak) means to consult, which confirms that the concept of royalty indeed evolved from wisdom and intellectual prowess rather than brute physical or political strength, as is commonly suggested.
From this noun derives the verb מלך (malak): to be or become king, the nouns מלכה (malka) and מלכת (meleket): queen or court-lady, the noun מלוכה (meluka): kingship or royalty, and the nouns מלכות (malkut), ממלכה (mamlaka) and ממלכות (mamlakut), meaning sovereignty or kinghood.
In general, the noun מלך (melek) describes the alpha of a stratified society: the king or chief ruler, implying a complex government with sub-chiefs and ministers and such.
Most pagan societies, then and now, are based on some supreme leader — king, president, chairman; all that — but in Israel the king was one of three sovereigns, the other two being priests (from the tribe of Levi) and prophets (from any tribe). These three were sovereign in that they had no earthly superiors and took their instructions directly from the Creator. That means that all three were “anointed,” which translates from the familiar words Messiah (that’s Hebrew) and Christ (that’s Greek).
Intuition may suggest that the solitary king would surely “outrank” any of the many priests and prophets, but in the Bible the king is consistently regarded the lesser of the three: the runt of the litter, whose ultimate potential was to be a sort of chief housekeeper who governed society’s infrastructure, its money and its wastes, but who had no real link to the divine himself and had to be drilled in matters of the Word like any other commoner (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). Israel’s first king, Saul of Benjamin, famously tried to ascend into the company of prophets (1 Samuel 10:6) and priests (1 Samuel 13:8-14) but was in both cases violently demoted to the position of mere king, until he even fell from there. His successor, David of Judah, indeed was also a prophet (ACTS 2:30).
But the bottom line is that since all of nature is governed by the Law of Nature (a.k.a. the Word of God), only a society that operates according to that Law won’t be attacked by natural principles and processes, and will in turn be stable. That means that only a society that has knowledge-of-natural-law as “king” can last forever. All other empires, nations, federations, kingdoms and even companies will eventually fail. A society that is governed by natural law alone is governed by the same freedom that is fundamental to nature, and is even a perfect manifestation of that fundamental freedom. This is why all members of such a society are both priests and kings (Exodus 19:6), and thus Christs. Freedom is the ultimate goal of creation and the purpose of Christ’s ministry. Or as Paul puts it: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (GALATIANS 5:1).
Long before the office of YHWH’s Anointed split into three — physics calls this a breach of symmetry — that office was one. But this split was foreseen even in the time of Moses and the laws that described the office of the king, and strongly limited the king’s powers, were penned down in the book of Deuteronomy (17:14-20). That’s really quite remarkable because in most societies law comes from the king rather than the other way around. A king of Israel had to be chosen by YHWH and not by the people (17:15). He couldn’t be a foreigner (17:15), he couldn’t “multiply horses” (probably a poetic way of speaking about the military; 17:16), he couldn’t sport a harem (perhaps to prevent distraction, but perhaps also to not unfairly flood the gene pool) or otherwise enrich himself at the cost of his people (17:17). This also means that when the Israelites demanded a king, they could have done so without rejecting the Creator as king (1 Samuel 8:7), and allow their society to mature into a temple of global freedom with their royalty as a kind of scaffolding for extra support.
Obviously, humankind managed to let herself get kidnapped by her own kings, who became more and more corrupt and self-serving over the centuries. Fortunately, our prophets gave us stories such as the Iliad (of Helen in Troy) and Esther (of Hadassah in Persia) to contemplate, and lately a woken humanity has started to ditch her kings and embrace first the republic, to then envision and build toward libertarian utopias. Long live the blockchain!
Quite telling, our modern word “monarch” comes from the familiar Greek word μονος (monos), meaning alone, which was probably meant to flatter but which reminds anybody with some sense of the equally familiar word ιδιωτης (idiotes), meaning “in a category of one’s own.” The origin of our Hebrew word מלך (melek) is strikingly obscure, but in Assyrian exists the verb malaku, which means to counsel or advise. And sure enough, in Nehemiah 5:7 the Aramaic verb מלך (malak) occurs clearly in connection with intense introspection followed by a group discussion.
Also note the striking similarity with the noun מלאך (mal’ak), which is the Hebrew word for angel. Despite modern lore, an angel’s primary function is to protect and shield, which is why angels have wings (the primary function of bird wings is to protect chicks; flight is a side effect; see for much more on angels our article on the Greek equivalent αγγελος, aggelos). This noun מלאך (mal’ak), angel, is probably not etymologically related to our noun מלך (melek), king, and its verb מלך (malak), to be king, but rather comes from the particle מ (mem), which indicates agency, and the verb לאך (la’ak), to convey [a message or charge]. All this nevertheless suggests a very strong associative link between the Hebrew view on angels and on kings.
Also note the noun מלח (melah or melach), which means salt. Before refrigeration, salt was the primary means of preserving food as it tends to absorb liquids. For this same reason, salt was used as a cleaning agent and disinfectant, and was even applied, but probably proverbially, to new born babies (Ezekiel 16:4).
In other words: the main function of a Hebrew king was to accommodate and facilitate the great human dialogue (1 Kings 10:24-25), and to provide a global temple (or inn, if you will) in which the Word could ultimately be received in the Flesh.
Our noun מלך (melek) is such an important word in the Bible that it, its plural (מלכים) and its pseudo-genitive plural (מלכי, meaning kings of) together occur more than 2,500 times. It additionally comes with several variations and derivations:
• The verb מלך (malak), to be or become king or act as one: to rule or reign. This verb obviously also occurs all over the Bible.
• The feminine noun מלכה (malka), meaning queen or lady of the court. This word occurs 35 times in Scriptures but, with the apparent exception of two plurals, מלכות (milkut), in Song of Solomon 6:8-9, it exclusively denotes foreigners; sometimes heads of state (1 Kings 10:1) but often ladies associated to a foreign monarchy but without formal authority themselves (Esther 1:9, Daniel 5:10).
• The noun מלוכה (meluka), meaning kingship, royalty or kingly office.
• The noun מלכות (malkut), meaning royalty, sovereign power, realm or reign.
• The noun ממלכה (mamlaka), meaning sovereignty, or literally “that in which kingship is manifested”.
• The noun ממלכות (mamlakut), also meaning sovereignty.
The root חרר (harar) describes a society’s central and enclosed source of heat. It thus may express a geographical depression, but more so a being hot and ultimately a being a ruler (whether by might, political clout or wisdom).
Verb חרר (harar I) means to be hot, burned or charred. Noun חרר (harer) denotes a parched place and noun חרחר (harhur) describes a violent heat or fever. The unused verb חרר (harar II) means to be free in cognate languages, which is the opposite of being a slave. Noun חר (hor) means noble or nobleman. The unused verb חרר (harar III) appears to refer to the enclosure of kilns and ovens, as the first ones were most likely built in natural hollows. The nouns חר (hor) and חור (hor) mean hole or cavern, but obviously relate to the previous word in that freemen surround themselves with walls and armies.
Verb חרה (hara) means to burn or ignite (in the Bible solely in an emotional way: to get angry). Noun חרון (haron) describes the burning of anger. Noun חרי (hori) refers to a general burning.
Verb חור (hawar) means to be or grow white (like ash or baked bricks). Nouns חור (hur) and חורי (huray) refer to any white stuff, including garments and linen, and noun חרי (hori) describes white bread or cake.
Verb נחר (nahar) looks very much like a passive or reflexive version of חרר (harar) or its participle. This verb isn’t used in the Bible but nouns נחר (nahar) and נחרה (naharah) describe the vigorous snorting of a horse, and noun נחיר (nahir) means nostril (which in turn reminds of a cavern).