The Hebrew word for Rainbow is קֶשֶׁת – Qeshet . Interestingly enough Keshet, other than Rainbow, also means a war bow. We can easily see the connection between Rainbow and a bow in English, but since it is one and the same word in Hebrew the connection there cannot be clearer.
Why would the ancient Hebrews (Moses in particular) refer to a rainbow as a bow? That connection has to do with the story of Noah’s flood.
When God judged the fallen humanity by sending his catastrophic flood, he made Noah a very important promise – never to judge the world so harshly again.
Later in the Bible we find out why, but here suffice to say that a rainbow became an eternal sign of God’s forgiveness and his covenantal mercy.
After all it was God’s bow of war that was now on permanent display for all to see. This time God’s bow was not pointing in our (earthly) direction, but in the direction of God’s heavenly residence.
Let us continue to explore the riches of Biblical Hebrew and together grasp the riches revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
Image use courtesy of Revital Eyzenberg ©