Rainbow (hebrew Insight)

rainbow in hebrewThe 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 ©

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Dr. Eli Lizorkin-EyzenbergTo secure your spot in our new course “The Jewish Background of New Testament” - CLICK HERE NOW

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Join the conversation (32 comments)

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  1. Hahn Jackson

    I guess it went over my head ad to why the bow points at God’s abode. It seems to me that would mean God was at war with Himself?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Shalom, Hahn. If Gospel line of thinking is to be believed and assumed, than what God did with his keshet would make a lot of sense. Dr. Eli

  2. Randy

    Dr. Eli, thank you for sharing your knowledge with us its great thing to know that rainbow in hebrew word is keshet and became an eternal sign of God’s forgiveness and his covenantal mercy. Someone told me that he saw a rainbow in me. Thanks for this encouragement . May the Lord bless you richly for sharing Biblical Hebrew Insight.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Randy, welcome to our forum and thanks for leaving this comment. Dr. Eli

  3. Kelly Chew

    Thankyou Dr Eli for the sharing. May I have your permission to post this on my fb for sharing with my friends. Incidentally, I’m just wondering if the `bow’ pointing at YHWH also symbolizes Christ having to bear our sin and became the target instead.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      You have my permission and encouragement to do so! (I think you are right, this is the basic idea (bow and Christ)).

  4. James

    I found the idea of Gods war bow not pointing towards us but His residence an interesting thought, are their two different perspectives of a sign, both Gods and mans.On our side we view the rainbow, as the mercy and forgiveness of God. On Gods side of the rainbow He see’s His war bow pointing at His residence and relents from flooding the earth again.The sign of the blood on the door that caused the angel of death to Passover were their two perspectives to that sign. In case of the rainbow we know how God felt about flooding the world but not how He sees the rainbow , probably because we don’t need to know.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      James, welcome to our group and thank you for sharing your feedback with us. Dr. Eli

  5. Gamal R. Scharoubim

    I am glad to see the relation between Christians and Jews turn into a dialogue rather denouncements. After all we all beliueve in the sanctity of the torah and the whole Old Testament. As Christians we consider the New testament as a continuity of the Old Testament not a refutal of its sanctity. There are many points in it that explanations of them through a Jewish eye is important and helpful for the full understanding of the text.

  6. Miheret tesfaye(mercy)

    Thank you very much YOU Dr introduce me with Rainbow I like it very much ,I see it at the time of rain but I didn’t compere or related with bible now my eye is open when I read .thank you very much my God bless you Dr.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      May the Lord bless you! Dr. Eli

  7. Helton

    Congratulations Dr. Eli by wonderful text on the rainbow-Alliance. I am amazed with this Blog. What The Eternal Bless this Project. Shavua Tov.

    Parabéns Dr. Eli pelos maravilhoso texto sobre o arco-da-Aliança. Estou admirado com este Blog. Que O Eterno Abençoe este Projeto. Shavua Tov.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thank you, friend. Dr. Eli

  8. Johnson Kanduri

    sir I am really so happy about this Rainbow

    Thank you sir

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Blessings and peace to you, my friend! Dr. Eli

  9. ruth hirt

    For the valuable bonus knowledge you have always been imparting to us readers, thank you very much, Dr. Eli. Such are worth sharing, at the moment that is what immediately I want to do. Till your next write-up please. (By the way I am still with the eTeacher, learning my 1st level in Modern Hebrew with Ulpan-Or under Ayala lili Moses.) Great greetings to you, Shavua Tov.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      All the best! Glad to know you are doing well! Dr. Eli

  10. Barnabas Tiburtius

    Thank you for your illuminating interpretations. May I have permission to use some of your material in my writings.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Barnabas, welcome to our study group! Dr. Eli