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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  1. Keith Niven

    You might want to consider what exactly it is that G-D is at war with
    The clue is qain
    Hope you get it for this is the war we are all, going to find ourselves in

  2. Dm

    I still wonder why? Jewish. People said “!do not see it”! Is a curse.

  3. David Hood

    I understand letters within the Hebrew word meaning bow, also have a pictorial representation and meaning … if so how is that portrayed in this word for rainbow

  4. Tapugao Falefou

    Dr Eli, I found your view of the rainbow quite interesting. I have also seen a similar view in other sites. With your permission, can I make reference to your view in my research work?

  5. Esther Naidu

    blessed with the revelation of the word of God

  6. Drs. Charles van den Berg

    Dear Eli. It’s a beautiful explanation. However, I am not sure the explanation is right. When you have the bow in your hand, you are somebody’s enemy. The same is true for God. Jeremiah says of God: “He has bent his bow like an enemy….The Lord has become like an enemy… “(Lam 2:4-5). In question is: It may be that God is the enemy of His own heavenly residence? I think Gods bow is not pointing in our earthly direction, or in the direction of Gods heavenly residence, but pointed to the enemy of God and mankind (earthlings), in fight “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12-13). “
    Rev. 12:11: “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb”. So the believers conquered this enemy by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 12:11), that‘s “by the blood of the eternal covenant “(Hebr. 13:20), the eternal covenant God is speaking about in the promise to Noah.
    The bow is always in the hand of someone. So the Lamb of God is like a bow in the right hand of God wherewith “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them. “(Col. 2:15)

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Drs. Charles van den Berg, thank you for you note. I prefer to think of my interpretation as a beautiful Midrash.

      1. Drs. Charles van den Berg

        Dear Eli,
        Enjoy your Midrash . I was not in mention to ruin your party. By myself I was inspired by the Midrash Lekach Tov from Rabbi Toviah ben Eliezer Hagadol. Only, I was missing the link to Christ. Almost all views about the rainbow from over the centuries are compiled by Rabbi Jhoeda Nachsjoni.. Most are beautiful.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          Glad to see Dutch people to think more Jewishly :-).

  7. Ingrid

    Thank you. Very inspiring, indeed.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Welcome, to our forum Ingrid. Dr. Eli

  8. Charles keim

    I recall Nahum Sarna saying that the story of Noah is one of the few if only stories in which no prophet is recorded as first warning the people of the disaster to come.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Dr. Keim, thank you for your comment and welcome to our forum. Very interesting comment. Thank you. Dr. Eli