I Will Bless Those Who Bless You (hebrew Insight)

The Biblical command enjoined on modern Christ-followers is crystal clear – they must bless the People of Israel. Whether someone comes from traditional or evangelical Christian backgrounds, nothing at all is different. The Bible is still the Bible.

We read of God’s words to Abraham in Gen.12:3a: “I will bless those who bless you (וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרְכֶיךָ), and the one who curses you I will curse (וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר).

In Hebrew the verb to bless isלברך (pronounced: LeVarech). This is based on the root B-R-K (ברך) which is connected to word “knee”, which actually implies rendering service to someone (bending the knee). So, think about it? The meaning of this verse, therefore, is clarified: “I will serve those who serve you!” But this is not all. God also promises Abraham that everyone who curses (מְקַלֶּלְךָ) him will be also cursed (אָאֹר) by God. The strength of the promise, however, is lost in translation.

The first word for curse (מְקַלֶּלְךָ) comes from a root that literally means to make lite of someone heavy. The second word for curse (אָאֹר) actually comes from completely different root that means something like “to utterly destroy”.

Taking into consideration these insights from Hebrew language the translation should be as follows: “I will serve those who will serve you and the one who make lite of you I will utterly destroy.” Could the guarantee of God’s protection over the Children of Abraham be made clearer?!

About the author

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. obadiah

    Do you have any lexical evidence that ברך means ‘serve’, or is it just an attempt to derive meaning from etymology?