DABAR YHWH – The Word of the Lord

The Old Testament contains more than 200 references to “dabar Yahweh” or the Word of the Lord.  And it takes on different meanings in different contexts.  The word of the Lord generally refers to God’s command, or will.  In Numbers 3:16, we have an example of this literal usage: So Moses counted them, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord. The phrase also refers to God’ s intent, even if not spoken.  Consider this passage from I Samuel 3:7  – Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.  Note that the Word of the Lord exists, even if Samuel has not heard it.

The word of the Lord is the divine will spoken to the prophets.  The word of the Lord is brought to Moses, Jeremiah,  Samuel, Gad, Ahijah, Nathan,  Solomon,  Jehu, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Jonah, Zephanaiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Every now and then, the Old testament delivers a messianic passage that seems rather clearly to anticipate the arrival of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Consider Micah 4: 1-8:

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it,  and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more;

but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.  For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. In that day, says the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away, and those whom I have afflicted; and the lame I will make the remnant; and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and for evermore. And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.

Forgive the redundancy, but I will reinsert the passages from Isaiah on “the Word of the Lord” that were mentioned in my previous posts.

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of [my mouth] a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me. (Isaiah 49:1-2)

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