Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Old Testament Hebrew word: חקק

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/Dictionary/ht/ht-q-q.html


Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary


The verb חקק (haqaq) means both to decree and to engrave, carve or hollow out (a royal decree would be published by carving it in stone) and both the acts of decreeing and engraving may in fact have been reckoned after a more fundamental act of representing or portraying.

This act of representing would be closely related to the act of placing one thing near another thing (like a paraphrase refers to a wording that approaches the original). That in turn would link our verb to the act of embracing, or pressing someone to one's bosom, which is one's signature bodily hollow where one's breath and voice coincide. The common word for bosom is חיק (heq; see below), which is clearly similar to our verb חקק (haqaq). That in turns relates the act of embracing (Matthew 23:37, John 13:23) to drawing others near to oneself (John 12:32), to sounding one's voice (Genesis 1:3) and to proclaiming one's law (Genesis 26:5) — all signature activities of the Creator toward his people. This explains why people who love God also keep his commands (John 14:15, 1 John 5:2): not out of slavish submission but because by means of his law, God draws us into his bosom.

Humanity is like a Dyson sphere around the star that is our Creator (Revelation 7:9-17). Since every person is made in God's image (Genesis 1:26), all perfectly expressed personalities together add up to God's voice (Revelation 14:5). This is the reason why mankind is on an instinctive quest to make all voices of the world available to everybody (through developing language, then script, then printing, and now the Internet) so that every person can learn from anybody else, and everybody in turn can help rid the world of faulty beliefs and worthless convictions. It's the reason why individual freedom and personal sovereignty is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:1) and why formal governments are a mere temporary evil (1 Corinthians 15:24).

A human being learns God's law by learning every human being's private law (how that person wants to be treated), which is how loving God with one's entire heart, mind and soul is equal to loving one's neighbor as oneself (Matthew 22:36-40). It's also how the entire law and all the prophets are summed up by the act of treating others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). And it's why God's Word was not written by one sage but has always been an open source project (1 Kings 10:23-25, Revelation 21:22-27). When we finally learn how the whole of humanity ticks, without rejecting a single element that is confirmed by two or more, we learn the depths of our Creator (Psalm 42:7, 1 Corinthians 2:10-11). And by defining ourselves according to the entire spectrum of human diversity, we enter the bosom of God (Isaiah 40:11).

Our verb חקק (haqaq) commonly describes a marking or engraving, or more general: the preservation of data, in a book (Isaiah 30:8) on a wall (Ezekiel 23:14), or even the palms of hands (Isaiah 49:16). The thing inscribed is often a law or decree (Isaiah 10:1), and a person who issued decrees was hence known as an "engraver" (Judges 5:9), not necessarily a judge or commander but much rather what we today call a scientist: someone who figures out the laws of observable reality (Romans 1:20).

Our verb may even describe the cutting out of a tomb (Isaiah 22:16). In deep antiquity graves were commonly unmarked (Deuteronomy 34:6), and when marked with a cairn not engraved, which makes any elaborate tomb or inscribed tombstone literally a memorial. Indeed in Greek the word for tomb is μνημα (mnema), which derives from the familiar verb μναομαι (mnaomai), to remember or recollect (hence English words like "mnemonic," "memory" and "memorial").

The report of graves opening and people arising and walking around (Ezekiel 37:12, Matthew 27:52) speaks of the retrieval of presumed lost data. How that will physically work isn't clear, of course, but the Bible insists that both our personal DNA (Luke 24:39, 1 Corinthians 15:42) and all our mental activity (Matthew 12:36) that has accumulated over our lifetime will not be irretrievably lost when we die but has always been continually stored on some external storage device. Perhaps this storage device is the generation of living people (possible even all living things including trees and plants: Romans 8:19), but when the Dyson sphere that is humanity has contracted enough, we will certainly find a way to access, extract and properly analyze the data of all previous generations (Revelation 20:12).

It's not necessarily useful to imagine how that would pan out — some say that our universe may already be a simulation within a computer, but others propose that the universe itself operates like a computer and can be (re)programmed — but the identity of people is always formed from their context within the larger world and cannot exist or be explained without that context. That seems to imply that the generation that will be able to finally read the data of past lives is also the first generation of a whole new beginning, and that the resurrection will happen backwards in time to resurrect or reconstruct generation upon generation that forms layer upon layer of a whole new context in which human beings can exist and grow together. It will be up to that bottle neck generation to begin to go back in time and accept or reject whomever they are able to redeem (1 Corinthians 6:2, Isaiah 60:1-3).

From our verb חקק (haqaq) derive the masculine noun חק (hoq) and its feminine equivalent חקה (huqqa), both essentially describing something desired or demanded: something that represents the wishes and thus the personality of the desirer, something engraved, decreed or prescribed. In Biblical Hebrew, masculinity tends to signify individuality and femininity tends to signify collectivity, which suggests that the masculine noun חק (hoq) mostly describes solitary statements, whereas the feminine noun חקה (huqqa) mostly describes sets of statements. Both nouns obviously occur all over the Bible.


The form חקה is also a verb, namely חקה(haqa), also meaning to cut in, carve (or represent). This verb is probably a by-form of the previous. It's used much less but has the same meaning (Ezekiel 8:12, 1 Kings 6:35, Job 13:27).


Formally from a separate root חיק (hyq) or חוק (hwq), which corresponds with verbs in cognate languages that mean to embrace or surround, the noun חיק (heq) means bosom or torso; the upper part of our central body. The lower part of our central body, the belly, is where the ancients seated our emotions and inner or subconscious thoughts. The upper part is mostly associated with our conscious, deliberations, intentions, verbal expressions and most significantly our love and care. Our lower belly associates mostly with our legs and instincts but our chest associates with our senses, our reason, our objectives and our arms. Unlike animals, humans don't lean on their own arms and use their arms to reach and to embrace and protect.

The noun חיק (heq) mostly describes a hollow container (1 Kings 22:35, Ezekiel 43:13) in which all the elements of our humanity are stored, which is how the often used image of bringing entire peoples (Numbers 11:12), human individuals (Micah 7:5, Ruth 4:16), animals (Isaiah 40:11), hands (Exodus 4:6) or even insults (Psalm 89:50) or anger (Ecclesiastes 7:9) into one's bosom is formed; it's a more intimate version of the more familiar acts of taking someone into one's arms or falling into someone's hands.

Associated Biblical names