🔼The name Dabar-YHWH: Summary
- Word of YHWH, The Formalization Of Everything
- From (1) the verb דבר (dabar), to pronounce or formalize, and (2) the name YHWH.
🔼The name Dabar YHWH in the Bible
Dabar-Yahweh means roughly Word of the Lord. See below for a discussion of Dabar, and see YHWH for an article on the name Yahweh.
Dabar-Yahweh is one of the few dominant Hebrew names or titles of God in the Bible, although not often enough recognized as such. This beautiful name is introduced as late as Genesis 15:1 where the Word of God is in a vision to Abraham and speaks to him (compare: Elohim occurs in Genesis 1:1, YHWH Elohim in 2:4, and Elyon in 14:18).
God speaks often to people and in many different ways. The Word of God, however, typically conveys formal messages and mostly to prophets. The Word of God gains a pivotal status in the New Testament when he "becomes flesh" in Jesus Christ, now known by the Greek translation Logos.
Other alternatives and pseudo-alternatives are:
- The Word of the Lord YHWH, or דבר־אדני יהוה (Dabar Adonai YHWH), as used by Ezekiel (6:3, 25:3 and 36:4).
- The Mouth of YHWH, or פי יהוה (py YHWH; Exodus 17:1, Leviticus 24:12, Numbers 3:6 etcetera).
- The Speakings of YHWH, or אמרת יהוה (amaroth YHWH; 2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 105:19, Jeremiah 51:62).
- The Sword of YHWH, or חרב יהוה (hereb YHWH; 1 Chronicles 21:12) or חרב ליהוה (Jeremiah 47:6). This curious term is clearly also part of the same theme; the edge of a sword was known as its mouth (Genesis 34:26, 2 Samuel 2:26), but see our article on the word חרב hereb for more details.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Dabar YHWH
Where some names of God come uniquely from rare roots, the names Elyon and Dabar come from roots that have truly vast domains of application. The word dabar, however, outdoes even elyon and is a universe of meaning in itself:
The verb דבר (dabar) means to formalize: to deliberately establish and pronounce something's name or definition. This causes the thing to become "real" in the mind of whoever understands this word, name or definition, and this in turn explains why all of creation was spoken into being, and Man in turn "named" all the animals by their name and finally his Wife by hers (Genesis 2:19-23). This principle sits at the base of nominal reasoning and thus human awareness and ultimately Information Technology.
Noun דבר (dabar) means word. It also means "thing" since the naming of a thing causes the experienced reality of the thing. All thus created "things" together form the whole of experienceable reality, which in turn is called the Word of God.
Noun דבר (deber) describes any deadly pestilence, which is a "word" that breaks unstable compounds apart. In nature this occurs via the Weak Nuclear Force. The ability of unstable compounds to break apart sits at the heart of all progress and thus all reality.
The rare noun דבר (dober), refers to a pasture; probably a well-defined fenced-in field upon which sheep graze. Figuratively this word obviously refers to some specific Holy Book from which a community feeds (the books of the Bible originated as separate works, with their separate adherers). Noun דברה (dibra) means matter or issue, and the similar noun דבורה (deborah) describes the bee (this probably because bees make honey, and "milk and honey" denote essential sustenance). The noun דביר (debir) was a nickname for the Holy of Holies and means "place of the word".
The noun מדבר (midbar) literally means "place of wording" and is used once to mean mouth and 270 times to mean wilderness, and because a wilderness is a place without cultivation, any cultivation needs to spring up in a wilderness. And anybody serious about the quest for true insight needs to leave the culture (or religion) of his heritage behind and spend a stint in the uncharted wild. All major players in the Bible did so.
Most people think that Jesus has anything to do with a religion or with a select group of followers or whatever, but that is utter nonsense. Jesus is the Word in the flesh, and thus embodies humanity's formal understanding of everything. Or as Paul puts it: "The summing up of all things in Christ" (Ephesians 1:10).
Neither the Word of God nor Christ have nothing to do with Christianity or Judaism because in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). Hence the Holy Spirit investigates everything (1 Corinthians 2:10), talks about everything (John 4:25), and teaches everything (John 14:26).
Christ gives understanding in all things (2 Timothy 2:7). But nobody who modestly calls himself Knower Of All Things automatically knows all things. Likewise, someone who calls himself a Christian, who utters all the right formulas and is on all the right mailing lists, is not automatically a follower of Christ. A follower of the Word of God does not restrict himself in any way (Galatians 3:28). He looks at all things with quiet respect but personifies only with the howling infinite of space and all that is therein.