Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Hebrew verb עבר (ʿāvar, pronounced ah-VAR, with the Hebrew letter "bet" pronounced like a "v") means "to pass through" or "pass over." The verb עבר (ʿāvar) is often used to describe the literal physical movement of persons as can be seen in Genesis 12:6: "Abram passed through (ויעבר) the land to the place at Shechem." However, עבר (ʿāvar) is not limited to conveying human movement. For example, it is used in Exodus 34:6 to describe the movement of the presence of the Lord: "The LORD passed (ויעבר) before him," and in Genesis 8:1 to describe the activity of the wind: "God made a wind blowיעבר, lit. "pass over") over the earth." The verb עבר (ʿāvar) may also be used with objects to describe the action of their use, as seen in Numbers 6:5: "All the days of their Nazirite vow no razor shall come uponעבר) the head." Additionally, עבר (ʿāvar) is used in the descriptions of one of the darker practices mentioned in the Hebrew Bible—the offering of child sacrifices by fire to Molech. Direct references to this practice are seen multiple times throughout the Hebrew Bible, and the ending of the practice is listed as one of Josiah's reforms in 2 Kings 23:20, "so that no one would make a son or a daughter pass through (להעביר) fire as an offering to Molech."