Thursday, March 3, 2022

The Hebrew verb ברך (bārak) means "to bless." For example, when God looks upon the creatures of the air and sea created on the fifth day in Genesis 1:22, the text says: "God blessed (ויברך) them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply'." Unsurprisingly, ברך (bārak) has a related and similar-sounding noun, ברכה (berāḵáh, pronounced ber-ah-KHA), meaning "blessing." The two words famously appear together in the blessing of Abram seen in Genesis 12:2–3: "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you (ואברכך), and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing (ברכה). I will bless (ואברכה) those who bless you (מברכיך), and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (ונברכו)." In at least one special instance in Job 2:9, ברך (bārak) is used as a euphemism in place of its exact opposite—the word "curse"—in order to avoid having the words "curse" and "God" appear next to one another (in an effort to avoid any possible violation of the commandment against using the LORD's name in vain). In Job 2:9, Job's wife, exasperated by the disasters that have devastated their family, is frustrated at Job for continuing to remain faithful to a God who would allow such disaster to befall such a truly righteous man as her husband. At one point she exclaims, "Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse (ברך) God, and die." However, the word translated in most Bibles as "curse" in Job 2:9 is actually the word ברך (bārak), or "bless."