Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Hebrew verb ראה (rāʾāh) means "to see." In its most basic sense, ראה (rāʾāh) conveys the physical activity of seeing as seen in Genesis 48:11: "Israel said to Joseph, 'I did not expect to see (ראה) your face; and here God has let me see (הראה) your children also'." However, as in English, the phrase "seeing" can be used more broadly to convey different forms of internal perception. Translations of ראה (rāʾāh) often assume a reader's ability to understand and draw upon these implied distinctions to differentiate between uses of ראה (rāʾāh) within a passage. For example, Exodus 3:4 states: "When the LORD saw (וירא, lit.: "perceived" ) that he had turned aside to seeראות, lit.: "view"), God called to him out of the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am'." The experience of seeing is connected with the idea of understanding in the Hebrew Bible, and passages will often parallel the two concepts for emphasis, as occurs in Isaiah 6:9: "Go and say to this people: 'Keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep looking (ראו), but do not understand'."

The verb ראה (rāʾāh) has a related noun form, ראה (roʾeh), that means "seer." According to 1 Samuel 9:9, ראה (roʾeh) was an older title for prophets in ancient Israel; the text states: "Formerly in Israel, anyone who went to inquire of God would say, 'Come, let us go to the seerראה);' for the one who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seerראה)."