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Hebrew School with Rabbi Jack

by Rabbi Jack Zimmerman
September 19, 2017
Rabbi Jack Zimmerman


Shalom everyone! Welcome to another opportunity to examine a word from Scripture and discover its deeper Hebrew meaning.

Since the focus of this issue is on supporting Israel (particularly as she continuously defends herself from neighboring enemy nations), it’s only fitting we look at Ezekiel 39:25 to begin this study.

In Ezekiel 39:25, we read:

Therefore the Lord God says, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob…”

At least, that’s what one Bible translation says. Another translation says this:

“I will restore Jacob from exile…” So, which is it? Is Jacob (Israel) returning home or “making bank”? Actually, in a greater sense, none of the above, because it’s a bit more involved than that. To understand the deeper meaning, let’s take a closer look at the Hebrew word used for “restore.” The root word looks like this (remember, this is Hebrew, so we read from right to left):

This word is pronounced “shoov.” While it speaks of Israel’s restoration, its primary meaning refers to turning away from sinful behavior and turning toward God. As we do, our relationship with the Lord is restored!

So you see, the term, “restore the fortunes of Jacob” is actually an idiomatic expression. While it can and does refer to one receiving, say, monetary restoration (as in Job 42:10), and while it also can and does refer to the Israelites returning from exile and thus being restored to their land (as in Deuteronomy 30:3), in its greatest sense, it refers to a people and a nation being restored in right relationship to a Holy God.

So then, how does “shoov” relate to our theme? Simply, while the Bible mentions on numerous occasions that God will restore Israel and her people from her enemies, we can take comfort in knowing that an even greater restoration awaits! It is no wonder then that surely no weapon formed against her shall prosper: God always has the final word.

We can take comfort in knowing that an even greater restoration awaits!

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