TRUTH AND TRULY
I came across an interesting word study today, while preparing for this Fall’s class topic in Bible History: Joshua.
I think this is one of the most misunderstood books in the Bible. The book of Joshua sets forth a pretty straightforward narrative, full of drama and excitement and lessons for us, but enemies of the Faith have taken portions of the events, without context and without meaning, and flung them up into the face of God, arrogantly presuming that they have discovered a “dirty, dark secret” in the Bible.
Well, it’s this Joshua:
After 400 years of servitude and slavery in a foreign land and after 40 years of traveling through the harsh desert, someone had to lead the Israelites home, into their Promise Land, and the man, Joshua, was chosen for the task.
This is the Joshua that we sing about: “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho – Jericho – Jericho-o-o-o-o . . . Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, and the WALLS came tumbling down!”
Now, truth and wisdom and knowledge come to us by means of language, and these Israelites spoke an ancient form of Hebrew, one close to the Hebrew spoken today. Hebrew developed from a “proto-Hebrew” which scholars are still trying to understand more thoroughly.
Some speculate that this was the earliest language spoken in this part of the world. Some speculate that this proto-Hebrew and its later written form resemble three-dimensional forms of communication “from the Hand of God.”
Both the written and spoken Hebrew contains mysteries and layers of meanings waiting to be discovered and to be understood (when the student is ready).
Whatever really happened to this language, we can be sure that God-Most-High, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob revealed Himself to humans, spoke to certain ones, and passed down His will and wisdom through certain people and events.
Joshua, speaking early Hebrew, said to an inhabitant of Jericho: “We will deal kindly and truly with thee. . . “ (Joshua 2:14) The story is interesting, but the word “truly” as well as “true” and “truth” is even more important for us to ponder.
Joshua had sent a message on ahead to the woman Rachab who promises to help them conquer the city and so the Israelite army will repay Rachab with kindness and truth.
The Hebrew word for truth, ‘emet’ (אמת), contains a deep lesson.
From Rabbi Benjamin Blech’s “The Secrets of Hebrew Words” — The word is comprised of three letters (אמת) and “requires for its essence the first letter א/Alef, the “One” standing for the Almighty. Remove the initial letter Alef and all that remains is מת(mayt), meaning death. Without God there can be no truth. In its place only death and destruction remain.”
God is the source of what is true.
He is the source of wisdom about what is true and real. Delete Him from the equation, any “equation,” and you descend into uncertainty, perplexity, confusion, and all the nasty things that follow: distrust, disunity, struggles for power and dominance, strife, wars, and death.
This isn’t just a lesson from “ancient days.” Delete Christianity from out of a civilization and you have a Power-State that is founded upon deception and domination over its own citizens. Lies prevail and the voters choose to be hoaxed by those they vote into office because they are desperate to believe in something.
But there is nothing one can count on, and the citizenry becomes cynical and discomfited.
Add back in The One, the א/Alef, and you move from “death” and are ready to approach Life.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Jesus said, as He was about to leave us, “Behold, in my Father’s house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you. If it were not so, I would have told you.” In other words, I speak the truth – I am leaving soon now in order to prepare a home for you, forever.
Count on it.