What Yehovah speaks will do – Part 3
(Davar and Amar)
We have been looking at how we can determine what Yehovah commands us and be able to do what he commands. So far we have looked at Tsavah as the verb root for command and the nouns that are derived from this verb.
Davar (dalet-bet-resh) reference number 1696 verb.
Davar (dalet-bet-resh) reference number 1697 masculine noun.
Div’rah (dalet-bet-resh-hey) reference number 1700 feminine noun.
Dab’brot (dalet-bet-resh-tav) reference number 1703 feminine noun plural.
At Mount Sinai the people of Yisrael heard the spoken words of Yehovah as he gave them the 10 commandments as we have been told in many English translations. Yet the word here is not Tsavah nor Mitz’vah but Davar.
1 Elohim spoke all these words, saying
Vay’daber Elohim et kal hadebarim ha’eleh le’mor
And he said Elohim all the words/sayings these to speak
1 וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים אֵת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה לֵאמֹר׃ ס
Here we see that Yehovah spoke the words/saying in their hearing.
Ex. 20:16 They said to Mosheh: You speak (daber) with us, and we will hearken, but let not God speak with us, lest we die!
What we are looking at is the Piel imperative form of the verb Davar. If we want to see the verb used as a command we should look at the imperative form. For Davar it is the Piel Imperative form.
An imperative is the use of the verb in a way that indicated not just a spoken word or saying but the intoning of a command.
33 But when food was set before him, he said, “I will not eat until I have told my tale (diber’tiy davaray דִּבַּרְתִּי דְּבָרָי).” He said, “Speak (daber), then.”
The first part is a absolute infinitive which can also be intoned as a command/direction. In this case the servant is telling them he must completely speak. The response in the Piel imperative which is also directing him to speak.
11 “Go and tell (bo daberבֹּא דַבֵּר) Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites depart from his land.”
Yehovah is telling them to come and speak. He is directing
them to speak to Pharaoh.
29 and Yehovah said to Mosheh, “I am Yehovah; speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I will tell (dover דֹּבֵר) you,”
Yehovah is directing Mosheh to speak to Pharaoh what he speak to him. Daber is directive and dover is what he speaks.
2 Tell (daberדַּבֶּר) the people to borrow, each man from his neighbor and each woman from hers, objects of silver and gold.”
Here Mosheh is told to direct the people with what he speaks.
3 Speak (dab’ru דַּבְּרוּ) to the whole community of Israel and say that on the tenth of this month each of them shall take a lamb to a family, a lamb to a household.
They Speak to them is what being said since it was coming from Mosheh and Aharon.
2 Tell (daberדַּבֵּר) the Israelites to turn back and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea.
Yehovah is speaking to Mosheh to direct the children of Yisrael.
2 Tell (daberדַּבֵּר) the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him.
Yehovah is speaking to Mosheh to direct the children of Yisrael.
12 And Yehovah said to Mosheh: 13 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people and say: Nevertheless, you must keep My sabbaths, for this is a sign between Me and you throughout the ages, that you may know that I Yehovah have consecrated you.
Here we se that Yehovah says something which he tells Mosheh to direct the children of Yisrael.
1 Yehovah called to Mosheh and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying: 2 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people, and say to them:
When any of you presents an offering of cattle to Yehovah, he shall choose his offering from the herd or from the flock.
We know that Tzavah (Tzivah specifically) is not mentioned until chapter 7 and so this is the first intoning of a direction of command using daber or speak. Here Mosheh is being directed to say something.
1 Yehovah spoke (vay’daberוַיְדַבֵּר) to Mosheh, saying: 2 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people thus:
When a person unwittingly incurs guilt in regard to any of Yehovah’s commandments (mitz’vot) about things not to be done, and does one of them
Here we see that first Yehovah speaks in a normal tone of the use of daber. It should be translated “and he spoke Yehovah”. Then Yehovah uses Daber to direct Mosheh to speak in a directive tone.
Vayiqra/Leviticus 6:25 (18)
17 Yehovah spoke (vay’daberוַיְדַבֵּר) to Mosheh, saying: 18 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to Aharon and his sons thus: This is the ritual of the sin offering: the sin offering shall be slaughtered before Yehovah, at the spot where the burnt offering is slaughtered: it is most holy.
This is very similar to many times when Yehovah speaks to Moshe or anyone. First, it writes down that he spoke and then shows him speaking in a directive tone. This time the direction is to Aharon and his sons.
Vayiqra/Leviticus 7:23, 29
22 And Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 23 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people thus: You shall eat no fat of ox or sheep or goat.
Same formula here as before. The direction is to the Israelite people.
28 And Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 29 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people thus: The offering to Yehovah from a sacrifice of well-being must be presented by him who offers his sacrifice of well-being to Yehovah:
Again the same formula and direction being used for daber.
11:1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh and Aharon, saying to them: 2 Speak (dab’ru דַּבְּרוּ) to the Israelite people thus: These are the creatures that you may eat from among all the land animals”
They were to speak to the children of Yisrael.
12:1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 2 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people thus: When a woman at childbirth bears a male, she shall be unclean seven days; she shall be unclean as at the time of her menstrual infirmity.
15:1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh and Aharon, saying: 2 Speak (dab’ru דַּבְּרוּ) to the Israelite people and say to them: When any man has a discharge issuing from his member, he is unclean.
2 Yehovah said to Mosheh:
Tell (daberדַּבֵּר) your brother Aharon that he is not to come at will into the Shrine behind the curtain, in front of the cover that is upon the ark, lest he die; for I appear in the cloud over the cover.
1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying:
2 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to Aharon and his sons and to all the Israelite people and say to them:
This is what Yehovah has commanded:
1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 2 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people and say to them:
I amYehovah Eloheychem.
1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 2 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the whole Israelite community and say to them:
You shall be holy, for holy I am Yehovah Eloheychem.
16 Yehovah spoke further to Mosheh: 17 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to Aharon and say: No man of your offspring throughout the ages who has a defect shall be qualified to offer the food of Elohayv.
Vayiqra/Leviticus 22:2, 18
1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 2 Instruct (daberדַּבֵּר) Aharon and his sons to be scrupulous about the sacred donations that the Israelite people consecrate to Me, lest they profane My holy name, I am Yehovah.
17 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 18 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to Aharon and his sons, and to all the Israelite people, and say to them:
When any man of the house of Israel or of the strangers in Israel presents a burnt offering as his offering for any of the votive or any of the freewill offerings that they offer to Yehovah,
12 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people and say to them:
If any man’s wife has gone astray and broken faith with him
Bamidbar/Numbers 6:2, 23
6:1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 2 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelites and say to them: If anyone, man or woman, explicitly utters a nazirite’s vow, to set himself apart for Yehovah,
22 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh: 23 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to Aharon and his sons: Thus shall you bless the people of Israel. Say to them:
1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 2 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to Aharon and say to him, “When you mount the lamps, let the seven lamps give light at the front of the lampstand.”
9 And Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 10 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people, saying: When any of you or of your posterity who are defiled by a corpse or are on a long journey would offer a passover sacrifice to Yehovah,
Bamidbar/Numbers 15:2, 38
15:1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 2 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you to settle in,
37 Yehovah said to Mosheh as follows: 38 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner.
23 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying, 24 “Speak to the community and say: Withdraw from about the abodes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”
16 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 17 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people and take from them—from the chieftains of their ancestral houses—one staff for each chieftain of an ancestral house: twelve staffs in all. Inscribe each man’s name on his staff,
1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh and Aharon, saying: 2 This is the ritual law that Yehovah has commanded (Tzivah):
Instruct (daberדַּבֵּר) the Israelite people to bring you a red cow without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which no yoke has been laid.
50 In the steppes of Moab, at the Jordan near Jericho, Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 51 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people and say to them: When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan,
9 Yehovah spoke further to Mosheh: 10 Speak (daberדַּבֵּר) to the Israelite people and say to them: When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan,
This wraps up the references to all the davar words which have an intoning of a command or direction.
Now in Devarim 5 we have the 10 words/sayings stated again. But this time Moshe is repeating what was earlier commanded. Sometimes we have to look at the context to see where something is directed or commanded. Though the words spoken here are not in a tone of a direction with the exception verse 24 which the children of Yisrael seem to be directing Mosheh.
Devarim 5:4-5, 19, 21, 24-25, 28
4 Face to face Yehovah spoke (diberדִּבֶּר) to you on the mountain out of the fire—5 I stood between Yehovah and you at that time to convey Yehovah‘s words (dever דְּבַר) to you, for you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain—saying:
19 Yehovah spoke those words (hadevarim ha’eleh diber הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה דִּבֶּר)—those and no more—to your whole congregation at the mountain, with a mighty voice out of the fire and the dense clouds. He inscribed them on two tablets of stone, which He gave to me.
21 and said, “Yehovah Eloheynu has just shown us His majestic Presence, and we have heard His voice out of the fire; we have seen this day that man may live though Elohim has spoken (yedaber יְדַבֵּר) to him.
24 You go-near and hear all that YHWH our God says; and you speak (tedaber תְּדַבֵּר) to us all that YHWH Elohaynu speaks (yedaber יְדַבֵּר) to you, we will hearken and we will do (it). (schocken bible)
25 And Yehovah hearkened to the voice of your words (div’reykhem) when you spoke (badaber’khem) to me, Yehovah said to me: I have heard the voice of this people's words (dib’rey) that they have spoken (dib’ru) to you; it is well, all that they have spoken (diberu)! (schocken bible)
28 But you remain here with Me, and I will give (va’adab’rah “and I speak”) [to] you the whole Instruction—the laws and the rules—that you shall impart to them, for them to observe in the land that I am giving them to possess.”
The other word that is used in saying or said is Amar. As a verb it can also be used in the imperative. So we will also look at cases where even this word in Hebrew can be used to indicate a command.
Amar (aleph-mem-resh) reference number 559 verb (Kal imperative).
13 Please say (im’riyאִמְרִי) that you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may remain alive thanks to you.”
Here im’riy as a verb in the Kal imperative is directing. It is not as strong as a command but is directive. Here Avram is directing Sarai.
13 So when God made me wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘Let this be the kindness that you shall do me: whatever place we come to, say (im’riyאִמְרִי) there of me: He is my brother.’”
Here again Abram is repeating what he directed Sarai to do.
17 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do as follows: load up your beasts and go at once to the land of Canaan.
6 Say (emor אֱמֹר), therefore, to the Israelite people: I am Yehovah. I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements.
Here Yehovah is directing Mosheh to say (emor) the following to the children of Yisrael.
19 And Yehovah said to Mosheh, “Say (emor אֱמֹר) to Aharon: Take your rod and hold out your arm over the waters of Egypt—its rivers, its canals, its ponds, all its bodies of water—that they may turn to blood; there shall be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and stone.”
Here Yehovah tells Mosheh to direct Aharon.
Shemot/Exodus 8:5(1), 16(12)
1 And Yehovah said to Mosheh, “Say (emor אֱמֹר) to Aharon: Hold out your arm with the rod over the rivers, the canals, and the ponds, and bring up the frogs on the land of Egypt.”
12 Then Yehovah said to Mosheh, “Say (emor אֱמֹר) to Aharon: Hold out your rod and strike the dust of the earth, and it shall turn to lice throughout the land of Egypt.”
And here Yehovah tell Mosheh to direct Aharon.
Mosheh said to Aharon, “Say (emor אֱמֹר) to the whole Israelite community: Advance
toward Yehovah, for He has heard your grumbling.”
Here Mosheh tells Aharon to direct the children of Yisrael.
said to Mosheh, “Say (emor אֱמֹר) to the Israelite people, ‘You are a
stiffnecked people. If I were to go in your midst for one moment, I would destroy
you. Now, then, leave off your finery, and I will consider what to do to
Yehovah tells Moshe to say (emor) direct the children of Yisrael.
Yehovah said to Mosheh: Speak (emor אֱמֹר) to the priests, the sons of Aharon, and say (ve’amar’ta וְאָמַרְתָּ) to them: None shall defile himself for
any [dead] person among his kin,
Emor or direct is what Yehovah is telling Moshe. Direct them through saying this.
2 Instruct (daber) Aharon and his sons to be scrupulous about the sacred donations that the Israelite people consecrate to Me, lest they profane My holy name, Mine Yehovah’s. 3 Say (emor אֱמֹר) to them:
Throughout the ages, if any man among your offspring, while in a state of uncleanness, partakes of any sacred donation that the Israelite people may consecrate to Yehovah, that person shall be cut off from before Me: I am Yehovah.
Here we see both the directive daber and the directive emor.
27 “How much longer shall that wicked community keep muttering against Me? Very well, I have heeded the incessant muttering of the Israelites against Me. 28 Say (emor אֱמֹר) to them: ‘As I live,’ says Yehovah, ‘I will do to you just as you have urged (dibar’tem) Me.
Here because of their rebellion Yehovah says he will cause them to die as ask that they would die in the wilderness instead of going up into the land. He directs Mosheh to say (direct) them he will cause their deaths.
Bamidbar/Numbers 16:37 (17:2)
17:1 Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying: 2 Order (emor אֱמֹר) Eleazar son of Aharon the priest to remove the fire pans—for they have become sacred—from among the charred remains; and scatter the coals abroad.
Here we see Emor again used to direct someone and in this case Eleazer.
11 “Phinehas, son of Eleazar son of Aharon the priest, has turned back My wrath from the Israelites by displaying among them his passion for Me, so that I did not wipe out the Israelite people in My passion. 12 Say (emor אֱמֹר), therefore, ‘I grant him My pact of friendship. 13 It shall be for him and his descendants after him a pact of priesthood for all time, because he took impassioned action for his God, thus making expiation for the Israelites.’”
Here it is used again as a directive.
Yehovah said to me, “Warn them (emor אֱמֹר): Do not go up and do not fight, since I
am not in your midst; else you will be routed by your enemies.”
The warning here is really like Say like other places before. But in the directive tone.
27 Go, say (emor אֱמֹר) to them, ‘Return to your tents.’
Here we see again to say something in a directive tone.
What we have see today is that sometimes Hebrew words can be directive or commanding without being directly related to the word Tzavah. So in looking at the Hebrew one should look at the form of the verb in which it is a imperative thus the toning of the action is one of directing the action. Though davar and amar are both speak and say the nouns derived from them often have the meaning of spoken things or said things and so they are translated as word or words. In most cases a spoken thing is simply that or a said thing is simply that there is no direction in something simply said or spoken. In the context of the text and the person doing the speaking does the verb become directive.