Bible Notes: Life

Originally appeared on

Hebrew: Psalm 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

This is such a beautiful piece of Hebrew poetry. First of all, it has the classic mix of the mundane and concrete fountain with the unexpected word life, where one most expects the word “water.” One cannot really imagine a fountain of life without spiritualizing how one usually envisions a fountain. So now we have a very apt description of an inexhaustibly vital God in two Hebrew words: meqor khayyim. The verse further delights by using a word for light, ’or, which rhymes with meqor, making the whole thought captivating to the ear. Psalm 36 is not long, and bears reading to see that it contrasts wrong thinking and acting with the constant mercy of the LORD, once again drawing on the divine attributes of Ex. 34:6. This verse, however, implies its author’s awareness of the fact that Yahweh sounded like a causative form of the verb hayah, to be. Moving along these lines to think of Yahweh as a Being who creates being, a fountain of life is an absolutely wonderful way to explain who He is and what He does. In Prov. 16:22, the same metaphor beautifully describes how wisdom sustains one who masters it.KJV translated meqor khayyim slightly differently in Prov. 16:22, “Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.

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