There are certain words used in literature that we don’t appreciate, fully. We hear them and because they’re not common, vernacularly speaking, we understand them in our own terms.
Since I’m sort of a word study nerd, I strive to appreciate words for what they are, especially when used in the Bible. Sure the KJV is poetic and written in the common language of 1611 England, but when certain words show up again and again, regardless of translation, I think it is beneficial to come to terms with why the words that were used, were selected.
The word behold is one of these words.
You read behold and you probably think you understand it. You can give me a definition, but I would hazard to guess that the majority of people would give a weak definition. There’s nothing wrong with that, generally speaking, we are trained to understand words in context and unless we study it, we are making an educated assumption of words meanings by context.
Behold means to most people to see or to look at; to perceive. Miriam-Webster goes a little deeper by defining it as “to gaze.” Google says “to observe a person or thing, especially a remarkable or impressive one.”
I think these are leading us in a more correct direction than to simply see. Behold is not just to see with your sense of sight, but to experience what it stirs as it captures your attention and causes you to focus on it. To amp it up, it is to begin to grasp, understand, and work through the truth of something for the complexity it entails. It’s the difference between informational knowledge and firsthand wisdom.
I can tell you about the sunset over the Pacific Ocean and you can have a mental image. But when you go to the West Coast, sit on the beach, experience the sites, sounds, smells, and radiant beauty, you are beholding it for yourself. It is extra-ordinary!
Have you dug into any similar words? Leave a comment!
(more on behold coming later this week)