UNDERSTANDING JEHOVAH SHALOM
A Word Study
By George Clouse
Many times we have heard the word “Shalom” used as a greeting, but I wonder if we really understand it and all the implications about it. I did a word study on it and would like to give you a hint or two.
In the King James Version of the Bible, In Judges, Chapter 6, verse 24, we read: “then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-Shalom; unto this day it is yet in Oph’rah of the Abiez’rites.”
This is the only time the word Shalom is given in the King James Version. If we look up the same Scripture in the New King James Version is says: “So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace.” To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.”
Next I went to the Davis Dictionary of The Bible to look up the word and found this definition: “An altar built by Gideon in Ophrah to commemorate the visit of Jehovah’s angel, who summoned him to deliver Israel, and when Gideon expected to die because he had seen the heavenly one, said to him: “Peace be unto thee; . . . thou shalt not die.”
Next I looked at Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words and checked the Hebrew Dictionary and found it listed as: Yehavah Shalowm, (Jehovah is peace), and then I checked each of these Hebrew words and came up with the following:
Yehovah, the self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God; Jehovah, the Lord; and then
Shalowm is a primitive root word, to be safe in mind, body and estate; fig. to be completed, by implication to be friendly; by extension to reciprocate in various applications, make amends, make an end, finish, full, give again, make good, repay again, to be at peace, that is perfect, perform, make prosper, recompense, render, requite, make restitution, restore, reward, surely.
It is the Jewish custom today to meet a like believer and say “Shalom” and then be answered in like manner. That greeting says: “Peace”.
The literal English meaning translated from the Hebrew to everyday English would be as Strong’s Complete Dictionary defines it, as Jehovah is Peace, or Almighty God is Peace, Peace. I have often questioned why it comes out Peace, Peace, the same word twice and then finally it dawned on me. God is all-knowing and he knew that we were right brain people and left brain people. Our scientists have come to that conclusion and God knew it all along and that’s why it was Peace-Peace, to both sides of the brain.
But what difference does that make, you may ask? According to the dictionary, the brain contains two distinct parts; the cerebellum and the medulla oblongata. Broken down into everyday English it would be called right-brain and left-brain. Let me give you an example and maybe it will clarify it to some degree. A right-brain person is one who has artistic abilities, is a very talented individual in a particular field, as an artist, musician, etc. Then a left-brain person is one who has uncanny reasoning ability or logical thinking.
Why are they that way? It is because originally, God put our destiny in each of us at birth just like he put the potential in a seed that is planted to produce a crop. That potential inside of us then shows up in our brain, which in turn makes us either a right-brain person or a left-brain person Are there people who are balanced in each brain? Yes, that is possible, but not always probable.
I feel this is what happens many times when people get married. Why do they choose their partners? Many times, simply on looks and charms of the opposite sex. Then, after the honeymoon, they discover they do not have very much in common. Maybe the man is logical and thinks logical and the wife is artistic and wants everything painted a certain way, even if there is not time to accomplish it. The man becomes frustrated and problems erupt in the marriage. The same is true if the man wants to practice dance steps all day and then go out for an evening of fun and dancing, while the woman is busily organizing things so more can be accomplished in the family. Trouble on the home front.
That is the exact reason that Mary Jo and I counsel couples before marriage, to make sure they are compatible with each other. This, in turn, helps to insure the marriage will not enter troubled waters due to right-brain versus left-brain turmoil.
I am confident that is why many people are divorced. They do not know how to solve the dilemma of conflict they are encountering. They seem to argue at every turn and can not understand why. The answer always lies in God. Seek Him and He will meet your every need. Realize your individual problem and let Him solve it for you.
We are told in Psalms 2: “I will declare the decree; the Lord has said to Me, You are My Son, today I have begotten you.” Just make this your confession, you declare all problems solved, and He will bring it to pass. Amen!