Hebrew Highlights 27 – Our Inner Room
Shalom, this is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
Let’s take a look at a very graphic and interesting verse today. PRO 18:8 “The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.”
As usual, I am reading from the New American Standard Bible. You will find that this, and almost any other verse in proverbs will be translated slightly differently in every version. The reasons are two-fold. First of all, Proverbs is a poetic book, and takes a very liberal literary license with the use of language. Secondly, some root words used in Proverbs, are not used anywhere else in the Bible. Translators always use cross-references to help in the understanding of specific words. When they do not exist, only context can be used as a guide. Context within a verse is possible, but context within a paragraph is not often relevant in the book of Proverbs, since it seems to change gears quickly, often from verse to verse. Since many verses present contrasting ideas, for instance, if the fool does so-and-so, then the wise man should do so-and-so, often only one of the thoughts is completely understood by studying the language, the other half is translated by a sort of educated contrapuntal guess.
Now, back to our verse. Here’s a more literal, but less poetic translation: “A strife-bearer’s words are like little pieces of pastry. They go down to the rooms of the belly.” This verse is repeated again word for word in PRO 26:22.
Another verse with a overlapping idea is PRO 20:30, “Stripes that wound scour away evil, And strokes reach the innermost parts.” Or, again, less poetically, “Stripes that wound spread salve on evil, and beatings, the rooms of the belly.”
The point I’m getting to today, is that we are affected by actions said or done to us, in a very inner place. More deep than our mind, our “rooms of the belly” may mean a place deep within our spirit man. Isn’t it true that we call discernment is literally a “gut feeling”! We may get physically ill at the thought or sight of something displeasing to God’s spirit, and therefore, if we are believers, to our spirit as well.
PRO 20:27 says “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the innermost parts of his being”. Again, “the rooms of the belly”. A New Testament cross reference is LUK 11:34, "The lamp of your body is your eye; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness.”
Should it be surprising that we have rooms inside? After all in 1CO 6:19 we read, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
This inner temple, or inner rooms are a place where only we and God enter. Not even our family, our pastor, or our best friend can go there, as we see in 1CO 2:11. “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.”
In short, we are not mind readers, and should not judge people on what we think they are thinking. We have no idea of either content, or intentions of others’ innermost places.
On the other hand, we can be sure, that if we speak or act wrongly, we can bring hurt to someone else’s belly. Gossip makes people sick. A put-down or negative remark can hide away in the basement of someone’s stomach, until the lamp of God’s word shines in there and heals the spot with the salve of truth.
As I said, Proverbs is a book of contrasts. If we see how our words and actions cause harm. Maybe we can find how to use them for good. Let’s see…Oh! There it is. PRO 16:24. “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”.
Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem.