Learning Biblical Hebrew
6/28/12 at 09:32 PM 0 Comments

What do you want and need?

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One of my best friends told me last week that he would prefer to live on an island without technology, without sweetened drinks and junk food, cause he had too much of it in his life. The question and the thoughts about what we need in order to survive in this kind of life on planet Earth bothered and it him.

When I think about needs and requests I remember the dream of Solomon in the city of Gibeon, in this passage from 1 kings we can understand the difference between what we need and what other people need, as written:

"וַיֵּלֶךְ הַמֶּלֶךְ גִּבְעֹנָה לִזְבֹּחַ שָׁם, כִּי-הִיא הַבָּמָה הַגְּדוֹלָה; אֶלֶף עֹלוֹת יַעֲלֶה שְׁלֹמֹה, עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ הַהוּא. בְּגִבְעוֹן, נִרְאָה יְהוָה אֶל-שְׁלֹמֹה--בַּחֲלוֹם הַלָּיְלָה; וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, שְׁאַל מָה אֶתֶּן-לָךְ. וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁלֹמֹה, אַתָּה עָשִׂיתָ עִם-עַבְדְּךָ דָוִד אָבִי חֶסֶד גָּדוֹל, כַּאֲשֶׁר הָלַךְ לְפָנֶיךָ בֶּאֱמֶת וּבִצְדָקָה וּבְיִשְׁרַת לֵבָב, עִמָּךְ; וַתִּשְׁמָר-לוֹ, אֶת-הַחֶסֶד הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה, וַתִּתֶּן-לוֹ בֵן יֹשֵׁב עַל-כִּסְאוֹ, כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה. וְעַתָּה, יְהוָה אֱלֹהָי, אַתָּה הִמְלַכְתָּ אֶת-עַבְדְּךָ, תַּחַת דָּוִד אָבִי; וְאָנֹכִי נַעַר קָטֹן, לֹא אֵדַע צֵאת וָבֹא. וְעַבְדְּךָ--בְּתוֹךְ עַמְּךָ, אֲשֶׁר בָּחָרְתָּ: עַם-רָב, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יִמָּנֶה וְלֹא יִסָּפֵר מֵרֹב. וְנָתַתָּ לְעַבְדְּךָ לֵב שֹׁמֵעַ, לִשְׁפֹּט אֶת-עַמְּךָ, לְהָבִין, בֵּין-טוֹב לְרָע: כִּי מִי יוּכַל לִשְׁפֹּט, אֶת-עַמְּךָ הַכָּבֵד הַזֶּה. וַיִּיטַב הַדָּבָר, בְּעֵינֵי אֲדֹנָי: כִּי שָׁאַל שְׁלֹמֹה, אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה. וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֵלָיו, יַעַן אֲשֶׁר שָׁאַלְתָּ אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וְלֹא-שָׁאַלְתָּ לְּךָ יָמִים רַבִּים וְלֹא-שָׁאַלְתָּ לְּךָ עֹשֶׁר, וְלֹא שָׁאַלְתָּ, נֶפֶשׁ אֹיְבֶיךָ; וְשָׁאַלְתָּ לְּךָ הָבִין, לִשְׁמֹעַ מִשְׁפָּט. הִנֵּה עָשִׂיתִי, כִּדְבָרֶיךָ; הִנֵּה נָתַתִּי לְךָ, לֵב חָכָם וְנָבוֹן, אֲשֶׁר כָּמוֹךָ לֹא-הָיָה לְפָנֶיךָ, וְאַחֲרֶיךָ לֹא-יָקוּם כָּמוֹךָ. וְגַם אֲשֶׁר לֹא-שָׁאַלְתָּ נָתַתִּי לָךְ, גַּם-עֹשֶׁר גַּם-כָּבוֹד: אֲשֶׁר לֹא-הָיָה כָמוֹךָ אִישׁ בַּמְּלָכִים, כָּל-יָמֶיךָ. וְאִם תֵּלֵךְ בִּדְרָכַי, לִשְׁמֹר חֻקַּי וּמִצְו‍ֹתַי, כַּאֲשֶׁר הָלַךְ, דָּוִיד אָבִיךָ--וְהַאֲרַכְתִּי, אֶת-יָמֶיךָ"

"The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you. Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor —so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” (1 Kings 3:4-14)

In the high place of Gibeon one thousand sacrifices burnt- this is too much. We don’t need so much meat in our lives. This is an exaggeration that was written to show us the other side, the balance, the side that asked from G-d only the legitimate things. This is what we need, only the specific thing that would help us to survive- in that case the wisdom to judge. In other cases, we should ask health, happiness and more not just for us, but also for the rest of the people in this world!


הַבָּמָה-habbāmāh-The high place

לִשְׁפֹּט-lišpōt-To judge


עֹשֶׁר-'ōšer- wealth


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