Monday, June 8, 2009

Hebraic Concepts #6: Echad

The Hebrew word echad is often translated into English as "one"; however, it carries the idea of oneness through unity. The fuller meaning is oneness through the twisting and binding of many things together into one. The picture behind echad is of the many threads of a rope, some as thin as a hair and less than an inch and others thicker and longer. As all of the threads are collectively twisted and woven together, they form a single rope, which derives its strength through the action of the fibers being twisted against one another.

Here are a few references that sheds some light on how echad is used in Scripture:
[Genesis 2:24] Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one [echad] flesh.

[Judges 20:11] So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one [echad] man.

[Ephesians 4:4-6] There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all. [Every instance of "one" is echad]

One of my favorite examples of echad in Scripture is found in Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, understand and obey (shama) O Israel! Yahveh is your God, His majesties (Elohim)! Yahveh is echad!"

The many facets of Elohim--the infinite qualities which make up God's character are the threads that twist and bind together and are the foundation of His strength (His mercy, grace, love, peace, judgment, edicts, statutes, mandates, etc...)