(Rabbit Trail: Strong’s Concordance was first published in 1890 as the combined work of over one hundred of Dr. Strong’s colleagues. In it they reviewed nearly 9,000 Aramaic-Hebrew words and over 5,000 Greek words used in the Old and New Testament based upon the King James translation. As the years progressed his system gained wider acceptance and numerous other tools were developed using his numbering system. I started with a King James Strong’s Concordance which I think weighed about a million pounds, and several years later I was able to get the New American Standard Concordance and Dictionary using his numbers. Now there are several readily available concordances on line for free or at a minimal cost.)
As I looked at the two words in their original language spelling it was readily apparent to me that they ended with a different Hebrew letter. The word we looked at yesterday, “raphah” (Strong’s #7503) sure enough ended with an ‘h’ (He) and the word for today, “rapha” (Strong’s #7495) ended with a silent letter (Aleph) which when translated into another language is not carried over. So, the long answer to Robin’s short question is that they are different words, but likely not totally unrelated as I compared their meanings.
Raphah had to do with weakness, with letting go either because of an inability to continue or a recognition of inherent feebleness or even going limp. Rapha, on the other hand, means to heal, to become refreshed or repaired. While I am not a Hebrew scholar, and rely greatly on readily available tools and solid commentary, my logical mind lets me look at these things and say, “Hmmm” as I connect the dots. When I am weakened by circumstances of life or by physical issues I need healing or restoration, and for that I am to call upon the Lord who is my ever-present God and my healer.
“And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD [YHWH or Jehovah, the I AM] your God [Elohim, the God of creation in Genesis], and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD [Jehovah], am your healer (rapha).”” (Exodus 15:26, NASB95)
Here we have our God (the I AM) who pre-existed all creation, spoken of as our Creator (as we know from Genesis) and Healer. The context of this passage was speaking of a promise to the Hebrew people that if they would do what is right in God’s sight and listen and obey (give ear and not just lip service) to His commandments that He would not afflict them as He had the Egyptians, but would be their Healer.
While Jehovah and Rapha are not commonly found together in Scripture, only Exodus 15:26 that I know of, it is clearly a teaching of Scripture that our God heals. One example is found in Proverbs 3:8. Following Proverbs 3:5-6, which is all about trusting in the Lord with all of our hearts and acknowledging Him in all of our ways as He sets the path of our feet, we have verses 7 and 8.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil [Strong #7451 (ra)]. It will be healing [Strong #7500 from 7495 (rapha)] to your body and refreshment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:5–8, NASB95)
Verse 8 clearly speaks of healing that comes from following after God. While God may not choose to heal us from cancer or to lift the immediate pressures of life that come upon us, He has promised to strengthen us for that which He does not heal and to give us peace to be still when everything around us is in turmoil. What He expects of us is to call upon Him trusting Him to prove through us what is good and acceptable and perfect.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, NASB95)
“No temptation [test, trial, or anything else] has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted [pushed, pulled or prodded] beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB95)
Scripture also tells us that we are to pray for one another and even at times to take those important things to the elders of the church who also are to pray for you.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7, NASB95)
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,” (Ephesians 6:18, NASB95)
“Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:13–16, NASB95)
God cares about our health.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll come back and take a look at James 5.