Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Breadth and Depth of the Fear of YHWH

The parallel descriptions in Ps. 33:18—“those who fear him,” and “those who hope in his steadfast love”—show something of the breadth and depth and width of the meaning of the fear of YHWH. It is not just trembling before YHWH, or trembling at his Word. It is that. There’s really no doubt about it. But the fear of YHWH is a more expansive concept as well, as many have noted.

In Ps. 33:18, hope is at the heart of the fear of YHWH, as the parallel expressions make clear. Other texts could be adduced to support other aspects of the fear of YHWH, such as trust and delight. Yet, while noting that the texture of this term is indeed important for rightly understanding the fear of YHWH, noting this richness ought never to come at the expense of the trembling element—which undoubtedly belongs to the essence of the fear of YHWH. As many passages amply attest.

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