Friday, August 1, 2008

The Meaning of Drash (דרש)

You may have noticed the post labeled דרש Drash - Diligently Seeking Truth.  The Hebraic thought within this beautiful word will have a tremendous impact on your own personal study of Holy Writ, as it has mine.  

Shall we?

Drash (Strongs #1875) - to frequent a place; to make a well-worn path (as unto the LORD); to seek, inquire, diligently search out; to worship
Here is the history of Yitz'chak, Avraham's son. Avraham fathered Yitz'chak. Yitz'chak was forty years old when he took Rivkah, the daughter of B'tu'el the Arami from Paddan-Aram and sister of Lavan the Arami, to be his wife. Yitz'chak prayed to ADONAI on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. ADONAI heeded his prayer, and Rivkah became pregnant. The children fought with each other inside her so much that she said, "If it's going to be like this, why go on living?" 
So she went to inquire of ADONAI...
~ Genesis 25:19-22 (CJB)

In the above passage we can see that Rivkah (Rebekah) made a well-worn path to the LORD.  She did not simply come before Him nonchalantly.  The distress of the fighting sons within her womb drove her to diligently seek ADONAI.  Can you see the imagery of her insistent and persistent coming before the LORD that she might understand His divine plans for her family?

This word drash is also used in Jeremiah 29:13:

When you seek me, you will find me, provided you seek for me wholeheartedly;
Jeremiah 29:13 (CJB)
The first 'seek' in the passage is a different Hebrew word 'baqash' meaning of course, to seek.  However, the second 'seek' in the passage is 'drash' and implies a more intense searching out.  You can see how this type of seeking is purposefully differentiated from the former because this is done wholeheartedly in complete abandonment, diligently making a well-worn path to the LORD for comfort, counsel and understanding!

Healing, Hope-Filled, Holy Love and Its transforming Power is found in Drash because ADONAI is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  He is faithful to His children and rewards the wholehearted study of His Life-Giving Word.  I have heard it said that 'everybody has as much of God as they want'.  Perhaps most of us settle for far too little too much of the time.  
And without trusting, it is impossible to be well pleasing to God, because whoever approaches Him must trust that He does exist and that He becomes a Rewarder to those who seek Him out.
Hebrews 11:6 (CJB)

Furthermore, Hebraic understanding is steeped in imagery and functionality of a person (as in their Hebrew given name possessing great meaning), place, or thing for the purpose of teaching and acknowledging the deeper truths of Scripture.  Thus, even as a Hebrew studies Torah (The Instruction of YHWH - not simply 'law'), he is aware of the difference between a p'shat and a drash study of the Scriptures.  In addition, there are also two other widely-known types of Hebraic study that we will not explore at this time.

A p'shat is the 'plain, simple meaning' of the text that is found on the surface.   The p'shat is the keystone of Scriptural understanding.  Without the p'shat one can easily fall into eisogesis (reading your own meaning into the text) in their studies, rather than proper exegesis (deriving meaning from the text itself).  Discarding the p'shat has led to much erroneous teaching and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures causing a division of the people It intended to unify.

A d'rash or drash (derash) is the 'deeper teaching or exposition' of the p'shat.  Many of us never 'dig' for this in our studies of God's Liberating Word.  Thus, we fail to gain the great riches He has for those who diligently seek Him through the study of His Word (Hebrews 11:6).  

And what does our
Faithful Father and Rewarder reward us with?  Life, Liberty, Freedom from captivity!  

For we are all held captive until the LORD sets us really and unquestionably free in His Presence (John 8:31-37).

15 Yes, till today, whenever Moshe is read, a veil lies over their heart. 16 "But," says the Torah, "whenever someone turns to ADONAI, the veil is taken away." 17 Now, "ADONAI" in this text means the Spirit. And where the Spirit of ADONAI is, there is freedom. ~ 2 Corinthians 15-17
How can two walk together unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3)  ADONAI, become our Rewarder as we tread out a well-worn path after You.

Won't you come with me?

Faithful Father, I thank You that You see fit to make known to us the hidden manna of Your Word that sustains our very lives!  You also have a well-spring of Living Water to quench the thirst of our parched souls.  Abba YHWH, I pray that each person reading these words today begins making well-worn paths to Your Throne in the study of Your Truth, rather than quick pit stops.  We need more of Your Liberating Power and Love in our lives for the sake of Your Great Name.  Amen


Gail W. said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, Carmen. My women's discipleship group has been working on the difference between learning about God and pursuing intimacy with Him. Your word study on drash will help all of us!

JMBMOMMY said...

May we not settle for little today!

Darryl Schafer said...

If you're interested in Jewish interpretation, check out the targums (Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew OT), the Mishnah & Talmud (both are, generally speaking, the oral tradition), midrash (ex: qal wahomer & gezera shewah), pesher (prevalent in the rabbinic lit.), allegory (more Greek than Jewish, but see Philo), typology, and intertextuality (echoes of an earlier text embedded in a later one)...

Good grief you're brother-in-law's a nerd.

Yes, eisegesis is the bane of interpretation, but I think that all of us are guilty of it to some degree. Our culture, economic backgrounds, race, gender, etc. all play a part in how we interpret the text, whether we're aware of it or not. In other words, there's really no such thing as an unbiased read of the tex. Yes, exegesis must win the day on the hermeneutical battlefield, but recognizing our biases does well to put us on our way to the goal of DOING the text and not just interpreting it.

Giant nerd signing off.

Carmen said...

Yes, Darryl, you are most definitely a Giant nerd! But, what you say is precise. And THAT is precisely WHY we must study our Hebraic roots to avoid as much of our own uneducated biases that come with our 'western minds' (we can't help it...til we begin to REALLY dig).

After all, the entirety of Scripture was written by the Hebrew people who possessed the foundational cultural understanding wholly foreign to most students of Scripture. Therefore, it behooves us to closely examine our Hebraic roots that we may understand Scripture in the way it was intended to be known and studied.

...the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. (Romans 3:2)

...I just love a good discussion!

Kate said...

Hi Carmen - Just wanted to stop in and say hi. I like your blog concept. For quite some time now I have been planning to dig more into the Hebrew of the Old Testament. In college I had a minor in New Testament Greek, but I have always neglected the Hebrew, despite the fact that I absolutely love the Old Testament and find myself in the OT way more than the NT. Weird huh??

Susan said...

Hey Carmen,

This was an awesome study on the word drash.

Isn't the word so wonderful. We can study, and study only to discover more and more of the many hidden treasures in there.

He trusts you with His heart, you are a dilengent seeker.

Blessings to you my friend♥

lori said...

I am constantly amazed at how MUCH I leave here with...I learn something each time...
YOU are a blessing!
Drash...It's a word I'm taking with me this week...

hugs to you....
Thank you for igniting the fire in me to "study" these roots!!

you are simply amazing!!

But as for me, Heaven forbid that I should boast about anything except the execution-stake of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah! Through Him, as far as I am concerned, the world has been put to death on the stake; and through Him, as far as the world is concerned, I have been put to death on the stake.  For neither being circumcised nor being uncircumcised matters; what matters is being a NEW CREATION. And as many as order their lives by this rule, shalom upon them and mercy, and upon the Isra'el of God! 

~ Galatians 6:14-16

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