Barry Newman's Blog

March 4, 2010

“The Heart” in the Old Testament (part IV)

Filed under: The Heart — barrynewman @ 8:56 am

Turning now to the “heart of the matter”, how are lev, levav, their cognates and their combinations with other words used when applied to humans, ignoring those references that deal with the clearly physical?  Almost 800 examples are available.

The Heart of Humans

Categorisation is always difficult.  Understanding the text is not always simple and even when it is, placing a reference in one category rather than another can be problematic.  Category boundaries themselves can be artificial.  Sometimes, though the procedure is kept to a minimum, a single reference is placed in more than one category.  While the categories sometimes entail idiomatic usages, the placement within a category is determined by a more literal reading of the text.  Recognising these limitations, Table 1 is intended to give a rough guide to the usage of lev and levav in the Old Testament, where they are applied to humans, apart from those references relating to some physical aspect of the body.  Where necessary the category and sub-category headings are elaborated upon in the text that follows.

Category Sub-category Number of occurrences Percentages[1]
 The emotional H                               143  18
  fearful 44  
  happy 53  
  sorrowful 39  
  hateful 4  
  angry 3  
 The internally active H                                    178                                             22
  desiring 28  
  planning 28  
  speaking internally 39  
  deciding 30  
  remembering/forgetting 17  
  reflecting 19  
  concentrating 13  
  acting as conscience 4  
 Knowing the H  


  the H can be searched/tried 15  
  opening or not opening the H 7  
  God knows what is in the H 7  
  the H knowing within itself 1  
 The H able to contain or receive  


  matters being in or on the H 9  
  to take to H 6  
  not to take to H 3  
 The unrighteous H  


  hardened/stubborn/stony 44  
  proud/lifted up 27  
  evil 12  
  perverse 5  
  sinful/wicked 18  
  deceitful/false/divided/double 9  
  destroys/is destroyed 3  
  needing correction 8  
  other 6  
 The H not set towards God  


 The righteous H  


  upright 12  
  humble/humbled 5  
  clean/cleansed 4  
  H of integrity 4  
  other 11  
The H set towards God  


  seeking/loving with all the H 24  
  seeking God with a perfect H 12  
  set to seek God/towards God 11  
  single-minded in seeking God 6  
  other 8  
 The wise/understanding/ knowing H  


  the wise H 32  
  the H that is not wise 20  
  the H that understands 7  
  the H that doesn’t understand 8  
  the H that knows 6  
  the H that searches for wisdom 6  
  other 4  
The turning H  


  the H that turns away from God 7  
  the H that God turns 6  
  the H that turns to God 11  
  the H that does not turn to God 4  
  other 5  
 The H that can be influenced  


  the H that can be touched/spoken to 11  
  the H that can be persuaded 5  
  the responsive/tender/fleshy H 5  
  the H that can be deceived 5  
  the H that can be tempted 3  
  The H written upon 2  
 The H of noble character  


  courageous 8  
  free from anxiety 4  
  a settled H 5  
  a H that trusts 2  
 The unsettled H  


 The H that issues in speech  


 The H that is the mind or the inner being  


  the H of a man 3  
  another or new H 3  
  other 8  
 The person   3  –
  A H that may fail or live 3  

                                                                                                                          Table 1

[1] The percentages are calculated on a total of 805 usages although there are only 791 distinct references involved.  This is because in a few instances a reference falls into two or more categories.


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