Word for the World devotionals from Dr. Randy White

Gamaliel, son of Padahzur

So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been designated by name.” (Numbers 1:17)

The tribe of Joseph’s second son, Manasseh, was under the leadership of the man named Gamaliel ben Pedahzur.  By now, you are becoming such a Hebrew expert that you recognize several things, such as the hyphenations of the names, Gamal-i-El, and Pedah-zur.  You likely recognize that Gamaliel is going to mean “My Gamal is God.”  So what is Gamal?  You might be surprised to learn that the word camel comes from this word!  But “My Camel is God” doesn’t sound like the best interpretation! Because a camel was an animal of the rich, however, the word also came to mean “reward.”  Thus, Gamaliel means My reward is God.  The old but still well-loved hymn, Be Thou My Vision, has the prayer, “naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.”  While it is antiquated English, it is the prayer gamaliel, “my reward is God.”  When the Jewish people arrive in their promised rest, the greatest aspect of the promise will be “I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

The wilderness representative and experience, however, is Pedahzur.  Along the journey, we have learned that Zur is “strength” or “rock” (as in Elizur of Reuben’s tribe and Zuar of Issachar’s).  Pedah is “redeemed” or “ransomed.” The Rock would redeem the wandering Israelites, and then God would be their reward!

In His Grace,

Dr. Randy White

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