Paul, like all Jews, was fully aware that the basic and most important promise that YHVH made to Abraham was that I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring, all nations on earth will be blessed… (Gen 26:4)
The word translated as ‘blessed’ is the Hebrew word בָּרַךְ (bä·rak’), a root word which conveys the image of kneeling, or bending the knee. When one received a blessing, one kneeled.
Nehemia Gordon, a scholar of Biblical Hebrew, explains that this root word was also used when speaking about agriculturally grafting a plant, because one style of grafting creates a bend or a knee where the grafted branch meets the host plant.
The sages (respected Jewish teachers) have been aware of this connotation all along and have written on it. They (and Paul) understood that part of what YHVH was promising Abraham was that the nations would be ‘grafted in’ to Abraham’s descendants and become part of the people of YHVH. Paul was using OT terminology!
If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. Romans 11:17-18 NIV
© Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2014. Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Source: Nehemia Gordon, public speaking appearance at Shalom Peniel (meets at The Light of Christ International Outreach Center), Smithville, North Carolina – 7 Nov 2014.