Over the years I’ve totally enjoyed digging into New Testament Greek, and doing word studies is one of my favorite devotional activities. But I’ve always shied away from Hebrew. It has seemed so much more difficult, shrouded in mystery, unfathomable. So I’ve limped along with dictionary definitions and transliterations…

In recent months I’ve been asking God to kindle in my heart a deeper love for His Word, and His answer to that prayer, in part, has been the discovery of “Hebrew word pictures.” The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (alef-bet) are each representative of a picture, which leads to a concept. And it is the combination of those pictures that brings the words of Scripture to life.

Today I want to explore the Hebrew word for peace, shalom. This is what it looks like in Hebrew — and it is read from right to left, not left to right as we are used to.

Using the word pictures, the meaning becomes “Destroy the authority that establishes chaos.

As I thought about that, I realized that in my life, a lack of peace is characterized by uncertainty, confusion, disorder… in a word: chaos. In John 14:27, Jesus says this:

Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled
and do not be afraid.

Jesus destroys the authority that establishes chaos in our lives and replaces it with the calm assurance of His sovereignty, His control, His authority, His lovingkindness.

Let’s look at a few other verses and I’ll leave it to you to lay this definition over them.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Psalm 122:6

For a child will be born to us,
a son will be given to us;
And the government
will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

“There is no peace for the wicked,”
says the LORD.
Isaiah 48:22

In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O LORD,

make me to dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
Word picture definition: “Hebrew Word Pictures” by Frank T. Seekins, 2012
Shalom graphic: Wikipedia



Shalom — 14 Comments

  1. What a powerful revelation! Thank you, Susan:):) I hope you’ll share more word pictures:):) Things Hebrew are very dear to my heart…
    :) Karen

    • Karen ~ thanks for stopping by! I’ve totally fallen in love with Hebrew, and am digging into it as much as I can. I’m glad it spoke to you, too.

  2. Love this!! I love word studies and never knew that about the Hebrew language but that makes sense since God created us to be such visual creatures, thinking in pictures etc. And shalom is one of my favorite words so thanks for expounding on it!

    • Hi Cheryl ~ I continue to be amazed at how God has woven His revelation in and through His Word. It takes it all one step closer to His heart, doesn’t it?

  3. WOW! I love that we benefit from the fruit of your labor as you unpack the meaning of the Beautiful Words of the Book of Books! Today…Specifically…Praying for the peace of Jerusalem takes on a whole new meaning for me now, Susan.You said:”Using the word pictures, the meaning becomes “Destroy the authority that establishes chaos.” May it be so, Dear Lord! Amen. So be it, according to Your Word!

  4. Susan~ I have really dug into studying these Hebrew Word Pictures the last couple weeks. I am speaking Saturday at a Women’s Conference (Faith works by Love) and I have incorporated Hebrew Word Pictures into my lesson. I got his book, and I can’t stop looking things up and deciphering….this is surely a deep well of revelation. Thanks for sharing!!! You have no idea how much this has opened up the Word for me! Thank you! Pam

    • Hi Pam ~ I am thrilled that you are also digging into the Hebrew! It is amazing, isn’t it! Wish I could attend your conference!! Please let me know how it goes, and I would love to know what words you incorporated.

  5. I loved reading this today (and really needed that encouragement)! Thank you! That definition is really powerful in our lives.


    • Hi Erica ~ I’m glad it was meaningful to me. I’m looking forward to digging into this deeper and sharing more. Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  6. Wow. I never knew the literal meaning of that word. You know how much I enjoy word studies. I did not know that about the Hebrew alphabet. I hope you are going to continue to explore this an share what you learn.

    • Hi Lorraine ~ thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! Yes, I plan to continue to write about what I’m discovering with the word pictures. It is fascinating to me, and satisfying like a rich feast. I’m glad you like it, too!

  7. Susan,
    This is so powerful! Wow! If we aren’t in peace we have given over the “authority” of our peace to the enemy who brings chaos. It is so important to be yielded to the right authority, the Prince of Peace!!!

    I have not heard of “Hebrew word pictures.” I have studied knowing there were several words representing a thought in one Hebrew word, but the revelation of word pictures kinda makes me giddy! Thanks for sharing! I am going to do some word picture research right now! You have made my week!

    • Hi Pam ~ I know! I love the word pictures. They give such a greater depth to the text. Hebrew scholars believe that it was the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet with which God Creation into existence. And that’s a thought that rich with theological implications, too, isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by!

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