“Till the Ground”? or “Serve the Ground?” … a Hebrew Word Study

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on April 19th, 2014 by dhawkinsmo

Hemenway_Agriculture1I am fascinated with Permaculture, which means “permanent culture.” Why? Because our culture is NOT permanent presently. It is dying primarily because of our destructive agricultural practices and policies.  (Click pic at left for larger version) Search my blog with the keyword “Sahara” and you will get several articles on this topic. So my studies in permaculture have caused me to think long and hard about the Biblical statements about “subduing the earth” and “having dominion” and “tilling the ground” and so forth. You guys know these verses, right? But have you studied the Hebrew words? I had not until just recently.  But thanks to a Christian man I met at Permies.com, Dan Grubbs who has a blog called “It’s the Soil Stupid,” I now have some cool new insights into these verses.  Let me share with you. Dan says

“… the Hebrew word aw-bad that is translated as “till” or “cultivate” in reference to the land or soil is the word for “serve.”

Hmm … I didn’t know that.  Let’s check it out … Googling the term “till awbad strongs concordance hebrew” we get the following link … http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=H5647.  …

The KJV translates Strongs H5647 in the following manner: serve (227x), do (15x), till (9x), servant (5x), work (5x), worshippers (5x), service (4x), dress (2x), labour (2x), ear (2x), misc (14x).

Sure enough. 227 times ‘awbad’ is translated ‘serve’ and only 9 times as ’till.’ Looks like my friend Dan has done his homework.  So the big question for me is …

Why did the KJV translators choose the word ’till’ those 9 times? Instead of ‘serve’? Read more »