Benefit from the Bible’s ‘Play on Words’
The Bible contains plays on words, that is, in the original Hebrew similar-sounding words of different meaning are used to make a point. These are not easily recognized in translations but may be called attention to in footnotes or marginal references. Evidently such plays on words helped to impress the message deeply upon the minds of the hearers or readers. Our taking note of them can make the passages of Scripture where they appear more meaningful to us.
Take, for example, Jeremiah 1:11-13, where we read: “The word of Jehovah continued to occur to me, saying: ‘What are you seeing, Jeremiah?’ So I said: ‘An offshoot of an almond tree is what I am seeing.’ And Jehovah went on to say to me: ‘You have seen well, for I am keeping awake concerning my word in order to carry it out.’”
One may be inclined to ask, Just what relationship is there between an “almond tree” and “keeping awake”? In the original language a play on words is involved. The Hebrew name for the almond tree literally means “the waker.” This is an appropriate designation, since the almond is one of the first trees to bloom after the winter rest.
The foregoing is but one of many Biblical plays on words. So as not to miss them, check the footnotes or marginal references, if the Bible you are using has such. You may make some very interesting and helpful discoveries.