Truth, Understanding, Insight

O.T. Spirit

20th July 2009, mgh


2) Spirit as Mind and Emotion

The next group of verses from Genesis do not necessarily relate to the Creator, but to the 'mind' and emotions of people.

And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind (ruach) unto Isaac and to Rebekah. (Genesis: 26:34-35)

Rebekah and Isaac were troubled. 'Grief of mind' conveys emotion, perplexity and the thoughts that resulted in physical and mental distress. Our 'being' and 'mind' are the result of that complex physical reaction from the air we breathe and the laws that govern our physical nature.

The following verses, also from Genesis, are taken from the time when Joseph had been sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt.

And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit (ruach) was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh. (Genesis 41: 8)

Pharaoh was upset. He did not worship the Creator but he was a partaker, like all men and animals, of the unseen forces that govern all creation. Pharaoh had a spirit, even though he was not a righteous man.

And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit (ruach) of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God has shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou. (Genesis 41: 38-39)

Here a clear distinction is made. Pharaoh, having learnt from his butler that Joseph could rightly interpret dreams, sees a superior power in Joseph, which he attributes to Joseph's God. The same word 'ruach' was used in both cases to refer to Pharaoh and to Joseph, but there are clearly two distinct levels in the mental state of each. Joseph's mind was enlightened by knowledge and faith in his God, and Pharaoh attributed to him wisdom, which he saw in no other man.

Jacob in Genesis 45 here shows emotion as he has learnt that his son Joseph is alive and he sees the evidence in the entourage that Joseph sent to transport him to Egypt,

And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit (ruach) of Jacob their father revived: (Genesis 45: 27)

Again 'ruach' is used to reflect Jacob's mental and emotional state. It was a description of the natural reaction of relief and joy in knowing his son Joseph was still alive.