Spirit in the Tanakh – part 1: In the BeginningNovember 16, 2017
(Ruach HaKodesh, Session 4a)
This session of the Ruach HaKodesh series begins our survey of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. In this episode, we will look at the meaning and usage of the term “ruach” in the Tanakh. We will also examine the role of the Spirit in creation, as well as the prophetic overtones of the great outpouring in Numbers 11.
The following is a condensed version of the audio teaching, including all the references and sources cited. You can also subscribe to this podcast here.
In these next several sessions we will be looking at the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. This session will focus on the Tanakh (Old Testament). After that we will look at the Spirit’s work in the life of Yeshua, primarily from the Gospels, and then we will look at the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts and beyond.
An initial question we need to ask is: Why study the Tanakh to learn about the Holy Spirit? There are some who contend that the work of the Spirit in the Old Testament was completely different, and that it is the New Testament alone that should inform our understanding of the Spirit’s work in the lives of believers today. As we go through this study I hope to demonstrate why I disagree with that position. But for now, I believe this is one area where a Messianic approach can offer a unique contribution to this topic. We believe that all of God’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation, applies to us today. In that view, the Tanakh has great value for us in understanding this topic.
Meaning of “Spirit”
The primary Hebrew word for “spirit” is ruach. The corresponding Greek term is pneuma. Both terms can mean wind, breath, or spirit. The essential idea behind ruach is “moving air”. It’s primary concept is breath or wind. From this concrete conception arose the abstract idea of life-force or inner being. It is used of the breath or spirit within people, as well as God’s breath or Spirit.
The most noticeable difference between sentient beings and dead things, between the living and the dead, is in the breath. Whatever lives breathes; whatever is dead does not breathe. . . . In most languages breath and spirit are designated by the same term. The life-giving breath cannot be of earthly origin, for nothing is found whence it may be taken. It is derived from the supernatural world, from God.Joseph Jacobs and Ludwig Blau, “Holy Spirit” in Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), VI:447.
Recall that God breathed into Adam the “breath of life” (nishmat chaiyim). That’s what made Adam a “living being” (nefesh chayah). There is a sense in which every person has God’s breath in them, because our breath comes from God and belongs to Him.
“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4)
But there is also a sense in which God’s Ruach is special, and reserved for specially-chosen individuals. This special Spirit of God came to be called “Holy Spirit” (Ruach Hakodesh), or Spirit of God (Ruach Elohim), or Spirit of the LORD (Ruach YHVH) to distinguish it from the general God-given life-breath within all living creatures.
Ruach Hakodesh literally means “The Spirit of Holiness” or “Spirit of the Holy.” This can convey several nuances:
- Using kodesh (noun) as an adjective; hence “Holy Spirit”, the Spirit that is set apart from all other spirits.This is referred to as an “attributive genitive”; see Ronald J. Williams, Williams Hebrew Syntax, Third Edition (Toronto: U of T, 2007), §41, ...continue
- HaKodesh as a name of God (the Holy One); thus “Spirit of the Holy One”, a simple way of referring to God’s Spirit using a circumlocution for God’s name.Kodesh is never actually used as a name of God in the Tanakh, although Kadosh (as in the phrase K’dosh Yisrael, “Holy One of ...continue
- Kodesh as a reference to the Sanctuary; i.e. “Spirit of the Holy Place”, seeing God’s Spirit in analogy with the indwelling presence of God in the Tabernacle/Temple.The word kodesh is used to refer to the Sanctuary over 100 times in the Tanakh. The Hebrew word does not distinguish between “holiness”, “Holy ...continue
- Kodesh (holiness) as the result of the Spirit’s work; hence, “the sanctifying Spirit”, the Spirit that engenders holiness by sanctifying individuals on whom He rests.The sanctifying work of the Spirit is elaborated on by the apostles, as we will discuss in a later session.
The Greek, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον (to pneuma to hagion) uses an adjective (“holy”) to qualify the noun (“spirit”). Thus the Greek translates literally as “the Holy Spirit.”
The term “Holy Spirit” is actually only found three times in the Tanakh;Isaiah 63:10, 11; Psalm 51:11 (v. 13 in Heb); each time with a suffix. Spirit of God/YHVH is far more common. As we saw in session 3, “Ruach Hakodesh” became much more common in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Apostolic Scriptures, and rabbinic literature. In rabbinic literature it is used as a circumlocution, to avoid saying God’s Name. It is interesting that the apostles followed the convention of the other Judaisms around them, preferring “Holy Spirit” to “Spirit of the Lord.”
The term “Holy Spirit” is a combination of two opposing concepts: wind/breath/spirit is something beyond human grasp or control, whereas “holy” is applied to concrete items such as the temple and its vessels.
The juxtaposition of ruah and qodes is oxymoronic in that a concept of dynamic power beyond human control, ruah, has been combined with a word of static character, qodes.Horn, “Holy Spirit” in ABD, 3:260, referencing Westermann 1981:224.
An inanimate object cannot house breath. You can’t store wind in a box. Ruach is moving, dynamic. Ruach is usually not used of God’s presence in the Temple, but of His presence in people. This is a key concept: the Holy Spirit is more than just God’s presence; it is God’s presence in people.
Usage in Scripture
Ruach is used in a variety of ways. It can mean:
- One’s spirit or life-force (distinguishing one as being alive)One’s physical breath (Job 19:17) that keeps one alive (Job 15:30; Psalm 104:29; 135:17; Ecc 8:8; 12:7; Isa 57:16; Eze 37:5-6; cf. Gen 2:7). It ...continue
- The mind or inner being (similar to “heart”), having emotions, thoughts, etc.It is the seat of one’s thoughts and emotions (Ps 32:2; Pr 16:2; Eze 20:32), used in parallel with leiv, heart (Ex 35:21; Ps 78:8). Of course ...continue
- Inspiration, disposition, desire, impulse, or angerUsed of one’s morale or disposition (Gen 26:35; 41:8; Ex 6:9; 1Ki 21:5; Job 7:11; 17:1; Pr 18:14; Isa 61:3; Dan 2:1) and of specific desires or ...continue
- Any “spirit” or entity apart from a body (perhaps sometimes a personification of an impulse or disposition)This can be an angel (Psalm 104:4) or a undefined spirit-being (Job 4:15). It can also be an “evil spirit” in the sense of an evil ...continue
- Wind, breeze (poetic either of God’s power or of impermanence)As “wind” or “breeze” (e.g. Gen 3:8; Num 11:31; 1Ki 19:11; Job 1:19; Ps 1:4; Isa 32:2; Jer 10:13), and as a cardinal ...continue
- God’s Spirit, His active Force, His Breath
Another term that is a near synonym of ruach in Hebrew is נְשָׁמָה (neshamah). This is usually translated as “breath,” but sometimes used to mean “wind” or “spirit” (life-force). It only occurs 24 times in the Tanakh. A Greek term related to pneuma is πνοη (pnoe), which means wind or breath. It is found only twice in the Apostolic Scriptures, but is often used in the LXX to translate neshamah. There are other terms used for the inner being in humans, or for other supernatural entities, but for our purposes we want to focus on God’s Spirit.
Of the 389 occurrences of the term ruach in the Tanakh, roughly 100 of those refer to the Spirit of God. Of those 100 occurrences, about 60 refer to the Spirit at work in the Tanakh, and about 40 refer to a future work of the Spirit. “Holy Spirit” is only used three times.
In the Apostolic Scriptures, pneuma is used 379 times total; 261 of those refer to the Spirit of God. “Holy Spirit” is used 94 times. Considering the Apostolic Scriptures are roughly a quarter the size of the Tanakh, they talk about the Spirit a lot more.
God’s Spirit in the Tanakh
The following is a breakdown of the roughly 60 instances of the Spirit working in the Tanakh. The Spirit’s work results in:
- Wisdom and revelation
- Joseph (Gen 41:38)
- Joshua (Deut 34:9)
- Israel in the wilderness (Neh 9:20)
- Daniel (Dan 4:8, 9, 18; 5:11, 12, 14; 6:3)
- Wisdom-seekers (Pr 1:23)
- Moses (Num 11:17, 25)
- Joshua (Num 27:18; Deut 34:9)
- 70 elders (Num 11:17)
- Saul (1Sa 11:6)
- David (1Sa 16:13)
- Judge, military leadership/strength
- Othniel (Judg 3:10)
- Gideon (Judg 6:34)
- Jephthah (Judg 11:29)
- Samson (Judg 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14)
- Wise people from among the sons of Israel (Ex 28:3)
- Bezalel (Ex 31:3; 35:31)
- Performing miracles
- Elijah and Elishah (2Ki 2:9, 15)
- Lifting or carrying someone
- Elijah (1Ki 18:12; 2Ki 2:16)
- Ezekiel (Eze 2:2; 3:12, 14, 24; 8:3; 11:1, 24; 37:1; 43:5)
- 70 elders (Num 11:25, 26, 29)
- Balaam (Num 24:2)
- Saul (1Sa 10:6, 10; 19:20, 23)
- David (2Sa 23:2; cf. 1Chr 28:12)
- Amasai (1Chr 12:18)
- Azariah (2Chr 15:1)
- Jahaziel (2Chr 20:14)
- Zechariah son of Jehoiada (2Chr 24:20)
- Isaiah (Isa 48:16; 59:21)
- Ezekiel (Eze 11:5)
- Micah (Mic 3:8)
- Prophets in general (Neh 9:30; Zech 7:12)
In those 60 instances, we see the Spirit at work in four main categories of individuals:
- Leaders (kings)
- Craftsmen (for the Tabernacle)
Other actions or roles of God’s Spirit in the Tanakh include:
- Equated with His presence (Ps 51:11; 139:7)
- Source of guidance (Ps 143:10; Isa 30:1)
- Represents His will and counsel (Isa 40:13)
- An agent in creation (Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4; Ps 33:6; 104:30)
- An agent of judgement (Ex 15:8, 10; Job 4:9; Isa 4:4; 11:4; 11:15; 28:6; 30:28; 40:7; 59:19; Hos 13:15).
James Dunn notes three stages in the development of the understanding of the Spirit in the Tanakh:
- Period of the Judges: In these earliest Hebrew writings, “spirit” is used to denote (a) the wind of God as a miraculous, redemptive force in nature; (b) the breath of life, the God-given life force in every creature, and (c) the spirit of ecstasy, the divine power that overtakes an individual enabling him or her to speak and act in supernatural ways, marking that person as an agent of God’s purpose.
- Period of the Monarchy: Here leadership and prophecy become more institutional and less charismatic/ecstatic. Under the hereditary monarchy, proof of God’s choice of leadership no longer rests on an ecstatic experience. There is more caution regarding claimed experiences of the Spirit, and a greater sense of need to discriminate between true and false inspiration.
- Exilic and Post-Exilic Periods: In the latest writings of the Tanakh, the role of the Spirit is narrowed to two major functions: (a) the prophetic Spirit, the means of the prophets’ inspiration; and (b) the eschatological Spirit, the hoped-for power of God that would characterize the age to come and renew creation. The focus on these two functions led to the conception of the Spirit as a thing of the past (prophecy) and a thing of the future (end-time outpouring), but absent in the present. This focus on the Spirit as the Spirit of prophecy became steadily stronger, and eventually became central in rabbinic Judaism.James D. G. Dunn, “Holy Spirit” in Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 1, W. A. Elwell, ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 986-91. As ...continue
In the remainder of this session we will look in more detail at passages in the Tanakh pertaining to God’s Spirit. This will be divided into two sections: passages describing the Spirit’s work in the time of the Tanakh, and passages predicting the Spirit’s work in the future.
Passages on the Spirit’s Past Work
Creation (Genesis 1-2)
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:1-2)
This describes the Spirit’s participation in creation. The Hebrew word for “hovering” (m’rachefet) is only found in one other place in the Bible in this stem, and it happens to be found close to another rare word from Genesis 1:2, tohu (“without form”):
“He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste (tohu) of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters (y’racheif) over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone guided him, no foreign god was with him.” (Deuteronomy 32:10-12)
In other words, there is an allusion here in the song of Moses to the creation. Israel’s redemption is like a new creation. In both passages, God comes upon something that is tohu (in a state of chaos) and nurtures and cares for it, like a mother eagle hovering over its young. So the Spirit of God in Gen 1:2 is bringing order to the chaotic waters, and nurturing this nascent world that God is creating.
What does this tell us about the Holy Spirit? I think two things:
- It gives us a glimpse into the nurturing role of God’s Spirit. He is the Paraclete, or “Comforter,” as Yeshua calls Him. He is the one who assures us of our status as sons and daughters of the King.
- It also tells us that God’s Spirit is the antithesis of chaos. He brings order, not disorder. That will be an important concept for us to keep in mind when talking about the gifts of the Spirit.
We read about the Spirit’s participation in creation elsewhere. For example:
“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath (ruach) of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6)
There is a sense in which God’s breath represents His spoken word that was used to create the world. God didn’t create the world using His hands, as it were. The Bible says He spoke the world into existence. This underlines the correlation between God’s Spirit and God’s Word. The two go hand in hand.
A third way we see the Spirit involved in creation is in giving breath to creatures, especially in breathing life into man. We already talked about how every living being owes its breath to God. In a sense, each of us have a piece of God’s breath in us. This is vividly portrayed in the creation of man:
“Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (nishmat chayim), and the man became a living creature (nefesh chayah).” (Genesis 2:7)This verse uses the word neshamah instead of ruach, but it is God’s breath nonetheless.
Breath is a non-corporeal substance, and comes only from God:
“Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath (neshamah) to the people on it and spirit (ruach) to those who walk in it…” (Isaiah 42:5)See also Num 16:22; 27:16; Job 12:10; 33:4; 34:14; Isa 57:16.
Every living being owes its breath to God. This becomes a theme in the Psalms:
“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!” (Psalm 150:6)
Praise is the appropriate response to this gift of breath that God has given us. Our every breath belongs to Him, and He can take it from us just as easily as He gave it to us. We need to strive to make every breath that we take in line with His purposes. Don’t waste this gift of breath!
“As long as my breath (neshamah) is in me, and the spirit (ruach) of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit.” (Job 27:3-4)
“If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit (ruach) and his breath (neshamah), all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.” (Job 34:14-15)
“When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath (ruach), they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit (ruach), they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.” (Psalms 104:29-30)
“The dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit (ruach) returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
The Great Outpouring (Numbers 11)
In this passage, we read about one of the greatest outpourings of the Spirit recorded in the Tanakh. 70 people received the Holy Spirit at once. When Moses complains to God that the people are too great a burden for Him, God responds:
“Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.” (Numbers 11:16-17)
The passage later continues:
So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it.
Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp. (Numbers 11:24-30)
A question: What does it mean when God says “the Spirit that is on you”? What spirit is that? Is it the Holy Spirit? The answer is yes, but it is a particular anointing of the Holy Spirit related to the role of the one on whom He rests. Here we have an instance of accession of leadership. Other examples include:
- Moses to Joshua (Num 27:18-20; Deut 34:9)
- Elijah to Elishah (2Ki 2:9, 15)
- Yeshua to the disciples
In all these cases, the Spirit that rested on the master is the Spirit that is passed on to the protégé. They each receive a portion of their master’s role and authority. The 70 elders are invested with a portion of Moses’ authority. The anointing and role that Moses had was meted out among them.
We are not to understand this as implying, that the fulness of the Spirit possessed by Moses was diminished in consequence. . . . For the Spirit of God is not something material, which is diminished by being divided, but resembles a flame of fire, which does not decrease in intensity, but increases rather by extension.C. F. Keil and Delitzsch F., Commentary on the Old Testament (Accordance electronic ed. 10 vols.; Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996), n.p.
What does it mean when it says that they “prophesied”? What were they doing? Were they predicting the future? Were they speaking words of encouragement or exhortation to each other? Were they fainting and going into trances? Were they dancing around and singing? Were they raving incoherently? Were they “speaking in tongues”? While this passage doesn’t describe the phenomenon in detail, there are a few things we know for certain:
- This prophecy was immediately recognizable as such. No one questioned what they were doing, or the legitimacy of their experience.
- This experience immediately branded them as possessors of God’s Spirit, and as God’s chosen leaders.
- This experience did not last. It was an initial sign that served as proof of God’s choice, and that was sufficient. They did not need to continue having that experience to maintain the legitimacy of their calling or spirituality. The fact that they ceased prophesying does not mean that the Spirit left them.
- Prophecy is a common mark of the Spirit’s presence. We see this supported in other passages.Cf. 1 Sam. 10:6-13; 19:20-24; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:4; 1 Cor. 12:10.
Why was Joshua upset about Eldad and Medad? A major reason is the threat this posed to Moses’ authority. If it got out of hand, it could lead to an insurrection like what happened with Korah. Joshua seems also to have had a sense of jealousy regarding Moses’ unique role as prophet.
Moses’ response to Joshua takes on the significance of an end-time prophecy. Moses utters the wish that one day all God’s people would experience the Holy Spirit. This is a promise of the end-time outpouring upon Israel, and we will see this developed by the later prophets.
Note the contrast between what Moses sees in the future and his present reality. Not every Israelite in Moses’ day has the Spirit, at least not in the way that Moses and the elders receive it. The Spirit doesn’t fall upon everyone in the Tanakh in this manner. Now I believe the Spirit was still at work in people’s hearts. The Bible is clear that the Spirit was working in the nation as a whole to some extent.God gave His “good Spirit to instruct them” in the wilderness (Neh 9:20), and “put His Holy Spirit in their midst” (Isa 63:11); cf. also Hag ...continue But the Spirit was not manifesting Himself in His fullness to everyone.
However, there is an expectation here that this event was somehow a portent for something much bigger in the future. As we will see, this whole event is a foreshadowing of Acts 2. When we read Acts 2 we should be reminded of this passage.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Joseph Jacobs and Ludwig Blau, “Holy Spirit” in Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), VI:447.|
|2.||↑||This is referred to as an “attributive genitive”; see Ronald J. Williams, Williams Hebrew Syntax, Third Edition (Toronto: U of T, 2007), §41, pp. 14-15; Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar §128p, §135n. This frequently occurs with kodesh (being used in place of kadosh or k’doshah), as in “har kod’sho (His holy mountain),” Psalm 3:5 [v. 4 in English]; 48:2 [v. 1 in English]; 99:9. A true adjective form for “Holy Spirit” would be Ruach Kedoshah, which is never used.|
|3.||↑||Kodesh is never actually used as a name of God in the Tanakh, although Kadosh (as in the phrase K’dosh Yisrael, “Holy One of Israel”) is common. But “Ruach Hakodesh” would certainly associate the Spirit with God and serve as a circumlocution. The nature of the phrase as a circumlocution in Judaism is clearly demonstrated in rabbinic literature.|
|4.||↑||The word kodesh is used to refer to the Sanctuary over 100 times in the Tanakh. The Hebrew word does not distinguish between “holiness”, “Holy Place”, or “holy items”, and clearly has strong Tabernacle/Temple overtones.|
|5.||↑||The sanctifying work of the Spirit is elaborated on by the apostles, as we will discuss in a later session.|
|6.||↑||Isaiah 63:10, 11; Psalm 51:11 (v. 13 in Heb); each time with a suffix.|
|7.||↑||Horn, “Holy Spirit” in ABD, 3:260, referencing Westermann 1981:224.|
|8.||↑||One’s physical breath (Job 19:17) that keeps one alive (Job 15:30; Psalm 104:29; 135:17; Ecc 8:8; 12:7; Isa 57:16; Eze 37:5-6; cf. Gen 2:7). It is only rarely used of the life-force in animals (Gen 7:15; Ecc 3:19-21; cf. Gen 6:17; 7:22). The idea of being left “breathless” is used both in a negative (Josh 2:11; 5:1; Jud 15:19; Job 9:18; Isa 19:3) and a positive context (1Ki 10:5; 2Chr 9:4). This of course is beginning to stretch into the next category.|
|9.||↑||It is the seat of one’s thoughts and emotions (Ps 32:2; Pr 16:2; Eze 20:32), used in parallel with leiv, heart (Ex 35:21; Ps 78:8). Of course this is closely related to the next category.|
|10.||↑||Used of one’s morale or disposition (Gen 26:35; 41:8; Ex 6:9; 1Ki 21:5; Job 7:11; 17:1; Pr 18:14; Isa 61:3; Dan 2:1) and of specific desires or impulses, even divinely imposed (2Ki 19:7; Isa 37:7). Scripture also speaks of God “stirring up the spirit of” someone to cause them to act in accordance with His will (1Chr 5:26; 2Chr 21:16; 36:22; Ezra 1:1, 5; Jer 51:1, 11; Hag 1:14), or where one’s spirit is “revived” (Gen 45:27; 1Sa 30:12; Isa 57:15); here the distinction between the human spirit and God’s Spirit is sometimes blurred. Ruach is also used to refer to anger, and “slow of spirit” means “patient” (Jud 8:3; Pr 14:29; 16:32; 25:28; 29:11; Ecc 7:8-9; 10:4; Isa 25:4). It is used of specific inclinations, such as “spirit of jealousy” (Num 5:14, 30), a “spirit of confusion” (Isa 19:14), a spirit of slumber (Isa 29:10), a spirit of harlotry (Hos 4:12; 5:4), or a spirit of uncleanness (Zech 13:2). Perhaps sometimes these inclinations are personified as spiritual entities; see next category.|
|11.||↑||This can be an angel (Psalm 104:4) or a undefined spirit-being (Job 4:15). It can also be an “evil spirit” in the sense of an evil disposition (Judges 9:23). The “evil spirit” that God sent to afflict King Saul is said to have “frightened/afflicted” him (1Sa 16:14-15), been “upon” him (16:16, 23; 19:9), “left” him (16:23), and “came (prevailed) over” him, causing him to “prophesy” or rave incoherently (18:10). We also read of God sending a false (lying) spirit to mislead false prophets (1Ki 22:21-23; 2Chr 18:20-22).|
|12.||↑||As “wind” or “breeze” (e.g. Gen 3:8; Num 11:31; 1Ki 19:11; Job 1:19; Ps 1:4; Isa 32:2; Jer 10:13), and as a cardinal direction (e.g. Ex 10:13, 19; 1Ch 9:24; Pr 25:23; Jer 49:36; Eze 12:14; 37:9; Da 7:2; Zech 2:6). Wind is the “breath of the Almighty”, and can be symbolic of God’s miraculous power on behalf of His people (Gen 8:1; Ex 10:13; 14:21; Ps 18:15). Conversely, it can be symbolic of transient impermanence or vapour (Job 6:26; 7:7; 8:2; 15:2; 16:3; Ps 78:39; Pr 11:29; Ecc 5:16; Isa 26:18; 41:29; Jer 5:13; Hos 8:7; 12:1). The phrase “chasing after the wind” falls into the latter (Ecc 1:14, 17; 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4, 4; 6:9).|
|13.||↑||James D. G. Dunn, “Holy Spirit” in Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 1, W. A. Elwell, ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 986-91. As reproduced in David Horton, ed., The Portable Seminary (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2006), pp. 147-151.|
|14.||↑||This verse uses the word neshamah instead of ruach, but it is God’s breath nonetheless.|
|15.||↑||See also Num 16:22; 27:16; Job 12:10; 33:4; 34:14; Isa 57:16.|
|16.||↑||C. F. Keil and Delitzsch F., Commentary on the Old Testament (Accordance electronic ed. 10 vols.; Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996), n.p.|
|17.||↑||Cf. 1 Sam. 10:6-13; 19:20-24; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:4; 1 Cor. 12:10.|
|18.||↑||God gave His “good Spirit to instruct them” in the wilderness (Neh 9:20), and “put His Holy Spirit in their midst” (Isa 63:11); cf. also Hag 2:5.|