The word Baha', Kabod and cognates in the Hebrew Bible, Targums and Rabbinic Literatures.

 

 

The word Baha', Kabod and cognates in the Hebrew Bible, Targums and Rabbinic Literature.

Stephen Lambden UCMerced.
In progress 1980s-2017.
Under revision.

 The Arabic word bahā' is not directly or fully contained in pre-Bābī sacred scripture; not in the Hebrew Bible (tawrat), Greek [Aramaic] Gospel[s] (injīl) or Arabic Qur'ān. As noted, the noun bahā'  is composed of three or four letters -: [1] "B", [2] "H", [3] "A" and, counting the final letter hamza, [4] = `.  The numerical (abjad)  value of bahā'  is nine: 2+5+1+1 = 9; a "sacred number" symbolic of perfection as the highest numerical integer {6} and corresponding to the "First Man", Adam ( "A" = 1 + "D" = 4 + "M" = 40: total = 45 = 1 + 2+ 3+ 4+ 5+ 6+ 7+ 8+ 9). Similarly, the Bāb corresponds to the "First Woman", "Eve". {7} The twin Manifestations of God in this eschatological age are viewed as the "parents" of a new spiritual humanity.

Baha’ in the  Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as interpreted by Baha'is  

The Divine glory motif in ancient Israelite religion. 

 

The word bahā' seems to have no precise equivalent or cognate in Biblical Hebrew. Theologically, it is represented by the Hebrew word kabôd  = `radiant glory'. Translated into Biblical Hebrew, Bahā’-Allāh would be Kabôd YHWH.  Several verses in the book of Isaiah could be understood to predict the manifestation of Bahā’-Allāh and the radiance, the "glory" of the believing Bahā'ī: "And the glory of the Lord (kabôd YHWH)  shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5); "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord (kabôd YHWH)  has risen upon you ..the Lord (YHWH) will arise upon you, and his glory (kabôd)  will be seen upon you..Then shall you see and be radiant.." (Isaiah 60:1, 2b; 5a).  Similar prophecies are made  elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. In his Epistle to the Son of the Wolf  (p.146) Bahā’-Allāh cites a few verses from the book of the prophet Isaiah. They, in certain Arabic translations cited by Him, contain the word bahā'  -- with reference to his Manifestation. Isaiah 2:10 refers to "the glory of His majesty (Bahā’ `aimatihi)"  and 35:2b has it that people "shall see the glory of the Lord (majd al-rabb)  and the splendour of our God (Bahā’ ilāhinā).

 Many other Biblical texts contain references to the kabôd ("glory") or kabôd YHWH  ("Glory of the Lord"). Probably alluding to Bahā’-Allāh, Ezekiel described the "Glory of God" in the form of a man (Ezek 1:26; see also Ezekiel chapters 1, Ch 10 & 43:1ff cf. Daniel 7). [10] Israel Abrahams (1858-1924), Reader in Rabbinic and Talmudic Literature at Cambridge University, in the second of his three lectures on The Glory of God (entitled `Messianic' and delivered in the U.S.A. in the spring of 1924), among other interesting observations,  wrote, "The expectation that the divine Glory will be made splendidly manifest with the coming of the Kingship of God is not only a natural hope, it is also a solid foundation for optimism." (p.42). That kabôd  ("glory") is of paramount eschatological (`latter day') importance in the Hebrew Bible prompted Arthur M. Ramsey (1906-1988; Archbishop of Canterbury, 1961-74, and one time (regius) professor of Divinity at Cambridge and Durham) to write,       "...one day Israel will have the vision of the  kabôd  of her God, whether by His dwelling with man upon the stage of history or by the coming of a new heaven and a new earth bathed in the light of the divine radiance... No reader of the Old Testament would believe that there was a coming of the Kingdom and of the Messianic age which did not include a manifestation of the glory..." (Ramsey, The Glory..  18,37).

 he theophanic secrets of the Divine Glory (kabôd)  have been, and are, a matter of central importance in Jewish mysticism. So too the mysteries of the tetragrammaton (`four lettered word', which occurs some 6,823 times in the Hebrew Bible), = YHWH (trans. "Lord"; also loosely transliterated, "Yahweh", "Jehovah"). It is the personal name of the Biblical God of Moses. Bahā’-Allāh claimed to be a manifestation of the God, the Lord Who is YHWH (see Lambden, Sinaitic Mysteries  154f); the very radiance of His Presence, His divine "Glory". Qabbalistically speaking or in the light of Jewish mysticism, the first two letters of the divine name YHWH  (the "Y" and the "H") correspond to the first two letters of the word Bahā' ( the "B" and the "H"). Quite frequent in the Hebrew Bible is a short form of YHWH  composed of its first two consonants Y and H  read Yāh. The well-known exclamation Hallelujah  (Heb.  Hallelûyÿh) meaning `Praised be Yāh [God]' uses this abbreviated form of the Divine Designation. The two letter abbreviated form of Bahā' and this two letter form of the Hebrew name of God coincide. According to various mystics the first of their two letters ("Y and "B") were considered the "Primal Point" from which certain dimensions of existence sprang forth. [11]

The Kabod of God in the Hebrew Bible

The word bahā' seems to have no precise equivalent or cognate in Biblical Hebrew. Theologically, it is represented by the Hebrew word kabôd = `radiant glory'. Translated into Biblical Hebrew the title  بهاء الله   = Bahā’-Allāh would be   כְּבוד יְהוָה   = (Heb.) Kabôd YHWH. [`Adonai] Bahā'-Allāh himself and several early Bahā’ī apologists found intimations of this title in several verses in the book of Isaiah. They were thought to predict the manifestation of the person of Bahā’-Allāh as a theophanic incarnation of the radiance of the divine "glory" also thought to be evident in the believing Bahā'ī follower. There follows the Hebrew (MT), Arabic (Van Dyck) and English translations (AV = KJV) of Isaiah 40:5 then Isaiah 60:1,2b and 5:

ADD HEBREW 

فيعلن مجد الرب ويراه كل بشر جميعا لان فم الرب تكلم

 "And the glory of the Lord (Heb. kabôd YHWH = Ar. majd al-rabb = Bahā'-Allāh) shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it"    (Isaiah 40:5).

ADD TEXT

 "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord (kabôd YHWH)  has risen upon you ..the Lord (YHWH) will arise upon you, and his glory (kabôd)  will be seen upon you..Then shall you see and be radiant..." (Isaiah 60:1, 2b; 5a). 

 The word bahā' seems to have no equivalent or cognate in Biblical Hebrew. Theologically, it is represented by the Hebrew word kabôd  = `radiant glory'. Translated into Biblical Hebrew, Bahā’-Allāh would be Kabôd YHWH. Several verses in the book of Isaiah could be understood to predict the Ma’idihnifestation of Bahā’-Allāh and the radiance, the "glory" of the believing Bahā'ī: "And the glory of the Lord (kabôd YHWH) shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5); "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord (kabôd YHWH) has risen upon you ..the Lord (YHWH) will arise upon you, and his glory (kabôd) will be seen upon you..Then shall you see and be radiant.." (Isaiah 60:1, 2b; 5a).  Similar prophecies are made  elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. In his Epistle to the Son of the Wolf  (p.146) Bahā’-Allāh cites a few verses from the book of the prophet Isaiah. They, in certain Arabic translations cited by Him, contain the word bahā' -- with reference to his Ma’idihnifestation. Isaiah 2:10 refers to "the glory of His Majesty (bahā' `azimatihi)"  and 35:2b has it that people "shall see the glory of the Lord (Majdihi al-rabb)  and the splendour of our God (bahā' ilāhinā).

     The word bahá' seems to have no precise equivalent or cognate in Biblical Hebrew. Theologically, it is represented by the Hebrew word kabôd  = `radiant glory'. Translated into Biblical Hebrew, Bahá'u'lláh would be Kabôd YHWH.  Several verses in the book of Isaiah could be understood to predict the manifestation of Bahá'u'lláh and the radiance, the "glory" of the believing Bahá'í:

"And the glory of the Lord (kabôd YHWH)  shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5);

"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord (kabôd YHWH)  has risen upon you ..the Lord (YHWH) will arise upon you, and his glory (kabôd)  will be seen upon you..Then shall you see and be radiant.." (Isaiah 60:1, 2b; 5a). 

Similar prophecies are made  elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. In his Epistle to the Son of the Wolf  (p.146) Bahá'u'lláh cites a few verses from the book of the prophet Isaiah. They, in certain Arabic translations cited by Him, contain the word bahá'  -- with reference to his Manifestation. Isaiah 2:10 refers to

"the glory of His majesty (baha' `azimatihi)"  and 35:2b has it that people "shall see the glory of the Lord (majd al-rabb)  and the splendour of our God (baha' iláhiná).

 Similar predictions are made elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. Thus, in his Epistle to the Son of the Wolf  (146) Bahā’-Allāh cites a few verses from the book of the prophet Isaiah. They, in certain Arabic translations cited by Him, contain the word bahā'   which he interprets in terms of his divine theophany or Manifestation. For Bahā'-Allāh Isaiah 2:10 refers to "the glory of His majesty (bahā’ `aimatihi)"  and 35:2b has it that people "shall see the glory of the Lord (majd al-rabb)  and the splendour of our God (bahā’ ilāhinā).

  Many other Biblical texts contain references to the kabôd ("glory") or kabôd YHWH  ("Glory of the Lord"). Probably alluding to Bahā’-Allāh, Ezekiel described the "Glory of God" in the form of a man (Ezek 1:26; see also Ezekiel chapters 1, Ch 10 & 43:1ff cf. Daniel 7). [10] Israel Abrahams (1858-1924), Reader in Rabbinic and Talmudic Literature at Cambridge University, in the second of his three lectures on The Glory of God (entitled `Messianic' and delivered in the U.S.A. in the spring of 1924), among other interesting observations, wrote,

"The expectation that the divine Glory will be made splendidly manifest with the coming of the Kingship of God is not only a natural hope, it is also a solid foundation for optimism." (p.42).

  That kabôd  ("glory") is of paramount eschatological (`latter day') importance in the Hebrew Bible prompted Arthur M. Ramsey (1906-1988; Archbishop of Canterbury, 1961-74, and one-time (regius) professor of Divinity at Cambridge (and Durham, UK) to write,

 "one day Israel will have the vision of the  kabôd  of her God, whether by His dwelling with man upon the stage of history or by the coming of a new heaven and a new earth bathed in the light of the divine radiance... No reader of the Old Testament would believe that there was a coming of the Kingdom and of the Messianic age which did not include a manifestation of the glory..." (Ramsey, The Glory..  18,37).

      The theophanic secrets of the Divine Glory (kabôd)  have been, and are, a matter of central importance in Jewish mysticism. So too the mysteries of the tetragrammaton (`four lettered word', which occurs some 6,823 times in the Hebrew Bible), = YHWH (trans. "Lord"; also loosely transliterated, "Yahweh", "Jehovah"). It is the personal name of the Biblical God of Moses. Bahā’-Allāh claimed to be a manifestation of the God, the Lord Who is YHWH (see Lambden, Sinaitic Mysteries  154f); the very radiance of His Presence, His divine "Glory". Qabbalistically speaking or in the light of Jewish mysticism, the first two letters of the divine name YHWH  (the "Y" and the "H") correspond to the first two letters of the word Bahā' ( the "B" and the "H"). Quite frequent in the Hebrew Bible is a short form of YHWH composed of its first two consonants Y and H read Yāh. The well-known exclamation Hallelujah (Heb.  Hallelûyÿh) meaning `Praised be Yāh [God]' uses this abbreviated form of the Divine Designation. The two letter abbreviated form of Bahā' and this two letter form of the Hebrew name of God coincide. According to various mystics the first of their two letters ("Y and "B") were considered the "Primal Point" from which certain dimensions of existence sprang forth. [11]

"In principle, man has already acquired a share in God's eschatological [end time] doxa  through the self-communication of God to man which has occurred in Christ (the bestowal of the Spirit..).. but, under this soteriological aspect, that  doxa  is still essentially a hidden thing, to be revealed only when the sufferings of this age are over (Rom 18:18)." (Concise, 136).

     Many other Biblical texts contain references to the kabôd ("glory") or kabôd YHWH ("Glory of the Lord"). Perhaps alluding for Baha’is to the eschatological theophany of Bahā’-Allāh, Ezekiel described the "Glory of God" in the form of a Man (Ezek Literature at Cambridge University, in the second of his three lectures on The Glory of God (entitled `Messianic' and delivered in the U.S.A. in the spring of 1924), among other interesting observations,  wrote, "The expectation that the divine Glory will be made splendidly manifest with the coming of the Kingship of God is not only a natural hope, it is also a solid foundation for optimism." (p.42). That kabôd  ("glory") is of paramount eschatological (`latter day') importance in the Hebrew Bible prompted Arthur M. Ramsey (1906-1988; Archbishop of Canterbury, 1961-74, and one time (regius) professor of Divinity at Cambridge and Durham) to write,

"...one day Israel will have the vision of the  kabôd of her God, whether by His dwelling with Ma’idihn upon the stage of history or by the coming of a new heaven and a new earth bathed in the light of the divine radiance...No reader of the Old Testament would believe that there was a coming of the Kingdom and of the Messianic age which did not include a Manifestation of the glory..." (Ramsey, The Glory..18, 37).

The theophanic secrets of the Divine Glory (kabôd) have been, and are, a matter of central importance in Jewish mysticism. So too the mysteries of the tetragrammaton (`four lettered word', which occurs some 6,823 times in the Hebrew Bible), hwhy = YHWH (trans. "Lord"; also loosely transliterated, "Yahweh", "Jehovah"). It is the personal name of the Biblical God of Moses. Bahā’-Allāh claimed to be a Ma’idihnifestation of the God, the Lord Who is YHWH (see Lambden, Sinaitic Mysteries  154f); the very radiance of His Presence, His divine "Glory". Qabbalistically speaking or in the light of Jewish mysticism, the first two letters of the divine name YHWH  (the   ,"Y" and the      ,"H")  correspond to the first two letters of the word Bahā' ( the "B" and the "H"). Quite frequent in the Hebrew Bible is a short form of YHWH  composed of its first two consonants Y and H  (hy) and  read Yāh.  The meaning `Praised be Yāh [God]' uses this abbreviated form of the Divine Designation. The two letter abbreviated form of Bahā' and this two letter form of the Hebrew name of God coincide. According to various mystics the first of their two letters ("Y and "B") were considered the "Primal Point" from which certain.

The theophanic secrets of the Divine Glory (kabôd)  have been, and are, a matter of central importance in Jewish mysticism. So too the mysteries of the tetragrammaton (`four lettered word', which occurs some 6,823 times in the Hebrew Bible), = YHWH (trans. "Lord"; also loosely transliterated, "Yahweh", "Jehovah"). It is the personal name of the Biblical God of Moses. Bahá'u'lláh claimed to be a manifestation of the God, the Lord Who is YHWH (see Lambden, Sinaitic Mysteries  154f); the very radiance of His Presence, His divine "Glory". Qabbalistically speaking or in the light of Jewish mysticism, the first two letters of the divine name YHWH  (the "Y" and the "H") correspond to the first two letters of the word Bahá' ( the "B" and the "H"). Quite frequent in the Hebrew Bible is a short form of YHWH  composed of its first two consonants Y and H  read Yáh. The well-known exclamation Hallelujah  (Heb.  Hallelûy_h) meaning `Praised be Yáh [God]' uses this abbreviated form of the Divine Designation. The two letter abbreviated form of Bahá' and this two letter form of the Hebrew name of God coincide. According to various mystics the first of their two letters ("Y and "B") were considered the "Primal Point" from which certain dimensions of existence sprang forth. [11]

Duplicater HERE

     Many other Biblical texts contain references to the kabôd ("glory") or kabôd YHWH  ("Glory of the Lord"). Probably alluding to Bahá'u'lláh, Ezekiel described the "Glory of God" in the form of a man (Ezek 1:26; see also Ezekiel chapters 1, Ch 10 & 43:1ff cf. Daniel 7). [10] Israel Abrahams (1858-1924), Reader in Rabbinic and Talmudic Literature at Cambridge University, in the second of his three lectures on The Glory of God (entitled `Messianic' and delivered in the U.S.A. in the spring of 1924), among other interesting observations,  wrote,

"The expectation that the divine Glory will be made splendidly manifest with the coming of the Kingship of God is not only a natural hope, it is also a solid foundation for optimism." (p.42).

That kabôd  ("glory") is of paramount eschatological (`latter day') importance in the Hebrew Bible prompted Arthur M. Ramsey (1906-1988; Archbishop of Canterbury, 1961-74, and one time (regius) professor of Divinity at Cambridge and Durham) to write,

"one day Israel will have the vision of the  kabôd  of her God, whether by His dwelling with man upon the stage of history or by the coming of a new heaven and a new earth bathed in the light of the divine radiance... No reader of the Old Testament would believe that there was a coming of the Kingdom and of the Messianic age which did not include a manifestation of the glory..." (Ramsey, The Glory..  18,37).

 

1.2.      The Prophet Isaiah, the Trisagion and the Divine Glory motif

1.3        Ezekiel the kabod and glorious Merkabah (“Throne Chariot”)

1.4       The Targums and Rabbinic Literatures

1.5       The LXX and the eschatological doxophany 

1.6       Select post-biblical Jewish literatures and the theophanic splendor

1.7      Intimations of Baha' in the Hebrew Bible and related literatures..