Hebrew Word Study – Understanding – Part I

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Hey Noon  Yood  Beyt

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Proverbs 16:16

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!


The Dictionary defines Wisdom as the mental process of a person in order to comprehend or interpret the things they encounter in their personal life.

The Dictionary identifies Understanding as something that comes from the mind of man. It is often used as a synonym for intelligence and discernment.  

According to the world's definition, Understanding is a mental faculty that is controlled by the mind of man.

The learning institutions of the world are designed to pass on to students an understanding of a particular thing in order to give that person a skill in dealing and handling with that particular thing, whatever it may be.

This is the world's definition of Understanding.

There are over 150 references to Understanding in the Scriptures. 

The first thing you notice when you begin carefully studying all the times that the word Understanding occurs in Scripture is that it is most often mentioned along with Wisdom. 

The theme of Wisdom and Understanding permeates the Bible.

If you check your thesaurus, you will find that all the synonyms for Wisdom and Understanding are exactly the same. The world sees little or no difference between Wisdom and Understanding.

When you study the Scriptures, however, you discover that Wisdom and Understanding are two completely separate things. 

The first verse we published in this article says it best. 

Gold and Silver are both precious metals, but they are not the same. 

Gold is the most valuable followed by Silver. The Scriptures advise us to stock up on both the Gold of Wisdom and the Silver of Understanding.

Proverbs 16:16

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

Job asks a question that should give us pause to consider if this world’s definition of Understanding is the same as the Understanding that comes from the LORD God and His Word.

Job asks the same question a half dozen times.

Job 28:20

Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?

If you ask most Christians where Understanding is found in man, they will tell you that it is found in the mind of man. Is this right?

Read what the Scriptures teach:

Job 38:36

Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?


Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Of Solomon the Lord says:

1 Kings 3:12

Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart;

Proverbs 15:14

The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.

For over a millennium, Christians have believed that this reference to the heart of man was simply a figure of speech, a metaphor. 

The heart, according to modern science, is defined anatomically as a hollow, pump like organ that pumps and circulates the blood through the body of man. 

The Scriptures, on the other hand, declare that the heart is far more than a biological pump that keeps the blood circulating through our body.

The Scriptures describe the heart as the center of the total personality, especially with reference to intuition, feeling, emotion and Understanding. 

The heart is the one place the Scripture tells us that Understanding takes up residence. 

Is this an ancient fable or myth or can we take the Scriptures literally?

If you listen to modern science along with all the Biblical Allegorists, you would mock anyone who took the Scriptures literally when it states that the Heart of man is the place where the intuition, feelings, emotion and understanding of man reside.

We all know it is the human brain that is responsible for all these attributes of man. You would be thought a fool for proposing that the heart was also the seat of man's understanding.

Notice how often the Scriptures understood in their plain sense put us in conflict with the Wisdom and Understanding that comes from this world. 

Since the advent of human heart transplants, the modern knowledge of the heart has been in flux.  Heart transplant doctors report feedback from those who have received heart transplants that have them completely befuddled. Many of these reports leave the medical profession scratching their heads since science cannot explain why a significant percentage of those who have received heart transplants experience changes in their personality and preferences. 

Some even report that they are feeling like another person is living inside of them. The more common heart transplants have become, the more common the reports by those that have received a heart transplant that something mysterious that is connected in some way to the previous owner of the heart is taking place. Modern Science cannot explain what the Scriptures have revealed all along. The Heart is more than a pump, it is the home of a person's emotions and understanding.

The Hebrew word we translate as Heart solves the mystery with the revelation of two simple letters that have a picture meaning that discloses the truth of the matter.


    Lamed  Beyt 



Control – To Shepherd
To Have Authority – To Urge Forward
The tongue – The Voice of Authority



House – Tent – Son – Family – Dwelling Place
Inside – Within – 1st Letter in the Torah that Identifies
The Son of God
Tent / House

Lamed is pictured as a Staff, a picture that is immediately understood. The Shepherd's Staff is used as an instrument of authority over the sheep. It can be used to comfort, protect, discipline, control and guide the sheep.

Lamed means to Have Authority – To Urge Forward. It is the Voice of Authority.

The picture of Beyt compliments the idea of being in, or inside. 

Beyt is pictured as a House or a Tent. 

The Scriptures compare our human body, the body we temporarily live inside, to a TENT or a Tabernacle. 

Let’s read what the Scriptures teach in 2 Corinthians 5:1 (ESV):

We know, for instance, that if our earthly dwelling were taken down, like a tent, we have a permanent house in Heaven, made, not by man, but by God.


In 2 Corinthians 5:4 we read:

For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened;

What is the Picture meaning of the Hebrew word we translate into English as Heart?

The Picture translation is as follows:

The Heart is the Voice of Authority inside of man that is Controlling and Urging him Forward.

Now you know why the Scriptures teach us that Understanding takes up residence in the Heart of man.

Psalm 49:3

My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Anna Mcleish says:

    I thoroughly enjoy this commentary – It truly gives me UNDERSTANDING as I seek to dwell in the LIVING Word of God.
    thank you for your simple but informauive explanation. Anna

  2. Beth Wilson says:

    Praise God for this. I am going through a study of Proverbs and this will be incredibly helpful to fully grasp what the Scriptures are trying to convey. I love the attention to detail and specific examples and references. Thank you so very much. I cannot wait to learn more. God Bless!!

  3. Mary Ellen Wright says:

    I love this teaching. I do similar teaching in my sermons. Hebrew is so rich and so full of treasure. We will never plumb its depths. Thank you so much.

  4. Curt moeckel says:

    Very interesting and revealing. Thank you

  5. Sandra McCammon says:

    This is fascinating! I really enjoy learning about thie amazing language.

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