What does it mean to Seek the LORD? Why is there more than one Hebrew word that can be used for this act of seeking? Can the Ancient Pictographic letters help describe the differences of meaning in these two words? Does anything in these words point us to Messiah?
In Psalm 105 verse 4 two Hebrew words for seek are found in the same verse:
"Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore."
The first seek is the Hebrew word Darash and the second seek is the Hebrew word Bakash. What is the difference, and is this the only place something like this occurs?
The prophet Jeremiah also uses both of these two Hebrew words in the same verse. In Chapter 29 verse 13 of his book he writes:
"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
The first seek in this verse is Bakash and the second, which is translated here search, is Darash.
In both of these verses, the main theme is similar; the listener is encouraged to seek or search for YHVH and His strength. This is not to be a one-time event; this seeking is to be ongoing forever. The promise is also clear: YHVH will be found only when the search is with the whole heart. The Psalmist leads with Darash and the prophet Jeremiah with Bakash. Why in that order? What is the difference?
If you carefully examine the verse by Jeremiah, you can see that his verse is inverted but really starts the same way: seek or Darash YHVH first. Then comes a seeking in the sense of Bakash.
Why is this? It starts with the conventional Hebrew meaning for these two words. In Darash we seek with care. I this case the reader is to carefully seek YHVH Himself. In Bakash, the seeking is more a prayerful request directed to YHVH.
The Ancient Hebrew letters are also pictograms. The pictures found in these letters help explain the meaning of these words and preserve these meanings from change over the passage of time. Let’s investigate these pictograms to see if we can find more understanding.
Darash is spelled Dalet Reysh Sheen.
Dalet is the picture of the door and means a doorway or an entrance to life or death.
Reysh is the picture of the head and means the master, the leader, or the prince.
Sheen is the picture of teeth and means to consume, to crush, or destroy. It is God’s signature; it is the one letter that God uses to identify Himself.
In the pictograms for Darash there is a doorway to life opened by the prince who was crushed. The God for which we are searching is identified for us by the Prince who not only opens the door to life, He is the door.
In the Gospel of John Chapter 10 verse 19 Jesus states:
"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
Jesus also proclaims in John Chapter 14 verse 6 that:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
This is where the careful seeking starts, with the Prince that was crushed who opens the door to life. But there is another kind of seeking. What will the pictograms for Bakash reveal about this second kind of seeking? Bakash is spelled Beyt Qoof Sheen.
Beyt is the picture of the floor plan of the tent and means the house or the family and is the first letter in the Torah that identifies the Son of God.
Qoof is the picture of the back of the head and means behind, the least, or the last.
Sheen is again the picture of teeth and means to consume, to crush, or to destroy.
Now we can see why Darash precedes Bakash. First, we need to seek and find the relationship with the Father that comes through the Prince who was crushed for us. That is Darash. In Bakash we are in the family; we are no longer the least, but are family with the Son of God. We can petition the Father through the Son because we are part of His family; we are no longer in any danger of being crushed. The Son has already taken that on Himself for us.
The Rabbi Paul reminded us in Romans Chapter 5 verse 8 that:
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Not only was Christ crushed for us, but He made us family with privileges. The writer of Hebrews in Chapter 4 verse 16 states this:
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.'
There is a final twist to our investigation. In 1 Samuel Chapter 28 verse 7 this warning is recorded for us:
"Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor."
The word seek is Bakash and the word enquire is the word Darash. Instead of petitioning God as a member of God’s family, Saul sought help elsewhere. Because Saul was under judgement for disobedience to God, God was not answering Saul’s requests, so Saul sought the witch of Endor instead.
As we saw in Jeremiah Chapter 29 verse 13 the careful seeking, the Darash begins with all your heart towards God. Because in his heart Saul refused to follow the leading of YHVH, the Prince who opens the door to life, Saul will be the one crushed instead.
The prophet Isaiah directed this first step for us in Chapter 55 verse 6:
"Seek (Darash) ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near."