- “The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle’s wreck
Shone round him o’er the dead…”
(Casabianca, Dorothea Hemans, 1826)
2. “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing…”
(The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe, 1845)
3. “Stood there and watched you walk away…”
(Haunted, Taylor Swift, 2010)
4. “How to Handle Getting Stood Up on a Date”
(Glamour Magazine, 2014, 2011, 2004, 1998)
The French captain’s son stood resolutely on the burning deck until he was finally consumed in the furious flames. Though Edgar Allan Poe claims he stood there for a long while, I suspect that in reality he soon returned to his bed. Taylor Swift stood there as her lover walked away but one assumes that she managed to replace him quite quickly. The readers of Glamour who keep getting stood up, well, enough said.
There really ought to be different words in English for stood. One can scarcely compare my different examples of standing. One shouldn’t. I won’t stand for it.
In the Lord’s language, there are indeed words to describe two different ways of standing. One can stand firm like the boy on the burning deck; one might say, stand like a pillar. Or one can stand there sadly like Taylor Swift, ready to be quickly distracted by someone else.
Let’s see a Biblical example of each kind of standing.
You stand this day all of you before the Lord your God.…
that thou shouldst enter into the covenant of the Lord thy God and into His oath…
And it came to pass at the end of two years that Par’o dreamed;
and behold, he stood on the river.
When the Israelites stood before God to establish a special covenant, it was for all time. In fact, the Bible makes clear that this covenant is being established not only with those Israelites who were standing there but also with all the future generations not yet born. (Deuteronomy 29:13-14*). In other words, a permanent standing. The Hebrew root used for standing is YaTZaV.
י צ ב
However, when Pharaoh dreamed that he stood on the Nile, not only did he not remain there for long, but it was a dream. The Hebrew root used for stand is the far more common OMeD.
ע מ ד
The root OMeD is also used here, implying a lack of firmness:
And the magicians were unable to stand before Moses…
When the standing is more that of standing like a rock until one’s task is complete, the Torah uses the word YaTZaV. The use of this word in an unexpected place can give us deeper insight into a person’s actions.
For instance, “Behold I stand by the water well…” (Genesis 24:13*) said Eliezer as he prayed for success in finding the woman who’d become the second matriarch, the wife of Isaac. This resounds to Eliezer’s credit.
Knowing that there are two different ways of standing helps us translate our spirit into our posture. When I stand in line at the check-out, I hope it’s not for long and so I don’t root myself to the ground. However, when I stand up for principle, I want to be utterly immovable and, just as importantly, I want to appear to others as utterly immovable.
Deciding which principles one will stand up for unyieldingly is vital for successful living. It allows one to know in advance which battles are worth fighting and which are better averted.
We are offering a sale this week on our Genesis Journeys Set as a powerful way to learn Biblical truths that Hebrew and ancient Jewish wisdom reveal. Each of the four audio CD sets (with a study guide) guides you to understand today’s personal and universal struggles and strengthen you as you take your stand.
Are you using our recommended Hebrew/English Bible?
*Deuteronomy 29:9-11 – p. 626 – 4 lines at the bottom נצבים
*Genesis 41:1 – p. 124 – 11th line from the top (after the paragraph break) עמד
*Exodus 11:9 – p. 188 – 13th line from the top, 2nd half of the line (reading right to left) לעמד
*Genesis 24:13 – p. 62 – last line. נצב
SALE: The Genesis Journeys Set
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Revised and reprinted from 2015