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Showing posts from September, 2013

adamah!

adamah - Hebrew, noun, meaning "ground"

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,
till you return to the adamah,
because from it you were taken;
for you are dirt,
and to dirt you shall return.
Genesis 3:19, God speaking to Adam

"By the sweat of your face." This phrase has always painted an image of a farmer sweating profusely on a sweltering day while hovering over a lonely shovel struggling to break up the dry adamah. I learned today that this phrase is actually an ancient Near Eastern idiom which speaks of perspiration-inducing fear or anxiety. What the Genesis narrative is telling us is that "humanity will now live their lives in an adversarial world with a constant, gnawing undercurrent of dread that there will not be enough, that their labor will not meet the need." (Epic of Eden, p. 111)

Unlike Adam, I don't physically sweat much in my line of work, but I have been increasingly aware of the "gnawing undercurrent of dread that there will…