The second verse that caught my attention was Leviticus 16:29 which says, “”And it shall be a statute to you forever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you.” First, I noticed that it was to be observed forever, which Israel continues to do, but what really caught my attention was the phrase “you shall afflict yourselves.” What could YHWH mean by this? Most bible versions use this phrase, but the Hebrew word for this phrase is ‘anah – which means to afflict, to humble, to humiliate or weaken oneself. The action of the people for Yom Kippur includes a 25 hour fast. Although humility is an aspect of ‘anah I don’t think it fully demonstrates the idea, yet how does “afflict” better represent the more widely accepted translation. The fall appointed times are viewed as a time of reflection and repentance that are observed for 40 days. Hebrew people believe that a verdict is rendered at Rosh Hashanah, but they still have 10 days until Yom Kippur to repent before judgment is rendered by YHVH. Devote believers enter this season seriously examining their lives through the eyes of Torah. This is practiced annually in preparation for the coming of the Messiah who will one day judge and reign over all the earth.
I think afflict is an appropriate word because it denotes an attitude of humility, grief and full understanding of who YHVH is and who we are before Him. For the first time I am really seeing YHVH’s plan for His children. Proverbs 9:6 exhorts –
“Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of understanding.”
Lord, thank you for patiently teaching me so I may understand Your ways.