[This is one from the archives. Seemed appropriate to post it again today as we hit the highway, headed for Dallas, TX.]
We’re in the midst of moving…again.
You know the routine: pack and pack and pack…slap yourself for having so much junk in, under, and around your house…pack some more…go to yet another liquor store (for empty boxes, that is)…pack even more stuff…ask the wife and kids to forgive you for your crabby attitude (again)…pack more boxes only with less concern for making sure that similar items go in the same box…
I’ve moved enough times to verify something I learned in Hebrew class years ago. The Hebrew word for “tent” is pronounced “OH-hell”…that’s right, the accented syllable is “OH,” the other one sounds like “hell.” Go ahead, ask your neighborhood Hebrew scholar or rabbi. I ain’t jokin’.
I have a theory about how the word for tent came to be pronounced “OH-hell.” If you’ve ever read the account of the Hebrews’ wilderness wanderings, you’ll know that God instructed His people to keep an eye on the cloud of glory that rested on the tabernacle in the middle of their encampment. Whenever the cloud lifted and moved, the people would have to pack up and follow. Read about it in Numbers 9:15-23.
Remember, these folks lived an “in tents” life. (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Their ancient eastern mobile homes had to be broken down, packed on to some poor beast of burden, moved to a new location, and set up all over again…and again…and again…you get the picture.
So, why should we be surprised that the Hebrew word for tent is pronounced “OH-hell”? Can’t you hear the conversation now:
Moses (cautiously sticks his head inside the tent): “Um…honey. The cloud has moved again. Better start packing the tent.”
Mrs. Moses: “OH-hell.”
Moses: “That’s what I said…the tent.”
What would you say if you were constantly packing up and moving on a moment’s notice? Mrs. Moses speaks for all of us who have packed up the tent and moved on.
[If you want to hear it for yourself, click here, then click on the “speaker” symbol under “Phonetic spelling” to hear the pronunciation.]