Meek – word study

by Doug Ward

The Hebrew word for “meek” in Num. 12:3 is anav. Scholar Cleon Rogers [3] reports that anav probably comes from a root meaning “to be bowed down.” One way to be “bowed down” is to be bowed down in submission-i.e., to be humble. A number of modern English translations (NKJV, NASB, NRSV, NIV, NEB, e.g.) render anav as “humble” in Num. 12:3. Other passages in which anav is often translated “humble” include Ps. 25:9, 147:6, 149:4 and Zeph. 2:3.
[3] Cleon Rogers, “Moses: Meek or Miserable?”, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 29, No. 3, 1986, pp. 257-263.

Moses’ meekness must be analyzed in three different places. His meekness was God-centered. Moses would not defend his own name, but he would stand to defend the name of the Lord at all costs. Moses was put down for his personality, character, and leadership; yet he never defended himself. Moses was not, however, a meek man when defending the Lord. He did not yield to the men who challenged the Lord. This is the distinction between true spiritual meekness and yielding to every challenge. Many people yield to every challenge against God and His Word, as well as against themselves! This is not meekness which Jesus calls blessed.

For each virtue there are two corresponsing vices ie courage lies between rashness and timidity, justice between doing injustice and suffering injustice, liberality between prodigality and meaness just as humilty if not kept in balance by prudence ie the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of ones reason, it is open to fall fowl to its corresponding vices on one end of the scale being a lack of confidence the complete opposite of pride.

“The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.
She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….
It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek

(Joseph Ratzinger – Faith and the Future)

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