Karen's Devotions

This is a selected collection of my devotions e-published on Daily Devotions, Journey Christian Church, Irvine, California; George Bragg, Editor. To join the mailing list, email George, gbragg@cox.net.

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As a 25+ year homeschooling vet, post-cancer, math prof, mother of five, master's track and field athlete, and certificated private pilot, I have a lot to share about what God has done in my life. In 2000 I began writing devotions as something to try when it seemed like accoustic pianists were becoming an endangered species at church. I have since found great blessings from writing and sharing. God is good.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


First Published August 18, 2017

During a family gathering, among various conversations, the topic of onomatopoeia came up.

Pow! Bang! Burp! Uh-oh! Zowie! Ker-ching! Onomatopoeia is a word that demonstrates its meaning when spoken, imitating its natural sounds, like the aforementioned exclamations. When I was little I first heard this word when watching the Three Stooges vignette where Moe, Larry, and Curly diagnose a “patient’s” condition as “onomatopoeia!” It’s still funny. So, after the family gathering I tried to think of those self-defining words frequently found in the Bible.  This sounded like fun! Hallelujah!

Um…(awkward silence)…”hallelujah” was the only word I found.  But, that is really a Hebrew word. Hm.  Upon further investigation, I learned that the Hebrew text often contained onomatopoeia.  Here are a few I found.
They slip by like reed boats, like an eagle that swoops on its prey. Job 9:26

The Hebrew word for “swoops” is tus’, which sounds like the motion of the eagle (or peregrine falcon) when it swoops on its prey at an amazing high speed.

Thus says the Lord, “Go and buy a potter’s earthenware jar, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests.  Jeremiah 19:1

In this example, the Hebrew word for “earthenware (clay) jar” is baqbuq, mimicking the sound of water gurgling out of a jar.

(Roy B. Zuck. Basic Hebrew Interpretation: A Practical Guide to Discovering Biblical Truth.)
In that day the Lord will whistle for the fly that is in the remotest part of the rivers of Egypt and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.  Isaiah 14:29

Zevuv is the Biblical Hebrew word for a fly which imitates the insect’s sound.
Fascinating, isn’t it? And there’s more to study.  The Biblical Hebrew scholars discuss how these words changed on their way to becoming Modern Hebrew, how combinations of words (like compound words in English) created new words, and how insight to the study of Biblical linguistics can help understand how the original audiences interpreted the scriptures. Awesome!

Obviously my measly investigation barely scratched the surface, but God’s word has new structural meaning to me!  Perhaps you might pick a verbs or nouns from the Old Testament and search for the Hebrew equivalents to discover onomatopoeia.  Pqh!!


Abba, thank you for embedding meaning to the spoken word.  Be with me as I discover and share your truth through the structure and words of Hebrew. Amen.

Copyright 2017, by Karen Vaughn


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