חָנַן Strong’s #2603 hhanan

YHWH make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.

Numbers 6:25

This verb is often translated as “to be gracious” or “have mercy;” however, these are abstract terms and do not help us understand the meaning of this verb from an Hebraic perspective, which always relates words to something concrete. One of the best tools to use to find the more concrete meaning of a word is to look at how that word is paralleled with other words in poetical passages. In the book of Psalms, the word Hhanan is paralleled with “heal,” “help,” “raise up,” “refuge” and “give strength.” From a concrete Hebraic perspective, Hhanan means all of this and no English word can convey the meaning of the Hebrew, but we could sum up its meaning with “providing protection.” Where would a nomadic Hebrew run for protection? The camp, in the Hebrew language, is the word mahhaneh (Strongs # 4264), a noun related to Hhanan.

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