|Blessing and Curse|
|Articles - Blessing|
|Written by Rev. Charles Wesley. K. M|
The second act after the creation of living creatures by Yahweh was blessing. He blessed the living creatures and the human beings to be ‘fruitful and multiply’, and hence ‘blessing’ became an important matter from the creation narrative itself. But this blessing was turned into curse with the transgression of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
The word ‘blessing’ comes from a Hebrew root ‘brk’, which originally has two different meanings in the Old Testament. One is “to kneel” (Ps.95:6; 2Ch.6:13) and the other word is ‘blessed’. The word ‘blessing’ (beraka) is used in more of a materialistic sense. The verb ‘to bless’ admits a very wide range of usage from the commonplace greeting addressed to a stranger on the street. The participle ‘blessed’ (baruk) is the strongest of all the words of blessing. It makes up the centre of the typical formula of Israelite blessing.
In addition to this, the theology of blessing was centred upon two other institutions like Kingship and temple. The king of Israel was considered to be a mediator of blessing between God and people. Both kingship and blessing is universal. The well-being and the greatness of the people is represented by the kingship and this is viewed as an effect of God’s blessing. And also the temple is the place where blessing is passed to the people and to the nation. Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple (1Ki.8) is a magnificent and profound combining of the theology of blessing inherent in the temple with the theology of salvation that developed in the history of God’s activities with his people. After the building of the temple blessing was considered to be a sacrament. At the end of every sacrificial act the priestly blessing was given to people (Lev.9:22-23). The people those who come to the temple receive the blessing for their house, family and for their work. In the Book of Psalms blessing is understood as something that is acquired through worship. The prophetic books deals very less with the blessing act of Yahweh rather it deals about the saving act of Yahweh. “The promise of blessing has now been combined with the promise of Israel’s return back to her country”. In the Apocalyptic literature blessing is the act of future salvation. In the act of creation God blesses all animals and human beings like that in the eschaton He will bless the same
The Hebrew root for the word curse is ‘rr. Apart from this root there are two verb derivatives of the roots alah and qalal. alah denoting conditional curses and qala is used for curses against personal enemies and for blasphemies against God and the king.
In the Old Testament blessing and curse are not parallel to each other. Both have their own importance. Blessing is considered to be an activity of Yahweh, the God of Israel and curse has no relation with the work of Yahweh. We can see many references for blessing as the activity of Yahweh and not as curse. Instead of Yahweh’s curse, Old Testament talks about Yahweh’s judgment and punishment. Blessing is almost always attributed to God or closely connected with him and therefore one can only have blessing in harmony with him.