Last week I learned how to do a search that is proving incredibly powerful (I wish I had taken the time to figure out how to do this a long time ago). I can now search in Hebrew or Greek for a key word in a certain tense or person (or whatever morphological tag I choose), occurring in a specified proximity to another word of my choosing. For example, in class this week Dr. Block was curious if the Hebrew Bible ever used the expression “walk after Yahweh” the way it talks about walking after other gods in Deut 8:19. He suspected it did, but didn’t remember where.
Since “walk” occurs 1349 times, “after” occurs 812 times, and “Yahweh” occurs 5195 times in the Hebrew Bible, it would be enormously time-consuming to scan through each reference to find where they occur together. Thanks to Bibleworks, within a minute I had the answer. I simply typed the Hebrew root letters for “walk” + “after” + “Yahweh”, with the symbol *3 to indicate that I only wanted to see those passages where these words occurred within the space of 3 words. Immediately Bibleworks gave us the answer we were looking for. The Bible does indeed use this expression to refer to Yahweh. It is found in only 2 places: 2 Kings 23:3 and 2 Chr 34:31 (parallel passages!). There, Josiah is renewing Israel’s covenant with Yahweh (after reading Deuteronomy!) and affirming that he will not follow other gods, but Yahweh alone — a very interesting correlation.
I’ve said it before, but I simply can’t imagine attempting an MA or PhD in Biblical Studies without BibleWorks!
For Part One of my review, go here.