Breathe and Spirit

 

By

 

Yochanan Zaqantov

 

There is a creation account in Bereshit/Genesis chapters 1-2.  There is a resurrection account in Yehezqel/Ezekiel 37.  Are they related to each other, is the Hebrew describing the same process or similar process?  If it is not, then can we alternatively interpret Ezekiel 37 other than a literal resurrection?  Is it a vision of the re-gathering of the House of Yisrael/Ephraim and the House of Yehudah?

 

The first Hebrew word will examine is Nashamah (nun-shin-mem-hey), which is a feminine noun.  It is reference number 5397 and found on page 675 in the BDB.  It is also found on page 849 in the NEHC.  It is from the reference number 5795 nasham a verb.

 

Bereshit/Genesis 2:7

 

7 YHWH Elohim formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath of life (nish’mat chayim נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים), and man became a living being (va yahiy ha’adam lenefesh chayah וַיְהִי הָאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה).

 

The first use of nashamah is the plural form which would be the breathes of life.  At this point man becomes a nefesh chayah or living being/soul.  But was man the only one with the breath of life?

 

Bereshit/Genesis 7:22

 

21 And all flesh that stirred on earth perished—birds, cattle, beasts, and all the things that swarmed upon the earth, and all mankind. 22 All in whose nostrils was the merest breath of life (nish’mat-ruach chayim נִשְׁמַת־רוּחַ חַיִּים), all that was on dry land, died. 23 All existence on earth was blotted out—man, cattle, creeping things, and birds of the sky; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

 

So we see that birds, cattle, beast, and swarming things that where on the earth including mankind had a nish’mat-ruach chayim (breath-spirit of life). 

 

Devarim/Deuteronomy 20:16

 

15 Thus you shall deal with all towns that lie very far from you, towns that do not belong to nations hereabout. 16 In the towns of the latter peoples, however, which YHWH Eloheykha is giving you as a heritage, you shall not let a soul remain alive. (lo tachayeh kal-nashamah לֹא תְחַיֶּה כָּל־נְשָׁמָה)

 

They are not to let live any one that breathes.

 

Yehoshua/Joshua 10:40

 

40 Thus Joshua conquered the whole country: the hill country, the Negeb, the Shephelah, and the slopes, with all their kings; he let none escape, but proscribed everything that breathed (v’et kal-hanashamah וְאֵת כָּל־הַנְּשָׁמָה)—as YHWH, the Elohim of Israel, had commanded.

 

Yehoshua destroyed everything that breathed.

 

Yehoshua/Joshua 11:11,14

 

11 They proscribed and put to the sword every person in it. Not a soul survived (kal-nashamah כָּל־נְשָׁמָה), and Hazor itself was burned down. 12 Joshua captured all those royal cities and their kings. He put them to the sword; he proscribed them in accordance with the charge of Moses, the servant of YHWH. 13 However, all those towns that are still standing on their mounds were not burned down by Israel; it was Hazor alone that Joshua burned down. 14 The Israelites kept all the spoil and cattle of the rest of those cities as booty. But they cut down their populations with the sword until they exterminated them; they did not spare a soul (kal-nashamah כָּל־נְשָׁמָה).

 

Kal-nashamah is all breathes.  So it is stating that all who breathe where not to be spared.

 

Shemuel Bet/2 Samuel 22:16

 

16 The bed of the sea was exposed, The foundations of the world were laid bare By the mighty roaring of YHWH, At the blast of the breath (minish’mat ruachמִ‍נִּשְׁמַת רוּחַ) of His nostrils.

 

Or from the breathes of his ruach this can be translated from the Hebrew.  It also uses the term for nostrils to illustrate like man the breath comes out of the nostrils.

 

Melekhim Aleph/I Kings 15:29

 

28 Baasha killed him in the third year of King Asa of Judah and became king in his stead. 29 As soon as he became king, he struck down all the House of Jeroboam; he did not spare a single soul (kal-nashamah כָּל־נְשָׁמָה) belonging to Jeroboam until he destroyed it—in accordance with the word that YHWH had spoken through His servant, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite

 

All that breathes were killed.

 

Melekhim Aleph/I Kings 17:17 (17-23)

 

17 After a while, the son of the mistress of the house fell sick, and his illness grew worse, until he had no breath (nashamah נְשָׁמָה) left in him. 18 She said to Elijah, “What harm have I done you, O man of Elohim, that you should come here to recall my sin and cause the death of my son?” 19 “Give me the boy,” he said to her; and taking him from her arms, he carried him to the upper chamber where he was staying, and laid him down on his own bed. 20 He cried out to YHWH and said, “YHWH my Elohim, will You bring calamity upon this widow whose guest I am, and let her son die?” 21 Then he stretched out over the child three times, and cried out to YHWH, saying, “YHWH my Elohim, let this child’s life (nefesh hayeled נֶפֶשׁ־הַיֶּלֶד) return to his body!” 22 YHWH heard Elijah’s plea; the child’s life (nefesh hayeled נֶפֶשׁ־הַיֶּלֶד) returned to his body, and he revived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and brought him down from the upper room into the main room, and gave him to his mother. “See,” said Elijah, “your son is alive (chay חַי).”

 

Here is a documented case of resurrection in the Tanakh.  Yet, we see no reference to ruach here but nefesh hayeled or soul/body of boy.  It does state in the beginning that no breath (nashamah) was in him.  So breath (nashamah) had to return to him for him to live.  A nefesh without breath is not a living soul or body.

 

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 2:22

 

22 Oh, cease to glorify man, Who has only a breath (nashamah נְשָׁמָה) in his nostrils! For by what does he merit esteem?

 

Man only has breath in him and is not to be esteemed.

 

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 42:5

 

5 Thus said Elohim YHWH, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and what it brings forth, Who gave breath (nashamah נְשָׁמָה) to the people upon it And life (varuach וְרוּחַ) to those who walk thereon:

 

Here the prophet of YHWH states that those who have breath also have ruach/spirit.  This was so from creation.

 

Dani’el/Daniel 10:17

 

17 How can this servant of my lord speak with my lord, seeing that my strength has failed and no spirit (uneshamah breath וּנְשָׁמָה) is left in me?”

 

No breath is left in him in the sense of life.

 

Iyov/Job 27:3

 

3 As long as there is life (nish’matiy my breath נִשְׁמָתִי) in me, And Elohim’s breath (v’ruach Elohim וְרוּחַ אֱלוֹהַּ) is in my nostrils,

 

Breath is in Iyov he remains a live and Elohim’s ruach/spirit in him.

 

We can see that nashamah is used primarily to indicate the breath as in the breath of life.  Just as it is indicated in Bereshit we see it in other places.

 

Next, lets look at the verb that this word is from.  Reference number 5395 is Nasham (nun-shin-mem).  This is found on page 849 in the NEHC and page 675 in the BDB.  There is only one reference for the verb.  So looking in the BDB you will notice that the Syrian related word means breathe, blow.  The Arabic related word means gently blow or pant as in the breathing of a woman.

 

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 42:14

 

14 “I have kept silent far too long, Kept still and restrained Myself; Now I will scream like a woman in labor, I will pant (‘eshom אֶשֹּׁם) and I will gasp.

 

Nasham or ‘eshom here is I will breathe or pant in the breathing of a woman in labor.

 

What we see is that Nashamah is the breath that made mankind and all animals.  We even saw where several places it linked Ruach as spirit to the Nashamah as breath.  So what about Ruach?  What does it mean and are these the two the same thing stated differently?

 

Let us first look at the verb which Ruach’s meaning would be derived.  That is reference number 7306.  Ruach (Resh-Vav-Chet) which is found in the BDB on page 926 and in the NEHC on page 1160.  These are Hiphil Infinitive and Future tenses.

 

Shemot/Exodus 30:37

 

37 But when you make this incense, you must not make any in the same proportions for yourselves; it shall be held by you sacred to YHWH. Whoever makes any like it, to smell (l’haruach לְהָרִיחַ) of it, shall be cut off from his kin.

 

The verb is used here to denote one who uses their sense of smell.

 

Shofetim/Judges 16:9

 

9 while an ambush was waiting in her room. Then she called out to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” Whereat he pulled the tendons apart, as a strand of tow comes apart at the touch (bahariycho in his the smell בַּהֲרִיחוֹ) of fire. So the secret of his strength remained unknown.

 

At the sense of smell of fire the ropes come apart.

 

Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 11:3

 

3 He shall sense (vahariycho and his smell/breath וַהֲרִיחוֹ) the truth by his reverence for YHWH: He shall not judge by what his eyes behold, Nor decide by what his ears perceive.

 

He is able to discern, as one would smell something.

 

Bereshit/Genesis 8:21

 

21 YHWH smelled (vayarach וַיָּרַח) the pleasing odor, and YHWH said to Himself: “Never again will I doom the earth because of man, since the devisings of man’s mind are evil from his youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living being, as I have done.

 

Here we see that YHWH smells the pleasant order of the offering.

 

Bereshit/Genesis 27:27

 

27 and he went up and kissed him. And he smelled (vayarach וַיָּרַח) his clothes and he blessed him, saying, “Ah, the smell (reyach 7381 רֵיחַ) of my son is like the smell (reyach 7381 רֵיחַ) of the fields that YHWH has blessed.

 

Here we see that yarach a form of the verb ruach is shown again as smell in the case of smelling (sense of smell).

 

Vayiqra/Leviticus 26:31

 

31 I will lay your cities in ruin and make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not savor (ariyach אָרִיחַ) your pleasing odors.

 

Not smell the pleasing orders.

 

Devarim/Deuteronomy 4:28

 

28 There you will serve man-made Elohims of wood and stone, that cannot see or hear or eat or smell (yeriychun יְרִיחֻן).

 

The idol cannot smell an offering made to it.

 

Shemu’el Aleph/I Samuel 26:19

 

19 Now let my lord the king hear his servant out. If YHWH has incited you against me, let Him be appeased (yarach to smell יָרַח) by an offering; but if it is men, may they be accursed of YHWH! For they have driven me out today, so that I cannot have a share in YHWH’s possession, but am told, ‘Go and worship other Elohims.’


YHWH will smell and accept the offering made.

 

Tehillim/Psalms 115:6

 

4     Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.

5     They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see;

6     they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell (yariychun יְרִיחוּן);

7     they have hands, but cannot touch, feet, but cannot walk; they can make no sound in their throats.

8     Those who fashion them, all who trust in them, shall become like them.

 

The idol is not the same as YHWH as it is a made thing and not able to smell the offering even if it shows a nose.

 

The word Ruach which is the one most translated as spirit in the Tanakh.  It is 7307 (Resh-Vav-Chet) which is the common usage of the word is found in the NEHC on pages 1160-1162 and the BDB on pages 924-926.

 

There are so many references to this word we will cover it by looking at them categorized in their usage.  The reference to a spirit, wind, life breath, talent are all the same word used here.  Since it comes from the verb form which is smell in the sense or sensing it.

 

Thus, as a spirit is something not touchable it becomes like the wind in some cases.  It becomes the breath in other cases.  It is the talent granted by YHWH.  It is a thing, which cannot be physically measured or touched.  We will see that looking at the different usages that it is used for both literal and figurative language.

 

Ruach as Wind

 

Bereshit/Genesis 1:2

 

2     the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from Elohim (veruach ‘elohim וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים) sweeping over the water

This shows Ruach as wind but some translations translate it as Spirit of Elohim.

 

Bereshit/Genesis 8:1

 

1 Elohim remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark, and Elohim caused a wind (ruach רוּחַ) to blow across the earth, and the waters subsided.

 

Here YHWH causes a wind to flow over the water to cause it to subside.

 

Bereshit/Genesis 3:8

 

8 They heard the sound of YHWH Elohim moving about in the garden at the breezy time (leruach לְרוּחַ) of day; and the man and his wife hid from YHWH Elohim among the trees of the garden.

 

This is shown as ruach being wind.

 

Shemot/Exodus 10:13, 19

 

13 So Moses held out his rod over the land of Egypt, and YHWH drove an east wind (ruach רוּחַ) over the land all that day and all night; and when morning came, the east wind had brought the locusts.


19     YHWH caused a shift to a very strong west wind (ruach רוּחַ), which lifted the locusts and hurled them into the Sea of Reeds; not a single locust remained in all the territory of Egypt.

 

Again, ruach shown as a wind from YHWH.

 

Shemot/Exodus 14:21

 

21     Then Moses held out his arm over the sea and YHWH drove back the sea with a strong east wind (baruach בְּרוּחַ) all that night, and turned the sea into dry ground. The waters were split,


It was a wind from YHWH from the east that caused the waters to separate for the sea of reeds.  It was a specific wind that was not natural in that walls of water remained on each side of the Yisraelim and the ground was dry to walk on.

 

Shemot/Exodus 15:8,10

 

8     At the blast (ubaruach וּבְרוּחַ) of Your nostrils the waters piled up, The floods stood straight like a wall; The deeps froze in the heart of the sea.

10     You made Your wind (baruochkha בְרוּחֲךָ) blow, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in the majestic waters.

 

Here is the poem said by the people that recount the event that saved them from the Egyptians.  Again it is used as wind.

 

Melekhim Aleph/I Kings 18:45

 

45 Meanwhile the sky grew black with clouds; there was wind (veruach וְרוּחַ), and a heavy downpour fell; Ahab mounted his chariot and drove off to Jezreel.

 

This is wind from a storm.  Ruach is used again here for wind.

 

Melekhim Bet/2 Kings 3:17

 

17 For thus said YHWH: You shall see no wind (ruach רוּחַ), you shall see no rain, and yet the wadi shall be filled with water; and you and your cattle and your pack animals shall drink.

 

Here wind again is used as what one would see from a storm.  So you can see from these references that wind as something that is sensed but not able to touch is ruach.

 

Ruach as the idom “Pursuit of Wind” or Futility

 

Kohelet/Ecclesiastes 1:14, 17

 

14     I observed all the happenings beneath the sun, and I found that all is futile and pursuit of wind (ura’ut ruach וּרְעוּת רוּחַ).

17     And so I set my mind to appraise wisdom and to appraise madness and folly. And I learned—that this too was pursuit of wind (ra’yon ruach רַעְיוֹן רוּחַ):

 

If you try to pursue wind to catch it you never can catch it.  Thus, ruach used as wind but with ura’ut 7469 or striving and later with ra’yon as pursuit to form as idom.

 

Kohelet/Ecclesiastes 2:11, 17, 26

 

11     Then my thoughts turned to all the fortune my hands had built up, to the wealth I had acquired and won—and oh, it was all futile and pursuit of wind (ura’ut ruach וּרְעוּת רוּחַ); there was no real value under the sun!


17     And so I loathed life. For I was distressed by all that goes on under the sun, because everything is futile and pursuit of wind (ura’ut ruach וּרְעוּת רוּחַ).

26     To the man, namely, who pleases Him He has given the wisdom and shrewdness to enjoy himself; and to him who displeases, He has given the urge to gather and amass—only for handing on to one who is pleasing to Elohim. That too is futile and pursuit of wind (ura’ut ruach וּרְעוּת רוּחַ).

 

Again the idom pursuit of wind or ruach is shown as something futile.

 

Ruach as a talent

 

Shemot/Exodus 28:3

 

3     Next you shall instruct all who are skillful, whom I have endowed with the gift  of skill (ruach hakh’mah spirit of wisdom רוּחַ חָכְמָה), to make Aaron’s vestments, for consecrating him to serve Me as priest.

Here YHWH states that he has given individual ruach of  wisdom /knowledge to make the vestments.

 

Shemot/Exodus 31:3

 

2     See, I have singled out by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3     I have endowed him with a divine spirit of skill (ruach Elohim bahakmah רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים בְּחָכְמָה), ability (ubit’vunah וּבִתְבוּנָה), and knowledge (ubada’at וּבְדַעַת) in every kind of craft; 4     to make designs for work in gold, silver, and copper, 5     to cut stones for setting and to carve wood—to work in every kind of craft.

This spirit of Elohim is one that gives talent of wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge.  It is not separate spirits but one that he grants skills and the ability to use them.

 

Shemot/Exodus 35:31

 

31 He has endowed him with a divine spirit of skill (ruach Elohim bahakh’mah רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים בְּחָכְמָה), ability (bit’vunah בִּתְבוּנָה), and knowledge (ubada’at וּבְדַעַת) in every kind of craft.

 

Here we see again like before the spirit of Elohim as a something not being able to be grasped but coming from YHWH it gives talent to those he desires to grant it to.

 

Devarim/Deuteronomy 34:9

 

9 Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom (ruach hakh’mah רוּחַ חָכְמָה) because Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the Israelites heeded him, doing as YHWH had commanded Moses.

 

When Moshe laid hands on Yehoshua/Joshua he was granted the wisdom to lead the people.

 

We see that as defined as a spirit it is something granted to the individual.  Not necessarily a lifeforce but additional to one who lives.

 

 

Ruach as Spirit of Attitude or Emotion (both voluntary and involuntary)

 

Bereshit/Genesis 41:8

 

8     Next morning, his spirit (rucho רוּחוֹ) was agitated, and he sent for all the magicians of Egypt, and all its wise men; and Pharaoh told them his dreams, but none could interpret them for Pharaoh.

 

Spirit is used here but used in a way to express one’s attitude or state of mind.

 

Bereshit/Genesis 45:27

 

27     But when they recounted all that Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, the spirit (ruach רוּחַ) of their father Jacob revived.

 

Here the spirit of Yaqqov is revived by the idea of his son being alive.  Some commentators also believe this is also the restoration of prophecy to him also.

 

Bamidbar/Numbers 14:24

 

24     But My servant Caleb, because he was imbued with a different spirit (ruach רוּחַ) and remained loyal to Me—him will I bring into the land that he entered, and his offspring shall hold it as a possession.

 

Calev had a different spirit in that he remained loyal to YHWH and was willing to go up in the land.

 

Ezra 1:1,5

 

1      In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, when the word of YHWH spoken by Jeremiah was fulfilled, YHWH roused the spirit (ruach רוּחַ) of King Cyrus of Persia to issue a proclamation throughout his realm by word of mouth and in writing as follows:

YHWH roused King Cyrus to action.  So it is shown here as ones spirit being roused or another way of saying he put desire in him to act.

5     So the chiefs of the clans of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites, all whose spirit (rucho רוּחוֹ) had been roused by Elohim, got ready to go up to build the House of YHWH that is in Jerusalem.

YHWH put within then the desire to build up the House of YHWH.

 

Yechez’qel/Ezekiel 21:12

12     And when they ask you, “Why do you sigh?” answer, “Because of the tidings that have come.” Every heart shall sink and all hands hang nerveless; every spirit (kal ruach כָל־רוּחַ) shall grow faint and all knees turn to water because of the tidings that have come. It is approaching, it shall come to pass—declares the Adoni YHWH.

 

Everyone spirit goes faint is like saying everyone losses the heart to continue.

 

Shemu’el Aleph/I Samuel 16:14-16

 

14     Now the spirit of YHWH (veruach YHWH וְרוּחַ יְהוָה) had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit (ruach ra’ah רוּחַ־רָעָה) from YHWH began to terrify him. 15     Saul’s courtiers said to him, “An evil spirit of Elohim (ruach Elohim ra’ah רוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים רָעָה) is terrifying you. 16     Let our lord give the order [and] the courtiers in attendance on you will look for someone who is skilled at playing the lyre; whenever the evil spirit of Elohim (ruach Elohim ra’ah רוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים רָעָה) comes over you, he will play it and you will feel better.”

The spirit from YHWH taken from Shaul.  At that time, did he realize what was happening and that he was losing the kingdom.  The spirit from Elohim is one of worry, anxiety, fear.  We see this from the actions of Shaul in the pursuit of David.

 

Bamidbar/Numbers 5:14,30

 

14     but a fit [spirit – ruach רוּחַ] of jealousy comes over him and he is wrought up about the wife who has defiled herself; or if a fit [spirit – ruach רוּחַ] of jealousy comes over one and he is wrought up about his wife although she has not defiled herself

29     This is the ritual in cases of jealousy, when a woman goes astray while married to her husband and defiles herself, 30     or when a fit [spirit – ruach רוּחַ] of jealousy comes over a man and he is wrought up over his wife: the woman shall be made to stand before YHWH and the priest shall carry out all this ritual with her.

 

A spirit of Jealousy is in a sense a state of mind like that of the evil spirit that vexed Shaul.

 

Tehillim/Psalms 51:12, 14, 19

 

12     Fashion a pure heart for me, O Elohim; create [renew] in me a steadfast spirit (veruach וְרוּחַ).

14     Let me again rejoice in Your help; let a vigorous (willing) spirit (veruach וְרוּחַ) sustain me.

 

19     True sacrifice to Elohim is a contrite spirit (ruach רוּחַ); Elohim, You will not despise a contrite and crushed heart.

 

In this poetic form, we see spirit (ruach) applied to the attributes of steadfast, willing, and contrite.  The desire of the writer is using ruach as an innermost desire that these attributes be applied to him.

 

Ruach as life breath (another term for spirit)

 

Bereshit/Genesis 6:17

 

17  “For My part, I am about to bring the Flood—waters upon the earth—to destroy all flesh under the sky in which there is breath of life (ruach chayim רוּחַ חַיִּים); everything on earth shall perish.

 

Ruach Chayim would literally be spirit/wind of life.  So in using breath does this become a idom.

 

Bereshit/Genesis 7:15, 22

 

15     They came to Noah into the ark, two each of all flesh in which there was breath of life (ruach chayim רוּחַ חַיִּים).

22     All in whose nostrils was the merest breath of life (nish’mat-ruach chayim נִשְׁמַת־רוּחַ חַיִּים), all that was on dry land, died.

 

The breath of life here in the above verse is the same as the previous.  Nish’mat is breath like what we looked at earlier as that which was breathed into man and all like with breath.  It does appear to me that ruach chayim is an idom for those who breath.

 

Tehillim/Psalms 33:6

 

6  By the word of YHWH the heavens were made, by the breath (ubaruach וּבְרוּחַ) of His mouth, all their host.

 

Here again we see ruach used as breath.  Literally it would be like saying the spirit/wind of his mouth.  Since spirit of his mouth does not express what the writer wanted the idea of breath would be from blowing or breath of the wind from his mouth.

 

Kohelet/ Ecclesiastes 3:19,21

 

19     For in respect of the fate of man and the fate of beast, they have one and the same fate: as the one dies so dies the other, and both have the same lifebreath (veruach echad וְרוּחַ אֶחָד); man has no superiority over beast, since both amount to nothing. 20     Both go to the same place; both came from dust and both return to dust. 21     Who knows if a man’s lifebreath (ruach רוּחַ) does rise upward and if a beast’s breath (veruach וְרוּחַ) does sink down into the earth?

 

Both man and animal have the same spirit.  There is no difference between them.  Even King Solomon thought about the differences between man and beast given he read the creation account and the flood account as we have today.

 

Kolelet/ Ecclesiastes 8:8

 

8  No man has authority over the lifebreath (baruach בָּרוּחַ)—to hold back the lifebreath (haruach הָרוּחַ); there is no authority over the day of death. There is no mustering out from that war; wickedness is powerless to save its owner.

 

Man also does not have authority over death.  We all one day die both righteous and unrighteous.

 

Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 42:5

 

5     Thus said Elohim YHWH, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and what it brings forth, Who gave breath (nashamah נְשָׁמָה) to the people upon it And life (veruach וְרוּחַ) to those who walk thereon:

 

Breathing into them he gave people the spirit or breath.

 

Tehillim/Psalms 146:4

 

4  His breath (rucho רוּחוֹ) departs; he returns to the dust; on that day his plans come to nothing.

 

Here as spirit leaves man he dies and eventually becomes dust.

 

Ruach as in Spirit of all flesh – title for YHWH

 

Bamidbar/Numbers 16:22

 

22 But they fell on their faces and said, “Elohey, Source of the breath (Elohey haru’chot אֱלֹהֵי הָרוּחֹת) of all flesh! When one man sins, will You be wrathful with the whole community?”

 

The spirits/breaths of all flesh.  It appears to be a way of acknowledging that he gave spirit or breath to all flesh.

 

Bamidbar/Numbers 27:16

 

12Let YHWH, Source of the breath (YHWH Elohey haru’chot יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי הָרוּחֹת) of all flesh, appoint someone over the community

 

The maker of all flesh and giver of all life.

 

Ruach as Holy spirit

 

Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 63: 10,11

 

10 But they rebelled, and grieved His holy spirit (ruach qad’sho רוּחַ קָדְשׁוֹ); Then He became their enemy, And Himself made war against them. 11 Then they remembered the ancient days, Him, who pulled His people out [of the water]: “Where is He who brought them up from the Sea Along with the shepherd of His flock? Where is He who put In their midst His holy spirit (ruach qad’sho רוּחַ קָדְשׁוֹ),

 

YHWH is the holy spirit who is referenced here.

 

Tehillim/Psalms 51:13

 

13 Do not cast me out of Your presence, or take Your holy spirit (veruach qad’shakha וְרוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ) away from me.

 

This is David asking that after the instance with Bathsheva that he not lose contact with him and YHWH’s spirit as given to him at his anointing.

 

Ruach as in a renewed Spirit

 

Yechez’qel/Ezekiel 11:19

18 I will give them one heart and put a renewed spirit (veruach chodashah וְרוּחַ חֲדָשָׁה) in them; I will remove the heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh,

 

A renewed spirit is given to them and they may follow YHWH.

 

Yechez’qel/Ezekiel 18:31

 

31 Cast away all the transgressions by which you have offended, and get yourselves a renewed heart and a renewed spirit (veruach chodeashah וְרוּחַ חֲדָשָׁה), that you may not die, O House of Israel.

 

Here Elohim’s people are told to go get a renewed heart and spirit.  They could go out and start keeping his mitzvot.

 

Yechez’qel/Ezekiel 36:26

 

26 And I will give you a renewed heart and put renewed spirit (veruach chodeashah וְרוּחַ חֲדָשָׁה) into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh;

 

YHWH says that in the future we will give them the renewed heart and spirit.  This is in contrast with what we read before.

Ruach as YHWH’s/Elohim’s spirit

 

Bereshit/Genesis 1:2

 

2 the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from Elohim (veruach Elohim וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים) sweeping over the water.

 

This could be a spirit of Elohim going over the water.  Since we have seen that it could be either wind or spirit both would work here.

 

Bereshit/Genesis 6:3

 

3 YHWH said, “My breath shall not abide in man (lo yadon ruchiy ba’adam – not will it strive my spirit in Mankind לֹא־יָדוֹן רוּחִי בָאָדָם) forever, since he too is flesh; let the days allowed him be one hundred and twenty years.”

 

The text actually read “And said YHWH, not shall strive my spirit with man to all time in their erring”.  This gives a different feeling to the text.  Does it mean that he limits his spirit in man or that he will not put in an extended effort working with man?


Bereshit/Genesis 41:38

 

38     And Pharaoh said to his courtiers, “Could we find another like him, a man in whom is the spirit of Elohim (ruach Elohim רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים)?”

 

Pharaoh felt that Yosef had a divine spirit in him to do what he did.

 

Bamidbar/Numbers 24:2

 

2     As Balaam looked up and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the spirit of Elohim (ruach Elohim רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים) came upon him.

 

YHWH caused himself to influence him.  So that he would only bless the children of Yisrael.

 

Shofetim/Judges 3:10

 

9     The Israelites cried out to YHWH, and YHWH raised a champion for the Israelites to deliver them: Othniel the Kenizzite, a younger kinsman of Caleb. 10     The spirit of YHWH (ruach YHWH רוּחַ־יְהוָה) descended upon him and he became Israel’s chieftain. He went out to war, and YHWH delivered King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram into his hands. He prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim,

 

The spirit of YHWH is given to the leaders of Yisrael.

 

Shemu’el Aleph/I Samuel 10:6, 10

 

6     The spirit of YHWH (ruach YHWH רוּחַ יְהוָה) will grip you, and you will speak in ecstasy along with them; you will become another man.

10     And when they came there, to the Hill, he saw a band of prophets coming toward him. Thereupon the spirit of Elohim (ruach Elohim רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים) gripped him, and he spoke in ecstasy among them.

 

The spirit of YHWH is placed upon prophets and they speak His words.  In this case if was a young Shaul before he was King.

 

Shemu’el Aleph/I Samuel 11:6

 

6 When he heard these things, the spirit of Elohim (Ruach Elohim רוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים) gripped Saul and his anger blazed up.

 

The spirit of Elohim caused Shaul to act.

 

Shemu’el Aleph/I Samuel 16:13

 

13 Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of YHWH (ruach YHWH  רוּחַ־יְהוָה) gripped David from that day on. Samuel then set out for Ramah.

 

Here David is anointed King and YHWH’s spirit comes upon him.  Just like Yehoshua, Shaul, Othniel the Kenizzite, and other leaders

 

What we have seen is that nashamah is breath and ruach is spirit/wind.  So the point of all this is that we can examine creation account as found in Bereshit/Genesis 1-2 and compare that to the Yehe’zqel/Ezekiel 37:1-14, and Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 26:9,18.  We know from our study that ruach and nahsamah are related in the Bereshit/Genesis 7:22.  Yet, is Ezekiel 37 a resurrection account or can there be another interpretation.

 

Creation of man

 

Bereshit/Genesis 2:7

 

7 YHWH Elohim formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath of life (nish’mat chayim נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים), and man became a living being (va yahiy ha’adam lenefesh chayah וַיְהִי הָאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה).

 

Notice that the breath is from nashamah not ruach.  So the method of causing man to live at first was the nashamah chayim to be blown into him.

 

Bereshit/Genesis 7:22

 

21 And all flesh that stirred on earth perished—birds, cattle, beasts, and all the things that swarmed upon the earth, and all mankind. 22 All in whose nostrils was the merest breath of life (nish’mat-ruach chayim נִשְׁמַת־רוּחַ חַיִּים), all that was on dry land, died. 23 All existence on earth was blotted out—man, cattle, creeping things, and birds of the sky; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

 

Here we see the breath spirit is in man and all animals. 

 

Resurrection of Yisrael

 

Yechez’qel/Ezekiel 37:9

 

9     Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath (haruach - the spirit הָרוּחַ), prophesy, O mortal! Say to the breath (haruach - the spirit הָרוּחַ): Thus said the Adoni YHWH: Come, O breath (haruach – the spirit הָרוּחַ), from the four winds (me’ar’ba ruchot  מֵ‍אַרְבַּע רוּחוֹת), and breathe (uf’chiy 5301 breathe/blow וּפְחִי) into these slain, that they may live again.”

 

Four corners is a similar concept of like the four winds (ruach).  The same word for winds is the plural of ruach.  The reason I believe it is winds and not spirit here is that how would “the spirit” come from four spirits?

 

Also, did YHWH breath into man or was it the Spirit as stated here.  Thus, the method of creation or recreation is different here.

 

Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 11:11-12

 

11     In that day, Adoni will apply His hand again to redeeming the other part of His people from Assyria—as also from Egypt, Pathros, Nubia, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the coastlands.  12     He will hold up a signal to the nations And assemble the banished of Israel, And gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners (me’ar’ba kanafot  מֵ‍אַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת) of the earth.

 

We can see in other parts of the Tanakh where dried bones are from other than death.

 

Mishlei/Proverbs 17:22

 

22 A joyful heart makes for good health; Despondency dries up the bones.

 

Which matches the verse in Ezekiel 37:11

 

11  And He said to me, “O mortal, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They say (om’rim  אֹמְרִים), ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone; we are doomed.’

 

So it could be that this prophecy talks of the despondency of the whole house of Israel that they feel without hope of ever returning to the land.  When it says “they say” that is a indication to me that these are not truly dead individuals talking.  As taken from Yesha’yahu’s account of Hezekiah poem the dead know nothing nor do they speak.

 

Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 38:18

 

18     For it is not Sheol that praises You, Not Death that extols You; Nor do they who descend into the Pit Hope for Your grace. 19     The living, only the living Can give thanks to You As I do this day; Fathers relate to children Your acts of grace:

 

So my conclusion is that the Ezekiel account of the dried bones can be alternatively be interpreted as metaphorically as the state of Yisrael in exile.  They being without hope (despondent).  The restoring from the graves is the taking from the four winds (ruach) and gathering them and placing hope back into them as represented as the spirit (haruach).

 

We have also seen that ruach is spirit/wind as something which is sensed.  Specially since the verb is “to smell’ which is to say to sense.  Thus, spirit and wind both being similar in they are not touchable and both can be felt or sensed.  Neither can be captured or held.  The account of creation is specifically from nashamah, which was breath.  We see that the result of that breath was that men and beasts become nefesh chayim (living souls).  The spirit from YHWH or Elohim is given to the leaders and prophets or even to the skilled craftmen to increase their abilities.

 

All this being said, please don’t think that I am saying there will be no resurrection.  In Daniel 12:2 it refers to a resurrection.  Yesha’yahu 26:18-19 also talks of the dead awakening.