As we continue to study the names of God in the Bible, we gain a greater and more accurate understanding of His characteristics and the blessings He provides for His people. In this study, we will look at Jehovah-shalom and see how our God truly is a God of peace, Who wills for us to enjoy peace in our lives. The only occurrence of the title Jehovah-shalom in the King James Version of the Bible is in Judges 6:24:
Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord [Jehovah], and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.
The Hebrew Jehovah-shalom means “The Lord [is] peace.” From The Companion Bible we see that Jehovah-shalom can also mean the Lord gives peace. We’ll develop our understanding of this title of God by exploring the meaning of the Hebrew word shalom and its root form, shalam. Then we’ll look at the context of Judges 6:24 to see how the Lord gave peace to His people by Gideon when they looked to and trusted in Him. Finally, we’ll look at other scriptures that show God’s heart to give peace to His people.
Let’s begin by looking in God’s Word at the Hebrew word shalom to see some different ways in which it is used. The word shalom occurs over 250 times, 172 of which are translated “peace” in the King James Version. In at least 50 of all the occurrences of shalom, it means “absence of strife,” as we see in the following examples.
And I [the Lord, Jehovah] will give peace [shalom] in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
One thing God promised the children of Israel was peace in the land, if they would walk in His statutes and keep His commandments and do them (verse 3).
God named Solomon before his birth and also promised David that there would be peace in Solomon’s day. The name “Solomon” means “peaceful,” and the quiet and peace that Israel would experience during his reign as king is noted in God’s Word.
I Chronicles 22:9:
Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon [Shelomoh, meaning peaceful], and I will give peace [shalom] and quietness unto Israel in his days.
In a fuller sense, shalom refers to health, well-being, and peace with God.
And he [Joseph] asked them of their welfare [shalom], and said, Is your father well [shalom], the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?
Here in Genesis, Joseph wanted to know the shalom—the welfare of his family and the health of his father. The Lord cares for our health and welfare.
In the following verses, we see shalom used to describe a covenant of peace with God and His gracious blessing of peace.
Ezekiel 34:24 and 25:
And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.
And I will make with them a covenant of peace [shalom], and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
The Word plainly shows us that it is available for men and women to know and enjoy peace with God.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace [shalom].
We can gain a deeper appreciation of the word shalom by looking at its root form, shalam. This word expresses completeness, wholeness, and fulfillment—qualities that bring about peace.
The Temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem was recognized for its fine craftsmanship and the use of the finest materials of that day. God uses the word shalam to show that the building was completed and the Temple was ready to be of service.
II Chronicles 5:1:
Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the Lord was finished [shalam]: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.
In Nehemiah the word shalam describes the completion of Jerusalem’s wall that was rebuilt by Nehemiah and Jerusalem’s inhabitants.
Nehemiah 6:15 and 16:
So the wall was finished [shalam] in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.
This wall was completed so quickly that even the unbelieving people surrounding Jerusalem had to recognize that this work was supported by the God of Israel….
This is an excerpt from the January/February 2013 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2013 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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