YHWH El Naqamah
Names of God – part 26
The LORD God of revenge
YHWH is God’s actual name which he revealed to Moses from the burning bush, it implies the personal nature of God and El the creator which is immeasurably beyond us. These two names are held in contrast here, a God who is both close and strange to us.
The third part of the name here is how God relates to us:
The third part of the name here has two forms. Naqamah, a feminine noun and Naqam a masculine noun.
I have heard it said that hard qualities such as logic, anger and revenge are masculine qualities and soft qualities such as care, protection and nurture are masculine qualities. While I do not necessarily agree fully with this, I have met some very logical women, for instance, there is something of this in the Hebrew names of God. The God who cares, for example, has a feminine noun. Here the God of revenge has both masculine and feminine forms. If you do not think that revenge has a feminine form I suggest the next time you are out in a town centre or park or other places where mothers push their babies around in prams that you bend down over the pram pick up the baby and walk off with it. You will very quickly experience the feminine form of revenge in all its wonderful glory. The revenge is for her child.
Actually, I do not recommend you do this at all. I do not wish to be responsible for you being arrested.
God’s feminine revenge is like this. God is vengeful on behalf of his children, God takes his revenge on those who will harm us, or have harmed us. It is not ours to take, although we may have to take action, like those parts where King David praises God for his protection in avenging the nation’s enemies. David was a warrior king and knew this was achieved through the action of his armies acting under the will of God. The feminine form of the vengeful God is a God who loves and protests like a mother, and is the version we worship when we sing Psalms. A god who protects is worthy of our worship.
God’s masculine revenge is more often seen in the Jewish law. Here it is a warning to those who will harm God’s servants and his people. If you do God will take his revenge on you. Be warned, be afraid. God is jealous for his people (see part 24 0f this series), God will avenge his people.
But at the same time, God does not want anyone to die in their sins, but to come to repentance. Repentance is the act of turning away from what you have done. God is always ready to welcome us and forgive.
So to sum up, do not take revenge yourself, and do not harm God’s people. But if you do God is ready to forgive those who turn from disobeying him. God is worth worshipping because his jealousy and revenge are on our behalf. That is worth celebrating.