Pakad - To Visit
by Lois Tverberg
"What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you visit him?" Psalm 8:5
One of the words that seems to be used in a strange way in literal translations of the Bible is the word "visit," or pakad in Hebrew. In the King James Version, it seems to not make a lot of sense in the passages that it is found in, as in Exodus 20:5 when it speaks about "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children." Often, the word "visit" is not being used in any sense that we normally use the word, and shows that a literal translation is sometimes quite misleading.
The word pakad in Hebrew is fascinating in its breadth of meaning, only rarely meaning the most literal usage, "to visit." Its overall meaning is to pay attention to, but that can be in either a positive or negative way. It can mean to care for (as in Psalm 8:5), or even to come to one's rescue:
But it can also mean to have God's attention in a negative way, as judgement or punishment:
Interestingly, Jesus makes a powerful statement using this word when he says, "For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." (Luke 19:43-44) He doesn't just mean when he "visited" them by coming to earth. He is using the Hebraic sense of the word, both positively or negatively, in the strongest possible sense. For those who repent and follow Christ, God has come to their rescue, to save them eternally, but for those who ignore him, it will be the source of their punishment, when God "visits" their sins on them in the judgment to come.
| ©2003 Lois A. Tverberg, Ph.D., OurRabbiJesus.com. All rights
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