"To Know"


#1

In Scripture, we often read about a husband coming "to know" his wife.

The typical understanding of this has been that it correlates to the marital act.

I've been thinking lately that it would make more sense if "to know" actually meant "seeing" the wife for the first time (as in, in her birthday suit). This makes more sense to me (when referring to the English) because it would seem that the husband would come to know what the wife looks like without her garments. With this understanding too, you can see how when in Scripture it talks about Joseph not coming "to know" Mary until she gave birth to her first-born (Jesus). With this understanding, it would mean that he did not know what Mary "looked like" until she was in labor, when it may be likely that Joseph would have helped her deliver. This also wouldn't imply that they had relations after Jesus' birth.

What do you all think of this?


#2

[quote="bzkoss236, post:1, topic:324337"]

In Scripture, we often read about a husband coming "to know" his wife.

The typical understanding of this has been that it correlates to the marital act.

I've been thinking lately that it would make more sense if "to know" actually meant "seeing" the wife for the first time (as in, in her birthday suit). This makes more sense to me (when referring to the English) because it would seem that the husband would come to know what the wife looks like without her garments.

[/quote]

I would suggest that you start with a concordance. :)

There are three main definitions of the verb yad'a in Biblical Hebrew:

  • To know (about) something/someone.
  • To understand.
  • To experience.

When it means experience, yad'a can refer to an experience of collective suffering (Exodus 23:9) a personal journey (Genesis 14:8) or sexual relations (Genesis 4:1) between spouses. In other words, marital intimacy is more than a celebrated physical encounter on the wedding night, but directly connected to mutual knowledge and depth of understanding.

(nfty.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=5750&pge_id=1606)

[quote="bzkoss236, post:1, topic:324337"]

With this understanding too, you can see how when in Scripture it talks about Joseph not coming "to know" Mary until she gave birth to her first-born (Jesus). With this understanding, it would mean that he did not know what Mary "looked like" until she was in labor, when it may be likely that Joseph would have helped her deliver. This also wouldn't imply that they had relations after Jesus' birth.

What do you all think of this?

[/quote]

The Gospels were translated from Aramaic to Greek. I don't know if either language has a direct equivalent of yad'a so it's possible that the meaning in the text would be very different.


#3

[quote="bzkoss236, post:1, topic:324337"]
I've been thinking lately that it would make more sense if "to know" actually meant "seeing" the wife for the first time (as in, in her birthday suit).

[/quote]

Well, this is an interesting eisegesis -- after all, you're trying to explain Catholic teaching about Mary's virginity by injecting a meaning into the word 'know' as found in Scripture, right?

Unfortunately, it doesn't hold up.

Look at Gen 4:1 -- Adam 'knows' Eve, and Cain is born. (So far, so good.) Then, in Gen 4:2, Eve simply 'bears' Abel (hey -- we're still looking good! Adam already 'knows' what Eve looks like, so we don't see it happening again!). But, then turn to Gen 4:25 -- once again, Adam 'knows' Eve, and she bears Seth.

So, we can't inject the meaning "see naked for the first time" into the word for 'know', as found in the Bible...


#4

[quote="Gorgias, post:3, topic:324337"]
Well, this is an interesting eisegesis -- after all, you're trying to explain Catholic teaching about Mary's virginity by injecting a meaning into the word 'know' as found in Scripture, right?

[/quote]

no, that is not what I'm trying to do. And I was merely stating that if the definition I proposed is correct, that it would be harder to dismiss Catholic teaching.

Also, with the passages you presented, that doesn't mean that sex was the only use of the word in the context between two people/spouses.


#5

[quote="Bezant, post:2, topic:324337"]
I would suggest that you start with a concordance. :)

There are three main definitions of the verb yad'a in Biblical Hebrew:

  • To know (about) something/someone.
  • To understand.
  • To experience.

When it means experience, yad'a can refer to an experience of collective suffering (Exodus 23:9) a personal journey (Genesis 14:8) or sexual relations (Genesis 4:1) between spouses. In other words, marital intimacy is more than a celebrated physical encounter on the wedding night, but directly connected to mutual knowledge and depth of understanding.

(nfty.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=5750&pge_id=1606)

The Gospels were translated from Aramaic to Greek. I don't know if either language has a direct equivalent of yad'a so it's possible that the meaning in the text would be very different.

[/quote]

This is a good post and get to the heart of the question.

Knowledge, or the greek word gnosis, is deep knowledge of something or someone through experience. We can know things about our spouse but true knowledge comes from experiencing our spouse.

**...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened,... *(Ephesians 1:17-18)*

Someone once said, "If you are going to study trees, at some point you are going to have to go outside and look at an actual tree."

When I think of knowing, I think of experiencing in a palpable, visceral way, of having the eyes of my heart enlightened.

-Tim-


#6

Excellent post, Tim! You captured exactly what I was trying to express.


#7

[quote="Bezant, post:6, topic:324337"]
Excellent post, Tim! You captured exactly what I was trying to express.

[/quote]

OK... but you hinged the definition on the notion of the first such experience. That definition doesn't hold up.


#8

It doesn’t necessarily have to be the *first *time. I was just trying to give an example.


#9

[quote="bzkoss236, post:8, topic:324337"]
It doesn't necessarily have to be the *first *time. I was just trying to give an example.

[/quote]

:hmmm: :confused:

:shrug: ok. whatever...


#10

[quote="Gorgias, post:7, topic:324337"]
OK... but you hinged the definition on the notion of the first such experience. That definition doesn't hold up.

[/quote]

You mean the definition of yad'a as the first experience of marital intimacy? No. Actually, I was arguing the opposite.


#11

Whoops! Sorry – I was conflating you with bzkoss!


#12

[quote="Gorgias, post:11, topic:324337"]
Whoops! Sorry -- I was conflating you with bzkoss!

[/quote]

No problem. ;)


#13

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