WFT- weird

02 August 2009

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 13th was weird.

1 : of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural 2 : of strange or extraordinary character : odd, fantastic

They provided this insightful etymological information:

You may know today’s word as a generalized term describing something unusual, but "weird" also has older meanings that are more specific. "Weird" derives from the Old English noun "wyrd," essentially meaning "fate." By the 8th century, the plural "wyrde" had begun to appear in texts as a gloss for "Parcae," the Latin name for the Fates — three goddesses who spun, measured, and cut the thread of life. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Scots authors employed "werd" or "weird" in the phrase "weird sisters" to refer to the Fates. William Shakespeare adopted this usage in Macbeth, in which the "weird sisters" are depicted as three witches. Subsequent adjectival use of "weird" grew out of a reinterpretation of the "weird" used by Shakespeare.


The most common usage of the word relates to something that is unusual but I was entirely unfamiliar with the earlier association with witchcraft. Scripture warns believers against witchcraft and the occult:

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. - Exodus 22:18 KJV
"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you. - Deuteronomy 18:10
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. - Galatians 5:19-21


The word detestable in this passage is the Hebrew word toebah [toe AY bah]. "Detestable" is a rather mild interpretation for this word. It is most often translated in Scripture as "abomination". For example: Homosexuality is called an abomination in Leviticus 18:22. Using the word toebah, incest (Lev 18:6-18), sexual relations with a woman on her period (Lev 18:19), adultery (Lev 18:20), homosexuality (Lev 18:22), and beastiality (Lev 18:23) are all summarized as "abominations" in Leviticus 18:26-27. Leviticus 20:13 again condemns homosexuality using the Hebrew word toebah but the NASB translators chose the phrase "detestable act" rather than the word abomination (as the KJV uses). G-d labels cross-dressing (transvestitism) as abominable in Deuteronomy 22:5. Idols are described in Deuteronomy 7:25 as abominations. Deuteronomy 14 describes a series of animals unsuitable for consumption by G-d's people and labels them as toebah in Deuteronomy 14:3. The NASB uses the phrase "detestable thing" which the KJV uses "abominable thing". G-d cautions Isra'el not to follow in the abominable ways of the people living in the land into which they are going in Deuteronomy 18:9. Differing measures and differing weights (i.e. fraud in commerce) is labeled abominable in Deuteronomy 25:16.


Extraordinary Character

Noting the second definition above, weird can also mean "of extraordinary character". In contrast to the abominations above we find the most extraordinary character of all time: Messiah Yeshua. He never partook of or participated in any of the things described above as abominable (toebah). That definitely made Him weird... but in an honorable, righteous, and holy way. May He be honored for his "weirdness". May we turn from our sin and seek to follow our Messiah and walk in his ways so that we may not "continue in sin so that grace may increase" (as Paul warns us against in Romans 6:1). We should also consider these words from the letter to the Hebrews:

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29)


Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created. - Revelation 4:11



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