Section 4: Key Beliefs Re-examined, Article 8

Are Spirits Good or Bad?

“All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes;
but Yehuveh weigheth the spirits.”
Proverbs 16:2.

ow thoughtful! What a sweet spirit!” Tracy stood motionless, holding the card in her hand and looking at the potted pink and white variegated azalea she had just been given. She had missed work for more than a week because her father was critically ill and she had gone half-way
across the country to be with him. For days she and her mother anxiously watched, worried that they would lose him. Then finally, after an eternity of uncertainty, he had rallied and Tracy had been able to return home. Her co-workers greeted her with a kindly welcome, a card they had all signed, and this beautiful plant. Tracy knew everyone quite well and it was an easy guess who had purchased the plant and card. She flashed Claudia a knowing smile as she spoke the words!
        Meanwhile, across town at the high school where Tracy’s second son, Brad, was a “star” on the local football team, an incident was developing which was quite the opposite. Coach Taylor had benched Kyle, one of the seniors, for anger issues and in a rage he had left the playing field and torn up the locker room, including clothing belong to Brad and several of the other teammates. When Brad learned of the incident he called his mom to tell her what had happened with Kyle. Her co-workers heard only her side of the conversation, but twice over she told Brad, “The school better deal with this. It’s
mean-spirited and they need to make Kyle pay for the damages.”

Sweet Spirits, Mean Spirits
        The word
“spirit” is used in numerous ways to express aspects of human thought and behavior which are very real yet essentially intangible. While kindly words and acts are “sweet-spirited” and cruel actions are “mean-spirited,” we also use “spirit” to describe unexplainable phenomenon which appear to be beyond the expected laws of nature. If a door slams when there is no-one present and no wind blowing, we immediately think of “spirits”! And not to cheapen the word, we describe mind-altering alcohols as “spirits,” which may indeed be more appropriate that we know. The extensive use of alcohol indeed changes the “spirit” of an alcoholic!
        Just what is a
“spirit”? As Tracy twice used the word, it simply describes any illusive quality which we can perceive but otherwise not quite define. “Spirit” is not character, personality, or attitude, though it doubtless takes in patterns in each. Rather, “spirit” is used to describe something more all-encompassing, something more transient. Claudia was perceptively sensitive to Tracy’s stress and sought a way to lift her thoughts above her immediate situation. A beautiful plant, with potential for bringing color to Tracy’s yard for years to come, would momentarily take Tracy’s thoughts from her potential losses to her enjoyable future. This insight wasn’t directly part of Claudia’s character or personality, or was it? Kyle’s sudden and intense rage didn’t reflect who he really was, or did it? “Sprits” are by very nature insubstantial, and this word is useful for this very reason.
        The English translation of the Scriptures use the word
spirit in two ways, one very positive and the other to be totally avoided. Why? Because the translation from the original Hebrew is coming from two very different words. In Proverbs 16:2 [Yehuveh weigheth the spirits.”] the Hebrew word is ruwach [Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary entry H7307] meaning “wind; breath; exhalation; life, anger, unsubstantiality, a region of the sky; spirit, but only of a rational being.” In the KJV Scriptures, every translation of the alternate Hebrew word, 'owb [entry H0178, meaning “a mumble, a water-skin (from its hollow sound), hence a necromancer (ventriloquist, as from a jar).”] is always translated “familiar spirit,” making it possible to distinguish the two words without in-depth research when just reading.

Gael Bataman         
Originally Written:        3 November 2005              
Latest Update:              6 May 2010

Complete Study Guide to Article 8   

Desirable Spirits        Being Spiritual       Warnings Against Familiar Spirits      
Saul and the Witch of Endor       Of What Spirit are You?      
Seven Spirits Before Yehuveh’s Throne      

Return to Zadok Home                Continue Article 8 . . .                    Go to Section 4: Beliefs
Go to Historical Calendar    Go to Daniel 11-12   Go to Revelation    Go to Years of Returning (Darius)