Word Study: Neighbour (Hebrew רע)

The English word “neighbor” is found 16 times in the NT. It is translated from the Greek word “plasion” (Strongs G4139, πλησιν). The Greek word “Plasion” is found 17 times in the NT. It is found in Matthew (3 times), Mark (2), Luke (3), John (1), Acts (1), Rom (3), Gal (1), Eph (1), Heb (1) & James (1). In John 4:5 it is translated “near” and is the only time it is not translated “neighbor”. John writes, “Then cometh he to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, “plasion” (near) to the parcel of the ground that Yacob gave to his son Yoceph.” The word in the context of land has the sense of meaning of “near” in Greek thought. In all the other passage in the NT with the context of “a person” it is translated “neighbor. Thus, a neighbor is a person who is near. In Yisrael in Greek thought a neighbor is simply a person who is near which could be another child of Yisrael, of Avraham, of Yisqak, of Yakob. But Yeshua in Luke 10:22ff in the parable of the Good Samaritan expands the thought of the day as it related to “neighbor”, as really all people, even those who are of one group who might despise another group as those who “show mercy”. The merciful ones are the true neighbors as God sees it, whatever the distinction in the flesh might be, such as Jews, or Gentiles, bond or free, male or female, black or white. Is not this the Spirit of God, for God is a true neighbor to all people, for the Mashiach died for all people.

Now we should know that all understanding comes through the OT (the scriptures of the prophets) in light of the Mashiach, Yeshua, death for all people’s sins, His burial and His resurrection the third day. This passage in Luke is a good passage to connect the Old with the New. For in Luke 10:27, in the conversation of the rich man and Yeshua it is written, “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him saying, Master what shall I do to inherit life that does not cease? He, Yeshua, said unto him, What is written in the Law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love Yahavah Elohiym (the Lord God) with all thy heart, and with all the soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind (Deut 6:5) and “thy neighbor as thyself” (Lev 19:18). I am convinced that Lev 19:8 literally translated from the Hebrew reads, “thou shalt love they neighbor like (or as) I Yahavah.” It is the right and spiritual understanding of Lev 19:18 that can give the children of grace the true understanding of God. It is loving our neighbor as we love ourselves that is the true love of God toward all people, but loving people (neighbor) as God loves all people, that the true love of God is found.

The Hebrew word translated “neighbor” in Lev 19:18 is “RaA” (Strongs H7453, רע). The Hebrew word “RaA” is found 188 total times in the OT, neighbour (103), friend (42), another (23), fellow (10), companion (5), other (2), brother (1), husband (1). Only two times is RaA translated as an immediate family member, brother and husband. Thus, the vast majority of time RaA implies a person near but not a family member. Another word associated with “RaA” is “RaAH”. It is found 173 total times in the OT translated as follows: feed (75), shepherd (63), pastor (8), herdman (7), keep (3), companion (2), broken (1), company (1), devour (1), eat (1), entreat (1), miscellaneous (10). To further categorize the word RaAH, 77 times it refers to feed, 81 times protect & 160 feed/protect. Thus, the Hebrew word RaAH in the essence of meaning has a strong sense of the relationship of the shepherd to the sheep. The shepherd feeds and protects the sheep. “My sheep hear my voice” and the voice of the Good Shepherd is the one true gospel, and the one true gospel is the Mashiach, Yeshua, died for our sins according to the OT, He was buried and He rose again the third day according to the OT. (Luke 24, 1 Cor 15:1-6) Thus, RaAH and RaA together have the sense of feeding and protecting. RaA, neighbor, is one who is willing and able to feed and protect another person. In the love of God there is abundant grace for the chosen ones to love all people. They have a willingness to love all people. They are the those who neighbors to all people, do good to all, sharing the gospel and all that they have as God provides good works for them to walk in.

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One Response to Word Study: Neighbour (Hebrew רע)

  1. Gwen Duckworth says:

    Thanks be to Elohim for being a neighbor to all people, full of mercy and truth!

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