The sand of the sea.
H2344 | חול | chôwl
Read – Jeremiah 5
When we think of the sand and the sea, we think about Abraham.
15. And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16. And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17. That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
The sand is often used as a multiplying sense. EG – Joseph stopped counting because it was as the sand of the sea.
17. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
Sense of numbering using the sand as an example.
The thoughts of God are more than the sand.
In Gen 22 we can see God thinking on the promises therefore.
When thinking about these blessings, they refer to others.
18. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Context of multiplying is that there are others which are not the seed, but are round about the seed.
We know from the NT that it is those in the nations round about that have faith in Christ.
In Gen it doesn’t talk just about sand. It is about the sand on the sea shore in v17.
There are other examples where it isn’t to do with the sea – eg Moses buries the Egyptian in the sand.
Here in Gen 22 it is about the sand which is on the “lip” of the sea. It is being very specific about it’s location. In the NT this is repeated and uses the word for lip also.
The word lip is often used in conjunction with the tongue and is about how they speak.
It is also used when talking about the edge or rim of something. Such as a lip of a vessel. Here it is something to do with the limit of something.
This is also the case here, it is the limit of the sea and the beginning of the land.
Back to Jer 5
Context of unfaithfulness and Yahweh is going to bring a nation against them because of this.
15. Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.
The word language is the word for “tongue”
Then from v 19
19. And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours.
20. Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying,
21. Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
22. Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?
23. But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.
There is a perpetual decree to stop the sea from passing over. God is really drawing out this idea of the sea having a limit. They can not PASS OVER – from this word we get the word for “Hebrew”.
This relationship is about the nations and his people.
The sand is on the point where one bounds the other.
How is the sand a bounding for the sea?
22. The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26. While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28. When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29. When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
The word commandment is the word “mouth” in v29. Just drawing out that sense here again.
7. Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
8. When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
More numbering going on here and there are bounds of the people described. This is the coast word.
Linking more of the language to the nation of Israel.
1.To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2.Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Going back to Jeremiah we can see how Yahweh is bring a nation upon the C of I into the land. Cause them to come upon them in v15.
The sea can not pass over onto the land, however a nation is going to come over and spoil the land.
What is now happening is that a nation is going to come in and overcome the land. This isn’t the normal picture whereby the sea can not pass onto the land.
There is a sense of turning and revolting which the C of I have done to bring about the invasion of the land. It is happening because they have a rebellious heart!
Just stepping back slightly now to look at some related ideas to sand.
The idea of Sand is related to “whirling” which is completely lost in translation. We would be familiar with it when it is translated as dancing.
H4246 | מחלה | mᵉchôlâh
Ex 15 – Song of Moses and the women responding to the song.
19. For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.
20. And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
21. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
With this idea you can see how there is a type of movement. It is about whirling. We can see this with the connection with a whirlwind.
There is another word for whirlwind in the OT, which isn’t this word, but our word is used to describe it.
18. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
19. Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
Here the grievously word H4246 is used to describe the whirlwind.
There is a mention of the head also. “Upon the head he will whirl” – this is a reference to Joab – 2 Sam 3
28. And afterward when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the LORD for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner:
29. Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread.
Joab smote Abner in deceit.
v29 “they will whirl upon the head of Joab” – It is translated as “rest” which is a terrible translation.
In Jer 5, the sand is something to do with the roaring and the action of the sea on the sea shore. What it suggests is that the sand on the sea shore is something that is between the gentiles and the C of I. There is a separation of the roaring. It then has this whirling action built in.
Israel are in Egypt and they are MULTIPLYING. They are amongst the Gentiles and multiplying. The Egyptians are worried about this.
10. Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
12. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
The picture of the sand on the sea shore and the sea doing all this roaring on it is interesting as the C of I multiply when afflicted. This is what is happening on the sea shore, the sand is multiplying.
The sand is the product of the roaring and whirling. The seed becomes a multitude by the affliction that comes upon the sand.
2. Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi–hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal–zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
Between the sea and upon the sea. They are right on the sea of the sea where the sand is.
3. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.
God beguiles Pharaoh and draws them into the sea.
They pursue after Israel..
9. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi–hahiroth, before Baal–zephon.
15. And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
16. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
The sea, being typical of the nations and the dry is the nation of Israel… they can come into the midst of the sea. They are separated from the nations.
22. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
23. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
God then defeats the Egyptians.
26. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
30. Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the (LIP) of the sea shore.
The C of I saw that the Egyptians were dead on the lip of the sea. This is really important so that they could see WHERE they had been slayed.
The nations are defeated and can not pass over!
Ex 15 – then you can see the significance of the dancing/whirling.
The C of I are already the number of the sand of the sea shore, we see that the nation were destroyed on the lip of the sea, therefore the women whirl about like the sand on the sea shore. They are demonstrating the action of the sand and what it has done.
The sand on the sea, being part of the promises isn’t just about the number, but also their relationship with the nations.
Some of the physical features of this, the roaring of the nations (sea) and how God has set a decree that they can not pass over. They may be frightening, but he has ensured that this will not happen, however the action of these nations cause an increase in the number of the sand on the shore.
In Jeremiah, he is reminding them of this pattern because he is going to break it to bring a nation into the land.
For us, we need to think of our relation with the nations and the assurance that we will be delivered from the nations we find ourselves being amongst.
This is a big feature of the blessing to Abraham.