Sunday, April 10, 2011


I was thinking and heard in sacrament meeting several times that God is aware of us. I wondered to myself, "self that sounds pretty important so what does it mean to be aware?"

I looked up the records that I could find and found some possible roots for it; prudent, aware, alert, wary, attentive, cautious, to cover
I was very glad to see that aware came up but some of the more significant ones were prudent, alert, attentive and to cover. I truly do feel that God is prudent with the experiences that He gives me and gives me just enough. I feel that He is alert and attentive to my needs and my feelings so that He can comfort me. 
But the most significant one for me is to cover.

The following is an excerpt from Hugh Nibley from one of my favorite series that he wrote:

In Semitic languages, where one root can have many meanings, the first rule is always to look for the basic or literal meaning of the word, which in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic usually takes us back to early days and simple homely affairs of life in the desert or the countryside. One simple physical act often triggers a long line of derivatives—meanings which are perfectly reasonable if one takes the most obvious steps from one to the next, but which can end up miles from the starting-place.

The basic word for atonement is kafar, which has the same basic meaning in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic—that being “to bend, arch over, cover; 2) [to pass over with one’s palm &c., to wipe out, rub] … to deny, … to forgive, … to be expiated, … renounce.”

The Arabic kafara puts the emphasis on a tight squeeze, such as tucking in the skirts, drawing a thing close to oneself. Closely related are Aramaic and Arabic kafata,  meaning a close embrace, which are certainly related to the Egyptian hpt,  the common ritual embrace written with the ideogram of embracing arms. Hpt may be cognate with the Latin capto and the Persian kaftan,  a monk’s robe and hood completely embracing the body.

Most interesting is the Arabic kafata,  as it is the key to a dramatic situation. It was the custom for one fleeing for his life in the desert to seek protection in the tent of a great sheik, crying out, “Ana dakhiluka,” meaning “I am thy suppliant,” whereupon the host would place the hem of his robe over the guest’s shoulder and declare him under his protection. In one instance in the Book of Mormon we see Nephi fleeing from an evil enemy that is pursuing him. In great danger, he prays the Lord to give him an open road in the low way, to block his pursuers, and to make them stumble. He comes to the Lord as a suppliant: “O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies!” (2 Ne. 4:33.) In reply, according to the ancient custom, the Master would then place the hem of his robe protectively over the kneeling man’s shoulder (kafata). This puts him under the Lord’s protection from all enemies. They embrace in a close hug, as Arab chiefs still do; the Lord makes a place for him (see Alma 5:24) and invites him to sit down beside him—they are at-one.

This is the imagery of the Atonement—the embrace: “The Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Ne. 1:15.)

“Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.” (Alma 5:33.)

This is the hpt—the ritual embrace that consummates the final escape from death in the Egyptian funerary texts and reliefs, where the son Horus is received into the arms of his father Osiris (end of excerpt).

I truly feel that the Lord is aware of me and I hope that I can be more aware of Him being aware of me. I hope that I will take more time to rewind the day and see His hand in my life and then thank Him for the bounty. 

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