It was a simple discovery.
My friend Matthew handed me a rather long list of English words for which he sought the Hebrew equivalents. Reading, rather than conversing, in Hebrew, my main recourse is to search through the Hebrew Scriptures, looking for that English word, or something close to it, and finding an appropriate Hebrew counterpart.
Simple, for the most part. Earth. Sky. Water. Gold. Silver. Red. Sword.
Some are more challenging. Adventure. Destiny. Game. Anti-Hero.
I put off ploughing through the list for a long time, just because of its forbidding length. But then I dove in.
And then I came to the word “artist.”
Did an “artist” word search in the KJV.
Not once. Not even a form of it.
Did the same with the ESV.
Two hits for “artistic” in Exodus 31 and 35. Bezalel and Oholiab. Of course. Yes. The craftsmen/artists who did all that artistic work on the tabernacle. I search for “craftsman” looking for something that could work for “artist.”
And it was a total “whoa” moment.
Two words in the Hebrew text.
“Cha-kham leiv” (with the “ch” and “kh” being “ch” as in Bach rather than “ch” in choose; make it nice and guttural at the back of the throat, folks. You should be coughing up some phlegm if you’re doing it right, people; and come to think of it, the same is true of art).
Meaning: wise of heart.
That’s how the King James translates it; modern translations go for “craftsman.” But I dub it “artist.”
An artist is one who is wise of heart.
And what is wisdom?
Taking in the big picture of reality and knowing how to interact with it, the ability to see it and then the ability to step into it, to realize it, embrace it, live it.
So there you are…