My Lent Words 14: The fragility of the flesh

The Hebrew word basar normally means flesh, soft tissue or meat.

‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;’ (Genesis 2:23)

‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread.’ (Exodus 11:12)

The meat provided to the wandering Israelites went off if kept too long. Often in Psalms or Isaiah the word basar is translated as ‘men’ or ‘mankind’ and something seems to be lost in translation:

‘…the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice says, ‘Cry out.’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry? All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.’ (Isaiah 40:5,6)

This makes the following verse from the New Testament remarkable:

‘The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…’ (John 1:14a)

Jesus became flesh, meat, like Adam, Eve and us, mortal and capable of perishing.

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