Two days ago we began a new series that has a connection to the previous series, ‘fruit,’ in its metaphorical manifestation. It consists of the qualities noted in Galatians 5:22-23 as the fruits of the Spirit. If you missed the Hebrew Word from the Lord titled ‘the fruit of the Spirit,’ we recommend that you read it now. You can find it in a previous email from about two weeks ago. The third fruit of the Spirit is peace: sha•lom.
The word ‘shalom’ comes from the word ‘sha•lem’ and both come from the root ‘sha.le.m.’ Every verb and most words in Hebrew are derived from a three- letter root. We cannot cover the root’s subject here and strongly recommend that you find a way to learn the basics of Hebrew. However, even if you are not familiar with Hebrew yet, we can note that these three letters are: ‘sheen,’ ‘lamed,’ and ‘mem.’ These are the equivalents of ‘SH’ ‘L’ and ‘M’ in English. The root ‘sha.le.m’ means ‘whole’ and ‘complete.’ It also means ‘to pay.’ You will easily figure out the connection between the two: human life includes interactions with others where we either give or receive services or goods from and to one another. Closing an interaction always involve a payment (in this form or another). When a payment is made, we reach a completion (shalem) and we reach this completion only when we pay (shalem, again). When that is done, we have ‘shalom.’
The first ‘shalom’ (o•sey sha•lom, peacemakers) in the New Testament is voiced in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”
Shalom has 160 more mentions in the New Testament, which emphasizes the importance placed on this virtue.
Shalom is Healing
There are also numerous mentions of shalom in the Old Testament, but one is
particularly interesting because it coins an expression that is used to this very day. When you greet someone upon arrival, you say ‘shalom’ and receive the answer ‘shalom.’ When you depart, you say ‘shalom’ and receive the answer ‘shalom, shalom.’ A doubler that originated here:
“I will create a new expression of the lips; ‘Peace, peace for him who is far off and for him who is near,’ says the Lord; and I will heal him”
So ‘Shalom’ is also the common greeting word, but now you know that it carries a hinted declaration of our intentions and, at the same time, it is a wishful blessing of ‘wholeness.’