A Better Understanding of Biblical Joy

On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the good that the Lord had done for David, for Solomon, and for His people Israel. 2 Chronicles 7:10 NKJV

3 Hebrew Word Studies on Joy

Sameach: The joy the people felt was more than just a spontaneous subjective emotion – it was rooted very concretely in all “that the LORD had done for David, Solomon, and for His people Israel.” Indeed, the Feast of Tabernacles was intended as a time of rejoicing for all the ways the Lord had blessed His people (Deut. 16:15). The people were filled with “great joy” at Solomon’s coronation (1 Kin. 1:40). Haman’s joy at his plot to kill Mordecai (Esth. 5:9, 14) backfired when he was executed instead, “and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad” (Esth. 8:15). But more often, joy is connected directly to God: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.” (Ps. 126:3).

Simchah: This Hebrew word is one of several frequently occurring Hebrew words that express exceeding gladness of rejoicing. Like its synonyms, this word can apply to a disposition of heart (Prov. 14:10; Jer. 15:16). It is frequently set in a context of feasting (Neh. 8:12) and singing (1 Sam. 18:6; Ps. 137:3), as it is in a prophecy concerning God’s singing over Jerusalem (Zeph. 3:17). The word is also used for the senseless happiness of the enemies of God’s people (Judg. 16:23; Ezek. 35:15; 36:5), of the foolish (Prov. 15:21), of the lazy (Prov. 21:17), and of the hypocrites (Job 20:5). However, joy in the Bible is usually associated with the people of God who celebrate God’s blessing at a number of occasions – feasts, coronations of kings, victories in battle, and the dedication of the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem (Num. 10:10; 1 Kin. 1:40; 2 Chr. 20:27; Neh. 12:27). In fact, Moses exhorts the Israelites to serve God with joy, so that they would not lose their blessing (see Deut. 28:47).

Gil: A somewhat rare form that is more familiar to us as rejoice (1 Chr. 16:31, Ps. 2:11; 21:1; 51:8; Prov. 23:24-25). In Isaiah, when the prophet has already declared he will rejoice, but wants to emphasize his response to God, this term offers that direct form of exultation.

Which Hebrew word would you use to describe the joy you feel about the Lord Jesus?

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  • Terry Kennedy says:

    I like it that God created us to use our brains in cooperation with His Holy Spirit to discern between WHAT we are joyful/thankful/happy about; WHY we feel that way, and if our happy thoughts/feelings are of God or self/satan. God created us to surrender our minds, thoughts, feelings, motives to the molding and guidance of His Word, to be lead and counseled by His Holy Spirit. When we give our mind and feelings to God completely, our feelings will be intelligent and not blind euphoric emotions.
    We shouldn’t do what ‘feels’ good, but satan can easily deceive us into believing that if it ‘feels’ good then it must be good/right/of God. WRONG. Not to say that good feelings are wrong, but just that we ought to be on high alert of WHAT we feel and if those feelings are according to what God deems true and good, or are those feelings a deception from satan to deceive us into doing evil. And if what we feel is in accordance to any evil, we need to pray to God asking Him to give us instant realization of what we feel and think, if those feelings and thoughts are from God or satan. Lord God in heaven, please give us godly hatred for all that is sinful, because sin ruins us in many ways that we dont readily see or understand. In Jesus’ name. Amen

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