Dakka: CRUSHED but not Defeated

CRUSHED: dakka (Strong’s 1792, 1794 (verb), and 1793 (adjective/masculine noun)). 

Root: דַּכָּא

Sounds like: daw-kaw. 

The word dakka only shows up in 5 books of the Bible: Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah & Lamentations… but it has a brilliant impact in the world of Biblical poetry. It’s expressive and metaphoric, and fittingly reflects how many of us are feeling today, on this planet.

We’re feeling a little crushed as we sit in our homes, isolating ourselves from the rest of humanity. We’re carrying a heavy weight as we read all the news reports of COVID-19… a terrible virus which is waging war against many of the occupants of this planet.

Earth is not an easy planet to live on. It never has been. This is not the Eden it was meant to be. We exiled ourselves out of the Garden of Eden and we have to live with those consequences… and part of those consequences mean that we will, many times in our lives, feel crushed.

Utterly Crushed

Often we feel crushed by other humans. Job felt that way. He was tested and his whole life was upended. He lost all of his possessions, his children died, and he was afflicted with a horrible disease. Job’s pain was so intense that he wished God would crush him and put an end to his suffering:

Job 6:8-9

Job: “Oh that my request might come to pass, and that God would grant my longing! Would that God were willing to crush me [wi-dak’kehni], that He would loose His hand and cut me off!”

But after all this pain, what really got Job down was the words spoken to him by his so-called “friends”. After some of their harsh and blame-filled words, here was Job’s response to them:

Job 19:1-2

“How long will you torment me and crush me [u-t-dak’kunani] with words?”

There’s an incredible amount of physical violence in this world, but words are like silent fists… they pack a punch. They may leave no obvious bruises, but they can leave a deep emotional scar. Words can crush someone and weigh them down, making it very hard to get up, and stand tall, again.

David also ached from the pain caused by fellow humans. In Psalm 143 he wrote:

Psalm 143:3-6

For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has crushed [dikka] my life to the ground; he has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead. Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart is appalled within me.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands. I stretch out my hands to You; my soul longs for You, as a parched land. Selah.

In anguish, the poet who wrote the 94th Psalm questioned YHWH:

Psalm 94:3-7

How long shall the wicked, O YHWH, how long shall the wicked exult? They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; all who do wickedness vaunt themselves.

They crush [y-dak’ku] Your people, O YHWH, and afflict Your heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger and murder the orphans. They have said, “YHWH does not see, nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.”

What do you mean by Crushing My People?!

But YHWH did see! He was always watching and He did not like what He saw: 

Isaiah 3:13-15

YHWH arises to contend, and stands to judge the people. YHWH enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people, “It is you who have devoured the vineyard; the plunder of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing [t-dakk’u] My people and grinding the face of the poor?” declares the Lord YHWH of hosts.

As the Almighty Protector, YHWH  stood up for the crushed… and the crushed included the orphaned, the widowed, the poor, the foreigner, the medically afflicted, and the mentally distressed. YHWH, in particular, would be their Champion:

Proverbs 22:22-23

Do not rob the poor because he is poor, or crush [t-dak’keh] the afflicted at the gate; for YHWH will plead their case and take the life of those who rob them.

The Crushed in Exile

The Bible is full of moments of exile. We are living in exile these days… an exile from each other. We are separated from what we usually do. We are stopped from going to work, going to restaurants, going to church. 

In the days of Jeremiah, the Babylonians were coming, and the people were about to be exiled from the land they loved, and from the Temple of the Living God. Why? Because they had turned their face away from God. They did not respect His laws, or His teachings, and they did not submit to Him. In essence, their guilt did not crush them and they were unable to be remade by His love. They put a wall around themselves, and shut Him out:

Jeremiah 44:9-11

YHWH: “Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? But they have not become contrite crushed [lo duk’k’u] even to this day, nor have they feared nor walked in My law or My statutes, which I have set before you and before your fathers.” Therefore thus says YHWH of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am going to set My face against you for woe, even to cut off all Judah.”

And so when they turned their backs on Him, He turned His face away from them. There would be no deliverer, no protector, no saviour from Babylon. Their exile was inevitable… and they would be going through it alone.

In their pain, however, they remembered YHWH, and they understood that they were crushed for a reason:

Psalm 44:15-26

All day long my dishonour is before me and my humiliation has overwhelmed me, because of the voice of him who reproaches and reviles, because of the presence of the enemy and the avenger. All this has come upon us, but we have not forgotten You, and we have not dealt falsely with Your covenant.

Our heart has not turned back, and our steps have not deviated from Your way, yet You have crushed us [dikkitanu] in a place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death.

If we had forgotten the name of our God or extended our hands to a strange god, would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. But for Your sake we are killed all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

Arouse Yourself, why do You sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever. Why do You hide Your face and forget our affliction and our oppression? For our soul has sunk down into the dust; our body cleaves to the earth.

Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness.

And so God did rise up, and He supplied a new sheep to be slaughtered in their place.

Crushed, like a lamb led to slaughter

How would YHWH crush the Oppressor? He would do so by crushing Himself.

When John the Baptist first saw Yeshua (Jesus) he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29b).  Isaiah 53 spoke of the Messiah to come as a lamb led to slaughter. He would be crushed for our sins, in order to redeem us and give us access back into the Garden of Eden:

Isaiah 53

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of YHWH been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed [dakk’oh] for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but YHWH has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.

By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But YHWH was pleased to crush [dak’koh] Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of YHWH will prosper in His hand.

As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.

Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.

Yeshua crushed Himself so that we could live. Like a grape in the winepress, and olives in the oil-press, He broke Himself down to produce something even better… the salvation and redemption of all of God’s people.

Photo by Stephanie Gottschalk. (pixabay.com)

In His last moments before His arrest, Yeshua took his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane. The word Gethsemane can be broken down into geth which means press (as in oil-press or wine-press) and shemen which means oil or fat. It was here, on the Mount of Olives within the Garden of olive presses, where Yeshua prayed in agony:

Luke 22:39-44

And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 

Yeshua (Jesus) was crushed in his agony, and like the oil presses that surrounded Him, His agony produced what it was meant to… drops of blood. In Luke’s mind, this was the beginning of Yeshua’s incredible act of Salvation. These first drops of blood would lead to the cross where He would be crushed and pierced for our iniquities.

Crushed In Spirit

Regardless of Yeshua’s act of Salvation, we still feel crushed on a regular basis. But through Yeshua’s experience on the cross, God understands what we experience when we feel crushed.

Psalm 34:17-22

The righteous cry, and YHWH hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. YHWH is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit [dakk’eh ruakh]. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but YHWH delivers him out of them all.

He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. YHWH redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

Through Yeshua we are redeemed! But it’s more than that. Through Him we can enter into the eternal Garden and face our Creator, without cost, but Yeshua’s death and resurrection also meant that we were no longer ever alone. Yeshua promised (John 16:7-14) that the Spirit would live within us, forever connecting us to Him. We are never alone because He dwells within us!

Isaiah 57:15

For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, 

I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite crushed [dakka] and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the crushed/contrite [nid’kaim].”

YHWH lives with you, and constantly revives you, for as many times as you need reviving! Paul puts it this way:

2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed [Greek: stenochoroumenoi]; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you…

…Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

According to Paul, we are now crushed under the eternal weight of glory. It’s a reversal of our understanding of what the word means… the weight we bear is now the weight of His love.

Crushed & Separated, but not Alone

Many have referred to Psalm 38 in light of the global health crisis we are facing. This Psalm is referred to as a “Psalm of David, for a memorial”, and it speaks of a plague where kinsman and friends have to stand apart from one another:

Psalm 38:4-11, 21-22

For my iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. My wounds grow foul and fester because of my folly. I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long.

For my loins are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am benumbed and badly crushed [w-nid’kketi ad meod]; I groan because of the agitation of my heart.

Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; and the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me. My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague; and my kinsmen stand afar off…

…Do not forsake me, O YHWH; O my God, do not be far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

We may have to separate ourselves from each other, but we are not separated from God. He is right here… very close.

As we take ourselves out of this world, let’s take this time to dive deeper and into God’s word. For through Yeshua’s sacrifice we cannot be separated from Him because He dwells within us. Yeshua said, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b), and Paul also reiterated the point: 

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Messiah Jesus our Lord.

Yeshua (Jesus) was crushed for us, in order that we could stand tall and face YHWH when our day on earth was done. He deserves our attention. But our day on earth is not over yet… and as this virus rages through our planet, we need to remember we are not alone. He was crushed so we don’t have to be. 

Psalm 51:9-13, 15-17

Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You…

…O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a crushed heart [lev nish’bar w-nid’keh], O God, You will not despise.

Is your heart broken? Are you feeling crushed? Present it to God as a sacrifice… He will cleanse your heart, renew your Spirit, lift you up, and love you through it all. We may be crushed, but we are not defeated!

Next week: donkey




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