Womb is a powerful metaphor. It is a place from which bursts forth life or death.
In the Psalms (110:3) we are given a beautiful pictorial image of a sunrise, describing it as the womb of the dawn, when the sun bursts forth, giving birth to a new day.
In Jonah (2:2) we see a darker image of womb. Jonah is in the belly of the great fish and he compares himself to being in the womb of Sheol where death and destruction burst forth.
Elsewhere in the Bible wombs are shut and opened by divine providence; the depressed ache for the fact that they were issued from the womb at all; and YHWH expresses His Creative powerful forces by highlighting the womb and the experience of birth.
We are given to understand that YHWH planned our existence even before we made it to the womb. Here is what Jeremiah had to say about being called by God to be a prophet:
Now the word of YHWH came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb [va-beten] I knew you, and before you were born [issued from the womb: meh-rechem] I consecrated you; I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Oh, Lord YHWH! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.”
But YHWH said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to save you,” declares YHWH.
Then YHWH stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and YHWH said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to tear down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Motherhood is a powerful picture in the Bible. YHWH is the God of Life, so we should not be surprised that He chose to bring Salvation through a human womb. A womb brings forth new life and Yeshua (Jesus) was New Life indeed! He expressed this idea to the Pharisee Nicodemus when He spoke of being “born again”:
John 3:3, 6-8
Jesus responded and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God…
…That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.”
We are all born physically, by way of a womb, but our grander calling is to choose to be born spiritually… and only through that kind of new birth can we gain new life eternally.
For more on the Hebrew words for WOMB, click below:
Next week: Deceit