Anan/Av: The Presence of a CLOUD

CLOUD: Anan (Strong’s 6051) and Av (Strong’s 5645)

Root: Anan- ענן -sounds like ah’nahn

Root: Av- עב -sounds like ahv

Clouds are part of our everyday experience. We see them all the time, but we don’t often take the time to appreciate them. And we should appreciate them! They bring shade, they bring rain, and the deep dark clouds are also warnings of an impending storm. In Hebrew the two most prevalent words for “cloud” are anan and av

Av gives the impression of thickness, and it is often translated as “thick cloud.”  However, occasionally it represents other things that are dense, such as “thickets”:

Jeremiah 4:29

At the sound of the horseman and archer every city flees; they go into the thickets [bey-avim] and climb among the rocks; every city is abandoned, and no one lives in them.

On the other hand, anan, is always a cloud in the sky. 

The first instance of anan is found in the famous passage of the rainbow sign:

Genesis 9:12-17

God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations; I have set My rainbow in the cloud [bey-anan], and it shall serve as a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I make a cloud [anan] appear over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud [bey-anan], and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. 

When the rainbow is in the cloud [bey-anan], then I will look at it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 

And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Clouds and Rain

Clouds and rainbows were visual reminders or the relationship between YHWH and humanity. We often attribute great acts of weather to God, whether good or bad.

For example, drought was, and still is, a devastation for humanity. In the Ancient Near East, drought was a death sentence. To ward off the ruination, they continuously praised God for clouds and rain:

Psalm 147:7-8

Sing to YHWH with thanksgiving; sing praises to our God on the lyre; it is He who covers the heavens with clouds [b-avim], who provides rain for the earth, who makes grass sprout on the mountains.

In the third year of a terrible famine, Elijah faced king Ahab and his prophets of Baal. Elijah proposed a duel: Baal versus YHWH. We won’t review the story here; you can read it at 1 Kings 18:20-40. Suffice it to say, YHWH was the far and clear winner, and the prophets of Baal were annihilated. 

After the showdown, Elijah went to the top of Mount Carmel with his servant. Elijah bent to the earth and put his head between his knees and then he asked his servant to “look towards the sea”. The servant saw nothing, but Elijah instructed him to go back and look seven times. 

1 Kings 18:44-45a

And when he returned the seventh time, he said, “Behold, a cloud [av] as small as a person’s hand is coming up from the sea.” 

And Elijah said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Harness your chariot horses and go down, so that the heavy shower does not stop you.’” 

Meanwhile the sky became dark with clouds [avim] and wind came up, and there was a heavy shower. 

YHWH was victorious, the prophets of Baal were destroyed, and the drought ended.

Clouds, Chariots, and the Wings of the Winds

Clouds and rain were gifts of God and essential to the working world. Without them the earth tumbled into chaos, destruction and death. When YHWH brought the rain, it was putting life back to order.

Beyond the story of Elijah taking on the prophets of Baal, the early Hebrew writers frequently made comparisons between YHWH and Baal. 

The Canaanite god, Baal, was described as riding on a chariot in the clouds. In a kind of defiance, the Biblical authors took the the same imagery but put YHWH in its place:

Isaiah 19:1 (see also Jeremiah 4:13-14)

Behold, YHWH is riding on a swift cloud [al av] and is about to come to Egypt.

The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.

Psalm 104:3

He [YHWH] lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds [avim] His chariot; He walks on the wings of the wind;

Psalm 18:11-12 (see also 2 Samuel 22:10-14)

He rode on a cherub and flew; and He sped on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, darkness of waters, thick clouds [avey].

From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds [avaw], hailstones and coals of fire.

If Baal was presented as a god who rode the clouds in a chariot, YHWH would match it and then rise above. The Biblical writers knew what they were doing. Baal had no power over YHWH. YHWH was The God of all gods.

Pillar of Cloud

The importance of rain clouds was essential for an ordered life, so it should come to no surprise that YHWH would use a cloud to represent His presence on earth.

When Moses led the Hebrew people out of Egypt, God’s presence came to the people in the form of a cloud by daylight and fire in the night:

Exodus 13:21-22

And YHWH was going before them in a pillar of cloud [b-ammud anan] by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud [ammud hey-anan] by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from the presence of the people.

YHWH was their guide in the wilderness. And when Moses and the people set up a Tabernacle, YHWH’s Presence, in the form of a cloud, gave them guidance in their life and worship:

Exodus 33:9-11a (see also Deuteronomy 31:14-15)

Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud [ammud hey-anan] would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and YHWH would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud [et ammud hey-anan] standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would stand and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. So YHWH used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. 

The Presesnce of YHWH in the form of a cloud was astounding. The tremendous visual experience would have been clear, tangible, and awe-inspiring. It was stunning, and poetic, and the Psalmists couldn’t help but recall the stunning visual of the YHWH-cloud in their writings:

Psalm 105:37-43 (see also Psalm 78:12-17)

Then He brought the Israelites out with silver and gold, and among His tribes there was not one who stumbled. Egypt was glad when they departed, for the dread of them had fallen upon the Egyptians.

He spread out a cloud [anan] as a covering, and fire to illumine by night.

They asked, and He brought quail, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock and water flowed out; it ran in the dry places like a river.

For He remembered His holy word with His servant Abraham; and He led out His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout.

Psalm 99:7-9

He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud [b-ammud anan]; they kept His testimonies and the statute that He gave them.

YHWH our God, You answered them; You were a forgiving God to them, and yet an avenger of their evil deeds.

Exalt YHWH our God and worship at His holy hill, for YHWH our God is holy.

The march from slavery to freedom was lead by a cloud. A dense cloud was saturated in water, and water was repeatedly an image of life and abundance. Wandering in the desert wilderness by a God that appeared as a saturated cloud, was a triumphal exit out of death-filled slavery and into life-filled freedom.

Clouds and Mountains

When God met with His people, it was often on a mountain top, laced with clouds. God-space was associated with a high place, a place where the heavens collided with the earth. It was a dramatic visual:

Exodus 19:9, 16-17

Then YHWH said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud [b-av hey-anan], so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also trust in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to YHWH…

…So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a heavy cloud [w-anan k’ved] over the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.

Can you imagine the scene? A heavy cloud over the mountain and the thunderous roar of trumpets. I think I would tremble too. 

Exodus 24:15-18

Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud [hey-anan] covered the mountain. The glory of YHWH settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud [hey-anan] covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud [hey-anan]. And to the eyes of the sons of Israel, the appearance of the glory of YHWH was like a consuming fire on the mountain top.Then Moses entered the midst of the cloud [hey-anan] as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

The numbers are quite striking in these previous two passages. God arrived to greet the people, on the third day. In Exodus 24, the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day God spoke to Moses. Moses remained on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. This scene and these numbers would be recycled again and again, throughout the Bible in astonishing ways. 

YHWH, in the form of a cloud, wasn’t presented exclusively as a guide in the wilderness. When Moses faced YHWH at Mount Sinai and received the second set of stone tables (the first two having been broken), YHWH descended to Moses “in the cloud”:

Exodus 34:4-11 (see also Deuteronomy 4:11-13)

So he cut out two stone tablets like the former ones, and Moses got up early in the morning and went up to Mount Sinai, as YHWH had commanded him, and he took the two stone tablets in his hand. And YHWH descended in the cloud [bey-anan] and stood there with him as he called upon the name of YHWH. 

Then YHWH passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “YHWH, YHWH God, compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in faithfulness and truth; who keeps faithfulness for thousands, who forgives wrongdoing, violation of His Law, and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, inflicting the punishment of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” 

And Moses hurried to bow low toward the ground and worship. 

A Cloud in the House

In the Torah, YHWH first met with His wandering people in a cloud. Eventually, they built the Tabernacle to house YHWH’s Presence. This transient house of YHWH was either filled or covered with clouds:

Numbers 9:15-17 (see also Exodus 40:34-38)

Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected, the cloud [hey-anan] covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle until morning. That is how it was continuously; the cloud [hey-anan] would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. Whenever the cloud [hey-anan] was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would set out; and in the place where the cloud [hey-anan] settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp. 

The people followed the cloud. When it lifted they lifted themselves up and moved; when it settled, they stopped and settled. As long as they saw this visual reminder, they followed the glory of God.

The cloud was visible outside the Tabernacle, but it was also found inside the Tabernacle. YHWH Himself announced that He would be present, behind the veil and over the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant, as a cloud (Leviticus 16:2).

There were times when the cloud of YHWH was not just behind the veil and above the Ark, but it filled the interior of the House of God. When Solomon built the permanent Temple, the cloud filled it and Solomon saw it as a sign of success:

1 Kings 8:10-13

And it happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud [w-hey-anan] filled the house of YHWH, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud [hey-anan], for the glory of YHWH filled the house of YHWH.

Then Solomon said,

“YHWH has said that He would dwell in the thick darkness. I have truly built You a lofty house, a place for Your dwelling forever.”

These images of clouds, thick darkness, fire and mountains were brought together in Psalm 97:

Psalm 97:1-6

YHWH reigns, may the earth rejoice; may the many islands be joyful.

Clouds [anan] and thick darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.

Fire goes before Him and burns up His enemies all around. His lightning lit up the world; the earth saw it and trembled.

The mountains melted like wax at the presence of YHWH, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples have seen His glory.

Seeing YHWH was a visual experience which became a tangible experience. You could feel the weight of God’s glory, like a thick cloud.

Ezekiel, perhaps best of all, described this encounter:

Ezekiel 10:3-5

Now the cherubim were standing on the right side of the temple when the man entered, and the cloud [w-hey-anan] filled the inner courtyard. Then the glory of YHWH went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud [hey-anan], and the courtyard was filled with the brightness of the glory of YHWH. Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer courtyard, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks.

It was a tremendously overwhelming experience… an assault on all the senses… from seeing the heavy cloud, feeling the touch of its thickness, and hearing the sound of heavy wings beating. YHWH’s presence was palpable.

Ezekiel’s incredible vision of YHWH reached back into the story of Noah and the rainbow in the clouds:

Ezekiel 1:26-28

Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. Then I noticed from the appearance of His waist and upward something like gleaming metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. Like the appearance of the rainbow in a cloud [bey-anan] on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of YHWH. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.

The idea of YHWH’s glory residing on a high mountain top, enveloped by clouds, is a stunning visual of heaven touching the earth. But not all on the earth could reach the summit. We are invited into God-space, but we cannot claim it as our own domain. We were not meant to be the lone king of the hill or master of the high place. However, that’s exactly what the power of darkness residing in humans looked like. People sought power, wealth and sexual dominance. In their pride, they wanted to be gods themselves. The scroll of Isaiah highlighted one who would try to be higher than the God Most High. The prideful king of Babylon was a symbolic stand-in for the king of evil:

Isaiah 14:13-20

“But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds [av]; I will make myself like the Most High.’

Nevertheless you will be brought down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit. Those who see you will stare at you, they will closely examine you, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities, who did not allow his prisoners to go home?’

All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb. But you have been hurled out of your tomb like a rejected branch, clothed with those killed who have been pierced with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit like a trampled corpse.

You will not be united with them in burial, because you have ruined your country, you have killed your people. May the descendants of evildoers never be mentioned.

This symbolic representation of the king of evil, highlighted how the desire for power and dominance would not elevate you above the clouds, rather it would make you fall into the depths of Sheol, and you would not be able to get out. This same fate would fall on YHWH’s Adversary  (ha-Satan) and all who tried to become gods themselves, rather than partner with YHWH.

Photo by Sarah E. Fisher. Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada

Cloud Imagery & Analogies

A cloud is an item that is ripe for analogy, and the author of the book of Job was quick to use it:

Job 7:9-10

[Job:] When a cloud [anan] vanishes, it is gone; in the same way one who goes down to Sheol does not come up.

He will not return to his house again, nor will his place know about him anymore.”

Life is like a cloud; when it’s gone, it’s gone for good! Job highlighted the impermanence of clouds and he compared them to his own welfare:

Job 30:15-16

[Job:] “Sudden terrors are turned upon me; they chase away my dignity like the wind, and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud [u-keh-av].

And now my soul is poured out within me; days of misery have seized me.”

Clouds were not permanent and fixed. They moved and they dissipated, nor were they predictable.  Job’s fixation on his life evaporating like a cloud led him down dark paths:

Job 10:18-22

[Job to YHWH:] ‘Why then did You bring me out of the womb? If only I had died and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not been, brought from womb to tomb.’

Would He not leave my few days alone? Withdraw from me so that I may have a little cheerfulness before I go—and I shall not return— to the land of darkness and deep shadow, the land of utter gloom like darkness itself, of deep shadow without order, and it shines like darkness.”

Even today people live under the dark cloud of depression. They cannot see, through the thickness, YHWH’s forgiving and redemptive love. The cloud of darkness can feel too heavy over them. They feel judged and weighed and unforgivable. 

Job forgot that YHWH came as a cloud to His people, not a cloud of darkness, but a cloud that brought shelter and rain, a shield for life. At the end of Job’s story heremembered: 

Job 42:3b, 5-6

[Job to YHWH:] “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…

My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I retract my words, and I repent in dust and ashes.”

A Day of Clouds and Thick Darkness

YHWH originally came as a cloud to protect His people, but there would be a day of judgement when the clouds would darken and the weight of the burden would be palpable:

Ezekiel 30:1-3 (see also Ezekiel 30:18)

The word of YHWH came again to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Lord YHWH says:

“Wail, ‘Woe for the day!’

For the day is near, indeed, the day of YHWH is near; it will be a day of clouds [anan], a time of doom for the nations.”

Zephaniah 1:14-15 (see also Joel 2:1-3)

The great day of YHWH is near, near and coming very quickly; listen, the day of YHWH! In it the warrior cries out bitterly.

That day is a day of anger, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds [anan] and thick darkness.

Although the dark and cloudy Day of YHWH would come and disperse the people, YHWH would gather them, like a good Shepherd, and rescue them:

Ezekiel 34:11-16

For the Lord YHWH says this: “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and look after them. As a shepherd cares for his flock on a day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy [anan] and gloomy day. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing place will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down in a good grazing place and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I Myself will feed My flock and I Myself will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord YHWH. “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will eliminate. I will feed them with judgment.”

Isaiah also envisioned the rescue and redemption of the people. On that day the thick cloud of doom would reemerge as the cloud of YHWH, reminiscent of the day when YHWH was present with the people who wandered in the wilderness, as a cloud by day, and fire by night: 

Isaiah 4:2-6

On that day the Branch of YHWH will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the beauty of the survivors of Israel. And it will come about that the one who is left in Zion and remains behind in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, then YHWH will create over the entire area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud [anan] by day, and smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy. And there will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.

Clouds in the New Testament

YHWH was consistent! Even in the New Testament His Presence was associated with the clouds:

Mark 9:2-8

And six days later Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. 

Peter responded and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here; let’s make three tabernacles, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” For he did not know how to reply; for they became terrified. 

Then a cloud [Greek: nephele] formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud [Greek: nepheles]: “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him!” And suddenly they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone.

YHWH continued His streak of presenting Himself on earth in the form of a cloud, this time to announce the delight He had for His Son.

Yeshua, who claimed One’ness with His father YHWH, would also visit earth in a cloud. Not long before His death, Yeshua gave insight to the end of days:

Luke 21:25-28

[Jesus:] “There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting from fear and the expectation of the things that are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud [Greek: nephele] with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

The image of descending on earth in a cloud came straight out of the Torah. Yeshua and YHWH were connected as one. It was the claim He made, but it was also this claim that sent Him to His execution:

Mark 14:57-65

And then some stood up and began giving false testimony against Him (Jesus), saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that was made by hands, and in three days I will build another, made without hands.’” And not even in this respect was their testimony consistent. 

And then the high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, “Do You not offer any answer for what these men are testifying against You?” But He kept silent and did not offer any answer. 

Again the high priest was questioning Him, and said to Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 

And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds [Greek: nephelon] of heaven.” 

Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him as deserving of death. And some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists and say to Him, “Prophesy!” Then the officers took custody of Him and slapped Him in the face.

Yeshua’s claim to be YHWH’s Son was enough condemning evidence to send Him to the cross, but to add the image of coming with the clouds of heaven, put the nail in the coffin. This description was reserved for the God of all gods, YHWH the Creator. This Yeshua was the son of a carpenter from the undesirable town of Nazareth. In the minds of the religious elite, Yeshua was as far from God as you could get.

But Yeshua was so much more than a carpenter’s son from the northern Israel. He was the Son of Man who would die for humanity, and the Son of the Most High, who would fulfill His Father’s plan of Salvation. Yeshua went to the cross and died a horrible death. He was placed in a grave, but He did not stay there. He claimed victory over death so that we could all be free from its chains.

On the third day, Yeshua returned to His disciples, men and women, and continued to teach them for a few weeks. On His last day with them on earth, they asked Him the following:

Acts 1:6-11

So, when they had come together, they began asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time that You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 

But He said to them, “It is not for you to know periods of time or appointed times which the Father has set by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.”

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were watching, and a cloud [Greek: nephele] took Him up, out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, then behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them, and they said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Yeshua rose to heaven on a cloud. It was a full-circle image. When the Hebrew people escaped from Egypt, YHWH came to them as a pillar of cloud. He led them, nourished them, and protected them. That Hebrew nation produced Yeshua and He carried the mission forward. He would die to be the true salvation of ALL people. Through Yeshua, YHWH had completed the mission and He brought His Son back home on a cloud.

But there would be a final day when Yeshua would return to earth, again with the clouds:

Revelation 1:5-8

And from Messiah Jesus, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— and He made us into a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds [Greek: nephelon], and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

With all these great and alarming plans in the future, we have nothing to fear. Those who put their trust in YHWH are safe. We have already been rescued and redeemed, our failures have been covered. We are free and redeemed because Yeshua paid the price.

Isaiah reflected how the forgiveness of sins was like the impermanence of a cloud:

Isaiah 44:21-22 

“Remember these things, Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant, Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.

I have wiped out your wrongdoings like a thick cloud [ka-av] and your sins like a heavy mist [w-keh-anan]. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”

This passage included both av and anan. In this translation (NASB) these words were represented as thick cloud (av) and heavy mist (anan). Regardless of the translation, the point was clear: the weight would be lifted and the sins forgiven.

When King David was at the end of his life, his last poetic words highlighted the future one who would rule righteously over humankind:

2 Samuel 23:1-4

Now these are the last words of David:

David the son of Jesse declares, the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob and the sweet psalmist of Israel, declares,

“The Spirit of YHWH spoke through me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said it; the Rock of Israel spoke to me:

He who rules over mankind righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds [lo avoht], when the fresh grass springs out of the earth from sunshine after rain.’”

To David, this future Anointed One (Messiah) would be like a morning without clouds. He would bring the light, unhindered, like sunshine after rain. 

YHWH was the Good Cloud and He lifted the heavy darkness from our lives and let the light of His redeeming love shine through. It’s a beautiful image and we should remember it every time we look into the day-lit sky. Look up! His Presence is with you!

Next week: Majestic

2 thoughts on “Anan/Av: The Presence of a CLOUD”

  1. Isn’t also the case that ‘anan’ is used to convey “bring, enchanter, observer of times, soothsayer, sorcerer
    A primitive root; to cover; used only as a denominative from anan, to cloud over; figuratively, to act covertly, i.e. Practise magic, bring, enchanter, Meonemin, observe(-r of) times, soothsayer, sorcerer.” ?


    1. Hi Charlene… sorry for the late reply. Yes, you are absolutely correct. Strong’s has separated the words, but the Hebrew letters are the same. Although it’s a homonym, it does collectively share the idea of being clouded over… for example, soothsayers have clouded vision.


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