Kharah Af: Hot-Nosed ANGER

BURNED/KINDLED WITH ANGER: kharah (Strong’s 2734, 2740), usually paired with aph/app (nose) (Strong’s 639). 

Root: חָרָה

Sounds like: khaw-raw’

There are numerous Hebrew words that indicate anger, just like there are many English words that indicate anger, such as indignation, wrath, rage, fury, being upset, maddness, provocation, vexation. We’d like one tidy word to cover all meanings, but language doesn’t work that way.

In the Hebrew Bible, besides kharah, there is also khemah (Strong’s 2534), anaph (Strong’s 599), za’am/za’aph (Strong’s 2195, 2196, 2197, 2198), ka’as (Strong’s 3707, 3708), ehv’rah (Strong’s 5678), qetseph (Strong’s 7110) to name a few.

Anger is a pretty heavy topic to cover in one week, and we’ll only touch the surface here, but I think there are some important things to consider.

First of all, how do you feel about the God of the Tanakh (Old Testament)? Do you prefer the Jesus (Yeshua) version of God? Would you rather read about God’s love than God’s anger? 

I think for most of us, the answer is “yes”. Give us the loving, self-sacrificing, compassionate God! But is it fair of us to separate the personality of YHWH into compartments. To really understand the God of all Creation, we have to look at the big picture, and that includes a God who occasionally gets angry.

The following Psalm incorporated many synonyms for anger and addressed a deep concern of the Biblical writers: Will God forgive? Will He withdraw His anger and show us mercy?

Psalm 85:1-7

For the music director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

YHWH, You showed favour to Your land; You restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the guilt of Your people; You covered all their sin. Selah. You withdrew all Your fury [ev’rateka עֶבְרָתֶ֑ךָ]; You turned away from Your burning anger [mey-kh’aron appeka מֵחֲרֹ֥ון אַפֶּֽךָ].

Restore us, God of our salvation, and cause Your indignation [ka’as’ka כַּֽעַסְךָ֣] toward us to cease.

Will You be angry [tey-enaph תֶּֽאֱנַף] with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger [appeka אַ֝פְּךָ֗] to all generations? Will You not revive us again, so that Your people may rejoice in You?

Show us Your mercy, YHWH, and grant us Your salvation.

This  was a common prayer. YHWH had every right to be angry at human behaviour, but those who trusted in YHWH knew He was a forgiving God, a God more inclined to forgive than destroy. YHWH was a God who loved His people and who wanted to save His people. Mercy was His default setting.

Idiom: His Nose Burned Hot

Although there are quite a few different words for anger in Hebrew, today we will focus on kharah and aph. These two Hebrew words made up a common idiom in the ancient Hebrew civilization. Kharah means “heat” or “burning” and aph/app means “nose” or “nostril”. To get “hot-nosed” meant to get “angry”. 

Jeremiah 4:26-27

I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were pulled down before YHWH, before His fierce anger [before His hot nose: kha’rohn appow חֲרֹ֥ון אַפֹּֽו].

For this is what YHWH says: “The whole land shall be a desolation, yet I will not execute a complete destruction.”

To be “hot-nosed” was a common phrase that meant to be angry. It could be used to describe anyone. For YHWH to be “hot-nosed” created a picture of the breath of God bringing a fire of anger that would consume the guilty. It’s a vivid image of anger, but it gets the point across. YHWH’s anger could be fierce, but according to this verse, He would not execute complete destruction. God wants to save rather than destroy.

Hot-nosed anger was the most common idiom, but sometimes “heat” stood alone for “anger”. We see this in the first mention of anger in the Bible:

Genesis 4:3-7

So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to YHWH from the fruit of the ground. 4Abel, on his part also brought an offering, from the firstborn of his flock and from their fat portions. And YHWH had regard for Abel and his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry [hot: wai-yi-khar וַיִּ֤חַר] and his face was gloomy. Then YHWH said to Cain, “Why are you angry [burning: kharah חָ֣רָה]? And why is your face gloomy? If you do well, will your face not be cheerful? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” 

Cain was “hot” with jealousy and that resulted in anger. In fact, it was enough hot rage to make him kill his brother. We see this same kind of hot anger when Saul became jealous of David:

1 Samuel 18:7-8 

The women sang as they played, and said,

“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” 

Then Saul became very angry [hot: wai-y-khar וַיִּ֨חַר], for this lyric displeased him; and he said, “They have given David credit for ten thousands, but to me they have given credit for only thousands! Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David with suspicion from that day on.

Eventually Saul’s rage against David made him want to kill David. It doesn’t take much for human anger to become murderous. But does God’s anger become murderous?

When does God get Angry?

God’s first angry moment might come as a surprise to you. There is no mention of God being angry when Eve and Adam ate from the forbidden tree in the garden. He was undoubtedly disappointed, but He was not described as being angry. Later, when God saw that everyone on earth was evil and He decided to send the flood, there was no mention of God being angry, but it does say He was grieved (Genesis 6:6). So when did God get angry for the first time?

He got angry at Moses. YHWH told Moses that he would be His spokesperson, but Moses tried to talk God out of the assignment saying he wasn’t worthy (Exodus 3:11) and wouldn’t be believed (Exodus 4:1). Here was Moses’ final plea, to get out of the job:

Exodus 4:10-13

Then Moses said to YHWH, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 

But YHWH said to him, “Who has made the human mouth? Or who makes anyone unable to speak or deaf, or able to see or blind? Is it not I, YHWH? Now then go, and I Myself will be with your mouth, and instruct you in what you are to say.” 

But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.”

Moses’ fear and faithlessness frustrated YHWH, and His nose burned hot:

Exodus 4:14-17

Then the anger[the hot nose: wai-yi-khar ap וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֨ף] of YHWH burned against Moses, and He said, “Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be overjoyed. So you are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I Myself will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will instruct you in what you are to do. He shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him. And you shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.”

YHWH became angry with Moses because he rejected YHWH’s plan for him. God was angry out of frustration, but what was His response?

Okay Moses, we’ll get your brother to do it.

YHWH didn’t force Moses to conform to His plan, instead He pivoted and came up with a new plan. And God didn’t stew about it, He just redirected the plan and moved on. Moses would get what he wanted and Aaron would be the spokesperson to the people, but it would come second-hand, from the word of God, to Moses, to Aaron, and finally to the people. Moses became an intercessor.

The second time YHWH got angry in the Bible it came from a secondary source. After God rescued the Hebrew people from the Egyptians, Moses sang a song of thanksgiving:

Exodus 15:6-11

[Song of Moses:] “Your right hand, YHWH, is majestic in power; Your right hand, YHWH, destroys the enemy.

And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You; You send out Your burning anger [kharon’ka חֲרֹ֣נְךָ֔], and it consumes them like chaff.

At the blast of Your nostrils [appeka אַפֶּ֙יךָ֙] the waters were piled up, the flowing waters stood up like a heap; the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.

The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoils; I shall be satisfied against them; I will draw my sword, my hand will destroy them.’

You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

Who is like You among the gods, YHWH? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?”

Why was God angry? Injustice. YHWH hated the cruelty of Pharaoh towards His people. But even in His anger, He was not reactionary, He gave Pharaoh ten chances to repent. God’s anger is not set in stone and He does not hold a grudge. He always gives humans a chance to heal the rift. 

But oppression and slavery were part of the human condition, and so God put commandments in place to ward off injustice:

Exodus 22:21-24

[YHWH:] You shall not oppress a stranger nor torment him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not oppress any widow or orphan. If you oppress him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will assuredly hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled [and My nose will become hot: wa-kharah appi אַפִּ֔י וְהָרַגְתִּ֥י], and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.”

God would give back the punishment they doled out on others. If this was the kind of justice they served, He would serve them with the same justice.

The third time YHWH got angry was when His people rejected Him. He had rescued them from Egypt but it took very little time for them to forget His amazing rescuing power and His lovingkindness. They created a golden calf to worship and that, understandably, angered God:

Exodus 32:9-10

Then YHWH said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. So now leave Me alone, that My anger may burn [My nose burns: w-yi-khar appi  וְיִֽחַר־אַפִּ֥י] against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.”

Moses, as the intercessor, understood God’s great anger over the situation but He begged YHWH to reconsider His plan for destruction:

Exodus 32:11-14

Then Moses pleaded with YHWH his God, and said, “YHWH, why does Your anger burn [Your nose burn: yey-khereh app’ka יֶחֱרֶ֤ה אַפְּךָ֙] against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians talk, saying, ‘With evil motives He brought them out, to kill them on the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger [mey-kh’rown appeka מֵחֲרֹ֣ון אַפֶּ֔ךָ] and relent of doing harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” So YHWH relented of the harm which He said He would do to His people.

This shows the power of prayer. God had every right to destroy the creation that He made, but He also made a covenant promise to save His people. Moses stood up as an intercessor for the people and God responded to Him. YHWH wants to hear from His people. He is open to your prayers and intercessions because His anger is not set in stone and He does not hold a grudge.

Is YHWH an Angry God?

Now the question is, does the fact that YHWH became angry at injustice, apathy, and evil, make YHWH an “angry god”? 

We tend to label a person who is angry all the time, at the slightest provocation, an “angry person”, but this description does not suit YHWH. Over and over (Exodus 34:6, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 103:8, Psalm 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2, Nehemiah 9:17) we read that YHWH is slow to anger.  In Hebrew, the phrase was erek appayim, which taken literally meant “slow nosed” (from the short form of the common idiom for anger “hot-nosed”). YHWH  was reluctant to be angry: 


YHWH is slow to anger [erek appayim אֶ֤רֶךְ אַפַּ֙יִם֙] and great in power, and YHWH will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.

YHWH is not an “angry god”; He is an overwhelmingly compassionate God who got angry at disobedience, injustice, and evil! And He would address those things in His time and in His way. It was not up to us to punish the guilty, or take vengeance, or react in rage. 

Deuteronomy 32:35a

Vengeance is Mine; I will repay. 

YHWH is a much better judge than any human. His anger is divine, our anger is, for the most part, self-righteous. We should want a God who gets angry at injustice and evil… and we should leave it to Him to hand out the sentence. 

If we’re going to hand over judging rights to YHWH (and we ought to), we just have to make sure we’re aware of what makes God angry in the first place. So let’s review.

God got angry when… 

the people refused to go along with His plans for them. Moses didn’t want to be God’s spokesperson and that frustrated God to anger. When the spies went into the Promised Land, they came back fearful and didn’t want to enter the land. That frustrated God to anger and He had them wander in the wilderness for another forty years and then sent them into the land anyways (Numbers 32:7-15). He has no problem reworking the plan to fulfill His mission.

God got angry when… 

He saw injustice. When He saw the suffering of His people in Egypt, He found a way to set them free. YHWH also had a soft spot for the needy, the widows, the orphans, the poor, the oppressed and the foreigners. He called on His people to show kindness and mercy to those in need (Deuteronomy 24:17-18). When they disregarded this commandment, YHWH got angry.

God got angry when…

the people turned their backs on Him, broke their Covenant (Deuteronomy 31:16-18, Joshua 23:16) with Him, and worshipped other gods. This occurred over and over throughout the Old Testament.

These were the first three examples of God getting angry in the Hebrew Bible, but that was only the beginning. Because the people behaved badly all the time, YHWH often came across as very angry.

Humanity’s descent into evil had to be dealt with. YHWH was a loving parent who was grieved to see this behaviour from His children. The only way to get through to them was to give them what they thought they wanted.

YHWH Handed them Over

The people made a choice to turn away from YHWH and follow the pagan gods who were devoted to death and demanded human sacrifice. God hated human sacrifice, but if they wanted to worship death, God would hand them over to what they wanted:

Judges 2:11-14

Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of YHWH and served the Baals, and they abandoned YHWH, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they followed other gods from the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them; so they provoked YHWH. They abandoned YHWH and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. Then the anger of YHWH burned [And YHWH’s nose burned: wai-yi-khar af וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֤ף] against Israel, and He handed them over to plunderers, and they plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand against their enemies.

YHWH gave the people what they wanted, to be separated from Him. But this was not what YHWH wanted and so He sent judges to save them from themselves:

Judges 2:16-21

Then YHWH raised up judges who saved them from the hands of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they committed infidelity with other gods and bowed down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of YHWH; they did not do the same as their fathers. And when YHWH raised up judges for them, YHWH was with the judge and saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for YHWH was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who tormented and oppressed them. But it came about, when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their obstinate ways. So the anger of YHWH burned [And YHWH’s nose burned hot: wai-yi-khar af וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֥ף] against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has violated My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not listened to My voice, I in turn will no longer drive out from them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died.”

Note that even though the people rejected YHWH and found themselves suffering under their own choices, YHWH was moved to pity when He heard their groaning. He was always ready to rescue them and bring them back, if they chose to return to YHWH. But it didn’t take long for them to forget their rescuer and turn back to idolatry. And so because Israel turned to the gods of the nations, the nations attacked Israel and YHWH handed them over. If they wanted to be like the nations, they could become part of the nations:

Judges 10:6-7

Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of YHWH, and they served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; so they abandoned YHWH and did not serve Him. 

And the anger of YHWH burned [YHWH’s nose burned: wai-yi-khar af וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֥ף] against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the sons of Ammon.

They worshipped the gods of the Philistines and the Ammonites, so God gave them what they wanted and handed them over to the Philistines and the Ammonites. But when they lived under the oppression of these nations, they felt the pain and turned back to YHWH:

Judges 10:10-14 

Then the sons of Israel cried out to YHWH, saying, “We have sinned against You, for indeed, we have abandoned our God and served the Baals.” 

And YHWH said to the sons of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the sons of Ammon, and the Philistines? And when the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I saved you from their hands. Yet you abandoned Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer save you. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” 

And there was YHWH’s response: Let the gods you serve save you. It was a legitimate suggestion. But when the people repented and asked to be saved once again, YHWH could not refuse them:

Judges 10:15-16

Then the sons of Israel said to YHWH, “We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to You; only please save us this day.” So they removed the foreign gods from among them and served YHWH; and He could no longer endure the misery of Israel.

This flip-flopping between God and the nations has been a issue throughout all of time. When the people suffer they turn to God; when things are going good, they turn to the gods of their neighbours. And every time we turn to idolatry, we slipped into evil behaviour, desiring power, and wealth, and personal satisfaction at the expense of others. And YHWH allows us to pursue our choices, even though it’s destroying us. He will not force our allegiance to Him. 

Handed to Babylon

Centuries of this flip-flopping behaviour culminated at the Babylonian invasion of Israel.

Lamentation 4:11

YHWH has expended His wrath [et kha’matoh אֶת־חֲמָתֹ֔ו], He has poured out His fierce anger [His hot nose: kha’rown appow חֲרֹ֣ון אַפֹּ֑ו]; and He has kindled a fire in Zion, and it has consumed its foundations.

Lamentations was (as should be apparent in the name) a lament. The people were grieved because Babylon had just destroyed their home and they were taken into captivity. They saw this as God’s anger (hot nostril) for their apathy towards YHWH and their breaking of the covenant relationship. YHWH had treasured that relationship, but they turned their faces away from Him, and in response He gave them their desire for separation.

But without God’s favour, they would fall flat in front of their enemies. The prophet Ezekiel was given a vison of the destruction to come:

Ezekiel 9:8-10

And as they were striking the people and I alone was left, I fell on my face and cried out, saying, “Oh, Lord YHWH! Are You going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel by pouring out Your wrath [et kha’mat’ka אֶת־חֲמָתְךָ֖] on Jerusalem?” 

Then He said to me, “The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great, and the land is filled with blood, and the city is full of perversion; for they say, ‘YHWH has abandoned the land, and YHWH does not see!’ But as for Me, My eye will have no pity nor will I spare, but I will bring their conduct upon their heads.”

This was the common theme: bringing their conduct on their heads. If following the path that lead to death was what they wanted, this was what they would get.

The prophet Jeremiah was also warned of Babylon’s upcoming invasion:

Jeremiah 32:28-35

Therefore this is what YHWH says: “Behold, I am going to hand this city over to the Chaldeans and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will take it. And the Chaldeans who are fighting against this city will enter and set this city on fire and burn it, with the houses where people have offered incense to Baal on their roofs and poured out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke Me to anger [ha-k’iseni]. For the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah have been doing only evil in My sight since their youth; for the sons of Israel have been only provoking Me to anger by the work of their hands,” declares YHWH. “Indeed this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger [appi] and My wrath [kha’mati] since the day that they built it, even to this day, so that it should be removed from My sight, because of all the evil of the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah which they have done to provoke Me to anger [l-ha-k’iseni]—they, their kings, their leaders, their priests, their prophets, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen to accept discipline.

But they put their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it. They built the high places of Baal that are in the Valley of Ben-hinnom to make their sons and their daughters pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them, nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination, to mislead Judah to sin.

The Hebrew people sacrificed their children to Molech… this was as bad as it could get and YHWH would not stand for it. He would take them down, not by crushing them Himself, but by handing them over to Babylon. But because of His great compassion, YHWH would not leave them there. He would save them and bring them back home:

Jeremiah 32:36-42

“Now therefore YHWH God of Israel says the following concerning this city of which you say, ‘It has been handed over to the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by plague’: Behold, I am going to gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger [b-appi בְּאַפִּ֥י], in My wrath [u-ba-kh’mati וּבַחֲמָתִ֖י], and in great indignation [u-v-qetseph gadol וּבְקֶ֣צֶף גָּדֹ֑ול]; and I will bring them back to this place and have them live in safety. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; and I will give them one heart and one way, so that they will fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts, so that they will not turn away from Me. I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and all My soul. For this is what YHWH says: ‘Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them.”

YHWH has always been a forgiving God. Anger is not His comfort zone. No parent wants to be angry at their children. He would make an everlasting covenant with them and find a way to save them:

Hosea 11:8-9

[YHWH:] How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim?

My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled.

I will not carry out My fierce anger [the heat of my nose: kh’rohn appi חֲרֹ֣ון אַפִּ֔י]; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in terror.

God made it clear: He was God and not man. The way humans got angry was nothing like the way YHWH got angry. There was no rage based on pride, no desire for retaliation, no anger based on petty jealousy. Instead YHWH, who was completely justified in His wrath, restrained His anger and showed compassion.

Psalm 78:35-42

And they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer.

But they flattered Him with their mouth and lied to Him with their tongue. For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, nor were they faithful with His covenant.

But He, being compassionate, forgave their wrongdoing and did not destroy them; and often He restrained His anger [appow אַפֹּ֑ו] and did not stir up all His wrath [kha’matoh חֲמָתֹֽו]. So He remembered that they were only flesh, a wind that passes and does not return.

How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert!

Again and again they tempted God, and pained the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His power, the day when He redeemed them from the enemy.

YHWH was more often grieved and pained than angry. Human’s repeatedly broke His heart (a common idiom of our day). Anger was rarely His first response because love overshadowed His anger. 

When humans get angry, it’s rarely out of love, and they risk tarnishing their character and falling into the pathway of evil:

Psalm 37:5-9

A Psalm of David.

Commit your way to YHWH, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring out your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.

Rest in YHWH and wait patiently for Him; do not get upset [teet-khar תִּ֭תְחַר] because of one who is successful in his way, because of the person who carries out wicked schemes.

Cease from anger [mey-af מֵ֭אַף] and abandon wrath [khemah חֵמָ֑ה]; do not get upset [teet-khar תִּ֝תְחַ֗ר]; it leads only to evildoing.

For evildoers will be eliminated, but those who wait for YHWH, they will inherit the land.

David encouraged his readers to cease from anger. Let it go! Let YHWH deal with the evildoers. More often than not, humans don’t do very well with anger, especially if it’s out of jealousy or pride. If we are to be YHWH’s image bearers than our response to human corruption should be grief and sadness, not rage and indignation. And what should give us this sense of grief are the things that also grieved YHWH: injustice, evil, and rejecting the will of God in our lives.

Yeshua and Anger

Yeshua (Jesus) was always wise with His words and stoic in character. In line with YHWH, He grieved and He wept over the human condition.  But even He got angry once in a while.

The first story that hints at Yeshua’s anger was when He drove out the money-changers who had set up shop in the Temple courtyard (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-16, Luke 19:45-46 & John 2:13-17). Although none of the four accounts actually say that Yeshua was angry, His actions indicated that He certainly wasn’t happy! This was meant to be God’s dwelling place on earth, and the people were using the Temple to increase their wealth and power. They were not bearing God’s image on the footsteps of God’s own house.

Yeshua also got angry when humans cared more about “rules” than helping people:

Mark 3:1-6

He [Jesus] entered a synagogue again; and a man was there whose hand was withered. And they were watching Him closely to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger [Greek: orges  ὀργῆς], grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might put Him to death.

Note that Yeshua was angry at the Synagogue leaders, and then He was immediately grieved. How could their hearts be so hardened that it was more important for them to follow the rules than heal those who were suffering? Injustice was staring them in the face and they turned a blind eye to it and rigidly held onto their rules. Woe to them!

Yeshua was also angered by self-righteous hypocrites who put on visible acts of holiness for all to see, but did not reflect holiness in their hearts:

Matthew 23:27-28

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you too, outwardly appear righteous to people, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

The things that made YHWH mad in the Tanakh (Old Testament) undoubtedly also made Yeshua angry. But times had changed. For instance, the Jewish people in Yeshua’s day held onto their own faith fairly well. We don’t hear of the Jewish people turning to the Roman gods. Some may have, but it wasn’t a cultural crisis like it had been in the days of the kings of Israel and Judah. They had learned their lesson well after the Babylonian invasion.  

Idolatry had a new face. Anything that shifted your allegiance away from YHWH (money, self-satisfaction, and power) were the new idols, and the Greco-Roman lifestyle allowed easy access to it all. This was a culture that put more emphasis on personal pleasure than charity and  human kindness. 

Yeshua turned the tables on the Hellenist lifestyle and showed that self-sacrifice (not self-satisfaction) was what YHWH desired to see in His people. 

YHWH was a forgiving God and slow to anger. He didn’t want His people to follow in the footsteps of death, He wanted them to truly live! He knew that there would always be injustice in this world, and there would always be those who rejected Him, but He had a plan to save those who loved Him. He would heal, He would redeem, He would restore, and He would bring us home to Him to live in His everlasting favour:

Psalm 30:1-5

I will exalt You, YHWH, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.

YHWH my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.

YHWH, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.

Sing praise to YHWH, you His godly ones, and praise the mention of His holiness.

For His anger [b-appoh בְּאַפֹּו֮] is but for a moment, His favour is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Next week: Wrath

Post-script: This week was really a brief overview of anger in the Bible. It deserves a bit more time, so next week we’ll look at the word commonly translated as wrath, and  in particular the interesting phrase, drinking the cup of wrath.

2 thoughts on “Kharah Af: Hot-Nosed ANGER”

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