The phrase, "the Fear of the Lord" appears twenty-seven times, in the Old Testament. Here are a few fairly well known examples…
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning
a person from the snares of death.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of Wisdom,…
The fear of the LORD is instruction in Wisdom, and Humility goes before Honour.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The standard interpretation of the phrase “fear of the Lord/God” is that if we are afraid of God, we will receive Wisdom etc…but according to
how this phrase is used in Hebrew language, this interpretation isn’t correct…
When two nouns are placed together, they are in a “construct state”, which means the two words, should be considered as one, in that they are
linked/related to each other.
The Word of the LORD (Genesis 15:1)
The Voice of the LORD (Genesis 3:8)
The Face of the LORD (Genesis 4:16)
The Name of the LORD (Genesis 4:26)
The Eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8)
The Garden of the LORD (Genesis 13:10)
The Angel of the LORD (Genesis 16:7)
The Way of the LORD (Genesis 18:19)
The Mount of the LORD (Genesis 22:14)
Above, is a list of construct phrases. The second word in the construct is "the LORD"(YHWH). Every instance of the first word in the construct,
(i.e. Word, Voice, Face etc…) belongs to the second word of the construct (LORD).
The same exact same, “construct state” in the phrases above, is also found in the phrases, “the fear of the LORD”
What this amounts to, is that the word "fear" in the phrase "the fear of the Lord" is not talking about our fear; The “fear” is an attribute
of Lord i.e. it belongs to the LORD, just like the words “Face” and the “Voice”, belong to the LORD, in the other verses above.
Of course, God does not "fear" anything, so we need to take a closer look at the Ancient Hebrew, to try and understand it’s meaning.
And he said, I heard your voice in the garden and
I feared (yarah) because I was naked and I hid
You will revere (yarah) Yahweh your Elohiym and
you will serve him and in his name you will swear.
The standard conclusion from these two verses above, is that the Hebrew word “yarah” has only two different meanings, i.e. fear and reverence. But
again, this wouldn’t make any sense, as pointed out above, because the word “Fear”, is an attribute of the LORD.
The noun “yirah” is derived from the verb yarah. Yirah is the parent root of yarah or yara. The literal concrete meaning of yara, is a “flowing
of the gut,” which can be applied to “fear” or “reverence.” But the word can also mean, “to flow” because of it’s relation to the
words, water and rain…
a prim. Root
to shoot, pour
archers shot (1), shooting (1), watered (1).
yarah or yara
Or (2 Chr. 26:15) yara; [yaw-raw']; a primitive root; properly, to flow as water (i.e. To rain); transitively, to lay or throw
(especially an arrow, i.e. To shoot); figuratively, to point out (as if by aiming the finger), to teach -- (+) archer, cast, direct, inform,
instruct, lay, shew, shoot, teach(-er,-ing), through…
We know that this “flowing” is an attribute of the LORD/YHWH. So the question that naturally arises is, what is flowing out of the LORD, like
water…that gives us Wisdom…?
…and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills.
By comparing the verse above, we can see that it is the "Spirit of God/LORD”, which gives us Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding. The Hebrew word
for "Spirit", is "ruach", literally meaning the "Wind", which also has flowing characteristics.
I think the exact same meaning can be applied to the word “fear”. It should really mean “Spirit” as well, because of the similar parallels,
between “water” and “wind”, which both have flowing characteristics.
A similar parallel, is also hinted at in the Proverbs 14:27 and Psalm 19:9, with the use of the phrases “is pure, enduring forever” and “is a
fountain of life” etc… There’s also this verse below, which confirms that the Spirit has water characteristics.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever
believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who
believed in him were later to receive.
God is not meant to feared at all IMO, and all the verses which start with “The fear of the Lord” etc…should really read as followings…
“Flowing in the Spirit of the LORD/YHWH, is the beginning of Wisdom…”
Or put another way…
(Receiving) “The Spirit of the LORD/YHWH, is the beginning of Wisdom…”
I’ve pretty much paraphrased from the sources below, to try to make it easier to see and understand, with a few of my own thoughts thrown in.
More information, can be found at the sources below…
Ancient Hebrew Research Center