20 July 2010 (Shleshi/Bikkurim)|
Day #127, 5934 AM
The Threefold Cord
One of the Deep Mysteries of Echad
I have chosen a very unusual passage of scripture today which at face value seems to be talking about safety and the mutual advantage generally in numbers. Two people working at a job together can get it done twice as fast. If one gets into trouble, the other can help out. Two can warm each other in the cold. And if one of them is attacked by a foe, it is easier to prevail over an enemy with two. And then the writer, believed to be Solomon, adds, it seems, a third person in for measure - there is something irresistably strong and unbreakable in a trinity of strangs to make a cord or rope.
"Two (shenayim) are better than one (echad), because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, one (echad) will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone (echad) when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two (shenayim) lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one (echad) be warm alone? Though one (echad) may be overpowered (taqaf - 'taw-qaf') by another, two (shenayim) can withstand ('amad) him. And a threefold (shalash) cord is not quickly broken" (Eccl 4:9-12, NKJV).
All common sense and sound counsel. But as you look closely at the text you see there's something else there - a deeper or esoteric meaning. This passage is not just talking about the advantage of multiple individuals over a single individual (the exoteric, p'shat or literal face) but about echad or integrated individuals. And echad, as you know, means unity in plurality. But then the passage is not contrasting this with two inviduals but comparing echad with shenayim which literally means "double" or "twofold". If we have any doubt as to what the author's intention is, he then uses the word shalash meaning "threefold" - not three ropes but three elements entwined as a single rope-entitity - literally three-in-one.
From supposedly 'one man' and then to 'two men' the author ends up with a threefold rope or cord...not 'three men'. The word 'man' or 'men' is never used because they are not the actual subject matter but are being inferred to simply illustrate the main theme, namely, 'foldedness'. If he had wanted to say "one man" (Gen.42:13) he would have said echad 'iysh, literally, a unified being (having many parts - lev or heart, ruach or spirit, nefesh or breath, belem or body, etc.) who is extant (enosh - the root word of 'iysh) or 'literally there'. A single man is an integrated, echad being who is literally and physically present. What a different way of looking at a person to that of the Westerner!
When Christians think about three-in-one they of course immediate conjure up the Trinity in their minds. However, as readers of this website know, the Godhead or Elohimhead is much more complex than a mere 'Trinity'. Nevertheless, it is true to say that the three-in-one is the first level of 'completeness', represented as Father, Son and Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit, Mother) tri-unity or trinity. The Son is juxtaposted between the Father and the Mother because the Son is the product of His Parents. And we are to baptise converts in Their Threefold Name (Mt.28:19). What is that Threefold Name? Yahweh or YHWH (hwhy), the three elements being Y (yod - representing the Father), H (hé - representing the Mother ... why there are two H's will be discussed another time) and W (waw - representing the Son) .
Each strand in a three-stranded rope also consists of its own strands and fibres because we are many parts that need integrating and made whole. Alone, even as an echad, we can be overwhelmed, and even with a friend in a duality nothing is guaranteed. But in the threefold mystery of the Elohim we cannot be quickly broken. We are secure, safe in our Heavenly Home.