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Guide for the Perplexed, by Moses Maimonides, Friedländer tr. [1904], at


THE term halak is likewise one of the words which denote movements performed by living beings, as in "And Jacob went (halak) on his way" (Gen. xxxii. I), and in many other instances. The verb "to go" was next employed in describing movements of objects less solid than the bodies of living beings, comp. "And the waters were going on (halok) decreasing" (Gen. viii. 5); "And the fire went along (va-tihalak) upon the ground" (Exod. ix. 23). Then it was employed to express the spreading and manifestation of something incorporeal, comp. "The voice thereof shall go like a serpent" (Jer. xlvi. 22); again, "The voice of the Lord God walking in the garden" (Gen. iii. 8). It is "the voice" that is qualified by "walking."

Whenever the word "to go" is used in reference to God, it must be taken in this figurative sense, i.e., it applies to incorporeal things, and signifies either the manifestation of something incorporeal, or the withdrawal of the Divine protection, an act corresponding in lifeless beings to the removal of

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a thing, in living beings to the departure of a living being, "walking." The withdrawal of God's protection is called in the Bible "the hiding of God's countenance," as in Deuteronomy xxxi. 18, "As for me, I will hide my countenance." On the same ground it has been designated "going away," or moving away from a thing. comp. "I will depart and return to my place" (Hos. v. 15). But in the passage, "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he went" (Num. xii. 9), the two meanings of the verb are combined. viz., the withdrawal of the Divine protection, expressed by "and he went," and the revelation, manifestation, and appearance of something namely, of the anger which went forth and reached them, in consequence of which Miriam became "leprous, white as snow." The expression "to walk" was further applied to conduct, which concerns only the inner life, and which requires no bodily motion, as in the following passages, "And thou shalt walk in his ways" (Deut. xxviii. 9); "Ye shall walk after the Lord your God" (Deut. xiii. 5); "Come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." (Isa. ii. 5).

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