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


KNOW that in some instances by the phrase "the name of the Lord," nothing but the name alone is to be understood; comp. "Thou shalt not take the

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name of the Lord thy God in vain" (Exod. xl. 7); "And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord" (Lev. xxiv. 16). This occurs in numerous other passages. In other instances it means the essence and reality of God Himself, as in the phrase "They shall say to me, What is his name"? Sometimes it stands for "the word of God," so that "the name of God," "the word of God," and "the command of God," are identical phrases; comp. "for my name is in him" (Exod. xxiii. 21), that is, My word or My command is in him; i.e., he is the instrument of My desire and will. I shall explain this fully in treating of the homonymity of the term "angel" (II. chap. vi. and xxxiv.).--The same is the case with "The glory of the Lord." The phrase sometimes signifies "the material light," which God caused to rest on a certain place in order to show the distinction of that place, e.g., "And the glory of the Lord (kebod adonay) abode upon Mount Sinai and the cloud covered it" (Exod. xxiv. 16); "And the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle" (ib. xl. 35). Sometimes the essence, the reality of God is meant by that expression, as in the words of Moses, "Show me thy glory" (ib. xxxiii. 18), to which the reply was given, "For no man shall see me and live" (ib. xx.). This shows that the glory of the Lord in this instance is the same as He Himself, and that "Thy glory" has been substituted for "Thyself," as a tribute of homage; an explanation which we also gave of the words, "And they shall say unto me, What is his name?" Sometimes the term "glory" denotes the glorification of the Lord by man or by any other being. For the true glorification of the Lord consists in the comprehension of His greatness, and all who comprehend His greatness and perfection, glorify Him according to their capacity, with this difference, that man alone magnifies God in words, expressive of what he has received in his mind, and what he desires to communicate to others. Things not endowed with comprehension, as e.g., minerals, may also be considered as glorifying the Lord, for by their natural properties they testify to the omnipotence and wisdom of their Creator, and cause him who examines them to praise God, by means of speech or without the use of words, if the power of speech be wanting. In Hebrew this licence has been extended still further, and the use of the verb "to speak" has been admitted as applicable in such a case: things which have no comprehension are therefore said to give utterance to praise, e.g., "All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee?" (Ps. xxxv. 10). Because a consideration of the properties of the bones leads to the discovery of that truth, and it is through them that it became known, they are represented as having uttered the divine praise: and since this [cause of God's praise] is itself called "praise," it has been said "the fulness of the whole earth is his praise" (Isa. vi. 3), in the same sense as "the earth is full of his praise (Hab. iii. 3). As to kabod being employed in the sense of praise, comp. "Give praise (kabod) to the Lord your God" (Jer. xiii. 16); also "and in his temple does every one speak of his praise (kabod)" (Ps. xxix. 9), etc. Consider well the homonymity of this term, and explain it in each instance in accordance with the context; you will thus escape great embarrassment.

Next: Chapter LXV