An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 7 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 190 of 297
Thus we get abar, transgression.  The primary meaning of abar is 'to
pass over' (see Gen. 32:10,16,31 and 33:3; Exod. 12:23).  Pesha, 'rebellion',
and rasha, 'wickedness'.  1 Samuel 20:3 uses the word pesa, 'There is but a
step between me and death', and the marginal reading of Isaiah 27:4, 'I would
march against them'.  These usages show that pasha is similar to abar in the
thought of overstepping.  Abar oversteps the bounds, pasha revolts against
authority. 'I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled
against Me' (Isa. 1:2).
Rasha, wickedness, is revolt in progress, rebellion rushing to ruin.
Its essential meaning is that of violent commotion, the exact opposite of
peace.  Micah 6:11 speaks of the 'wicked balances' which contrast with that
sense of equal poise expressed by 'just balances'.  Job 3:17 speaks of the
wicked in a context that expresses restless character.  'There the wicked
cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest'.  So also Isaiah
57:20,21 speaks to the same effect: 'The wicked are like the troubled sea,
when it cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and dirt.  There is no peace,
saith my God to the wicked'.  These are the 'ungodly' of Psalm 1:1,4,5,6 and
the 'malefactors' and 'thieves' indicated prophetically in Isaiah 53:9.
Evil and ruin
Such negation of right and commission of wrong has but one end.  This
is foreshadowed in the word ra, 'evil'.  This word is translated 'evil' no
less than 444 times in the Old Testament  Its primary meaning is to break,
and to destroy, 'Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron' (Psa. 2:9).  Then
'to afflict', to 'entreat evil' (Job 24:21).  Ra is translated by a number of
words that suggest calamity and trouble: adversity 4 times, affliction 6,
calamity once, displeasure 4, distress once, grief and grievous 3, harm 4,
hurt 20, misery once, sad, sore, sorrow, trouble, wretchedness, among others
will show that the primitive idea of 'ruin' is never absent from the word.
The reader, with a concordance before him, or even the above citations, will
not be greatly troubled by those who wish to bring out of Isaiah 45:7 a
bolster for the teaching that God is the creator of sin.  The book of
Ecclesiastes provides a commentary upon the meaning of evil no less than that
of vanity.  The writer speaks of sore travail (1:13), work that is grievous
(2:17), a vanity and a great evil (2:21), as he sees the ruin and the
purposeless toil that has resulted from sin.
There are several other words used to portray the manysidedness of sin,
but those we have considered are the chief.  By one man sin entered into the
world, and all have sinned and come short (chata).  This condition is named
as one of lawlessness and unrighteousness.  Our very natures are wrung out of
their course, or wrong and crooked (avah), we are plunged into ignorance that
can exist side by side with guilt (asham), and all our efforts are
purposeless, wearisome toil (amal).  We have turned our backs upon God, and a
usurper has dominion over us.  Sin has attempted to mount the throne of God
(aven), deceit and inequality, iniquity in fact, now marks us (aval).  We
pass over or transgress the law of conscience or of revelation (abar), and
become rebels (pasha).  Restless wickedness becomes our characteristic
(rasha), and utter ruin, or evil, is our end (ra).  Such is the condition of
the sons of Adam.  From such a state nothing can deliver them, but the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus.