by Rick Wills
Hebrew is an ancient language that developed with the earliest needs for people to communicate. As such, its first words frequently had a form of "sound pictures" that conveyed their most important feelings. Hearing their sounds, the listener would associate his own experience, and understand what was said. By this, the simplest communications began, and dictionaries were not necessary to maintain definitions.
The following is an example… If you realize that you cannot find what you need, you have deep regrets … this is nih-khaam. Nih is drawing in air, and khaam is slowly releasing it. This is the "sound picture" of a sigh.
So nih-khaam portrays regret, remorse and it reveals the feelings of depression. Sometimes it denotes repentance, because it conveys a sense of reflective pause. But its overall purpose is to redirect personal efforts and affairs. And if there is no response to your nih-khaam, and you can’t see any correction for your situation, your nih-khaam may lead to nihi and nih-ha.
Nihi — "Nih" is the forceful drawing in of air, and "hii" is exhaling with a burst, and it is the sound of the first sob.
Nih-ha — Again, "nih" is the dramatic drawing in of air, and hah is exhaling with a longer burst, and it is bitter sobbing.
"Nih-hi" and "nih-hah" is weeping without any sense of dignity. In it you are are ignoring the presence of anyone near you. It is how you weep for someone that has died. It is deep pain.
So you hear the prophet Jeremiah use this word (9:18) when the Babylonians were invading Jerusalem … Seeing the horrors, Jeremiah says to the people near him, "Have someone wail for us." The word for "wail" is "nih-hi", and it is infectious. When anyone is near a person in "nih-hi", they nah-hah along with them. Therefore he continues … "Do this so our eyes can also pour out tears, and our eyelids swell shut with their waters." He talks like this because he did not want to see any longer. Mothers were being raped. Their children were abused. Their sons and daughters were chained and taken away as slaves. Their old men were thrown into deep pits. So Jeremiah says, "Bring wailers to me. Let them ‘nihi’, and let me ‘niha.’"
If Jeremiah had heard the Messiah’s teaching in Matthew 5:4, he would have understood it as follows … There is a blessing for those that mourn, for those that nah-hah. They will be comforted.
Whoever suffers because of righteousness, though they "nih-hii" and "nah-hah", they will find "nakhamah" … comfort over their bitter tears. The word for comfort is similar to the word for regret. Regret is "nakham", and where it is a sigh, "nakhamah" carries the added sound of regret being released. So Yeshua (Jesus) is saying that your "nakham" will become "nakhamah", and there will not be "nih-hii" and "nah-hah" any more … for your Heavenly Father will wipe away your tears.
These words convey deep-seated emotion … because they express the groaning of the soul itself. They are often words that we have difficulty saying to others and talking about, because they are admissions of personal nakedness, weakness, and poverty … our rawest vulnerabilities.
They are the words that a man swallows as he grieves, when he can do nothing else, and he quakes in his spirit.
Every one of us has spoken these words, and so in the true Hebrew tongue, whenever our needs and desires have overwhelmed us — and dissolved our attention to dignity. We "Na-Kham" with deep regret, we "Ni-hi" with sharp sorrow, and "Nah-hah" in desperation. We say these words to the only one that knows our complete need. We say them alone, so no one can see or hear us. But we say them to the Lord — and he is the one that has put the words in our hearts.
The Father hears our words, our grieving, and "draws near to the broken and contrite heart." Psa. 51:17