WFT- obnubilate

18 July 2009

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for May 26th was obnubilate.

If you would like you can subscribe to the Word of the Day.

Pronounced \ahb-NOO-buh-layt\ the word is a verb that means "to becloud, obscure".

M-W provided the following in their "Did you know?" section:

The meaning of "obnubilate" becomes clearer when you know that its ancestors are  the Latin terms "ob-" (meaning "in the way") and "nubes" ("cloud"). It's a  high-flown sounding word, which may be why it often turns up in texts by and  about politicians. In fact, when the U.S. Constitution was up for ratification,  18th-century Pennsylvania statesman James Wilson used it to calm fears that the  president would have too much power: "Our first executive magistrate is not  obnubilated behind the mysterious obscurity of counsellors. . . . He is the  dignified, but accountable magistrate of a free and great people."

This brought to mind a passage of Scripture:

For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:9-13)

Paul speaks in the present tense to indicate that even after Messiah came, died, and was resurrected we still only know things and speak of things in a partial sense.  Only when Messiah returns and fully restores the Kingdom will the partial knowing and speaking be done away.

Now we see in a mirror dimly...

Paul's words here seem remniscient of the words of the sages in the Midrash Rabbah (Leviticus Rabbah 14:4):

Through nine mirrors did the prophets behold [prophetic visions]. This is indicated by what is said, "And the appearance of the vision which I saw, was like the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city; and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell upon my face" [Ezek. 43:3]; but Moses beheld [prophetic visions] through one mirror, as it is said "With him do I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in dark speech" [Numbers 12:8]. The Rabbis said: All the other prophets beheld prophetic visions through a blurred mirror... But Moses beheld [prophetic visions] through a polished mirror as it is said, "He beholds the form of the LORD [Numbers 12:8]."

The idea is that the prophets only saw reflections while Moshe saw the form of G-d clearly.  Even when we examine Moshe's words in the Torah we only glimpse G-d through the reflection of those words.

...but then face to face.

It is only in Messiah and the life that He lived can we see the Father.  As He said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:9).  In his Torah-obedient life we see the life G-d meant for us to live: obedient to His will... by choice.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Tim 1:17)

Last modified on 17 September 2016

Torah Portion




or view this week's triennial cycle reading.

Today is

Yom Sheni, 28 Kislev, 5784 - 4th day of Chanukkah

Monday, December 11, 2023


Learn more about this date in history.