Remember the Eternal One your God. He’s the One who gives you the power to get wealth, so He can keep the covenant promises He made to your ancestors, as He is doing now. Deuteronomy 8:18 Voice
The Eternal your God promised your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that He would give you this land. When He brings you into it, you’ll live in beautiful and spacious cities you didn’t build. 11 You’ll have houses filled with good things waiting for you—cisterns to hold water already dug out of the rock for you, and vineyards and olive orchards that you didn’t plant. You’ll have all you want to eat and more. Deuteronomy 6:10-11 Voice
After reading Deuteronomy 6:10-11 last Sunday, I was struck by the blessing (material wealth and security) God promised to His people – “large and beautiful cities that you did not build, houses full of good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant” – was a ready-made fortune!
The Hebrew word for power
What does the word Hebrew word for power used in the power to get wealth mean?
So I looked it up in Strongs. The transliteration of the Hebrew word used is koach. The literal definition is force which can be used in a good or bad sense. The figurative definition is capacity or means to produce. The word is additionally translated as might, power, strength, ability, substance, wealth.
From there I looked up Deuteronomy 8:18 in various translations:
- strength to produce all this wealth – Message Bible
- power to be successful – NLT
- power to become rich – NCV
- power to make wealth – Young’s Literal Translation
- ability to produce wealth – NIRV – “But remember the Lord your God. He gives you the ability to produce wealth. That shows he stands by the terms of His covenant. He promised it with an oath to Your people long ago. And He’s still faithful to His covenant today.”
The same word is used in Isaiah 40:29 – He gives power to the weak.
Many of the other scriptures that use the same word are referring to the power of God such as, “He stirs up the sea with His power…” Job 26:12
It causes me to look at the power God gives us in a whole new light.
Assuredly, this does not mean it is unnecessary to be diligent. Possessing the Promised Land required considerable effort. But as long as they followed instructions, it went very well.
It wasn’t as if they had a resume of previous conquests. Nor did they have a business plan outlining the process.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or think according to the power that works within us” Ephesians 3:20
The Hebrew word for wealth
But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (Amplified Version)
Wealth – Strongs 2428 – Chayil khah’yil – probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength – able, activity (+) army, band of men (soldiers), company, (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train (+) valiant (-ly) valour, virtuous (-ly) war, worthy (ily)
Chayil is translated the following ways in the King James version: army 56, man of valour 37, host 29, forces 14, valiant 13, strength 12, riches 11, wealth 10, power 9, substance 8, might 6, strong 5, misc 33
All of the versions available on Bible Gateway, follow the King James translation except one which uses the word successful.
The verse is actually part of a warning not to allow pride to cause us to pat ourselves on the back when we obtain wealth.
It’s fascinating to me that the word translated power and the word translated as wealth can both be translated as force and power.
So the verse could be translated as “the force to get power“ or “the force to get force” or “the power to get stronger.”
All the definitions apply to the Israelite kings in the Old Testament. Many of them did not heed the warnings and neglected the greatest commandment to “love the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”
David is one who followed the first commandment. He had a band of men—which could be called an army—before he had riches.
The definition “means or other resources” carries the greatest meaning to me. Wealth or riches carries a negative connotation to some. Also, money can’t always buy what we need. There are many so-called wealthy people who are bankrupt when it comes to love, joy, peace, freedom, health, satisfaction, and other desirable circumstances.
UPDATE: The comments are great!