Fear – Hebrew: Yirah

The word ‘fear’ is found 475 times in the Old Testament. It is used to describe a reverence for God through obedience, feeling distressed in a situation, or trembling with fear from uncontrollable circumstances.


“Adonai ordered us to observe all these laws, to fear Adonai our God, always for our own good, so that he might keep us alive, as we are today” (Deuteronomy 6:24).

The Hebrew word for ‘fear’ in this verse is yirah and means ‘reverence’ and ‘awesome.’ Its root is yare and means ‘morally irreverent.’

When we ‘fear’ God, we will be ‘morally reverent’ to His laws, commandments, Torah. We will obey Him and receive His righteousness and be ‘kept alive.’ If we do not yirah Him, we will live an immoral life, rejecting everything He gave us ‘for our own good’ and ‘die.’

In the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Chava sinned, they did not ‘reverence’ God and obey His one command ‘to not eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.’ Thus, they died. Yeshua, reverenced the Torah of His Father, and because of his righteousness was able to atone for our sins and bring us life. We are to live like Yeshua, obeying and fearing God.


“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you; don’t be distressed, for I am your God. I give you strength, I give you help, I support you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

“He said, “You man so greatly loved, don’t be afraid. Shalom to you; and be strong, yes, truly strong.” His speaking to me strengthened me, and I said, “My lord, keep speaking; because you’ve given me strength” (Daniel 10:19).

The Hebrew word for ‘afraid’ in these verses is is tirah and literally means ‘to be full of fear’. This type of ‘fear’ causes distress (metzar) or ‘terror’. According to Isaiah, we are not to distress and be afraid as God will support us through his ‘right hand’ which is a allusion to Yeshua.

When the messenger came to Daniel, he was also told not to be distressed. He reminded Daniel that he was greatly loved. Daniel was strengthened hearing the words of Adonai and received ‘shalom.’


“Fearing human beings is a snare; but he who trusts in Adonai will be raised high [above danger]” Proverbs 29:25).

The Hebrew word for fear in this verse is, charadat, and means a ‘trembling’ fear. This is what Yeshua was referring to in Luke 21:26 when he said about the end days, “as people faint with fear at the prospect of what is overtaking the world ....” We are not to get caught in the snare of what is overtaking the world. We are to put our faith in Adonai and be ‘raised high above danger.’

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