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Ki Atah Neri - You are my Lamp

Ki Atah Neri Adonai -

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For You are my Lamp, O LORD

by John J. Parsons

2 Samuel 22:29 (BHS)

"For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness."
(2 Sam. 22:29)

The Source of Light

In the holy place of the tabernacle (mishkan), a seven-branched lamp stand (menorah) held seven individual lamps (nerot) that represented God's perfect light. The seven lamps of the menorah contained pure olive oil inside almond-shaped containers, suggesting the seven eyes of the LORD mentioned in Zechariah 4:2.  Together, the menorah and its seven lamps were referred to as the Perpetual Lamp (ner tamid), a source of light that illuminated the Bread of Presence (lechem panim) and the Altar of Incense (mizbeach haketoret) within the holy place. The lamp was to be attended to every morning and evening during the time of the burning of the sweet incense (symbolizing prayer), and was never to be extinguished (Lev. 24:2).


In this verse, King David metaphorically calls the LORD his Perpetual Lamp – that is, the Source of holy light that enables him to see. Just as the radiance of the menorah caused the darkness of the holy place to be dispelled - and illuminated both the Bread of Presence and the rising plume of sweet incense - so the presence of the LORD in the heart of faith causes the inner darkness of the soul to be overcome, revealing the provision and presence of God (John 1:5, 9, Matt. 6:22).

Indeed, David would have understood this metaphor to ultimately refer to his future Descendant (the promised "Son of David") who would be the True Light of the world (Psalm 132:17, John 1:9, 8:12, 12:46).

Living in view of God's Light itself gives us light to see (John 3:20-21). Jesus is the brightness of God's glory and the express image of his Person, who upholds all things by the word of his power (Heb. 1:3). Beholding the radiance of the Lord Jesus drives away our inner darkness, feeds our soul, and enables us to have authentic communion with a holy God.


2 Samuel 22:29 (BHS) Transliteration

ki attah neiri Adonai, va'Adonai yaggi'ah choshki.

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