A Bible Study and Contemporary Application of Genesis 11-19 by Anne Turner

KEY VERSE: Genesis 19:29 "So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived."

Chapter Four Appendix: Root Meanings

A First Mention

The first mention of the word “intercession” is in the last line of Isaiah 53— “and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (vs 12b)

The root of the word “intercession” in Hebrew —“pagà”— means: “to impinge, by accident or violence, or (figuratively) by importunity:--come (betwixt), cause to entreat, fall (upon), make intercession, intercessor, entreat, lay, light (upon), meet (together), pray, reach, run.” [from The Complete WordStudy OT, ©1994 AMG Publishers]

The two basic meanings of the Hiphil (a Hebrew verb tense) are:

  1. to intercede, (and the references are to Isaiah 53:12; 59:16; Jer 15:11; 36:25;) and
  2. to lay, burden, (and the reference is to Isaiah 53:6, “The Lord has laid upon him all our iniquity”.) [from the Theological Wordbook of the OT, Vol. 2, pp 714, 715.]

If we think of the use of “pagà” in Isaiah 53:6 as a qualifier of the Isaiah 53:12b use of the root word, there is a sense of urgency and pain in the meaning of intercession.

Consider the meaning of impinge: "to strike or dash especially with a sharp collision." And consider the meaning of importunity: "the state of being troublesomely urgent in request or demand." [- Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary]

How did God lay upon Christ all our iniquity (Isa 53:6)? By the sharp collision of the nails on the cross through his hands and feet. It was an urgent, importunate mandate.

How does Christ make intercession for us, the transgressors (Isa 53:12)? It is not a light encounter. He impinges on the very heart of God.

More shades of the meaning of “intercession” are gleaned from I Timothy 2:1: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men...” There is a progression here.
1. A supplication is “imploring God’s aid in some particular matter.”
2. Prayers or prayer is a word encompassing the general practice of praying to God.
3. Intercessions, however, are the reaching, pressing entreaties, and thanksgivings will surely follow on their heels.

Let us mark this distinction as we consider our goal in this Bible study of becoming better intercessors.