Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jesus and Anawim

Jesus is very clearly on the side of the poor, which the wealthy might think of as a plot to immortalize strength, wealth and power.

However, Jesus didn’t object to power or wealth, but of their neglect of the anawim—the vulnerable. Wealth and power always neglect the vulnerable, the outcast by definition. If wealth and power didn’t neglect them, they would not be outcast. Jesus is about the creation of a society in which the only vulnerable are those who created the vulnerable.


  1. I'm still curious about this term, "Anawim". I guess I'll figure it out, eventually. Thanks!
    Bryan Lowe

  2. Sorry I didn't respond to this before.

    "Anawim" is a Hebrew word that is often translated as "poor" "meek" "lowly". In Psalm 37:11 it is the term used for the "meek" in "the meek shall inherit the earth", which Jesus quotes in Matt. 5:5.

    Overall, the "anawim" mean those who are outcast or persecuted and then seek God for justice and help. Thus, my definition of it is: "The outcast who seek the Lord for deliverance". This is the motto of my church.

  3. To read a longer description of "Anawim" and its biblical context, check out this post:


  4. There is no "w" in Hebrew. Therefore, the word "anawim" is not a Hebrew word. There is the letter vav in Hebrew (B) which is the same letter as B (beit) without the dot in the middle of the letter.

    It's possible that the original word is ana'yim but so far I have not been able to determine this. In any case, the poor are necessarily meek since they depend upon and are vulnerable to those with more wealth, and are almost invariably voiceless, therefore powerless.

  5. Hebrew is transliterated in different ways in different communities. "W" is often used for vav.

    Anawim is a plural of the word ana "poor", which indicates a community of poor, rather than just an individual problem.