The Hebrew word מִדְבָּר (midbar) refers to ‘desert’ – a desolate place or ‘wilderness’ – pasture land. It appears with a preposition in the first verse of Numbers בְּמִדְבַּר [bemidbar – in (the) wilderness], which is the Hebrew name of the book.

מִדְבָּר (midbar) comes from the verb דָּבָר ­­(davar) meaning ‘to speak.’

Figuratively, it is the place of God’s speaking, the place of His voice, where He talks to His people. He brought Israelites into מִדְבָּר (midbar) – wilderness – to speak to them in silence.

Hence, God invites us into the wilderness – during this season of Lent – in order to speak to us in a still, small voice.


Dr. Aravind Jeyakumar Moniraj is serving as the Associate Professor and HOD, Department of Old Testament at Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute in Chennai.

For Other Articles by Dr Aravind
40 Hebrew Words for Forty Days – Day 13