FIRE 'esh, "fire." Cognates of this word occur in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Aramaic, and Ethiopic. The 378 occurrences of this word in biblical Hebrew are scattered throughout its periods. In its first biblical appearance this word, 'esh, represents God's presence as "a torch of fire": "And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a [flaming torch]..." Gen. 15:17. "Fire" was the instrument by which an offering was transformed into smoke, whose ascending heavenward symbolized God's reception of the offering Lev. 9:24. God also consumed people with the "fire of judgment" Num. 11:1; Ps. 89:46.. Various things were to be burnt as a sign of total destruction and divine judgment Exod. 32:20. "Fire" often attended God's presence in theophanies . Thus He is sometimes called a "consuming fire" Exod. 24:17. The noun ishsheh, meaning "an offering made by fire," is derived from 'esh.
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