Before getting into my post, as an Eagle Scout, let me mention that the Boy Scouts are considering the acceptance of sodomites in their organization. This is an awful idea--they would be asking for an increase in child molestation, and sharing a tent with a sodomite, not to mention the group showers, etc. out in the back woods, is intolerable. Acceptance of sodomy would violate the Scout's swearing to be "morally straight" also. Please read the article here and either call or e-mail them and politely request that they retain their current policy. The phone number works, but you may need to call a few times to get through.
The verb employed in Genesis 15:6, to believe, (Hebrew ‘aman)[i] signifies to trust in, to believe in in the Hebrew form employed in Genesis 15:6,[ii] and signifies to be firm, trustworthy in its foundational idea and to prove to be firm, reliable, faithful, trustworthy in a different, frequently passive verb form.[iii] Commenting on a part of the meaning of ‘aman that relates to Genesis 15:6, the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament notes:
[T]he concept of Nma embraces a twofold relation: recognition and acknowledgment of the relation of claim and reality, and the relation of the validity of this claim for him who says Amen to all its practical consequences. . . . This leads us to the simplest definition of the hiphil NImTaRh (“to believe”), which the LXX renders 45 times by pisteu/ein, 5 by ejmmisteu/ein, and once each by katapisteu/ein and pei/qesqai. It means “to say Amen with all the consequences for both obj. and subj.” . . . [T]he use of NImTaRh toward men gives prominence to the total basic attitude along the lines of “to trust.” . . . A further point is that the OT uses NImTaRh only for the personal relation, for behind the word which is believed is the man whom one trusts. The hiphil finds an analogous use as an expression for man’s relation to God. Here, too, it has declarative rather than causative significance. It means “to declare God NDmTaRn,” “to say Amen to God.” But this does not embrace the whole meaning . . . the mutual relation between God and man is of the very essence of faith . . . God is the true author of the relation between God and man. . . . [T]he setting and origin of the religious use of the stem Nma in the OT tradition is to be sought in the sacral covenant with [Jehovah]. . . . In the relation denoted by NImTaRh the OT saw the special religious attitude of the people of God to [Jehovah]. (pgs. 186-188, 191, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 6, Kittel)
B. B. Warfield notes on the tense of ‘aman found in Genesis 15:6, the Hiphil + the preposition beth, the following:
Obviously it is a subjective causative, and expresses the acquisition or exhibition of the firmness, security, relability, faithfulness which lies in the root-meaning of the verb, in or with respect to its object. The NyImSaAm is therefore one whose state of mind is free from faintheartedness (Isaiah 7:9) and anxious haste (Isaiah 28:16), and who stays himself upon the object of his contemplation with confidence and trust. The implication seems to be, not so much that of a passive dependence as of a vigorous active commitment. He who, in the Hebrew sense, exercises faith, is secure, assured, confident (Deuteronomy 28:66; Job 24:22; Psalm 27:13), and lays hold of the object of his confidence with firm trust.
The most common construction of NyImTaRh, is with the preposition b, and in this construction its fundamental meaning seems to be most fully expressed. It is probably never safe to represent this phrase by the simple “believe”; the preposition rather introduces the person or thing in which one believes, or on which one believingly rests as on firm ground. This is true even when the object of the affection is a thing, whether divine words, commandments, or works (Psalm 106:12; 119:66; 78:32), or some earthly force or good (Job 39:12; 15:31; 24:22; Deuteronomy 28:66), It is no less true when the object is a person, human (1 Samuel 27:12; Proverbs 26:25; Jeremiah 12:6; Micah 7:5) or superhuman (Job 4:18; 15:15), or the representative of God, in whom therefore men should place their confidence (Exodus 19:9; 2 Chronicles 20:20). It is above all true, however, when the object of the affection is God Himself, and that indifferently whether or not the special exercise of faith adverted to is rooted in a specific occasion (Genesis 15:6; Exodus 14:31; Numbers 14:11; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32; 2 Kings 17:14; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Psalm 78:22; Jonah 3:5). The weaker conception of “believing” seems, on the other hand, to lie in the construction with the preposition l, which appears to introduce the person or thing, not on which one confidingly rests, but to the testimony of which one assentingly turns. This credence may be given by the simple to every untested word (Proverbs 14:15); it may be withheld until seeing takes the place of believing (1 Kings 10:7; 2 Chronicles 9:6); it is due to words of the Lord and of His messengers, as well as to the signs wrought by them (Psalm 106:24; Isaiah 53:1; Exodus 4:8, 9). It may also be withheld from any human speaker (Genesis 45:26; Exodus 4:1, 8; Jeremiah 40:14; 2 Chronicles 32:15), but is the right of God when He bears witness to His majesty or makes promises to His people (Isaiah 43:10; Deuteronomy 9:23). In this weakened sense of the word the proposition believed is sometimes attached to it by the conjunction y;Ik (Exodus 4:5; Job 9:16; Lamentations 4:12). In its construction with the infinitive, however, its deeper meaning comes out more strongly (Judges 11:20; Job 15:22; Psalm 27:13), and the same is true when the verb is used absolutely (Exodus 4:31; Isaiah 7:9; 28:16; Psalm 116:10; Job 29:24; Habakkuk 1:5). In these constructions faith is evidently the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. . . .
God Himself is the object to which [Old Testament saints] believingly turn, or on whom they rest in assured trust, in some eleven cases. In two of these it is to Him as a faithful witness that faith believingly turns (Deuteronomy 9:23; Isaiah 43:10). In the remainder of them it is upon His very person that faith rests in assured confidence (Genesis 15:6; Exodus 14:31; Numbers 14:11; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32; 2 Kings 17:14; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Psalm 78:22; Jonah 3:5). It is in these instances, in which the construction is with b, together with those in which the word is used absolutely (Exodus 4:31; Isaiah 7:9; 28:16; Psalm 116:10), to which may be added Psalm 27:13 where it is construed with the infinitive, that the conception of religious believing comes to its rights. The typical instance is, of course, the great word of Genesis 15:6, ‘And Abram believed in the LORD, and he counted it to him for righteousness’; in which all subsequent believers, Jewish and Christian alike, have found the primary example of faith. The object of Abram’s faith, as here set forth, was not the promise which appears as the occasion of its exercise; what it rested on was God Himself, and that not merely as the giver of the promise here recorded, but as His servant’s shield and exceeding great reward (xv.1). It is therefore not the assentive but the fiducial element of faith which is here emphasized; in a word, the faith which Abram gave Jehovah when he ‘put his trust in God’ (e˙pi÷steusen tw◊ˆ qew◊ˆ, LXX), was the same faith which later He sought in vain at the hands of His people (Numbers 14:11; cf. Deuteronomy 1:32; 2 Kings 17:14), and the notion of which the Psalmist explains in the parallel, ‘They believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation’ (Psalm 78:22). To believe in God, in the Old Testament sense, is thus not merely to assent to His word, but with firm and unwavering confidence to rest in security and trustfulness upon Him. . . . In the Greek of the Septuagint pisteu/ein takes its place as the regular rendering of NyImTaRh, and is very rarely set aside in favour of another word expressing trust (Proverbs 26:25 pei÷qesqai). . . . It was by being thus made the vehicle for expressing the high rfeligous faith of the Old Testament that the word was prepared for its New Testament use (“The Biblical Doctrine of Faith,” Warfield, in Biblical Doctrines, vol. 2 of Works).
Faithfulness and trustworthiness arise from faith, and are impossible without it, so that faith, through the initial exercise of which justification was received, may, by continued acts of faith that are a product of a believing new nature,[iv] evidence the saint’s inward faith and faithfulness in outward fidelity. Thus, the Old Testament teaches that one who believes in God,[v] another person,[vi] an event,[vii] or a thing,[viii] reckons the thing in question, or the person, as one who will continue or endure the same,[ix] as trustworthy[x] or faithful,[xi] or sure,[xii] or confirmed or established,[xiii] and therefore worthy of assured confidence.[xiv] Those descendents of Jacob who believe in Jehovah, those who believe and consequently become the faithful, of whom Abraham is the paradigm,[xv] are those who are redeemed and counted as righteous[xvi] and will in the last days receive the Promised Land, along with believing Gentiles (Jonah 3:5, 10) who will similarly inherit the Millenial earth and the eternal kingdom.
[i] Nma. The complete list of texts with the verb is: Genesis 15:6; 42:20; 45:26; Exodus 4:1, 5, 8–9, 31; 14:31; 19:9; Numbers 12:7; 14:11; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32; 7:9; 9:23; 28:59, 66; Judges 11:20; 1 Samuel 2:35; 3:20; 22:14; 25:28; 27:12; 2 Samuel 7:16; 1 Kings 8:26; 10:7; 11:38; 2 Kings 17:14; 1 Chronicles 17:23–24; 2 Chronicles 1:9; 6:17; 9:6; 20:20; 32:15; Nehemiah 9:8; 13:13; Psalms 19:8; 27:13; 78:8, 22, 32, 37; 89:29, 38; 93:5; 101:6; 106:12, 24; 111:7; 116:10; 119:66; Job 4:18; 9:16; 12:20; 15:15, 22, 31; 24:22; 29:24; 39:12, 24; Proverbs 11:13; 14:15; 25:13; 26:25; 27:6; Isaiah 1:21, 26; 7:9; 8:2; 22:23, 25; 28:16; 33:16; 43:10; 49:7; 53:1; 55:3; Jeremiah 12:6; 15:18; 40:14; 42:5; Lamentations 4:12; Hosea 5:9; 12:1; Jonah 3:5; Micah 7:5; Habakkuk 1:5.
[ii] The Hiphil + b. Nma + b is found in Genesis 15:6; Exodus 14:31; Numbers 14:11; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32; 28:66; 1 Samuel 27:12; 2 Kings 17:14; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Job 15:31; 24:22; 39:12; Psalm 27:13; 78:22, 32, 37; 89:38; 106:12; 119:66; Proverbs 26:25; Jeremiah 12:6; Jonah 3:5; Micah 7:5. The definite majority of these texts refer to belief in Jehovah. In all these texts, except Psalm 78:37; 89:28; and one of the three instances of Nma in 2 Chronicles 20:20, where the verb is in the Niphal, Nma is always in the Hiphil.
[iii] The Niphal. Note the lexicon:
Nma basic mng. to be firm, trustworthy, safe; MHb., Ph. n.m. Nmala; Syr. etpe. to occupy oneself constantly with; Hb. hif. > Arm. NyImyEh, Syr. haimen ˘ BArm., DISO 17, to believe, > Arb. haymana to say Amen :: Arb. }amina to be safe, }amuna to be faithful, IV to believe, Soq. to speak the truth, OSArb. }mn(t) security; Eth. Tigr. }am(a)na to believe (Leslau 11, Wb. 356a); Eg. mn to be firm. . . . nif: . . . 1. to prove to be firm, reliable, faithful Gn 4220 1K 826 Jr 1518 Ps 788 (lEa_tRa to God, of Aj…wr,) 37 8929 (Owl concerning him, of tyîr;Vb) 935 1016 1117 1C 1723f 2C 19 617 2020, to remain faithful to (MIo) Hos 121 (:: Sept.); pt. trustworthy, faithful 1S 235 2214 1K 1138 Is 121.26 82 2223.25 3316 Jr 425 Ps 198 8938 Jb 1220 Pr 2513 Neh 98 1313; (of God) Dt 79 Is 497; —to be permanent, to endure: people Is 79, dynasty 1S 2528 2S 716, tokens of mercy Is 553, God’s name 1C 1723f, water Is 3316, illness Dt 2859; hÎnDmTa‰n that which is trustworthy Hos 59, Aj…wr_NAmTa‰n be faithful Pr 1113, NDmTa‰n intended to be faithful Pr 276; —3. ;Vb NDmTa‰n entrusted with (alt. proved to be reliable) Nu 127, with Vl appointed 1S 320. . . . hif: . . . causative —1. to believe = to think (:: 3 !) with inf., that Jb 1522, with y;Ik Ps 11610 Jb 916 La 412; with Vl and inf., to be convinced that Ps 2713; —2. to regard something as trustworthy, to believe in: a thing Hab 15, a word Ex 48f 1K 107 Is 531 Ps 10624 Pr 1415 2C 96; with ;Vb, to (have) trust in Nu 2012 1S 2712 Mi 75 Sir 36 31; with Vl Gn 4526 Ex 41.8 Jr 4014; abs. Ex 45 Jb 2924 (dl. aøl, alt. as 4); —3. to have trust in, to believe in, God: with ;Vb Gn 156 Ex 1431 (and in Moses) Nu 1411 2012 Dt 132 2K 1714 Jon 35 Ps 7822 2C 2020; with Vl Dt 923 Is 4310; abs. to believe Ex 431 Is 79 2816; ˘ TWNT 6:182ff; RGG 2:1588f; Eichrodt 2:190ff; Pfeiffer ZAW 71:151ff, relation between pi÷stiß and pisteu/ein Ebeling ZThK 55:70ff; —Ju 1120 (trad. to entrust, Sir 4513 hif. or hof.) rd. NEaDm◊yÅw; Is 3021 …wnyImy;Et (: Nmy hif); cj. Jb 3924 (usu. keep still) (lyIaVmVcÅy aøøl◊w) NyImy´´y (Duhm Hiob, Hölscher Hiob). (KB)
[iv] While the New Testament teaches more explicitly and apparently the growth of faith in the believer, the Old Testament suggests the possibility of strengthening and development in Nma, rather than a simply static notion, through the uses in 2 Kings 10:1, 5 & Esther 2:7 for supporting, nourishing, or bringing up as related to confirming or strengthening (see BDB; cf. tiqhno/ß in 2 Kings 10:1, 5, LXX & qrepto/ß in Esther 2:7).
[v] Exodus 14:31; Number 14:11; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32; 9:23; 2 Kings 17:14; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Nehemiah 9:8; Psalm 78:8, 22, 32; Isaiah 7:9; 28:16; 43:10; Jonah 3:5. In a text such as Isaiah 7:9 belief in Jehovah and in the message of His prophet are indivisibly connected; cf. Isaiah 53:1.
[vi] Genesis 45:26; Exodus 4:1, 8, 31; 14:31; 19:9; 1 Samuel 27:12; 2 Chronicles 20:20; 32:15; Proverbs 26:25; Jeremiah 12:6; 40:14; Micah 7:5.
[vii] Exodus 4:5; Job 15:22; 29:24; 39:24; Psalm 27:13; Lamentations 4:12; Habakkuk 1:5.
[viii] Exodus 4:9, 31; 1 Kings 10:7; 2 Chronicles 9:6; Job 9:6; 39:12; Psalm 78:37; 106:12, 24; 116:10; 119:66; Proverbs 14:15; Isaiah 7:9; 53:1.
[ix] Deuteronomy 28:59; Jeremiah 15:18.
[x] Genesis 42:20; Judges 11:20; Job 4:18; 12:20; 15:15, 31; Micah 7:5.
[xi] Numbers 12:7; Deuteronomy 7:9; 1 Samuel 2:35; 22:14; Nehemiah 9:8; 13:13; Psalm 101:6; Proverbs 11:13; 25:13; 27:6; Isaiah 1:21, 26; 8:2; 49:7; Jeremiah 42:5; Hosea 11:12.
[xii] 1 Samuel 2:35; 25:28; 1 Kings 11:38; Job 24:22; Psalm 19:7; 93:5; 111:7; Isaiah 22:23, 25; 33:16; 55:3; Hosea 5:9.
[xiii] 1 Samuel 3:20; 2 Samuel 7:16; 1 Kings 8:26; 1 Chronicles 17:23-24; 2 Chronicles 1:9; 6:17; 20:20; Psalm 89:28, 37.
[xiv] Deuteronomy 28:66.
[xv] Genesis 15:6; Nehemiah 9:8. Note that Nehemiah 9:8’s ~ÔKy‰nDpVl N∞DmTa‰n, with its Niphal of ‘aman with lamed following, is different from Genesis 15:6’s use of the Hiphil + beth in h¡DOwhyèA;b N™ImTaRh◊w. Faithfulness in the heart is a result of coming to initial faith in Jehovah.
[xvi] Genesis 15:6; Isaiah 1:21-27. The “redeemed” (hdp) believing remnant in Zion in Isaiah 1:21-27 result in Jerusalem being the “city of righteousness, the faithful city” (h`DnDmTa‰n h™Dy√rIq q®d$R…xAh ry∞Io).