Lebab (Two Hearts Binding)

And you shall love the Lord God with all your heart [LeBaBeKa] , with all your soul and with all your strength.  Deu 6:5

In this article, I want to review a Hebrew word that is special to me, but not readily seen in our English translations. If I had the chance to teach just one Hebrew word to someone, it would be the word LeBaB, simply translated as heart.  To me, the use of this word defines the essence of Christianity, the personal relationship with a Holy God, which I will not do nearly the justice deserved.

To understand the uniqueness of Lebab, one must grasps the primitive Hebrew language, which contained approximately 7,500 words. There were no synonyms and often times one word had several meanings.  For example, Kabod means glory, but also means weight.  This is where C.S. Lewis wrote on “The Weight of Glory.”  The more common word for heart is LeB, and with the aforementioned knowledge of the primitive Hebrew language, there is something special when another word for heart is used,  LeBaB.

To help understand Lebab, I want to point to an account where Jesus taught, found in John 7:15. The Pharisees marveled that Jesus knew letters having never studied. Not all English translations render this passage this way, but as I am learning to study Biblical Hebrew, the study of Hebrew letters is a tool to a deeper study of words and scripture.

The difference in the words used for heart, is that LeBaB (לבב) has two Beths.  The Beth is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and means duality.  The Bible begins with the Beth in the word, Bereshyt, or “In the beginning.”  Why did God begin his Holy Book with the second letter and not the first?  A physical example I want to provide is found in a store name in a local mall called God 1st.  I have recently started seeing a fad of tattoos, bumper stickers and shirts with “God First, Me Second.”

This is the idea as suggested in the Midrash HaGadol, that God wanted to show his oneness numerically by beginning the Bible with the second letter. There is nothing before the letter Beth, except the first letter Aleph, which is associated with God.  Before creation, God was, is and will be.

The word Beth means home, primitively was drawn as a tent, and with use of duality, points to a physical home on planet earth, and a heavenly home. Creation was written from the view point of earth, and in pairs of two (Day and Night, Sun and Moon, male and female, etc).

In English we have an expression, “Home is where the heart is.” The Beth shares the same numerical value as Ta’evah (412), which has many words describing matters of the heart.  Jesus taught “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Mt 6:21

Although the letter Beth means house, it is associated with the following: Home, blessing, presence, love, our heart, duality.  Why do I get worked up over the word Lebab?

Rabbis and Sages have suggested Lebab is two hearts binding, God and man’s, and man and God’s, the picture of entering into a relationship.  For me, it’s the imagery of salvation through Jesus Christ, where the phrase is used, “inviting Jesus into your heart.” Using the letters for LeBaB, I derive:

Lamed – Purpose, Beth – Heart, Beth – Heart.

The purpose, learning and teaching of Christianity is about the heart of God, the heart of man, and the interaction between the two. What a beautiful picture, but I also found a frightening image where the word Lebab is used.  It is found in an account with King Hezekiah.  To get the background, please read the account found in 2 Ch 32:17-31.

I will briefly summarize:

The Assyrians had conquered Israel (the northern kingdom), and eleven major cities in Judah, having their sights set on the Holy City of Jerusalem. Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed and cried out to the Lord.  As the Assyrians are encamping to overtake Jerusalem, an Angel of the Lord smites the Assyrian army, with a crushing defeat.  The King of the Assyrians, Sennacherib, survives and returns home, only to be killed by his offspring.

The terrifying, mighty Assyrians had been defeated,  and all from a single city.  King Hezekiah was exalted as all nations brought gifts and presents to the Lord and him; however, Hezekiah did not repay the favor shown to him, he becomes ill, yet humbles himself from the pride in his heart (Leb). (see 2 Ch 32:26)  He is healed, and gathers great riches.  Now the frightening verse.

However, regarding the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart [Lebab]. 2 Ch 32:31

The Hebrew language provides imagery, and as pride welled up inside Hezekiah, the word used for heart is Leb, missing the second B.  To me this shows how God distances himself from pride, as can be found in scriptures.  Pride is the original sin that caused an angel to fall.  Pride is so powerful, it will cause a man to refuse to cry out for help while drowning.

In the last verse, I imagine Hezekiah had pride welled up inside of him, and thought himself special in the eyes of God.  Although scripture does not say in this part, I wonder if Hezekiah told the princes, “Isaiah and I were on our knees in tears crying out and repenting to the Lord, and He delivered us.”  Based on the reaction from God, it appears overtime Hezekiah was leaving God’s glory out of the picture, so God tests the Lebab of Hezekiah, to see if he would even notice he and God were not bound…

In a special night for cub scouts, I introduced the Weeblos’ den to a man with Cerebral Palsy, who is also a youth minister.  He and I became friends, and I learned many things from him.  One I want to point out is:


God searches out the heart, he does not need your money, but wants the piece of your heart your money is bound.  You can apply this to pride or other parts that have control of the heart.  Nearly every biblical study I have conducted has come down to matters of the heart, and more importantly, a heart that is bound with God.


Hezekiah had a relationship with God, and experienced at least two miracles by His hand.  In the aftermath, God wanted to know if Hezekiah still loved Him with all his heart, his soul, and his strength. If God impressed on you, “If you were to lose it all, would you still love Me?”  What would your answer be?




4 thoughts on “Lebab (Two Hearts Binding)

  1. Excellent article! Were you aware, also, that the human heart is in the shape of the name for God which is the Shin? And so is Jerusalem! Thought that may be of interest to you. Also science discovered that the heart has a brain. Cellular memory. Powerful stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

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