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Word Plays & Puns

Homophones are words that sound alike, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. In dreams images that have a homophone can appear in order to convey a concept or idea that is completely different from the nature, characteristic or quality of the symbol itself. This is yet another aspect of symbols that can make them very difficult to understand when the interpreter makes the assumption that there is a single meaning for each symbol or utilizes a dream dictionary to determine the meaning. Even using the suggested method of considering the characteristics, nature and qualities of the image, a symbol could mean something radically different if it is being used as a word play or pun.

Dreams that come from God will from time to time include symbols that fall into the category of word plays or puns. While such symbols are certainly significant for their unique ability to convey certain ideas, it should also be remembered that God is not a stuffy old man who sits up in the sky and takes everything so seriously that he could never smile or laugh. Zephaniah 3:17 makes clear that God rejoices with gladness and that he even exults over us with loud singing. While it may not be in a humorous fashion, Psalm 37:13 and Psalm 2:4 actually make clear the fact that God does indeed laugh.

Keeping in mind that God created man in His own image and that mankind does indeed have a sense of humor, it is quite possible that God would include homophonic symbols in our dreams both for specific purpose and to lighten the tone a dream to remind us that He loves us. As a result, this provides one more reason it is important to listen to Holy Spirit for the meaning of a symbol instead of making assumptions based upon natural knowledge or previous usage.

Should you have any question about whether or not God would actually use such fun filled imagery, take a look at an example taken directly from scripture. God speaks to Jeremiah through symbolism and imagery by showing him an almond branch in Jeremiah 1:11-12 (ESV):

11 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”

At some point in time, when reading this passage you have probably asked how did God come up with the idea to use and almond branch to represent the fact that He was watching over His word? The answer is found in a word play. Whether you are reading this blog in English, Chinese, Russian or Spanish it is unlikely that you will see this word play in your bible. This is because the pun is lost in translation and can only be identified in the original Hebrew language. The Hebrew word for almond branch/rod/tree (depending on the translation you are reading) is shaqed (שקד), while the Hebrew word for watching/hasten is shaqad (שָׁקַד). These two words sound almost identical and even examining the written Hebrew letters, they look almost identical, yet they have two entirely different meanings. Understanding this passage of scripture sheds a great deal of light on how word plays can be useful in dreams. The almond branch is a much easier image to "see" than it would be to convey the concept of watching or hastening would be, but because of the homophone it becomes much easier to convey the concept through imagery.

To help better understand this concept, consider some of these homophones and the alternative meanings that could be intended when they show up in your dreams:

Bear - a large animal with thick fur

Bear - to carry

Bear - to have or display a visible mark or feature

Bear - to be called by a name or title

Bear - to take responsibility for

Bear - to endure

Bear - to give birth

Bare - to uncover, expose to view or be without clothing

Thus if you find that a large animal with thick fur shows up in your dream, keep in mind that it may be speaking of something out to devour you, something you need to endure, something you should take responsibility for, the mark of God on your life, something new that is about to come forth (be born) or the need for transparency or vulnerability (nakedness).


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