Psalm 110:1–7, From the womb of the morning. We have once again before us another one of the classic Messianic passages in the Hebrew Scriptures and this has been so recognized by both Jewish and Christian theologians for millennia (Heb 1:13; Acts 2:34; 1 Cor 15:25; Eph 1:21–22; Matt 22:41–46). For example, the medieval rabbinical sages Rashi, Ibn Ezra and others recognized the Messianic implications of this Psalm The Messiah in the Old Testament, p. 123ff, by Risto Santala).
The phrase, “from the womb of the morning/dawn” is an interesting one. Christian exegetes have interpreted this to be speaking of the virgin birth. Early church father, Justin Martyr, understood this phrase to be a reference to the virgin birth (Dialogue, chap. 63, ca. a.d. 160). Adam Clarke, apprentice to and then associate of John Wesley, in his notable commentary (1810-1826), writes: “As the dew flows from the womb of the morning, so shall all the godly from thee. They are the dew of thy youth; they are the offspring of thy own nativity. As the human nature of our Lord was begotten by the creative energy of Elohim in the womb of the virgin; so the followers of Elohim are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but by the Divine Spirit” (Clarke’s Commentary, vol. 3, p. 582).
The word womb is the Hebrew word rechem (Strong’s H7358) and the KJV translates this word as womb in 21 of 26 times it occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures. Quite frankly, womb is what this word means both literally and figuratively.
The next word under consideration is morning which is the Hebrew word mishchar (Strong’s H4891) meaning “day-breaking or dawn.” Psalm 110:3 is the only occurrence of this word’s usage in the Hebrew Scriptures, therefore, there is no linguistic backdrop against which to juxtapose this word to ascertain easily its meaning.
Let us therefore take another approach to unlocking the mystery of this phrase. Are there other Scriptures which express parallel ideas relating the Messiah’s coming to being similar to the sun’s rising which may give us an expanded meaning?
There are. For example, Malachai 4:2 says, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” The rabbinical Midrash (commentary) on this verse recognizes this to be a Messianic reference and speaks of the “rising of the sun when the Messiah comes, as it is written: ‘To you who revere my name will dawn the sun of righteousness and healing’” (Santala, p. 189 quoting Midrash Shemoth Rabbah, par. 31).
Most Messianic believers have no problem believing that Messiah Yeshua is the light of the world. The Testimony of Yeshua is full of such illusions:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. The same was in the beginning with Elohim. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.… He [John] was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1–5, 8–9, 14)
Then spake Yeshua again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:5)
The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up (Matt 4:16 quoting Isa 42:7).
For Elohim, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of Elohim in the face of Yeshua the Messiah. (2 Cor 4:6)
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that Elohim is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
But proving Yeshua the Messiah is the Light of the world and proving that Yeshua was virgin born are two different things. Can we make the connection between his being the Light of truth and show how originating “from the womb of the morning/dawn” is more than just Hebrew poetry, but actually is referring to his virgin birth? We believe we can, and from, in part, the writings of the rabbis themselves.
For this we must go back to the beginning of time, to the creation account in Genesis chapter one. There we see that light was created on the first day (Gen 1:3), but that the sun, moon and stars were created on day four (verse 14). We know from a study of the text and the Hebrew that from day one until day four the earth experienced a literal physical night and day. So the question is begged, what was the source of that light?
In effort to explain this problem, many rabbinic sages read into Scripture the idea that Elohim created the astral bodies on day one, but they just did not shine forth until day four. This, quite frankly, is a forced interpretation of the text. Other Jewish sages such as Michael Munk have a different explanation.
Between Genesis 1:3 and 5, the word light appears five times. Five is the number of grace and the number of the books of the Torah-Word of Elohim. Keep this idea in mind. Munk points out that in each of these five instances where light is used the Hebrew word for light owr/ruTis spelled complete or with the letter vav/u included. However, in verse 14 the word for light is spelled without the vav as simply aleph and resh with a vowel point inserted above the aleph to replace the missing vav. Even though other instances where the Hebrew word for light is used (e.g. in Gen 1:18 and elsewhere) the word is not spelled defectively, Munk explains that the first occurrence of a word being spelled defectively (e.g. Gen 1:14) in the Hebrew text is for the purpose of drawing attention to a deeper spiritual truth, and afterwards it may be spelled in the regular manner.
In Hebrew, this is called a defective spelling. This in no way changes the pronunciation of the word. This change does not show up in our English translations of the Bible. It is only evident in the Hebrew script—only one of many such anomalies in the Hebrew letters of the Hebrew Scriptures. The rabbis recognize these anomalies to contain hidden spiritual messages from Elohim to his people for those who are willing to search the Scriptures and dig out these buried treasures.
There are many examples of complete versus defective spellings of Hebrew words involving the letter vav in the Hebrew Scriptures. When the vav is included (making the spelling of the word complete) the word takes on a fuller, richer and often more expansive and perfect meaning spiritually. The missing vav (a defective spelling) indicates deficiency or imperfection. Such words where this can occur would be shalom, kadosh, or matzos.
So what of the word light in our passage under analysis? Munk states: “[The] original light was withdrawn and reserved for the righteous in the future. The missing light was replaced by the radiation of the luminaries [sun, moon, stars].” Munk goes on to say that “the light emanating from the celestial bodies is not equal to the richness and purity of the primeval light; it has diminished power, reflecting our own imperfect state” (The Wisdom In the Hebrew Alphabet, by Michael L. Munk).
According to the apostolic scriptural references cited above, Yeshua the Messiah was the Word of Elohim, was Elohim, and was the Light that came from heaven to light up the world with the truth of Elohim. In Hebraic thought, as well, Torah is equivalent to light. The Ner Tamid, a light which hangs above the ark containing the Torah scrolls in synagogues (which is done in accordance with the Torah commands to keep the light of the menorah burning eternally inside of the mishkan (the Tabernacle of Moses), is a reflection of this idea.
The Testimony of Yeshua teaches us that when Messiah Yeshua returns in his glorified state his face will shine as the sun in its strength (Rev 1:16) and that he will be the Light of New Jerusalem:
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of Elohim did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Rev 21:23)
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Adonai Elohim giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev 22:5)
Is it not clear that Yeshua the Messiah, as the Sun of Righteousness coming with healing in his wings, is none other than the Word of Elohim and perfect, complete and nondefective Light of the World that shone upon this earth until day four of the creation account? This same Light will illuminate New Jerusalem thus obviating the need for the physical luminaries as was originally the case. And as Michael Munk says, “The original light was withdrawn and reserved for the righteous in the future” (ibid.). If Yeshua the Messiah is that Light (and we believe him to be so in accordance with the Gospel accounts), and he is the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2), then his origins were not temporal, but spiritual and heavenly, though born of the virgin Miriam (Matt 1:20–23). Should this not hopefully prove to us that the phrase in the Messianic passage of Psalm 110:3, “from the womb of the morning” is more than just beautiful Hebrew poetry, but in actuality has prophetic implications as referring to the virgin birth of the Messiah? We believe that it does, and we hope this case has been proven and that your faith in Yeshua the Messiah has been strengthened.