Names of Yehovah: Rapha
The practice of appropriating Biblical texts for one’s own use has been a normal part of many branches of ‘Christian’ religions for centuries. Just because something is practiced does not mean that it is right. Unscrupulous teachers of the Bible have likewise appropriated the names/titles of Yehovah. This present name/title is such an example.
The text is given literally rendered:
Exodus 15:22 And Moshe journeyed Israel from the Ending Sea. And they went out unto the wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness. And they found no water. 23And they came to Marah. And they were not able to drink the waters from Marah, for they are bitter. Therefore he called her name ‘Marah.’ 24And the people murmured upon Moshe, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25And he shouted unto Yehovah. And Yehovah taught him a tree. And he cast unto the waters. And the waters were made sweet. He put for him there a statute and a justice. And He tested him there. 26And He said, “If, hearkening, thou wilt hearken to the voice of Yehovah thy Gods, and wilt do the straight in His eyes, and thou wilt ‘ear’ to His commandments, and thou wilt guard all His statutes, I will not put upon thee all the sickness that I put into Egypt. For I am Yehovah thy healer.”
The word means thy healer, thy doctor. It describes one who either takes care of wounds or brings one to good health.
Israel is thou in verse 26, and thou is singular. Yehovah commanded Israel as a unit. This was not a command (or a promise) for an individual Israeli (or for anyone else). Other texts may give promises and commands to individuals, but not this text.
Yehovah promised Israel that He will refrain from putting on Israel the diseases that He put on Egypt if Israel will hearken. He never promised that Israeli individuals will enjoy perfect health in this text. This text is a warning—that if Israel refuses to hearken to the voice of Yehovah and won’t do what is straight in His eyes, refusing to ‘ear’ to His commandments, and refusing to guard all His statutes, Yehovah will strike Israel with the same diseases that occurred in Egypt!
Yehovah is both a healer and an afflicter!
Nothing can touch Israel without first going through Him. He is the Guard of Israel, and He brings some enemies against Israel.
The waters were bitter. Yehovah knew that. Yehovah taught how Moshe could make the waters sweet in the simplest way—by the addition of a tree. The Israelis needed these waters to live, but the waters that gave life were too bitter to use. Yehovah taught Moshe to teach Israel about the tree. (The word taught is the right Hebrew word, not showed, as other translations have.)
Yehovah associated the bitter waters and the tree with His ways, His commandments and His statutes. All these elements are found in this short text. The commandments, statutes, what is straight in the eyes of Yehovah—all these things can become very bitter, though they are given for life and not for death. When the tree is thrown into the midst, however, they become sweet. And when Israel will finally turn (as a single people) unto Yehovah to do what is straight in His eyes, and will find the statute and justice of Yehovah a delight, Yehovah will keep the diseases of Egypt permanently away from Israel. Yehovah Rophekha means, “He will be, He is, He was thy Healer.”