What does Jehovah Rapha mean?
Jehovah Rapha is one of God’s many names in the Bible. Each name describes a particular aspect of His character. Frequently used names for God in the Old Testament include:
- Elohim (“God Most High”)
- Adonai (“Lord,” “Master”) and
- El Shaddai (“God Almighty”).
The most frequently used name of all is Yahweh, the personal and covenant name for God; it occurs more than 6,500 times in the Old Testament. By some counts there are at least a hundred or more names or titles for God in the Bible.
Jehovah Rapha in Exodus 15:26
In Hebrew, rapha means “to heal.” So Jehovah Rapha means “the Lord who heals.” This name for God appears for the first time in the Bible in Exodus 15:26. God told the Israelites:
“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you [Jehovah Rapha].”
God had just delivered the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery, miraculously bringing them through the Red Sea on dry land. Now this large caravan of people and animals was in the Wilderness of Shur. After three days in this wilderness, unable to find water, they were desperate. Then they came to the “Bitter River.” That’s what they named it after they found the water there was unfit to drink (verse 23).
They came to their leader, Moses, demanding water. Moses turned to God who told him to throw the branch of a particular tree into the river. Moses did so, and the waters became fresh and sweet. That is when God said to the people: “Follow Me, and I will be the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26).
Besides its basic meaning of “to heal,” the word, rapha, can mean, “to restore,” or “to mend.” So Jehovah Rapha can mean “the Lord who restores,” or “the Lord who fixes broken things.”
Jehovah Rapha in the Old Testament
At the “Bitter River” God promised to bring healing and restoration to His people if they would be faithful to Him. And that promise is repeated throughout the Old Testament. Here are just a few examples:
- “The Lord . . . heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:2, 3).
- “He [the Lord] restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3).
- “Bless the Lord . . . who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases . . . so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:2, 3, 5).
- “I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security” (Jeremiah 33:6, NIV).
The God who heals in the New Testament
In the New Testament, Jesus is Jehovah Rapha—the God who heals, the God who fixes broken things. Matthew says of Jesus, “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17). Jesus is the Great Physician (Mark 2:17), calling those who are sick spiritually to repentance. As Isaiah says,
“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Jesus spent His time with us on Earth healing people physically and forgiving their sins.
- He healed:
- a paralyzed man (Mark 2:5-12)
- a leper (Matthew 8:1-4)
- two blind men (Matthew 9:27-31)
- two men possessed of demons (Matthew 8:28-34)
- ten lepers (Luke 17:11-17)
- a man born blind (Luke 9:1-12)
- Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14, 15)
- and many others
- He raised the dead to life:
- Lazarus (John 11:38-44)
- A widow’s son (Luke 7:11-14)
- A little girl (Matthew 9:18-26)
- Jesus forgave sins: (Matthew 9:1, 2; Luke 5:20; 7:47, 48)
- He healed spiritually:
Jesus is Jehovah Rapha, the God who fixes what is broken.
Jehovah Rapha in our day
As these verses from both the Old and New Testaments clearly show, God’s healing touch deals with much more than physical sickness. “The God who heals” restores us physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We can call on Jehovah Rapha today; He is still ready to fix whatever is broken in our lives.
If there is something in your life that needs healing, you can come to Him with the words of Jeremiah 17:14—“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.”