Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Banner

Banner, according to Merriam and Webster is:  "a piece of cloth attached by one edge to a staff and used by a leader (as a monarch or feudal lord) as his standard."  Other definitions of banner include:  

"an ensign displaying a distinctive or symbolic device or legend;
 a headline in large type running across a newspaper page; 
a strip of cloth on which a sign is painted; 
a name, slogan, or goal associated with a particular group or ideology; 
an advertisement graphic that runs usually across the top of a World Wide Web page."

When I started looking for words to blog about in this challenge the word I kept coming back to for the letter B was Banner.  I wasn't real excited about the word banner like I am about my words for J or Q or R and some others.  I didn't like the word mainly because it was going to require more work to research, and deep down... I'm lazy.  But the word kept coming back to the forefront of my mind and I am now on board to telling you a little bit about it.  It really was starting to drive me a little crazy because it was such an odd word for my theme.  What's to know about flags? I asked the Lord.  It was going to take a little bit more digging to discover anything of substance to write about, so as I write this, it's only February, because I had to start researching early since the letter B is the second day of the Blogging Challenge.

According to Zondervan's Pictorial Bible Dictionary, banners 

"were used in ancient times for military, national, and ecclesiastical purposes very much as they are today.  In connection with Israel's wilderness journey we read, 'The children of Israel shall encamp every man by his own standard, with the ensigns of their fathers' house.' (Numbers 2:2)  The word occurs frequently in the figurative sense of a rallying point for God's people."

There are only a few words used in the Hebrew for the English word Banner.  And there are no Greek words at all for banner!  It's an Old Testament word with strong visual meaning and application.

The Hebrew word "nes" is translated as banner, battle standard, pole sail, signal, warning sign in the NIV translation of the Bible.  It's used twenty one times in the Old Testament.  (You will find my references at the end of this post).  The other word translated banner is "degel" which is basically the same meaning, but is only used in two books of the Bible, the Song of Solomon (2:4) and Numbers (chapters 1, 2, and 10).   These too will be referenced at the end.

Both of them give the picture of a banner raised above someone or something to identify who or what someone belonged to, or as in Numbers 26:10, a warning sign.

The two verses that sing to my heart though are these, the first being "nes" and the second being "degel."

Exodus 17:15 says, "Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner (nes)."  

And in Song of Solomon 2:4 it says, "He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner (degel) over me is love."

I hope you look up the verses below so you can see them in the context in which they are used.  There aren't that many and I know you will be blessed.  Open God's Word, let it speak words of comfort and mercy to your wounded soul.  He has raised a banner, lifted it up for you to keep your eye on as you travail this world of trial and trouble.  He calls out to you with his banner of love lifted high, "keep going."  Follow the banner of His love.  Your Abba hears your cries and His banner is lifted high.


Degel - as standard, standards, banner

Numbers 1:52; 2:2-3, 10, 17-18, 25, 31, 34
Song of Solomon 2:4

Nes - as battle standard, pole, sail, signal, warning sign
Exodus 17:15
Psalm 60:4
Isaiah 5:26; 11:10; 11:12; 13:2; 18:3; 30:17; 31:9; 33:23; 49:22; 62:10
Jeremiah 4:6, 21; 50:2; 51:12; 51:27
Ezekiel 27:7
Numbers 21:8, 9; 26:10

Thoughts to chew on:
1.  What do you imagine the banner of love to look like?

2.  Has God given you a "banner" to set your sights on when your faith feels weak and you wonder where God is in times of trouble?  If not, would you consider asking Him for one?  It doesn't have to be a flag, it could be anything, but make it something only He would know about.  For instance, a song, an animal, a bird, a purple suitcase, a red balloon.  Something, anything that is just between you and Him.


  1. An informative post. When I think of banners, I think of my gaming platform..."Good Game Empire" and my troops riding off to take a castle holding their banner high. I also think of individuals who seem to hold invisible banners disguised as a purpose they want to fulfill.
    Good luck with the challenge.


  2. Thanks for stopping by! That's exactly how I pictured the word the whole time!