Look closely at this photo of a human eye.
Look at the pupil.
Do you see the “little person” in the pupil.
In dozens of languages, the etymological meaning of pupil is “little person”. Take English as an example. The word pupil in English comes from the Latin word pūpilla, which means “little girl or doll.” The root word in Latin is pupa which means “girl,” and the Latin diminutive pūpilla means “little girl.”
This double meaning in Latin is preserved in English, where pupil means both “schoolchild” as well as “the dark central portion of the eye within the iris” where “the little person” can be seen.
In ancient Babylon (c. 1800-1600 BC), the expression “the protective spirit of the eye” spoke of the protective spirit of the one who kept the eye focused on you in love. Like a mother gazing at her infant, or a father at his son, or a person at their lover, “the little person” in the eye represented the love, protection, and care for the one upon whom the eye gazed.
Now let’s look at the Bible and biblical Hebrew.
For this is what the LORD of the Heavenly Armies says, “Whoever injures you injures the pupil of my eye.” (Zechariah 2:8, ISV)
This verse is translated in the King James Version as:
For thus saith the Lord of hosts; “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of My eye. (Zechariah 2:8, KJV)
This phrase “apple of my eye” occurs in several places throughout the King James Bible:
- Deuteronomy 32:10: “He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye“.
- Psalm 17:8: “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings”.
- Proverbs 7:2: “Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye“.
- Lamentations 2:18: “Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease“.
But the English word “apple” does not properly convey the Hebrew in the four above passages. The Hebrew word is better translated into English as “pupil.” The Hebrew word is iyshown which means “little man” or “little person,” for it is the diminutive of the Hebrew word iysh, which means man. Like in Latin, the Hebrew word “pupil” represents the center of the eye where “the little person” resides as the eye gazes at someone in love and concern.
God is Spirit and is everywhere at once. To attribute to God physical characteristics is called anthropomorphism.
God is not like us, but to understand Him, it does us well to consider Him in terms we can comprehend. So, let me describe God and His love for you as the Bible does.
- Deuteronomy 32:10: “He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the little person in His eye“.
- Psalm 17:8: “Keep me as the the little person in Your eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings”.
- Proverbs 7:2: “Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the the little person of Thine eye“.
- Lamentations 2:18: “Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the little person of Thine eye cease
God has a “protective spirit” over His people. God has a protective Spirit over you.
The only verse in the English Old Testament where “little person” (Hebrew iyshown) is NOT used in the translation “apple of thine eye” is Zechariah 2:8. The Hebrew word translated “apple” is bava, and most Hebrew scholars generally regard this phrase as simply referring to the “eyeball”.
So get this. Hang on to what comes next.
God’s gaze on you is like a mother’s on her infant, the father’s gaze on the son he loves, the lover’s gaze on the one cherished. God’s gaze on you is a “protective spirit,” for you are “the little person (pupil) in God’s iris.”
And the person who injures you, POKES GOD IN THE EYE.
Have you been wronged? Has your reputation been unjustly smeared? Has someone taken advantage of you and hurt you? Do you feel all alone and abandoned?
Take heart. Rest easy.
The LORD is on your side, and you can rest assured that, He will come to your defense and healing.
God’s protective eye watches over you. You are “the little person” in His iris. When you are injured, He’s poked in the eyeball.
It’s a wonderful comfort to know yourself as “the little person in God’s eye.”