I used to hate them but I’ve come to see their value. I’ve often told my kids that words are only a small percentage of how you communicate. For instance, saying “Sorry” can be either sincere or, with raised pitch in the middle of the word and elongated vowels, very sarcastic: “SoOOry.”
Greek and Hebrew don’t have emoticons, but they would have been helpful in interpreting the emotions or attitudes or reactions in the Bible. Here are a few examples I’ve thought of:
In John 9, when the Pharisees were hounding the poor guy who had been born blind by continuing to ask him about Jesus, the man’s response was classic: “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?
Jesus asked the man whose son couldn’t be healed by the disciples if he believed in Him (Mark 9:24): “The father instantly cried out, ‘I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!'” 😕
Jesus has just told Nicodemus that you must be born again to see the kingdom of heaven. The Savior was used to dumb questions from his disciples, but this one from Nic – who was supposed to be one of the smart people – got to him more than the words portray: “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” (During Jesus’ pause before his reply) 🙄
The story of Mount Carmel in 1st Kings 18 is emoticon heaven:
- 1st Kings 18:21 (Elijah tries to stir his nation back to God, but it will obviously take more than words): Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent. 😐
- 1st Kings 18:27: About noontime Elijah began mocking [the prophets of Baal]. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” 😛 (The soon-to-be-expired Prophets’ response) 😡
- 1st Kings 18:40 (God has just sent fire to consume the sacrifice and all of Israel bowed before him in response. The next step was to kill all of the false prophets who had arrived that day expecting an easy win.): Then Elijah commanded, “Seize all the prophets of Baal. Don’t let a single one escape!” (The extremely-soon-to-be-expired Prophets of Baal’s response) 😯
How about when King David was caught out by God’s prophet after his marriage infidelity and murder? 2nd Samuel 12:7 (David was outraged by Nathan’s story of the rich man stealing the poor man’s sheep for a meal for his guests, but has yet to hear the punchline): Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! (David’s reaction) 😳
Daniel 3:15 (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to bow to an idol. Nebuchadnezzar is furious and says . . . ): I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. The three boys’ response: 😎
Then there’s one of the many times the Jewish leaders presented what seemed to everyone else to be an honest question, but they were really trying to trap Jesus (Matthew 22:17): “Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 😈
See, doesn’t that help you grasp of what was going on in Scripture? It’s not a translation yet that I know of, but I think Wycliffe should get right on this.
I’d love to see any of your ideas for emoticons in Scripture. If you try one and it doesn’t work in WordPress, that’s okay. We’ll all know what you mean. Feel free to label it too.