What does making ropes have to do with waiting?

Well, when researching the sermon on waiting, I came across an interesting fact. The Hebrew word often translated ‘wait upon’ is ‘qavah’. It is also often translated as ‘hope.’ In Isaiah 40:31, for example, in the KJV it is translated ‘those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength’ and in the NIV as ‘those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.’

‘Qavah’ is from a root meaning to bind together strands as in making a rope. One of my favourite places is the ropemakers’ shop, Outhwaites, in Hawes.

They have been ropemakers in this lovely village since 1725 and you can learn about the history of ropemaking there, as well as see how ropes are made nowadays. In the past, though, making ropes was a long and painstaking process that took time, with all the individual strands having to be bound together to make a strong rope – such as is used in bell-ringing. Individual threads were twisted together on a hand-powered machine which resembled a large spinning wheel. It’s not difficult to see how this job took time and couldn’t be rushed and how the Hebrew word, therefore, came to have secondary meanings such as “look patiently”, “tarry or wait,” and “hope, expect, look eagerly” – hence the different translations in our Bibles.