The following is my Bible study research on the word SPIRIT from the Old Testament. 


The word for ‘spirit’ in Hebrew is ‘ruwach’ or ‘ruach’ (7307 in Strong’s Concordance) meaning ‘wind, by resemblance breath;  a sensible (or even violent) exhalation;  (fig. life, anger, unsubstantiality);  a region in the sky, by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (inc. its expression and functions);  air, anger, blast, breath, cool, courage, mind, spirit (ual) tempest, whirl (wind), wind, windy’.  From 7306 primary root, to blow, ie breathe;  (lit) to smell, by implic; to perceive (fig. anticipate, enjoy), touch, make quick of understanding.  

It has been translated air (1 time), anger (1), blast (1),  breath (28), cool (1) - implication ‘cool breeze’ in Gen 3:8, courage (1) - means ‘spirit’ Josh 2:11, mind (5), quarters (1) - meaning four quarters of earth, or ‘winds’ as Rev 7:1, side (6) - meaning to face the side of that particular wind, spirit (238), tempest (1), wind (90), vain (2) - vain words as wind Job 15:2.16:3, windy (1), whirlwind (1). Figures from Young’s Concordance. 1963.   

 *  All the verses translated ‘Spirit of God’ from ‘ruwach’ in the Old Testament are listed below:

Genesis 1:2. ‘the Spirit of God moved upon the waters’

Genesis 41:38. ‘in whom is the Spirit of God’ – Joseph

Exodus 31:3. ‘filled with the Spirit of God’ – Bezaleel

Exodus 35:31. ‘filled him with the Spirit of God’ -- Bezaleel

Numbers 24:2.  ‘Spirit of God came upon’ – Balaam

1 Sam 10:10.  ‘Spirit of God came upon’ – Saul

1 Sam 11:6.  ‘Spirit of God came upon’ – Saul

1 Sam 19:20. ‘Spirit of God came upon messengers’ – of Saul

1 Sam 19:23. ‘Spirit of God came upon’ – Saul

2 Chron. 15:1. ‘Spirit of God came upon’ – Azariah

2 Chron.24:20. ‘Spirit of God came upon’ – Zechariah

Job 27:3.  ‘Spirit of God in my nostrils’ – Job

Job 33:4.  ‘Spirit of God hath made me’ – Job

Ezek 11:24.  ‘a vision by the Spirit of God’ – Ezekiel. 

Note what the Spirit of God did:

Gen 1:2.  ‘moved upon’ the face of the waters

Gen 41:38. ‘was in’ Joseph, making him discreet and wise. (v39)

Exodus 31:3. ‘filled’ Bezaleel, giving wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and workmanship.

Num 24:2. ‘came upon’ Balaam.   He heard words of God, and fell (into vision, v4)  Then he spoke only God’s words. (See whole  chapter)

1 Sam 10:10.  ‘came upon’ Saul, and he prophesied.

1 Sam 11:6. ‘came upon’ Saul, and he became angry – righteous indignation.  (Read whole chapter)

1 Sam 19:20. ‘came upon’ messengers of Saul, and they prophesied.

2 Chron 15:1. ‘came upon’ Azariah, and he gave wise counsel.

2 Chron 24:20. ‘came upon’ Zechariah;  he spoke a challenge from God.

Job 27:3.4.  was ‘in his nostrils’. 

The word ‘ruwach’ is interchanged with the word ‘neshamah’, also translated ‘breath’ or ‘spirit’.  (Compare Job 4:9)   As a result of having the breath, or spirit of God in his nostrils, Job’s lips would not speak wickedness.

Job 33:4.  The Spirit of God ‘has made me’.  

The word ‘ruwach’ is again interchanged with the word ‘neshamah’, also translated ‘breath’ and ‘spirit’ in this verse.   Job refers in v1-5 to the spirit of God (or breath) that enables him to speak of his innocence (v9).

My conclusion from the above verses had to be that the men who received the Spirit of God were imbued by God’s Spirit, enabling them to receive His wisdom, His knowledge, His understanding, and His righteousness.


*    The next section is ‘His Spirit’ and ‘his spirit’, clearly parallelling ‘My Spirit’ (or ‘my spirit’), in another grammatical form. 

Genesis 41:8. ‘his spirit was troubled’  (Pharaoh’s spirit, margin ‘heart beat wildly)

Exodus 35:21. ‘every one whose heart stirred him up, every one whom his spirit made willing’   (brought gifts for the temple) 

Num 11:29. ‘would (that) God… would put His Spirit upon them?’   (See v17,25,26)

Deut 2:30. ‘the Lord hardened his spirit’  (Sihon, king Heshbon)

Judg 15:19. ‘his spirit came again, he revived’  (Samson’s spirit)

1 Sam 30:12. ‘his spirit came again to him’  (David’s spirit)

Job 26:13. ‘By His Spirit garnished the heavens’  (God’s Spirit)

Psalm 106:33. ‘they provoked His Spirit’  (Compare Isa 63:10)

Prov 16:32. ‘he that ruleth his spirit’  (any man’s spirit)

Prov 25:28.  ‘no rule over his own spirit’  (any man’s spirit)

Isaiah 34:16. ‘His Spirit hath gathered them’  (Spirit of the LORD)

Isaiah 48:16. ‘The LORD God and His Spirit sent me’  (Whose Spirit?)

Isaiah 63:10.  ‘they vexed His holy Spirit’  (Spirit of the LORD v7)

Isaiah 63:11. ‘where is He that put His holy Spirit within him?’ (Spirit of the LORD v7)

When I saw the word ‘holy’ in these last two texts, my mind immediately became Trinitarian.  Was Isaiah speaking of a co-equal Being as in the Trinity doctrine?

In each text, the ‘spirit’ belongs to the person concerned -- to Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Samson, Sihon, David, a man, an angel.   Would it not also belong to the LORD God?

An experience of Moses gave me further understanding of the ‘holy’ Spirit.    After speaking with God, Moses gave the message to the people, and the Lord took of the spirit that was upon Moses, and gave it to the seventy elders, and they prophesied.   One young man complained because Eldad and Medad were prophesying. “My lord Moses, forbid them” he said.   Numbers 11:27.28. 

Moses replied, “Enviest thou for my sake?  Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them?”  v29.   

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet mentions the loving kindness of the Lord to His people Israel, saying that they “rebelled, and vexed His holy Spirit;  therefore He was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them.  

Then He remembered the days of old, Moses, and His people, saying, “Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock?  Where is He that put His holy Spirit within him?  That led them by the right hand of Moses with His glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make Himself an everlasting name”. Isaiah 63:10-12.

Although it is not the same instance, it does involve Israel, Moses and the Spirit.   The word ‘holy’ is not mentioned in Numbers, but it is in Isaiah, showing that the meaning is the same, whether the descriptive word is stated or not.  

Therefore the only difference between the previous lists of texts and those that mention the word ‘holy’ is that the prophet adds an adjective to ‘ruwach’, and being an adjective, it does not need capitalisation.    Daniel had an ‘excellent spirit’.  The faithful have a ‘contrite spirit’.  The proud have a ‘haughty spirit’.   God has a ‘holy Spirit’.

Daniel 2:1. ‘his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him’ (Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit or mind)

Zech 7:12. ‘the Lord of hosts sent in His Spirit’   (Whose Spirit?)

Isaiah 48:16 caused a momentary problem until I changed ‘ruwach’ to ‘breath’, and it become clear. ‘the Lord God and His breath sent me’, or ‘the Lord God and His mind’ sent me’.  

(The Hebrew uses a lot of this type of repetition.  See Eccles 3:20.  Psalm 78:1.  94:1.   Isaiah 44:6.  The latter one is interesting, and a challenge to some students.  Ask yourself who does ‘His Redeemer’ belong to – the King of Israel or to Israel?)

*    The next section is ‘Thy Spirit’ and ‘thy spirit’, again another grammatical form.

1 Kings 21:5. ‘Why is thy spirit so sad?’  (Ahab’s spirit)

2 Kings 2:9. ‘Let a double portion of thy spirit (Spirit) be upon me’ (the Spirit that was upon Elijah.  See Numbers 11: as an example of apparently taking of the Spirit on one person and placing it on another, without the original person losing it.   Obviously God gives His Spirit to both, as he did with Moses and the seventy elders)

Nehem 9:20. ‘Thou gavest Thy good Spirit to instruct’  (the Spirit of “the LORD the God”. See v6, 30)

Job 15:13. ‘turned thy spirit against God’   (Job’s spirit)

Psalm 51:11.  ‘Take not Thy holy Spirit from me O God’ (David’s penitent plea)

Psalm 51:12. ‘Uphold me with Thy free Spirit’.  (Note v10 ‘right Spirit’, v11 ‘holy Spirit’, v12 ‘free Spirit’ – all descriptive of the same ‘Spirit’)

Psalm 104:30.  ‘Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created’ (in harmony with Gen 1:2 and Job 26:13.   (Note v29, ‘Thou take away their breath (ruwach) and they die’)

Psalm 139:7.  ‘Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit?  or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?’  (a parallel passage)

Note:  to flee from the Spirit is to flee from God’s presence.  This showed me that the Spirit of God is not simply a breath of air, or a wind;   but His personal (omni) presence in Spirit.

Psalm 143:10. ‘Thy Spirit is good’   (said the Psalmist of His God)

Eccles 7:9. ‘Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry’. (any man)

Again, I came to the same conclusion that ‘Thy Spirit’ is the same as ‘My Spirit’, one spoken by Bible prophets, the other by God Himself.

*    Other verses use the words ‘the spirit’ and ‘the Spirit’ accordingly.

Num 11:25.26. ‘took of the Spirit that was upon him’  (gave to seventy elders) 

Num 27:18.  ‘a man in whom is the Spirit’   (Joshua)

1 Chron 12:18. ‘the Spirit came upon Amasai’  (Spirit of God v18)

1 Chron 28:12. ‘pattern of all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord…. treasuries of the house of God’ (David gave the pattern to Solomon)

Job 20:3. ‘the spirit of my understanding’  (Job’s spirit)

Job 32:18. ‘the spirit within me constraineth me’  (Job)

Prov 15:4. ‘A wholesome tongue is a tree of life; but perverseness therein is a breach of the spirit’.   (any man)

Prov 15:13. ‘by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken’ (any man)

Eccles 8:8. ‘no man hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit, neither hath he power in the day of his death’   (Parallel passage)

Eccles 11:5. ‘thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb’.   (life and breath of a child)

Eccles 12:7. ‘the spirit (Spirit) shall return unto God who gave it’.  (life or breath returns to God)

Isaiah 29:10. ‘the spirit of a deep sleep… upon the prophets’  (Romans 11:7.8)

Isaiah 32:15. ‘until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high’  (the only verses that can parallel this event are Joel 2:23-32. Compare Isaiah 32:13-18)

Isaiah 57:16. ‘the spirit should fall before Me’   (if God was always wrathful, all men would die in front of Him. See context of verse)

Ezek 1:12.20. ‘whither the spirit was to go, they went’ (living creatures)

Ezek 2:2. ‘and the Spirit entered into me’  (Ezekiel goes into vision)

Ezek 3:12.14. ‘the Spirit took me up’;  ‘the spirit lifted me up’.  (the Spirit of God takes the prophet to places in vision.  See also Ezek 8:3. 11:1.24. 43:5)

Ezek 37:1. ‘The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones.’   (Note ‘of the LORD’ both times)

Daniel 4:8.9.18. 5:11. ‘the spirit of the holy gods is in thee’.   (the description of a heathen about the Spirit of God.  See also Daniel 5:12.14.  6:3 ‘an excellent spirit)

Micah 2:11. ‘If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying I will prophesy of wine and strong drink’.  (woe to them 2:1)

Malachi 2:15. ‘yet had he the residue of the spirit’  (margin ‘seed of God’.  See context of verse)

Again it was obvious that ‘the spirit’ (and ‘the Spirit’) belong to the person (or Person) concerned.

*    In some texts, the term used is ‘a spirit’.

1 Kings 22:21.  ‘a spirit stood before the Lord’   (was this one of Satan’s angels?   Repeated in 2 Chron 18:20)

Job 4:15. ‘a spirit passed before my face, and the hair of my flesh stood up’  (No doubt an evil spirit)

Job 32:8. ‘there is a spirit (ruwach) in man, and the inspiration (neshamah) of the Almighty giveth them understanding’  (both Hebrew words can be translated ‘breath’)

Isaiah 28:6. ‘a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment’

*    One verse speaks of ‘every spirit’.

Ezek 21:7. ‘every heart shall melt… every spirit shall faint’.   (saith the LORD, when the sword cometh. v3.9)

*    Two verses use the term ‘your spirit’.

Malachi 2:15. ‘take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth’.

Malachi 2:16. ‘take heed to your spirit, that ye deal  not treacherously’.

*    One verse uses the term ‘their own spirit’.

Ezek 13:3. ‘they follow their own spirit and see nothing’.

*    A number of verses say ‘of spirit’.

Exodus 6:9. ‘anguish of spirit and cruel bondage’  (would not listen to Moses, as they were too disheartened)

Eccles 1:14.  2:11.17.26.  4:4.6.16.  6:9.  ‘all is vanity and vexation of spirit’.   (Solomon found out that life without God is miserable)

Isaiah 65:14.  ‘ye shall howl for vexation of spirit’.  (those who have done evil in the Lord’s slaughter. v11.12)

*    One verse speaks of  ‘another spirit’.

Num 14:24. ‘he had another spirit’  (Caleb believed God would take them into Canaan.  So did Joshua v30)

*    Some verses have ‘in spirit’.

Prov 29:28. ‘honour shall uphold the humble in spirit’

Eccles 7:8. ‘the humble in spirit is better than the proud in spirit’

Eccles 7:9. ‘be not hasty in spirit to be angry’

Isaiah 29:24.  ‘they that erred in spirit shall come to understanding’

Isaiah 54:6. ‘hath called thee a woman grieved in spirit’

Daniel 7:15.  ‘I was grieved in spirit’   (Daniel)

*    A few verses use the term ‘whose spirit’.

Ezra 1:5. ‘Then rose up those whose spirit God had raised to go to Jerusalem’.  (Obvious)

Job 26:4. ‘To whom hast thou uttered words?   And whose spirit came from thee?   (Unclear)

Psalm 32:2. ‘in whose spirit is no guile’.  (any faithful man)

Psalm 78:8. ‘those whose spirit was not steadfast to God’.  (any unfaithful man)  

*    A few verses speak of  ‘spirit’ without a prefix.

Joshua 5:1. ‘neither was there spirit in them any more’ (the kings of the Canaanites were afraid when they heard that the children of Israel was on their way to Canaan)

1 Kings 10:5.    ‘there was no more spirit in her’ (the queen of Sheba was overwhelmed when she saw the glory of Solomon.  Repeated in 2 Chronicles 9:4)           

Isaiah 31:3. ‘The Egyptians are men and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit’ (don’t trust in them, as they can die)

Isaiah 42:5. ‘He that giveth breath (neshamah) unto the people… and spirit (ruwach) to them that walk therein’ (is the LORD God. See v5)

*    Many texts use the term ‘spirit of’’, listed here without context.

Genesis 45:27.  ‘spirit of Jacob’

Exodus 28:3.  ‘spirit of wisdom’

Numb 5:14.30.  ‘spirit of jealousy’

Deuter. 34:9.  ‘spirit of wisdom’

2 Kings 2:16.  ‘spirit of Elijah’

1 Chron 5:26. ‘spirit of Pul’

1 Chron 5:26.  ‘spirit of Tiglath-pilneser’

2 Chron 21:16.  ‘spirit of the Philistines’

2 Chron 36:22.  ‘spirit of Cyrus’     (Ezra 1:1)

Job 20:3. ‘spirit of my understanding’

Psalm 76:12. ‘the spirit of princes’

Prov 18:14. ‘the spirit of man’

Prov 20:27.  ‘the spirit of a man’ (this is neshamah)

Eccles 3:21. ‘spirit of a man…  spirit of a beast’

Eccles 10:4.  ‘the spirit of the ruler’

Isaiah 4:4.  ‘spirit of judgment’

Isaiah 4:4.  ‘spirit of burning’

Isaiah 11:2.  ‘spirit  of  wisdom’

Isaiah 19:3.  ‘spirit of Egypt’

Isaiah 28:6.  'spirit of judgment’

Isaiah 29:10.  ‘poured... spirit of deep sleep’

Isaiah 57:15.  ‘spirit of the humble’

Isaiah 61:3. ‘spirit of heaviness’

Jeremiah 51:11.  ‘spirit of the kings’

Ezek 1:20.21. ‘spirit of the living creatures’

Ezek 10:17.  ‘spirit of the living creatures’

Hosea 4:12.  ‘spirit of whoredom’

Hosea 5:4.  ‘spirit of whoredom’

Haggai 1:14.  ‘Spirit of Zerubbabel’

Haggai 1:14.  ‘Spirit of Joshua’

Haggai 1:14.  ‘spirit of remnant of  people’

Zech 12:1.  ‘spirit of man in him’

Zech 12:10.  ‘spirit of grace and supplication’

*    One verse says ‘spirit in’.

1 King 10:5. ‘there was  no more spirit in her’

*   A number of texts use the words ‘spirit’ and ‘Spirit’, with an adjective preceding it.

Judges 9:23. ‘an evil spirit’

1 Sam 1:15.  ‘a sorrowful spirit’  (a woman)

1 Sam 16:14. ‘an evil spirit troubled Saul’  (Also v15.16.23.  18:10.  19:9)

1 Kings 22:22.   ‘a lying spirit’  (v23)   (Repeated in 2 Chron 18:21-22.  and Isaiah 29:4)  

Psalm 34:18. ‘saveth such as be of a contrite spirit’

Psalm 51:10.  ‘renew a right spirit within me’

Psalm 51:17. ‘sacrifice of God are a broken spirit and contrite heart’

Prov 11:13. ‘a faithful spirit concealeth the matter’

Prov 14:29.  ‘he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly’

Prov 16:18.  ‘a haughty spirit before a fall’  

Prov 16:19.  ‘a humble spirit with the lowly’

Prov 17:22.   ‘a broken spirit drieth the bones’

Prov 17:27.  ‘understanding is of an excellent spirit’

Prov 18:14.  ‘a wounded spirit, who can bear it?’

Prov 29:23. ‘honour shall uphold humble in spirit’

Isaiah 19:14.  ‘mingled a perverse spirit’

Isaiah 57:15. ‘contrite and humble spirit’

Isaiah 63:10.11. ‘vexed His holy Spirit’ (see also elsewhere)

Isaiah 66:2. ‘poor and contrite spirit’

Ezek 11:19. ‘I will put a new Spirit within you’ (saith the Lord God v17.  Also Ezek 18:31)

Ezek 36:26. ‘a new Spirit’  (God’s Spirit – ‘My Spirit’ v27)

Daniel 5:12.14. ‘an excellent spirit’  (See 4:8.9.18.  5:11)  (Also 6:3)

Zech 13:2. ‘cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out    from the land’

*    A number of texts speak of a ‘familiar spirit’, but this is a different Hebrew word.   It is the word ‘owb’ (178 Strongs) meaning ‘necromancer, mumble, ventriloquist, as from a jar, familiar spirit, genie as from bottle, prattling a father’s name’.  

*    There are nine texts that speak of ‘spirits’ (plural), four using 178 (owb), and five using 7307 (ruwach), but they do not add to the understanding at all.

(All the texts presented under ‘SPIRIT’ (ruwach) are the sum total of those used in the Bible, except for inadvertent ommisions.   Any discrepancy in the count may be due to some verses being doubled up, or listed in brackets as a repetition.   The meaning of the full text is not intended, only section referring to the ‘ruwach’)



My reading of the texts with an open mind showed me that not one verse speaks of the Holy Spirit as a co-equal Being within a Godhead of three co-eternal Persons. 

The books of the Old Testament were the Scriptures used by Jesus, and it is from their pages He gave understanding of Himself. The three sections of the Hebrew Bible -- ‘the law, the psalms, and the prophets’ – were the complete Bible prior to the writing of the New Testament. 

Before Paul began his ministry, he studied the sacred writings for three years. These oracles were the basis for his own epistles, and the authority for all doctrine portrayed in the New Testament.

I am certain the truth written in Paul’s epistles, John’s epistles, Peter’s epistles, will not disagree with that given by Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, or any other Old Testament prophet. If the latter prophets contradict what is already written, he (or she) must be denounced as a false prophet. 

“To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”    Isaiah 8:20.