Midrash, מִדְרָשׁ (H4097), is a Hebrew word meaning “a study, exposition, record, story.” The real picture of midrash is of brethren studying and sharpening their understanding due to a diligent seeking of the Word of Elohim (“sword sharpening sword”).
Unfortunately this word, despite being the crux of study in the Hebrew culture, is under utilized in the scriptures (it is translated as the word “story” in 2 scriptures – 2 Chronicles 13:22, 24:27). A better understanding may be gleaned from its parent root.
Midrash comes from the Hebrew word “d’rash” דָּרַשׁ (H1875) which means to “seek, seek with care, enquire of Elohim, require of (oneself/others), investigate, demand, practice, study, follow, seek with application.”
Scripture verses which best exemplify D’rash and hence Midrash:
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:29-31:
(29) But if from thence thou shalt seek the Yahweh your Elohim, you shall find him, if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
(30) When you are in tribulation, and all these things are come upon you, even in the latter days, if you turn to the Yahweh your Elohim, and shall be obedient unto his voice;
(31) (For the Yahweh your Elohim is a merciful Elohim;) he will not forsake you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which he swore unto them.
– The picture here is of a person seeking the Father, with everything they have, requiring the most from themselves as Yahweh expects and requires of them. There is a deep yearning for Him and His word, and that is exactly what we must seek and require of ourselves.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 13:12-15:
(12) If you shall hear tell concerning one of your cities, which the Yahweh your Elohim gives you to dwell there, saying,
(13) Certain base fellows are gone out from the midst of you, and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other deities, which you have not known;
(14) then shall you inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is done in the midst of you,
(15) you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein and the cattle of it, with the edge of the sword.
– Yahweh requires us to inquire of Him and His Word to discern the truth of all matters. He requires patience and diligence of us, because the penalty can be quite severe. This particular excerpt deals with false prophets and those that tempt others to go astray from Yahweh to serve other deities. Remember that Yahweh told them (and us) very specifically in the first of the “ten commandments”:
Shemoth (Exodus) 20:2: “I am Yahweh your Elohim who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of bondage, you shall have no other elohim before my face.”
Tehellim (Psalms) 9:10: Those who know your name will put their trust in you, For you, Yahweh, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Tehellim (Psalms) 34:4: I sought Elohim, and he answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.
Tehellim (Psalms) 119:2: Blessed are those who keep his statutes, Who seek him with their whole heart.
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 1:17: Learn to do well. Seek justice, Relieve the oppressed, Judge the fatherless, Plead for the widow.”
Like the other word studies, there are many other scriptures that contribute to the understanding of d’rash, and hence midrash. I hope this word study enriches your personal walk as you “seek” a better understanding of Yahweh’s word and requires the growth of yourself and the brethren around you.