The language in which the Jewish Scriptures (Tanakh) -- or the "Old Testament" in Christian Bibles -- were written.

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6answers
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Does the Bible mention unicorns?

I was reading Psalm 22 (from this question) and I found this verse: Psalms 22:21 (KJV) Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. When I switched ...
29
votes
5answers
3k views

Is “kill” a valid translation for Exodus 20:13 (Thou shalt not kill)?

Exodus 20:13 (KJV) Thou shalt not kill. Many political statements have been made about this verse. This translation has been used by many to support their pacifist desires. However, it seems ...
19
votes
4answers
919 views

Does Gen 1:1 refer to day 1 or the entire 6 days of creation?

One way of reading Gen 1:1 with its immediate context is that it is part of the first day of creation 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and ...
17
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3answers
1k views

Understanding Numbers 11:25

As I am studying, I have encountered different renderings of the last phrase in this verse, which describes the prophesying of the seventy elders of Israel after the Spirit was placed on them. An ...
17
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3answers
3k views

What did the 70 elders see, if man can't see God and live?

Exodus 24:10 says, of the 70 elders who went up on the mountain with Moshe: וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל and they saw the God of Israel Meanwhile, Exodus 33:20 says, when Moshe asks ...
16
votes
7answers
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Which 'modern' English translation of the Bible is considered the 'closest' or most accurate translation?

Which 'modern' (anything inclusive of King James Version to date) English translation of the Bible is considered the 'closest' or most accurate translation from the original Hebrew & Greek texts? ...
15
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5answers
2k views

Does Genesis's creation account depict creation “ex nihilo”?

I had once heard that one of the remarkable thing about the creation account in Genesis, as compared to the other creation accounts of the cultures of the surrounding area is that God creates the ...
15
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4answers
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What translation best translates the word “vanity” (in the KJV) in Ecclesiastes?

The word "vanity" (KJV) in Ecclesiastes was translated (possibly incorrectly) in the NIV as "meaningless". Is "vanity" the best translation for the Hebrew word hebel (Strongs 1892) or does a newer ...
15
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5answers
2k views

Is there a modern English translation of the Bible that uses the second-person plural pronoun?

I'm looking for a modern translation of the Bible (ideally in the public domain) that retains the distinction between second-person plural and second-person singular. In Early Modern English (the ...
15
votes
2answers
9k views

Did Moses have an Egyptian name?

Moses got his name from Pharaoh's daughter: When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of ...
15
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1answer
2k views

What is the proper translation of Hosea 11:12?

I have been researching Hosea 11:12 and have come to realize that it is translated differently in many differing translations of the Bible. It is sometimes translated that Judah walked (or ruled) with ...
15
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3answers
2k views

Translation of “Selah” (סֶלָה‎)

What is the current scholarly opinion on the possible translations for "Selah" (סֶלָה‎) as used in the Psalms?
14
votes
4answers
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Translation of “Hosanna” (ὡσαννά)

What does "Hosanna" (ὡσαννά) mean (as it appears in the Gospels)? What is its etymology/derivation from Hebrew/Aramaic?
14
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4answers
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Is there an English equivalent for Nephilim of Genesis 6:4?

Genesis 6:4 (NIV)Emphasis added The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes ...
14
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1answer
12k views

Is “wait” in Isaiah 40:31 active or passive?

Some translations have this verse reading "They that wait (up)on the Lord" (eg. NKJV) while others have "They that wait for the Lord" (eg. ESV) and still others "Those that hope in the Lord". (eg NIV) ...
14
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1answer
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Does the original Hebrew support the NLT of Genesis 6:3?

Genesis 6:3 refers to when God set humans' lifespans to (approximately) 120 years. However, the NLT (the translation I prefer) has a slightly different translation for the 120-years part. Genesis ...
13
votes
2answers
8k views

Who or what is Rahab in Job?

The most famous Rahab in the Bible is the prostitute of Jericho who hid the two Hebrew spies in Joshua 2. But there seems to be a different Rahab introduced in Job: “God will not turn back his ...
13
votes
2answers
868 views

Why is the light in day 1 of creation not an 'it'?

Throughout Genesis 1 there are two repeated refrains: ויהי כן 7And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it ...
13
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1answer
358 views

What word best captures the spirit of לִּילִית in Isaiah 34:14?

Isaiah 34:14 in the Masoretic Text is the following: גְשׁוּ צִיִּים אֶת-אִיִּים, וְשָׂעִיר עַל-רֵעֵהוּ יִקְרָא; אַךְ-שָׁם הִרְגִּיעָה לִּילִית, וּמָצְאָה לָהּ מָנוֹח Here, לִּילִית is supposedly ...
13
votes
2answers
334 views

“Black but beautiful” or “Black and beautiful” in Song of Songs?

Song of Songs (or "Song of Solomon") 1:5 begins as follows in the Hebrew: ... שְׁחוֹרָ֤ה אֲנִי֙ וְֽנָאוָ֔ה בְּנ֖וֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָ֑ם šĕḥôrâ ʾănî wĕnāʾwâ bĕnôt yĕrûšālāyim ... And is often ...
12
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2answers
8k views

How does the act of “foot washing” lead to the act of “sexual intercourse”?

In 2 Samuel chapter 11,after King David had slept with Uriah's wife Bathsheba we read in 11:5, The woman conceived and sent word to David,saying,"I am pregnant." David's response to the news ...
12
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2answers
299 views

Are there two distinct words [‘lexemes’] for ‘fish’ in Jonah 2?

Jonah 2:1 (Eng. 1:17) says that God appointed דָּ֣ג גָּד֔וֹל (dāg gādôl, 'a great fish') to swallow Jonah. The following verse tells of Jonah crying out from the belly of הַדָּגָֽה (haddāgâ, 'the ...
12
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4answers
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What does “Jealous” mean in Exodus 34:14?

Most translations seem to agree that "Jealous" is the best translation for this passage. For example: Exodus 34:14 (NASB) —for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is ...
11
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4answers
2k views

Was there some connection between barley bread and Gideon in the mind of the Midianites?

Before attacking the Midianite camp, Gideon does a little spying: When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of ...
11
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3answers
14k views

What does “Under the Sun” mean in Ecclesiastes?

I noticed that the Teacher uses the phrase "under the sun" more than 20 times in Ecclesiastes. I have always understood this to simply mean "on earth" as The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament ...
11
votes
3answers
258 views

Matthew originally written in Hebrew?

I recently came across a post which suggested that Mathew was originally written in Hebrew. I had never heard this before... is this a significant scholarly position? If so, what evidence supports it? ...
11
votes
1answer
267 views

“dancing” or “beat time with his feet” in 2 Samuel 6:14?

Frank Garlock says in his The Language of Music that 2 Samuel 6:14: Enthusiasts of contemporary Christian music and Christian Rock sometimes cite the Old Testament scripture where David led the ...
11
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2answers
314 views

Different meanings of 'Earth' in Genesis 1

The word הארץ ('the earth') appears a very large number of times in the six-day creation account spanning Genesis 1:1 to 2:1. It seems clear to me that the usages in 1:1 and 2:1 are special - the ...
10
votes
3answers
8k views

Comparison of English word “fool” in original Hebrew and Greek

Question is based on this comment on Christiantity SE. In the OT, the word fool is apparently used to describe atheists: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1 and Psalm ...
10
votes
4answers
10k views

What does “put the branch to their nose” in Ezekiel 8:17 mean?

Reading Ezekiel 8 in the ESV I came across verse 17 today and was puzzled by phrase there: Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations that they commit here, that ...
10
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2answers
2k views

How many daughters did Lot have, two or four?

When we read the KJV we get the impression that Lot possibly had daughters living with their husbands in Sodom, in addition to two unmarried daughters still living at home: "And Lot went out, and ...
10
votes
1answer
666 views

Can “pharmakous” mean something other than “sorceror”?

The Hebrew word כַשֵּׁף is typically translated "sorcery" in Hebrew-to-English translations. Paro had court sorcerors replicate some of God's miracles and Nebuchanezer asks his sorcerors to interpret ...
10
votes
1answer
208 views

Does Rashi's interpretation of Jephthah's fate hold water?

When Rashi looks back on the life of Jephthah, he notes: Jephthah was afflicted with boils and dismemberment as it is stated, (below 12:7) “And he was buried in the cities [pl.] of Gilead.” (His ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I identify puns in the Hebrew Bible?

The Bible sometimes uses words with multiple meanings to the effect of an intentional pun or wordplay. Punning seems especially common in Hebrew. I think that being aware of these literary devices ...
10
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1answer
2k views

The meaning of “stranger and sojourner” in Genesis 23:4 and Leviticus 25:23

In Genesis 23:4 Abraham is in conversation with the residents of Heth and says: "I am a stranger and a sojourner with you. Give me a possession for a burying place with you, that I may bury my ...
9
votes
2answers
489 views

Does the Hebrew in Judges 4:4 explicitly identify Deborah as a woman?

I have no skill at reading Hebrew, so I was using some tool to try and parse the sentence in Judges 4:4. I noticed that the definition given for the second word (אִשָּׁה) is "woman"; but what I'm ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

To whom does El-Gibbor refer in Isaiah 9?

I've asked about the translation philosophy of the long title in Isaiah 9. This question drills down into one of the phrases: El-Gibbor. According to Wikipedia, there are two basic options: The ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

How many people were involved in the Exodus?

According to Numbers 1:20-46 (NJPS): They totaled as follows: The descendants of Reuben, Israel’s first-born, the registration of the clans of their ancestral house, as listed by name, head by ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the translation philosophy for tachash skins in Exodus?

In Exodus (e.g.: 26:14) we learn one of the coverings for the tabernacle is to be made of "תחש" (tachash) skins. The translation of this term appears to be especially difficult or contentious as there ...
9
votes
2answers
315 views

How should the first line of Judges 5:2 be translated?

So at some point, I'm hoping to be able to answer this question. In the meantime, though, I keep running into more questions, this one concering the first line of the Song of Deborah (Judges 5:2). It ...
9
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3answers
680 views

On what basis is the name “Ephraim” given the etymology of “ash heap”?

The name Ephraim seems to commonly be given two etymologies, one referring to an "ash heap" and the other referring to "fruitfulness". Example I can understand the fruitfulness etymology linking ...
9
votes
4answers
962 views

What did Isaiah intend with his unusual usage of “create” in Isaiah 45:7?

In Isaiah 45:7 (ESV): I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things. The word "create" (01254) is the same word used in ...
9
votes
1answer
308 views

Genesis 3:12: What is the underlying Hebrew word translated into English as “with me” (in KJV)?

In Genesis 3:12, is the underlying Hebrew word, translated into English as "with me" (in the KJV), supposed to be Strong's H5978 as the HCSB and HiSB suggests, or Strong's H5973 as the KJV suggests? ...
9
votes
1answer
791 views

Should the title in Isaiah 9 be translated?

Translators publishing for the Christian market translate the title in Isaiah 9:6: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his ...
9
votes
2answers
495 views

Judges 17:7 - How could the young man be both “a Levite” and “of the family of Judah”?

Hebrew Text: וַיְהִי־נַעַר מִבֵּית לֶחֶם יְהוּדָה מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת יְהוּדָה וְהוּא לֵוִי וְהוּא גָר־שָׁם English Translation: And there was a young man of Beit-Lechem of Yehuda, of the family ...
9
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2answers
273 views

According to the original Hebrew, how did Moses's Red sea crossing look?

I heard a different viewpoint on the depiction of the whole red sea crossing than I am used to, and now I am wondering what the correct interpretation is. Instead of the sea splitting open and ...
9
votes
6answers
298 views

Hosea 6.7: “like men”, “like Adam”, or “at Adam”?

I was doing some study on Adam, and came across Hosea 6.7. The Hebrew, for reference: והמה כאדם עברו ברית שם בגדו בי׃ I was already aware different translations choose to render כאדם either as ...
9
votes
4answers
326 views

What does chamushim (“fifties”) mean in Exodus 13:18?

It is easy to imagine that this word would suggest "by fifties" or, more generally, in large groups, or even "in an regimented way like an army," but on what grounds do so many English versions turn ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

How tall was Goliath?

In 1 Samuel 17, David intends to battle against Goliath and ultimately wins by slinging a single stone into his forehead before decapitating him. As Wikipedia can confirm, there are multiple accounts ...
8
votes
4answers
482 views

On what basis do translators translate echad in Daniel 10:13 to be one instead of first?

Daniel 10:13 NIV 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of ...