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

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What is the difference between “eretz” and “adamah” in Gen 2:6?

These two words are variably translated as ground, earth, land etc. How should we understand the difference between the words in this passage? Genesis 2:6 And a mist was going up from the land ...
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521 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 ...
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Did God say that Adam will die on the same day he ate the fruit?

but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17, NKJV) but you must not eat from the tree of the ...
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Were "the thieves” who reviled Jesus on the cross only one person?

I recently ran across this answer on C.SE reconciling Luke’s account of the repentant thief on the cross (Luke 23:40) with Mark’s statement - also present in Matthew - that both thieves reviled Jesus ...
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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 ...
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497 views

What is the best translation of Job 6:14?

NKJV: “To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, Even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty." NASB: “For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend; So ...
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What is the “Water” of Genesis 1:2?

We read in the creation account: The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.—Genesis 1:2 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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What are the “generations” in Genesis 2:4?

Genesis 2:4: These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.(ESV) (BHS) אֵ֣לֶּה תֹולְדֹ֧ות ...
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Blessed is the man who WALKS NOT or HAS NOT WALKED?

I noticed in studying the Psalms that Psalm 1 in the old Coverdale text reads, "Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, and hath not sat ...
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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? ...
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119 views

Why does the singular form of שַׂעֲרָה appear in Job 4:15?

In the Book of Job, Eliphaz relates one palpable experience he had with a "רוּחַ" (translated spirit in the NASB), which had caused the hair of his body to stand on end. In Job 4:14-16 we read the ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Why is Job referred to by the feminine pronoun in Job 1:15?

טו וַתִּפֹּל שְׁבָא וַתִּקָּחֵם, וְאֶת-הַנְּעָרִים הִכּוּ לְפִי-חָרֶב; וָאִמָּלְטָה רַק-אֲנִי לְבַדִּי, לְהַגִּיד לָךְ. This verse, Job 1:15, ends with "and I alone escaped to tell you". The "you" ...
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Does Leviticus 19:28 in the original text instruct not to tattoo for the dead or not to tattoo at all?

The command is clear in this passage to not pierce one's body for the dead. The slaves were to be pierced by their master upon choosing to stay with them rather than going free; therefore, it seems ...
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Is Elijah fed by ravens or Arabians?

A couple of commentaries mention that scholars dispute that Elijah was fed by ravens and instead think the word in 1 Kings 17:4-6 ought to be translated black arabs or perhaps "Orbites, i.e., ...
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Why does Strong's have two different entries for the word “Adam”?

As far as I can tell, these are the exact same word, down to the cantillation marks. And H121 even says, "the same as H120". From Strong's: H120 - 'adam אָדָם, from אָדַם (H119): man, ...
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How did Biblical translators decide on cypress for the type of wood in Noah's ark?

Reading from Genesis 6:14 (NRSV): Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. There is a note at "cypress" which says: Meaning of ...
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Ancient Hebrew Calendar(s) and Modern Translations of “Years”

When we read Genesis or Samuel/Kings/Chronicles (or any OT book that attempts any sort of reliable chronology), what are reasonable meanings of the word (translated) "year?" Suppose I wanted to ...
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Given the differences between Hebrew and Aramaic, how are the Aramaic sections identified?

There are a handful of Aramaic passages in the Bible; notably in Daniel and Ezra. Since the writing system of these two was the same, how are the Aramaic sections identified?
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What does “Qr perpetuum” mean?

In the BDB entry for הוא http://biblehub.com/hebrew/1931.htm, the term "Qr perpetuum" appears, but I have no clue what it means. From logical deduction, I can conclude it means something like "from ...
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Is LXX “Enoch pleased God” a reasonable idiomatic translation of Hebrew “Enoch walked with God”?

The Septuagint translates the Hebrew phrase וַיִּתְהַלֵּךְ חֲנֹוךְ אֶת־הָאֱלֹהִים "Enoch walked with God," from Genesis 5:22 as εὐηρέστησεν δὲ ενωχ τῷ θεῷ "Enoch pleased God." I would have ...
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What is the likely way in which ancient Hebrews would have understood “raqiya” in Gen 1:6?

In Genesis 1:6, the word "firmament" (Hebrew: raqiya) is referring to what we call the sky. It separates the waters below (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc) from the waters above (where the rain comes ...
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What does Azazel mean in Leviticus 16:8?

In Leviticus 16:8 And Aaron shall cast lots over two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel. It appears that Azazel is translated as scapegoat. Strong’s Hebrew 5799 ...
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What does it mean for someone to be another person's “portion”? [closed]

Searching for the word "portion" brings up a lot of results in the Bible. Sometimes it means a portion of food or of money. But what exactly does it mean in the following context: LORD, you alone ...
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Where does the name “Beelzeboul” come from?

Mark 3:22:1 Καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς οἱ ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων καταβάντες ἔλεγον ὅτι Βεελζεβοὺλ ἔχει καὶ ὅτι ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια. (NA28) And the scribes who came down from ...
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What does Genesis 3:16 literally say?

I've noticed that sometimes words are repeated in the hebrew text. Gen 3:16 אֶֽל־ H413 to הָ·אִשָּׁ֣ה H802 Unto the woman אָמַ֗ר H559 he said הַרְבָּ֤ה H7235 I will greatly אַרְבֶּה֙ H7235 ...
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Who will suffer plague/punishment in Isaiah 53:8?

Why do different translations render Isaiah 53:8 differently in English: מֵעֹצֶר וּמִמִּשְׁפָּט לֻקָּח וְאֶת דּוֹרוֹ מִי יְשׂוֹחֵחַ כִּי נִגְזַר מֵאֶרֶץ חַיִּים מִפֶּשַׁע עַמִּי נֶגַע לָמוֹ. One ...
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532 views

Did Ahaz burn up his sons in the fire or pass them through the fire?

I believe the literal translation is that he passes his sons through the fire. Does that mean that they still lived but were scarred for life, or did they lose their lives? 2 Chronicles 28:3 ...
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Is there any significance to the shift between cardinal and ordinal numbers in Genesis 1?

Genesis 1:5 uses a cardinal number "one" to describe the first day - יֹ֥ום אֶחָֽד - whereas all of the following days are modified by ordinals (WLC): 1:8 - יֹ֥ום שֵׁנִֽי 1:13 - יֹ֥ום שְׁלִישִֽׁי ...
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Is “breath of life” in Genesis 2:7 is the same as spirit?

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7 (KJV) What is the meaning of "breath of life" ...
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Is the REB translation of Ex 11:1, comparing to a rejected bride, supported in the original language?

Exodus 11:1b in the Revised English Bible (REB) reads: When he finally lets you go, he will drive you out forcibly as a man might dismiss a rejected bride. The simile seems most unusual. Was it ...
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Meaning of (et)“את” and (v'et)“וְאֵ֥ת” in Genesis 1:1

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית created בָּרָ֣א God אֱלֹהִ֑ים (unknown word) אֵ֥ת the heavens הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם (unknown word) וְאֵ֥ת the earth הָאָֽרֶץ׃ I ...
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How should graded numerical parallelism in Hebrew poetry be understood?

In Hebrew poetry, especially proverbs, we see examples of monotonically increasing numbers that set up parallels. For instance Proverbs 30:15 (NJPS): The leech has two daughters, “Give!” and ...
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What does Song 1:1 tell us about Solomon's relationship to the book?

Song 1:1: שִׁ֥יר הַשִּׁירִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר לִשְׁלֹמֹֽה׃ (BHS) The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.(ESV) I have seen it postulated* that the final word here (a lamed preposition prefixed to the name ...
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Is Isaiah 1:18 reasonable?

I’m accustomed to the ESV Isaiah 1:18 (defining my own a/b/c clauses for the sake of discussion): (a): “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: (b): though your sins are like scarlet, ...
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The lexicology of Pharaoh's heart

In the narrative of Exodus 4-14 (spanning from the time of Moses's initial assignment until the crossing of the Red Sea), there are three different verbs used to describe the action against and/or the ...
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A purported Hebrew translation of Deuteronomy 22:5; is it accurate?

This question pertains to this article regarding transgenderism. Deuteronomy 22:5 is sometimes cited as a Biblical passage condemning transgender behavior. It states: The woman shall not wear ...
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Why is “rega`” translated “peace” in Job 21:13?

Job 21:7-13 (ESV) Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? Their offspring are established in their presence, and their descendants before their eyes. Their houses ...
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The name of God in ancient manuscripts

I came across the following from an unofficial/unverified source: Yahu An alternative spelling and pronunciation of Yahweh, found (spelled YHW) on a circa 800 B.C.E. ostracon from Kuntillet ...
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Before the Tower of Babel did all speak Hebrew as the original human language? [closed]

I find it fascinating that rabbinic literature suggests that Hebrew was the original human language. I have seen Christian authors also argue the same. For example, from the Jewish Encyclopedia: ...
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Assessments of the evidence for the “Gap Theory” reading of Genesis 1:1-2?

Ever since the emergence of an understanding of "geological time" in the 18th Century, there has been a perceived tension with the six-day account of creation in Genesis 1 -- at least, if those "days" ...
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Numeral system in the time of the Genesis

Genesis 41:49 (King James Version) And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. Without being a perfect equivalent, this ...
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Is Malachi a pseudonym?

The ESV has a note on Malachi 1:1: The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.1 1:1 Malachi means my messenger Malachi's Wikipedia entry shows that this has caused interpreters ...
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Does Moses Speak Broken Hebrew?

When translating Exodus, I became intimately familiar with every sentence (it is really a tremendous form of close reading), and I noticed something amazing. The cases where Moses speaks Hebrew, he ...