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

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Psalm 23 - long long pursuit of the house of the LORD

I am puzzled by translations of the 23rd Psalm. I wish to bring those my puzzlement to your attention. Perhaps, someone could comment on it. ינחני במעגלי צדק The accepted translations are saying ...
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Isaiah 1:18 white washing the scarlet?

Again I read another web page and this time I did remember to copy down the URL: http://www.teachinstitute.org/wordpress/?p=1013. Isaiah 1:18 לכו נא - I urge you that we go ו נוּכחה - and present ...
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How different is Biblical Hebrew from modern Hebrew?

It's been variously suggested on this site that the difference between Biblical Hebrew and modern Hebrew is like either the difference between: Old English and modern English Shakespeare's English ...
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192 views

A woman is not to put on a man's dress?

I came across a Christian web page. The subject that caught me was the view on Deut. 22:5 expressed in the page. A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; ...
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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 ...
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127 views

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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What is the significance of Methuselah's name?

I've heard that Methuselah's name was given to him by Enoch in response to a prophecy concerning the flood. Since he seems to have died in the year of the flood (according to the Masoretic and ...
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What is the meaning of “Jealous” in Exodus 20:5?

I asked this question on Christianity Stack Exchange. Exodus 20:5 NIV You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 Puzzlement

Verse 1: שלח לחמך על פני המים כי ברב הימים תמצאנו Send/set your bread upon the surface of the waters for in many days you shall discover it. Verse 2: תן חלק ל שבע וגם ל שמונה כי לא תדע מה יהיה ...
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Psalms 46 - Be still or relax?

In Psalms 46-10 (Christian versions) or 46:11 (in Jewish versions), is the phrase  הרפו ודעו כי אנכי אלֹהים In most English Bible translations הרפו is translated as Be still . With the ...
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1answer
115 views

Should קהלת actually translate to “Preacher”

Ecclesiastes starts with - words of קהלת son of David. In Hebrew it does not say - the words of the קהלת. Nor - words of the קהלת. But simply - words of קהלת. How do we know that קהלת translates to ...
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530 views

Was Rahab a temple prostitute?

Joshua includes a dramatic story of spies, a prostitute, and subterfuge: Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim, saying, “Go, reconnoiter the region of Jericho.” So they set out, ...
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Is there a general way to know if a psalm or prophecy is talking about a tribe, a person or a mythical beast?

For example: You rule the raging sea; you still its swelling waves. You crush Rahab with a mortal blow; with your strong arm you scatter your foes. Yours are the heavens, yours the ...
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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 ...
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95 views

Who is the good and beautiful person in Zechariah 9:17?

There seem to be two main variants of English translations of Zechariah 9:17a: The newer one, of which the NLT is a prime representative: 16On that day the Lord their God will rescue his people, ...
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1answer
87 views

Did God shut up Satan before he had the chance to accuse Yeshua?

Growing up with the the New Living Translation, I had alway thought that Zechariah 3:1 said that Satan was accusing Yeshua: Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the ...
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777 views

Leaping over the threshold in Zephaniah 1:9

It would seem from the various translations of Zephaniah 1:9 that is is tricky to understand. Some translations give an apparently fairly vanilla, literal rendering: On that day I will punish ...
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185 views

What does “in the midst of the years” mean in Habakkuk 3:2?

The phrase "in the midst of the years" occurs in some more literal translations of Habakkuk 3:2: Yahweh, I have heard the report of you, and your work, Yahweh, do I fear. In the midst of the years ...
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Is there an interpretive significance for nashak (kiss) and nasak (burn) being puns?

It was suggested here that 'kissing the calf' may be a play on words for 'burning the calf'. Is there other support in scripture where the use of 'kiss' and 'burn' has interpretive significance? See ...
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477 views

Sacrificing and kissing calves in Hosea 13:2

Reading Hosea 13:2 ESV, I found myself confused: And now they sin more and more, and make for themselves metal images, idols skillfully made of their silver, all of them the work of craftsmen. It ...
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163 views

Is the death of the pious precious in the eyes of God?

How does one understand the word yakar in Psalms 116:15? Classic Jewish commentators explain the word in context to mean "difficult". However, that is not how is it commonly used nor is it in ...
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186 views

Is Naaman impure?

In 2 Kings 5:10 we read: וַיִּשְׁלַח אֵלָיו אֱלִישָׁע, מַלְאָךְ לֵאמֹר: הָלוֹךְ, וְרָחַצְתָּ שֶׁבַע-פְּעָמִים בַּיַּרְדֵּן, וְיָשֹׁב בְּשָׂרְךָ לְךָ וּטְהָר.‏ And Elisha sent a messenger unto ...
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62 views

Judgment like light(ning) in Hosea 6:5

ESV, NIV and NLT each have a rather distinctive translation of the last phrase of Hosea 6:5: Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment ...
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204 views

Is Hosea 4:11 teaching total abstinence from alcohol?

In Hosea 4:11 (ESV), God seems to condemn drinking wine: They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the Lord to cherish ...
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402 views

What are the four types of “wise men” in Daniel 2?

In Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar has dealings with four types of "wise men". NIV and NLT render them "magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers." The ESV does something rather confusing and renders ...
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423 views

Is “wept on his neck” a Hebrew idiom?

In a number of places, the English Standard Version uses a phrase like "wept on his neck," e.g. Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. —Genesis ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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185 views

“The Name of Yahweh” a name for God?

I have often been told that "name" in the Old Testament has much more weight than it does to us today. Then I noticed this passage recently: See, the Name of the Yahweh comes from afar, with ...
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459 views

Can “שָׂנֵא” mean “rejected”?

I have posted a question about the translation of μισέω in Romans 9:15, which quotes Malachi 1:2-3. To further dig into the question of whether "rejected" is a correct translation, I would like to ...
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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 does the King James have “turtle” in Song of Solomon 2:12?

Ernie Harwell was famous for starting his first baseball broadcast of the Detroit Tigers spring with the following quote: Song of Solomon 2:11-12 (KJV) 11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain ...
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236 views

Did women contribute to the temple in exodus 35:22?

Finishing the response to the meta call for contradiction, here is the last contradiction/inconsistency I found in Genesis/Exodus/Leviticus. In Exodus 35:22 we find the following passage. And the ...
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What does Cain say to Abel in Genesis 4:8?

The Masoretic version of Genesis 4:8 reads as follows: וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן, אֶל-הֶבֶל אָחִיו; וַיְהִי בִּהְיוֹתָם בַּשָּׂדֶה, וַיָּקָם קַיִן אֶל-הֶבֶל אָחִיו וַיַּהַרְגֵהוּ. And Cain said to his ...
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Why is a singular verb used to describe both Moses and Aaron?

Continuing the response to the meta call for contradiction. The following contradiction is invisible in English. It appears in the Hebrew of Exodus 4:29. וַיֵּלֶךְ מֹשֶׁה, וְאַהֲרֹן; ...
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Does Exodus 22:28 call for child sacrifice?

In Genesis, we see a motif of first-born sons being overly aggressive and ambitious. Kain slays Abel out of a jealous wrath. Firstborn Esau and Jacob have a long-running rivalry that ends with Jacob ...
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652 views

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 ...
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178 views

What is Shesh Mashzar?

The Hebrew words occuring all over the latter parts of Exodus: שֵׁשׁ מָשְׁזָר mean some sort of fancy fabric. Is it reasonable to think of this as silk? I was thinking this might be derived from ...
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2answers
595 views

Is El-Shaddai “Sky God” where Sky==Breasts?

I found the name "El-Shaddai" mysterious, but while going over Genesis, found the following passage (Gen 49) Wikisource translation From the god of your fathers, and he will help you, and the ...
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962 views

What else can “Fifteen cubits from above” in Gen 7:20 mean?

When translating Genesis, I took pains to preserve the implied flat-Earth cosmology that a naive reading suggests. One of the places where this made a big difference is in the story of Noah. Noah is ...
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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 ...
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281 views

Is the ESV rendering “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever” in Genesis 6:3 accurate?

I am reading through Genesis in the ESV for the first time and was struck by some unfamiliar wording in Genesis 6:3. It reads: "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days ...
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What exactly does מִכְנָס (miknac) mean?

Researching a related question, I came across passages like: You shall also make for them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; they shall extend from the hips to the thighs.—Exodus 28:42 ...
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What does Exodus 26:27 say?

I was reading through Exodus the other day and thought that the translation of Exodus 26:26-27 was odd. OSB: "You shall make bars of incorruptible wood: five for the posts on one side of the ...
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145 views

What does it mean that "David eluded him twice?

Shortly after Saul takes David into his service, we read: The next day an evil spirit of God gripped Saul and he began to rave in the house, while David was playing [the lyre], as he did daily. ...
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781 views

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 ...
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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 ...