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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

39
votes
6answers
6k views

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 ...
33
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
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 ...
18
votes
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 ...
18
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
49k views

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? ...
17
votes
4answers
15k views

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 ...
16
votes
4answers
31k views

Translation of “Hosanna” (ὡσαννά)

What does "Hosanna" (ὡσαννά) mean (as it appears in the Gospels)? What is its etymology/derivation from Hebrew/Aramaic?
16
votes
2answers
16k 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 ...
16
votes
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 ...
16
votes
7answers
6k views

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 of ...
15
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
19k views

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 (...
15
votes
2answers
949 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Translation of “Selah” (סֶלָה‎)

What is the current scholarly opinion on the possible translations for "Selah" (סֶלָה‎) as used in the Psalms?
15
votes
1answer
16k 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
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
339 views

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 ...
13
votes
1answer
449 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
1answer
734 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
15k views

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 ...
13
votes
2answers
503 views

Was Ba'al relieving himself?

In 1 Kings 18:27, Elijah is recorded as mocking the servants of Ba'al. In this speech as it is recorded in the ESV, Elijah suggests that Ba'al may be indisposed answering nature's call. And at ...
13
votes
4answers
29k views

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 ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

In Isaiah 14:12 did the King James translator make a mistake using the term Lucifer to describe morning star?

KJV Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! NRSV Isaiah 14:12 How you are fallen ...
12
votes
7answers
2k views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
20k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
7k views

What translation philosophies have cause such a wide variation in translation of *tachash* skins?

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
400 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? ...
12
votes
2answers
410 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 fish’...
12
votes
2answers
16k views

How old was Samuel when Hannah took him to the temple?

In 1 Samuel 1:24 we read: After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of ...
12
votes
2answers
490 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
397 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
8k views

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 (...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the meaning of “encircled” in Jeremiah 31:22?

Yesterday, I read Jeremiah 31:21-22 (ESV): “Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, ...
12
votes
5answers
7k views

Is Satan one of the “sons of God”?

In the framing story of Job, we read about הַשָּׂטָן (ha-Satan) and בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים (ben 'elohiym) appearing before God: Now it fell upon a day, that the sons of God came to present themselves ...
11
votes
3answers
11k 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 53:...
11
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
578 views

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
351 views

What factors define meaning of “little ones” in Deuteronomy?

In Deu. 20:13-14, it is written, 13 And when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword, 14 but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and ...
11
votes
3answers
117 views

Where was Uzziah buried?

2 Chronicles 26:23 (ESV) reads: And Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the burial field that belonged to the kings, for they said, “He is a leper.” And Jotham ...
11
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...