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14

Although I disagree with your presupposition that the ages are merely symbolic, I think this is a great question nonetheless. The reason I say this is that regardless of whether the ages are historically significant, we should assume they are literarily significant. The Bible is literature, and each author (or redactor) of each book has crafted his work of ...


14

Joseph's sons were Ephraim and Manasseh, Gen. 41:51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” Gen. 41:52 And the name of the second he called Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” These became, in a sense, Jacob's sons: Gen. ...


14

Answer As pointed out in the original question, the verb or adjective actually tells the reader if a noun should be understood as singular or plural, regardless of what form the word actually takes. So even though 'elohim is technically the plural form of the noun, because the verbs or adjectives attached to that noun are consistently in the singular, the ...


13

Satan is the father of Cain in that Cain acted like Satan. Genesis tells us that Adam (literally "the man") fathered Cain and Abel. Genesis 4:1 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, "I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD." The Hebrew grammar here shows that each step is a ...


12

This is just by way of postscript and supplement to a (good!) answer already provided. The lists of tribes given in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament typically are as @Niobius describes: Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, replace both Joseph and Levi, most obviously in the tribal settlements during the "conquests" of Joshua/Judges. This is also how they ...


12

Disclaimer on Perspective For the record, I do not hold to the Documentary Hypothesis (JEDP theory) as another answer here gives as a solution. I believe the Pentateuch was largely (if not perhaps wholly) inscribed by a single inspired author, Moses. As such, the Pentateuch should be looked at as a unity, including Gen 1:1-2:3 in relation to Gen 2:4 and ...


10

The Bible consistently uses human terms to describe a non-human God. Our arms are the body part that perform most of our work, so God's work is described as being done with God's "hands". Our eyes are what we use to observe and take in information, so God's observatory faculties are called "eyes". Our mouth is the body part we use to communicate, so God's ...


10

Frank Luke's answer is clear enough to realize Cain is Adam's son, no question about that. I want to address something else you state: Assuming that Cain is the person that Jesus is referring to I would not assume that, nor would I argue that is correct. I take Jesus's statement as wholly referencing "the Devil" himself (just as the verse states). He ...


9

If we translate the phrase וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר (vayhi erev vayhi boker) as: "then there was evening; then there was morning" "and there was evening; and there was morning" then it reasons that 1) there was a time before the evening, and 2) Gen. 1:1-4 occur at that time before the evening. The repeated refrain, "and evening came, and morning ...


8

Well, the reading of the ToB as a Ziggurat is more or less an example of the duck test: if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck... Stepped pyramids were essentially the only really tall built items of the ancient Near East. (Egypt is not in the field of view here.) So, if you are going to talk about a tall thing, a thing reaching towards heaven, ...


8

In the original post Gen 11:10 is only partially cited, like this - Gn 11:10 When Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arpachshad… although in the OP answer, the rest of the verse is quoted: Gen 11:10 ...Shem was 100 years old, and begat Arpachshad 2 years after the flood. Of course, that end phrase ("two years after the flood") solves ...


8

In two of his books (listed below), John H. Walton examines Genesis 1.1-2.3 according to its similarities to other 'creation myths' in the ancient near east (ANE from here onward), verbal cues with contemporary or related Hebrew scriptures, and so on. He doesn't go much in the way of authorship or the originally intended audience, although possibilities can ...


8

The question is really an issue of what kind of cosmology the authors of the various biblical books assume in the course of their writing. When we read the Hebrew scriptures, the few books that have anything to say on the subject never explicitly say 'the earth is flat'. But if we can determine the overall shape of the cosmos as the different writers ...


8

These 3 enigmas or problems can only be solved if fatherhood and childhood (life) are calculated from conception forward. Otherwise the math won't work. The 3 problems above require certain information in order to reach 2 key facts. Then the math issues can be resolved. Who entered and who left the ark? How long did the flood last? (How long was Noah ...


8

The "two" in some translations is an interpretative addition. It does not exist in the Hebrew of Gen 18:22, which is simply הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים ("the men"). The word "two" is added in those translations for "clarity" (which clarity can inadvertently create confusion, such as evidenced in your question). The idea is added because it is understood by many ...


7

A chaism is a structure common in the Old Testament (but also found in the New Testament). It is basically text constructed in an ABCBA or ABCDCBA (or etc.) pattern. For instance, consider Luke 4 A v1-4: Jesus tempted to exercise his power over the physical world to be fed -B v5-8: Jesus tempted to usurp authority over the world --C v9-13: Jesus ...


7

Genesis 5:32 does not say that Noah was 500 years old exactly when he had Shem, it says: And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (KJV) with the colon in there it disconnects the births from his age. The five hundred years is there to note when God gave him his marching orders. It shows us in concert with Genesis ...


7

We cannot read NT passages into the Old Testament to explain difficulties - each passage must be understood in its own context. Otherwise I would read the second half of 2 Pet 3:8 into Genesis and say that Methuselah was almost a day old when he died. Instead, I'll give an OT example with similar wording to try to understand the meaning behind the Hebrew ...


7

Textual Evidence The text itself does not give enough information to deduce whether a volcanic eruption occurred or just a miraculous event (the literal interpretation), but commentators have long noted the similarity of this language with that of other volcano legends in early Semitic literature. The translation of 'brimstone and fire' (גָּפְרִ֣ית ...


7

The Hebrew language has numerous words that are grammatically plural but understood as singular. For example, the word חיים (chaim), meaning "life." See "The Various Uses of the Plural Form" in Gesenius' Grammar: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Gesenius%27_Hebrew_Grammar/124


7

The phrase appears not only in Gen 31:42: MT ... אֱלֹהֵי אָבִי אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם וּפַחַד יִצְחָק ... = ... ʾĕlōhê ʾābî ʾĕlōhê ʾābrāhām ûpaḥad yiṣḥāq ... LXX ... ὁ θεὸς τοῦ πατρός μου Αβρααμ καὶ ὁ φόβος Ισαακ ... = ... ho theos tou patros mou Abraam kai ho phobos Isaak ... but also in a slightly variant form a few verses later, in v. 53: ESV ...


7

Because Jacob encountered God (YHWH) that Night The Meaning of Face to Face The phrase "face to face" in the Hebrew (פָּנִ֣ים אֶל־פָּנִ֔ים) uses the plural form of the word פָּנֶה (paneh; "face").1 However, it would not necessarily be proper to translate it then "faces to faces," because the word is always found in the plural form in Hebrew.2 This is ...


7

The key clause in Genesis 2:18 is אֶעֱשֶׂהּ־לּוֹ עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ ʾeʿĕśeh-lô ʿēzer kᵉnegdô I will make for him a helper fit for him This noun (עֵזֶר, ʿēzer, the same root that the name "Ezra" comes from) appears 21× in the Hebrew Bible.1 It is indeed used for Israel's help from the LORD, unambiguously, e.g., in Ps 33:20[esv] Our soul waits for ...


6

As Niobius says in his answer, the use of anthropomorphisms is part of God's communication with man. It isn't necessary to imagine God's "outstretched arm" is literally flesh and blood, and you don't necessarily have to imagine God has emotions or regrets in the same sense that humans do: an anthropomorphism is an illustration in terms we can understand that ...


6

(From my blog.) In Gen. 4:26, it is written, וּלְשֵׁת גַּם־הוּא יֻלַּד־בֵּן וַיִּקְרָא אֶת־שְׁמוֹ אֱנוֹשׁ אָז הוּחַל לִקְרֹא בְּשֵׁם יַהְוֶה And a son was also born to Set, and he called his name, Enosh. Then __ (הוּחַל) to call on the name of Yahveh. Many Jewish commentators asserted that the phrase הוּחַל לִקְרֹא בְּשֵׁם יַהְוֶה means that men ...


6

This complements/supplements the helpful existing answers with comment on: (1) the "dual" ending of the place-name "Mahanaim"; (2) the narrative/literary connections of Gen 32:1-2; and (3) the "two camps" that might be intended. (Plus: bonus! the location of Mahanaim.) N.b. Genesis 32:1-2 in (most) English versions = Genesis 32:2-3 in the Tanakh: beware ...


6

No Blunder at All The word "seed," whether Hebrew or English, is often used in a figurative sense to refer to one descending from another (and not normally to the actual sperm or egg of the parent that is the source of propagation). The word can have a singular or a collective meaning. Even a collective meaning, however, is viewing the individual elements ...


6

Regarding Lilith Your question revolves around the discrepancy of details when reading Genesis 1-2 sequentially. In a strictly literal reading of these two texts together, it creates some obvious problems, one of which being the question of when humans, particularly men and women, were created. Some readers came to the idea that because Eve is specifically ...


6

OP asks: I assume we have conflicting translation sources - what would be the best translation? Not exactly "conflicting translation sources": all the modern versions are working with the same sources, but drawing different conclusions about how that source text is best rendered. As ever, we need to set out those texts first of all, i.e. the first ...



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