Genesis 18:19
For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” (ESV)

The footnote remarks that 'chosen' is the word used to replace the Hebrew word 'known'. The NASB also does the same. Strong's concordance states that the exact word appears nowhere else in the Bible.

However, I was just wondering if the following may be a better interpretation:

"For I have made it known to him to command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

  1. If somehow, this interpretation would be true, the text would contain similarities (not that it doesn't already) to David's parting words to Solomon in 1 Kings 2:3-4

And keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the Lord may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ (ESV)

  1. It seems unusual that something which seems to say 'I have known Abraham' could actually be interpreted as 'I made it known to Abraham'. However, here are a few references which use a similar looking word to the one in Genesis 18:19 (according to Strong's) and which mean 'to make known' or something similar:

-Ezekiel 20:11
-Hosea 5:9
-Exodus 6:3
-Ezekiel 20:9

Please note that if the interpretation is incorrect I do not mind you just stating so.

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    – Dottard
    Jul 10, 2020 at 5:44
  • The operative word in Gen 18:19 is יָדַע which does not occur in 1 Kings 2:3, 4. I am struggling to see the connection.
    – Dottard
    Jul 10, 2020 at 6:16
  • @Dottard I do not mean that the words are the same, but perhaps in both situations God lets the men know that their offspring must keep the way of the Lord so that his word to them may be fulfilled.
    – David
    Jul 10, 2020 at 6:31
  • In that case, I am not sure what you are asking. Can you make the question more focused?
    – Dottard
    Jul 10, 2020 at 6:38
  • @Dottard I am asking whether it would be acceptable to replace the word 'known' with 'made it known to', in Genesis 18:19. I have provided some reasons which may support this.
    – David
    Jul 10, 2020 at 6:46

1 Answer 1



No, to have yd' take on a causative meaning such as "made known to" would require a causative stem like Hiphil.

The hiphil imperative 2ms of yd' is hodia, so we have

“Son of man, make known to (hodia) Jerusalem its detestable things,

But in Genesis 18.9 we have:

“For I have chosen|known (yedati) him"

That is a problem with just relying on Strong numbers - you don't get the morphological information and so you can't distinguish between "made known to", "you will know", because the stem, number, etc, are not provided. Worse, you can't do morphological searches you can only search by lemma and so you don't know whether the other examples you found in your search are the same stem or number, etc.

There are free bibles with morphological taggings, though and I believe they support morphological searches. You might find them more useful than relying on Strong's. Offhand, I know of https://github.com/eliranwong/UniqueBible. There are also many paid software packages which provide much more info.


Also, it doesn't make sense from the context, since God is debating (with himself) whether he should reveal something to Abraham, so he didn't make it known he is deciding whether to make it known.

Then Yahweh said, “Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am going to do? Abraham will surely become a great and strong nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed on account of him. For I have chosen him, that he will command his children and his household after him that they will keep the way of Yahweh, to do righteousness and justice, so that Yahweh may bring upon Abraham that which he said to him.”

Chosen or Known?

As to whether this should be translated as "chosen" or "known", the literal translation is "known", but then you will get the following debate:

Translator: I will translate this as "For I have known him"
Public: I thought God knew everyone
Translator: No, not that kind of 'know', this is a more personal 'know'
Public: Like Adam 'knew' Eve? So you are saying God had sex with him?
Translator: No, no, but it was still a more intimate 'know'
Public: What kind of intimate?
Translator: Say.. a friendship. Abraham was God's friend.
Public: You mean like a buddy?
Translator: I'm going to translate this as "For I have chosen him"

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