In Jer. 31:34, it is written,

וְלֹא יְלַמְּדוּ עוֹד אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ וְאִישׁ אֶת אָחִיו לֵאמֹר דְּעוּ אֶת יְהוָה כִּי כוּלָּם יֵדְעוּ אוֹתִי לְמִקְטַנָּם וְעַד גְּדוֹלָם נְאֻם יְהוָה כִּי אֶסְלַח לַעֲוֹנָם וּלְחַטָּאתָם לֹא אֶזְכָּר עוֹד

The Hebrew text is translated by the Greek Septuagint as,

καὶ οὐ μὴ διδάξωσιν ἕκαστος τὸν πολίτην αὐτοῦ καὶ ἕκαστος τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ λέγων γνῶθι τὸν κύριον ὅτι πάντες εἰδήσουσίν με ἀπὸ μικροῦ αὐτῶν καὶ ἕως μεγάλου αὐτῶν ὅτι ἵλεως ἔσομαι ταῗς ἀδικίαις αὐτῶν καὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν οὐ μὴ μνησθῶ ἔτι

Although the Hebrew text has a conjugation of verb יָדַע twice, the LXX uses two different verbs: γνῶθι (a conjugation of γιγνώσκω) and εἰδήσουσίν (a conjugation of εἴδω). Jer. 31:34 is quoted in Heb. 8:11 where the two Greek verbs also exist.

Heb. 8:11

11 “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. NKJV, ©1982

How are the two different Greek verbs to be understood in this context: «γνῶθι τὸν κύριον» and «πάντες εἰδήσουσίν με»?

  • My understanding has been that oida is intuitive knowledge (cf eidon to see and the Hebrew yada to discern). And that gnosko is either didactic knowledge, knowledge taught and learned, or also knowledge experienced and learned. But this may be somewhat simplistic and I would appreciate more insight on this. If this is correct (and tell me if I am wrong) then none shall say know the Lord (by learning) when all his people know him intuitively. Good question +1. – Nigel J Jul 15 '20 at 19:39
  • Since Greek and English are both Indo-European, the former Greek term, based on the root gno-, is related to the English know, whereas the latter is what gave the internationalism idea. You also seem to presuppose that translations are either rigid or systematic, when, in reality, most usually aren't. – Lucian Jul 16 '20 at 9:16

I imagine that the imperative γνῶθι (from γι(γ)νώσκω) would be preferred over the imperative ἴσθι (from οἶδα) because ἴσθι is also the imperative of εἰμί. The easiest reading for ἴσθι would be the incorrect "be the Lord," not "know the Lord" (especially because the Septuagint uses the singular, where the two imperatives are identical, unlike the MT דְּעוּ in plural). In these lists of all the appearances of ἴσθι in the Septuagint and New Testament, every one of them has the meaning "be" (εἰμί) and not "know" (οἶδα).


In W E Vine's Expository Dictionary of the NT, he writes about the difference in meaning between γινώσκω and οἶδα -

The differences between ginosko (No. 1) and oida demand consideration: (a) ginosko, frequently suggests inception or progress in "knowledge," while oida suggests fullness of "knowledge," e.g., John 8:55 , "ye have not known Him" (ginosko), i.e., begun to "know," "but I know Him" (oida), i.e., "know Him perfectly;" John 13:7 , "What I do thou knowest not now," i.e. Peter did not yet perceive (oida) its significance, "but thou shalt understand," i.e., "get to know (ginosko), hereafter;" John 14:7 , "If ye had known Me" (ginosko), i.e., "had definitely come to know Me," "ye would have known My Father also" (oida), i.e., "would have had perception of:" "from henceforth ye know Him" (ginosko), i.e., having unconsciously been coming to the Father, as the One who was in Him, they would now consciously be in the constant and progressive experience of "knowing" Him; in Mark 4:13 , "Know ye not (oida) this parable? and how shall ye know (ginosko) all the parables?" (RV), i.e., "Do ye not understand this parable? How shall ye come to perceive all ..." the intimation being that the first parable is a leading and testing one; (b) while ginosko frequently implies an active relation between the one who "knows" and the person or thing "known" (see No. 1, above), oida expresses the fact that the object has simply come within the scope of the "knower's" perception; thus in Matthew 7:23 "I never knew you" (ginosko) suggests "I have never been in approving connection with you," whereas in Matthew 25:12 , "I know you not" (oida) suggests "you stand in no relation to Me."

In Heb 8:11 we have, "No longer will each one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know [Γνῶθι] the Lord,’ because they will all know [εἰδήσουσίν] Me, from the least of them to the greatest."

Thus, the author of Hebrews is suggesting (following Vine's explanation) that under the idealized new covenant, there is no need to teach someone about God and thus advance a progressive knowledge (γινώσκω), because all will have a full knowledge (οἶδα) of God.

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