One translation of Numbers 12:2 says:

And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it.

In the interlinear Bible I see the Hebrew word for "built" בָּ֣נוּ or bā·nū in the verse without the Strong's Hebrew number 1129 above it. It is interpreted as "through us".


In other passages this same word is translated as "built". http://biblehub.com/hebrew/banu_1129.htm

I'm wondering if someone could help me understand why this is interpreted as through us instead of built? Is this the way things are built?

Thank you

1 Answer 1


They're actually different words, even though they look almost identical!

בָּנוּ could be "they built", from the root b.n.y. But in that case it takes penultimate stress (ba-NU) as indicated by the cantillation mark (see, for example, Gen. 11:5). Here it is BA-nu, showing us that it is the prefix בּ (b-), "in," "with," or "through," plus the pronominal suffix נוּ–, "us," thus: "through us," an excellent translation, although "with us" would be fine as well.

  • All the vowels and extra stresses and marks were added later weren't they.
    – Kate
    Jan 12, 2014 at 0:37
  • Yes, the Masoretes codified their reading tradition sometime around the 8th century CE. Written consonantally (as in the Torah scroll), the two words are identical. Jan 12, 2014 at 2:59

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