This is a follow-up to a comment at Ancient Bible Hebrew Deuteronomy 18:15.

In the phrase מִקִּרְבְּךָ֤ מֵאַחֶ֙יךָ֙ the second word מֵאַחֶ֙יךָ֙ is an apposition, so both words have the same referent.

My question is, does one word reduce what the other could refer to? Does מִקִּרְבְּךָ֤ reduce what the apposition מֵאַחֶ֙יךָ֙ could refer to or vice versa? Since אָח refers to an extended concept of kinship, as in Genesis 29:12 of Jacob and Laban.

Deuteronomy 18:15 ESV

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—

2 Answers 2


As you well-mentioned, מִקִּרְבְּךָ֤ and מֵאַחֶ֙יךָ֙ are in apposition to each other. More specifically, they are in a parallel construction (as we bump into so often in Hebrew). There are three basic types of parallelism:

  • Positive: The two units are synonymous in thought/concept
  • Antithetic: the two units are antonyms of each other
  • Synthetic: The two units build on each other (either getting worse or better)

In this example, Antithetic parallelism is clearly not being used. The question then, is whether, Moses is building the thought (synthetic) or just simply restating the thought.

There's nothing in the context here to strongly suggest that Moses is strengthening or building his emphasis. Instead, especially, since he restates himself a little later on in verse 18: ”נָבִ֨יא אָקִ֥ים לָהֶ֛ם מִקֶּ֥רֶב אֲחֵיהֶ֖ם“ (Deuteronomy 18:18 HMT-W4)

So also, the typical flexibility of mixing singular (מִקִּרְבְּךָ֤) and plural (מֵאַחֶ֙יךָ֙) suggests he is speaking to the nation as a whole. For if it were the opposite (that he were singling out an individual), the order would be reversed and the individual would be specified.

And yes, here would be a good example of אָח being used in a more general sense of "relative." This use of אָח is quite common in the OT. Cf. BDB:

  1. indef. = relative; Lot, of Abr. Gn 13:8, 14:14, 14:16; Jacob, of Laban 29:12, 29:15 (nephew); hence of kinship in wider sense; member of same tribe Nu 16:10, 18:2, 18:6, 2 S 19:13; of same people Ex 2:11, 2:11, 4:18, Dt 15:12, Ju 14:3, Is 66:20, Ne 5:1, 5:5, 5:8 vid. esp. Lv 19:17 cf. v:18

(BDB, s.v. “אחה,” 26.)

All of this leads us to conclude that Moses is setting forth in front of us a positive parallel thought (restating the same thought in different words for emphasis).

This is further emphasized in the NT when Stephen speaks of this: “οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Μωϋσῆς ὁ εἴπας τοῖς υἱοῖς Ἰσραήλ· προφήτην ὑμῖν ἀναστήσει ὁ θεὸς ἐκ τῶν ἀδελφῶν ὑμῶν ὡς ἐμέ.” (Πράξεις 7·37 THGNT-T) Note how Stephen doesn't say "brother." Instead, he says "brothers." (ἐκ τῶν ἀδελφῶν ὑμῶν)


מֵאַחֶיךָ (“from among you” or “from your midst”) is further specified by מֵאַחֶיךָ (“from your brothers”). מֵאַחֶיךָ is the general and מֵאַחֶיךָ the particular.

The audience is “all Israel”.1 Therefore, מֵאַחֶיךָ (“from among you”) could possibly refer to a native born, or אֶזְרָח (ezra), or a sojourning Gentile, or גֵּר (ger).2 מֵאַחֶיךָ further specifies that the prophets would be one of their own brothers (i.e., an Israelite), not a foreigner in any respect, including a גֵּר (ger).

1 Deu. 5:1: And Moses called all Israel and said to them, Hear, Israel...
2 Exo. 12:19, 12:48–49, 20:10, etc.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.