The phrase 'Company of Peoples' in Genesis 28:3 is similar to the Greek word in the NT for congregation. I think Genesis 28:3 refers to nations of people, but since it is similar to ekklesia, is it possible to tie qāhēl to ekklesia?

1 Answer 1


Short Answer: It is possible to tie the two together in terms of meaning and function.

When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC the translators used ekklesia to render the Hebrew word qahal which also means assembly or community. [a]

Ekklesia is used many times throughout the LXX to translate the Hebrew word qahal (or kahal). Recall that the LXX is using Greek to translate the Old Testament, the same Greek as used in the New Testament. What we end up with is an entire Bible written in Greek. [b]

Take Psalm 22:22 for example from the Interlinear Greek English Septuagint Old Testament (LXX)

enter image description here

Now if we look at it in the Hebrew Interlinear Bible (OT) we see:

enter image description here

Here we see קָהָל translated as εκκλησίας.

I want to note the Strong's definition of both words:

ἐκκλησία, ας, ἡ (ekklésia) Definition: an assembly, a (religious) congregation Usage: an assembly, congregation, church; the Church, the whole body of Christian believers.

קָהָל (qahal) Definition: assembly, convocation, congregation

This being said, it is interesting that in Genesis 28:3 the word לִקְהַ֥ל liq-hal (an assembly) is translated in the LXX as συναγωγή (synagōgas) from sunagógé meaning: a bringing together, by ext. an assembling, hence a synagogue, rather than from qahal.

EDIT: As Dan mentioned, the meanings of these words have changed over time.

Unofficial groups in the Greco-Roman world that I (and others) typically call “associations” used a variety of terms to describe themselves. Some of the favourite Greek terms were synodos (“synod”), koinon, synergasia (“guild”), thiasos (“cult-society”), and mystai (“initiates”). Today, when people (including many scholars) hear the term synagogue or head-of-the-synagogue (archisynagogos) they tend to assume some Jewish group (or building) is in mind. However, the term synagogue (stemming from the Greek synagō, meaning to gather or bring together) was also used by other “pagan” associations and was not necessarily a sign of Jewish connections. [c]

  • + 1 . I would add that the meanings of these words changed over time. The root word for synagogue was retained in the Christian "synod," and there were once "synagogues" where pagan worshipers gathered. Today the term is reserved to Jewish worship. philipharland.com/Blog/2005/08/those-other-pagan-synagogues Commented Apr 17 at 15:04
  • Jason, thank you for the response. I hope it is not a stretch then to suggest that God was pointing to the NT church from Genesis 28:3 in which Isaac made a prophetic statement to equate Company of Peoples with the church.
    – Puddinhead
    Commented Apr 17 at 21:58
  • @Puddinhead I think it's possible based on the linguistics. However, we have to remember that these are two different languages and the culture likely changed drastically over the span of time. Because of that it's hard to give a definitive answer. That being said, I think one could indeed see a connection.
    – Jason_
    Commented Apr 17 at 23:40
  • @DanFefferman Thank you. I appreciate it! I have taken your suggestion and added an edit.
    – Jason_
    Commented Apr 17 at 23:47

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.