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Questions tagged [hebrew]

The language in which the Jewish Scriptures (Tanakh) -- or the "Old Testament" in Christian Bibles -- were written.

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In Psalm 22:21 is the Bible speaking of "unicorns"?

I was reading Psalm 22 (from this question) and I found this verse: Psalms 22:21 (KJV) Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. When I switched ...
Richard's user avatar
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46 votes
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Is "kill" a valid translation for Exodus 20:13 (Thou shalt not kill)?

Exodus 20:13 (KJV) Thou shalt not kill. Many political statements have been made about this verse. This translation has been used by many to support their pacifist desires. However, it seems that ...
Richard's user avatar
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45 votes
15 answers
41k views

What does "image" in Genesis 1:26-27 mean?

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV) 26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the ...
GalacticCowboy's user avatar
26 votes
5 answers
2k views

Does Gen 1:1 refer to day 1 or the entire 6 days of creation?

One way of reading Gen 1:1 with its immediate context is that it is part of the first day of creation 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and ...
Jack Douglas's user avatar
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25 votes
9 answers
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What translation best translates the word "vanity" (in the KJV) in Ecclesiastes?

The word "vanity" (KJV) in Ecclesiastes was translated (possibly incorrectly) in the NIV as "meaningless". Is "vanity" the best translation for the Hebrew word hebel (Strongs 1892) or does a newer ...
Lance Roberts's user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
32k views

Did Moses have an Egyptian name?

Moses got his name from Pharaoh's daughter: When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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25 votes
3 answers
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Was Ba'al relieving himself?

In 1 Kings 18:27, Elijah is recorded as mocking the servants of Ba'al. In this speech as it is recorded in the ESV, Elijah suggests that Ba'al may be indisposed answering nature's call. And at ...
James Shewey's user avatar
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24 votes
5 answers
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Is there a modern English translation of the Bible that uses the second-person plural pronoun?

I'm looking for a modern translation of the Bible (ideally in the public domain) that retains the distinction between second-person plural and second-person singular. In Early Modern English (the ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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24 votes
7 answers
5k views

Does Genesis's creation account depict creation "ex nihilo"?

I had once heard that one of the remarkable thing about the creation account in Genesis, as compared to the other creation accounts of the cultures of the surrounding area is that God creates the ...
aceinthehole's user avatar
24 votes
6 answers
27k views

What did the 70 elders see, if man can't see God and live?

Exodus 24:10 says, of the 70 elders who went up on the mountain with Moshe: וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל and they saw the God of Israel Meanwhile, Exodus 33:20 says, when Moshe asks to see God:...
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23 votes
4 answers
4k views

Does the original Hebrew support the NLT of Genesis 6:3?

Genesis 6:3 refers to when God set humans' lifespans to (approximately) 120 years. However, the NLT (the translation I prefer) has a slightly different translation for the 120-years part. Genesis 6:...
El'endia Starman's user avatar
22 votes
5 answers
5k views

Understanding Numbers 11:25

As I am studying, I have encountered different renderings of the last phrase in this verse, which describes the prophesying of the seventy elders of Israel after the Spirit was placed on them. An ...
David Boswell's user avatar
22 votes
5 answers
7k views

Translation of "Selah" (סֶלָה‎)

What is the current scholarly opinion on the possible translations for "Selah" (סֶלָה‎) as used in the Psalms?
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21 votes
6 answers
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Why is Elohim translated as God rather than gods in Genesis 1:1?

I mean Elohim is a plural form of God. So the correct translation would be gods. Now, perhaps the word elohim is followed by singular words and hence the word Elohim must mean plural. So what? That ...
user4951's user avatar
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21 votes
4 answers
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Should the title in Isaiah 9 be translated?

Translators publishing for the Christian market translate the title in Isaiah 9:6: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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21 votes
3 answers
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"Black but beautiful" or "Black and beautiful" in Song of Songs?

Song of Songs (or "Song of Solomon") 1:5 begins as follows in the Hebrew: ... שְׁחוֹרָ֤ה אֲנִי֙ וְֽנָאוָ֔ה בְּנ֖וֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָ֑ם šĕḥôrâ ʾănî wĕnāʾwâ bĕnôt yĕrûšālāyim ... And is often ...
Dɑvïd's user avatar
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2 answers
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What word best captures the spirit of לִּילִית in Isaiah 34:14?

Isaiah 34:14 in the Masoretic Text is the following: גְשׁוּ צִיִּים אֶת-אִיִּים, וְשָׂעִיר עַל-רֵעֵהוּ יִקְרָא; אַךְ-שָׁם הִרְגִּיעָה לִּילִית, וּמָצְאָה לָהּ מָנוֹח Here, לִּילִית is supposedly ...
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20 votes
3 answers
2k views

How should Psalm 22:16 read?

Psalm 22:16 seems textually quite difficult. The NET for example reads: Yes, wild dogs surround me – a gang of evil men crowd around me; like a lion they pin my hands and feet. Yet, they note that ...
Soldarnal's user avatar
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20 votes
6 answers
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The lexicology of Pharaoh's heart

In the narrative of Exodus 4-14 (spanning from the time of Moses's initial assignment until the crossing of the Red Sea), there are three different verbs used to describe the action against and/or the ...
Susan's user avatar
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20 votes
2 answers
111k views

What is the significance of Methuselah's name?

I've heard that Methuselah's name was given to him by Enoch in response to a prophecy concerning the flood. Since he seems to have died in the year of the flood (according to the Masoretic and ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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19 votes
7 answers
3k views

What is the likely way in which ancient Hebrews would have understood "raqiya" in Gen 1:6?

In Genesis 1:6, the word "firmament" (Hebrew: raqiya) is referring to what we call the sky. It separates the waters below (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc) from the waters above (where the rain comes from)...
Mark Anthony Songer's user avatar
19 votes
2 answers
8k views

What is the proper translation of Hosea 11:12?

I have been researching Hosea 11:12 and have come to realize that it is translated differently in many differing translations of the Bible. It is sometimes translated that Judah walked (or ruled) with ...
Seeker of Truth's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
58k views

Who or what is Rahab in Job?

The most famous Rahab in the Bible is the prostitute of Jericho who hid the two Hebrew spies in Joshua 2. But there seems to be a different Rahab introduced in Job: “God will not turn back his anger;...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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19 votes
10 answers
18k views

Is there an English equivalent for Nephilim of Genesis 6:4?

Genesis 6:4 (NIV)Emphasis added The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of ...
Richard's user avatar
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19 votes
2 answers
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What is the meaning of "encircled" in Jeremiah 31:22?

Yesterday, I read Jeremiah 31:21-22 (ESV): “Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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18 votes
11 answers
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In Isaiah 14:12 did the King James translator make a mistake using the term Lucifer to describe morning star?

KJV Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! NRSV Isaiah 14:12 How you are fallen from ...
Kevin Simpson's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
38k views

Translation of "Hosanna" (ὡσαννά)

What does "Hosanna" (ὡσαννά) mean (as it appears in the Gospels)? What is its etymology/derivation from Hebrew/Aramaic?
jrdioko's user avatar
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18 votes
5 answers
14k views

Was there some connection between barley bread and Gideon in the mind of the Midianites?

Before attacking the Midianite camp, Gideon does a little spying: When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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18 votes
1 answer
45k views

How does the act of "foot washing" lead to the act of "sexual intercourse"?

In 2 Samuel chapter 11,after King David had slept with Uriah's wife Bathsheba we read in 11:5, The woman conceived and sent word to David,saying,"I am pregnant." David's response to the news from ...
Bagpipes's user avatar
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18 votes
6 answers
9k views

How many people were involved in the Exodus?

According to Numbers 1:20-46 (NJPS): They totaled as follows: The descendants of Reuben, Israel’s first-born, the registration of the clans of their ancestral house, as listed by name, head by ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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18 votes
5 answers
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In Psalm 2:12 why is the Aramaic word for "son" בַר ("bar") used?

Psalm 2:12a is traditionally translated: נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר kiss [the] son This reflects an understanding of בַר (bar) as the Aramaic word for son. A few other options: NRSV: kiss his feet NET: ...
Susan's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
32k views

What does Azazel mean in Leviticus 16:8?

In Leviticus 16:8 And Aaron shall cast lots over two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel. It appears that Azazel is translated as scapegoat. Strong’s Hebrew 5799 occurring ...
Kate's user avatar
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18 votes
4 answers
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Why is the light in day 1 of creation not an 'it'?

Throughout Genesis 1 there are two repeated refrains: ויהי כן 7And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was ...
Jack Douglas's user avatar
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18 votes
8 answers
34k views

Is Satan one of the "sons of God"?

In the framing story of Job, we read about הַשָּׂטָן (ha-Satan) and בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים (ben 'elohiym) appearing before God: Now it fell upon a day, that the sons of God came to present themselves ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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17 votes
5 answers
54k views

What does "Under the Sun" mean in Ecclesiastes?

I noticed that the Teacher uses the phrase "under the sun" more than 20 times in Ecclesiastes. I have always understood this to simply mean "on earth" as The Theological Wordbook ...
Frank Luke's user avatar
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17 votes
7 answers
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Who will suffer plague/punishment in Isaiah 53:8?

Why do different translations render Isaiah 53:8 differently in English: מֵעֹצֶר וּמִמִּשְׁפָּט לֻקָּח וְאֶת דּוֹרוֹ מִי יְשׂוֹחֵחַ כִּי נִגְזַר מֵאֶרֶץ חַיִּים מִפֶּשַׁע עַמִּי נֶגַע לָמוֹ. One ...
user4951's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are there extra dots in Genesis 33:4?

I was reading Genesis 33 and noticed extra dots (i.e. not part of the niqqud that I understand) above the letters of “and he kissed him” in verse 4 (picture from archive.org's Biblia Hebraica): and ...
Susan's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
45k views

Is "wait" in Isaiah 40:31 active or passive?

Some translations have this verse reading "They that wait (up)on the Lord" (eg. NKJV) while others have "They that wait for the Lord" (eg. ESV) and still others "Those that hope in the Lord". (eg NIV) ...
Waggers's user avatar
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16 votes
9 answers
79k views

Which 'modern' English translation of the Bible is considered the 'closest' or most accurate translation? [closed]

Which 'modern' (anything inclusive of King James Version to date) English translation of the Bible is considered the 'closest' or most accurate translation from the original Hebrew & Greek texts? ...
studiohack's user avatar
15 votes
6 answers
6k views

Did God say that Adam will die on the same day he ate the fruit?

but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17, NKJV) but you must not eat from the tree of the ...
Mawia's user avatar
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15 votes
4 answers
16k views

What translation philosophies have caused such a wide variation in the translation of *tachash* skins?

In Exodus (e.g. 26:14), we learn one of the coverings for the tabernacle is to be made of "תחש" (tachash) skins. The translation of this term appears to be especially difficult or contentious as there ...
Jessica Brown's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
8k views

Different meanings of 'Earth' in Genesis 1

The word הארץ ('the earth') appears a very large number of times in the six-day creation account spanning Genesis 1:1 to 2:1. It seems clear to me that the usages in 1:1 and 2:1 are special - the ...
Jack Douglas's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
96k views

How old was Samuel when Hannah took him to the temple?

In 1 Samuel 1:24 we read: After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of ...
Ionică Bizău's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
25k views

How different is Biblical Hebrew from modern Hebrew? [closed]

It's been variously suggested on this site that the difference between Biblical Hebrew and modern Hebrew is like either the difference between: Old English and modern English Shakespeare's English (...
Jack Douglas's user avatar
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15 votes
5 answers
46k views

What does "Jealous" mean in Exodus 34:14?

Most translations seem to agree that "Jealous" is the best translation for this passage. For example: Exodus 34:14 (NASB) —for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is ...
Richard's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
8k views

The meaning of "stranger and sojourner" in Genesis 23:4 and Leviticus 25:23

In Genesis 23:4 Abraham is in conversation with the residents of Heth and says: "I am a stranger and a sojourner with you. Give me a possession for a burying place with you, that I may bury my ...
Amichai's user avatar
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14 votes
9 answers
10k views

In 1 Kings 17:4-6 is Elijah fed by ravens or Arabians?

A couple of commentaries mention that scholars dispute that Elijah was fed by ravens and instead think the word in 1 Kings 17:4-6 ought to be translated black arabs or perhaps "Orbites, i.e., ...
Soldarnal's user avatar
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14 votes
3 answers
27k views

Comparison of English word "fool" in original Hebrew and Greek

Question is based on this comment on Christiantity SE. In the OT, the word fool is apparently used to describe atheists: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1. ...
Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
6k views

Where was Elijah's hair?

Two modern translations of the Bible render 2 Kings 1:8 differently: They answered him, “He was a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.” [...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
15k views

What is the difference between "eretz" and "adamah" in Gen 2:6?

These two words are variably translated as ground, earth, land etc. How should we understand the difference between the words in this passage? Genesis 2:6 And a mist was going up from the land (...
Hank's user avatar
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