Questions tagged [idiom]

Questions regarding Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic idioms in the Biblical text and how they should be interpreted in light of the historical cultural or the canonical context.

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What practical reason could there have been for killing the Midianite males in Numbers 31? [duplicate]

Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. — Numbers 31:17 In the preceding verses, Moses gives no reason for killing the male ...
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In Jeremiah 7:30 what does it mean that his “house” is “called by my name”?

[Jer 7:30 HNV] (30) For the children of Yehudah have done that which is evil in my sight, says the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to defile it. We see ...
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“Fat” = “full[ness]/choicest/all” in the Hebrew usage?

I was reading the Hebrew of Genesis today and came across the first instance of 'fat:' Genesis 4:4 (WLC) ויהי מקץ ימים ויבא קין מפרי האדמה מנחה ליהוה׃ והבל הביא גם־הוא מבכרות צאנו ומחלבהן וישע ...
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How did Jerome arrive at his Translation of Judges 15:8?

Reading Judges this morning, I came across Judges 15:8: Judges 15:8 (DRB) And he [Samson] made a great slaughter of them, so that in astonishment they laid the calf of the leg upon the thigh. (The ...
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In what sense did Job see God? (Job 42:5)

I had heard about you with my ears, but now my eye sees you; — ‭‭(Job)‬ ‭42:5‬ ‭ Given that in some situations no man can see God and live (Exodus 33:20), yet in other situations God is seen and ...
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In Acts 26:1 why does Paul stretch out his hand before beginning his defense?

In a courtroom setting and facing serious charges before King Agrippa II Paul is permitted by the king to make his defense. Luke says "Paul stretched out his hand" and began his defense: [Act 26:1-...
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What are the highest heavens in Nehemiah 9:6?

The Masoretic text of Nehemia 9:6 reads: אַתָּה־ה֣וּא יְהֹוָה֮ לְבַדֶּ֒ךָ֒ את אַתָּ֣ה עָשִׂ֡יתָ אֶֽת־הַשָּׁמַ֩יִם֩ שְׁמֵ֨י הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם וְכׇל־צְבָאָ֗ם הָאָ֜רֶץ וְכׇל־אֲשֶׁ֤ר עָלֶ֙יהָ֙ הַיַּמִּים֙ ...
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Why did ancient people think that mountains have roots?

The Bible mentions in Jonah 2:6 and Job 28:9 that mountains have roots. Why would they believe that? Edit: I was more interested as to why, in the absence of any evidence, they would think so. What ...
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(Galatians 3:10-13) Understanding “a curse for us” phrase [duplicate]

(Galatians 3:10-13) New American Standard Bible (NASB) 10 For as many as are of the works of [o]the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all ...
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The Phrase “Hebrew of Hebrews” in Philippians 3:5?

Was Paul trying to say he belonged to the Hebrews or that all the Hebrews belonged to him. Did he mean the phrase both ways when he used it in his expression? What is the right way to interpret ...
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In Isaiah 60:16 why did Isaiah speak of kings as a mother?

I know that the Prophet Isaiah made several allusions to kings and queens probably because he was the cousin of King Uzziah. According to New World Encyclopedia: His ease of access to the court ...
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What does Hosea 12:1 mean by “Ephraim feedeth on wind?”

It seems Hosea 12:1 was referring to the covenant that Ephraim made with the Assyrians. If that is what "feeding on wind" implies in the verse, then how does that relate to "carrying oil into Egypt"? ...
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What does the phrase “the end of the heavens” mean in Isa. 13:5?

In the prophesy of the destruction of Babylon, Isaiah states: "They are coming in from a land afar off, From the end of the heavens, Jehovah and the instruments of His indignation, To destroy all ...
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Taking possession of the gates of one's enemies

This blessing is used more than once in Genesis, e.g. 22:17 to Abraham about his descendants: וְיִרַ֣שׁ זַרְעֲךָ֔ אֵ֖ת שַׁ֥עַר אֹיְבָֽיו Your offspring shall take possession of the gate of ...
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A Temporal Use of כה in 1 Samuel 25:6?

In Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 12, Fasc. 4 (Oct., 1962), pp. 500-501 Reuven Yaron's claims כעת חיה in Genesis 18:10, 14; 2 Kings 4:16, 17 means "at this time, next year" and this seems to check out when ...
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2 Corinthians 6:14 - What does “Unequally Yoked” mean?

1. Question - A Reference Request In 2 Corinthians 6:14 - What does the phrase: "Unequally Yoked" - mean? References to Scriptural and Literary Bases Please: Are there any Scriptural or Literary ...
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God's calling or knowing by name

Exodus 33:17 : And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. What does God mean by knowing Moses '...
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What is the final clause of Psalm 42:5 actually saying?

Psalm 42:5 (and 42:11) vary greatly in English translations with regard to how they deal with the last clause. Is there no way to be sure what it is saying? What are the issues in rendering this ...
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Do Idioms Used in the Crucifixion Narrative Resolve the “3 Day/3 Night” Objections?

Matthew 12:40 quotes the Messiah saying that He would be in the "heart of the earth" for 3 days and 3 nights. I think the majority of folks believe that the crucifixion took place on the 6th day of ...
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According to Genesis, where do the birds fly?

Genesis 1:20 reads: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים יִשְׁרְצ֣וּ הַמַּ֔יִם שֶׁ֖רֶץ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֑ה וְעֹוף֙ יְעֹופֵ֣ף עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ עַל־פְּנֵ֖י רְקִ֥יעַ הַשָּׁמָֽיִם׃ (WLC) Which translates as: And God said, ...
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What does it means to have “uncircumcised lips”?

Twice in Exodus Moses declares that he has "uncircumcised lips." But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of ...
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Jude 7 - What Does “Strange Flesh” Mean?

Question: Is there any textual basis (in the Septuagint, or extant secular literature), to find that "strange flesh" refers to homosexuality? Is "σαρκὸς ἑτέρας" ever idiomatic in Literary or ...
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What is the meaning of the phrase “men and brethren” in Acts?

In several places in Acts, Peter, James, and Paul (and perhaps others) address groups of people by saying "men and brethren" – perhaps in the same way that we would use "ladies and gentlemen" or "...
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What is the meaning of the “gathered to his people” idiom?

In the Old Testament, when someone dies, he is sometimes said to be "gathered to his people" or a close variant: Genesis 15:15 As for you [Abraham], you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will ...
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Is ἐγώ εἰμι testified in extra-biblical Greek as an expression for saying “I am he”?

This question arises from this insightful answer to another question about John 8:58. That answer makes an argument that the Greek ἐγώ εἰμι (literally "I am") is the wording used to translate the ...
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How was “let him take up his cross” understood by Jesus's audience?

Matthew 16:24 SBLGNT Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν, ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι. ESV If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up ...
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In 2 Timothy 2:15 what is meant by “rightly dividing the word of truth”?

In 2 Tim 2:15 we read: KJV Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. SBLGNT σπούδασον σεαυτὸν δόκιμον παραστῆσαι ...
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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 ...
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Is LXX “Enoch pleased God” a reasonable idiomatic translation of Hebrew “Enoch walked with God”?

The Septuagint translates the Hebrew phrase וַיִּתְהַלֵּךְ חֲנֹוךְ אֶת־הָאֱלֹהִים "Enoch walked with God," from Genesis 5:22 as εὐηρέστησεν δὲ ενωχ τῷ θεῷ "Enoch pleased God." I would have ...
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What does “in the midst of the years” mean in Habakkuk 3:2?

The phrase "in the midst of the years" occurs in some more literal translations of Habakkuk 3:2: Yahweh, I have heard the report of you, and your work, Yahweh, do I fear. In the midst of the years ...
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Is “wept on his neck” a Hebrew idiom?

In a number of places, the English Standard Version uses a phrase like "wept on his neck," e.g. Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. —Genesis 45:...
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What does “put the branch to their nose” in Ezekiel 8:17 mean?

Reading Ezekiel 8 in the ESV I came across verse 17 today and was puzzled by phrase there: Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations that they commit here, that they ...
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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 of the Old Testament ...
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Who are “the least of these my brothers” in Matthew 25?

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus teaches that when the Son of Man comes in his glory, he will separate sheep and goats along certain lines, saying: "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of ...
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Meaning of “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”

In Matthew 24:28 and Luke 17:37, Jesus uses the phrase "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather." Was Jesus speaking in a parable? Idiom? How has this phrase been interpreted?