God Didn't Say That

Bible Translations and Mistranslations


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God Didn’t Say That (@GodDidntSayThat) is an online forum for discussing the Bible and its translations, mistranslations, interpretations, and misinterpretations.

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman is the chief translator for the ten-volume series My People’s Prayer Book, author of And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning, and editor of The Unabridged Bible. Writing under “J.M. Hoffman,” he is author of the thriller series The Warwick Files. He holds a PhD in theoretical linguistics and has taught at Brandeis University and HUC-JIR in New York City. He presents widely to churches, synagogues, and other groups. more…

Have a question or a topic you’d like addressed? Click on “About” here or to the far upper right and leave a comment.



  1. I am delighted to see your blog – what a great blog title.

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | September 7, 2009 | Reply

    • Agreed. Great blog title.

      Comment by WoundedEgo | January 2, 2010 | Reply

  2. Here’s a question – what about that word אֶת?
    here it is as preposition in a phrase where Cain is obviously the direct object קָנִיתִי אִישׁ אֶת־יְהוָֽה

    While I would not normally translate it when it is an object marker (it seems unnecessary most of the time it is used), I have read (Rabbi Steven Greenberg) that it is sometimes a word that is ‘read into’. As in כַּבֵּד אֶת־אָבִיךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּךָ or even the very first verse of the Bible.

    What do you think? Is it OK to include grandparents, step-parents, adoptive parents in the father and mother – as if it were implied in the aleph-taf? Or as if the heavens and the earth included more than the whole visible universe.

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | September 24, 2009 | Reply

  3. Tomorrow I teach my five minute Hebrew lesson to children (and this time I have a whole hour for creation – Genesis 1 too). Last year I did roughly one letter a week and ended up the year with an alef-bet book (the record of my classes is here) which we will use again this year. This year I was thinking of learning numbers – starting with one and using the ordinal numbers of Genesis 1-2:4 as a beginning. No wonder I have not learned numbers yet – I have been reviewing Lambdin and there are so many variations in the form of 1 to 7 in Hebrew. I noticed that only on day 6 and 7 is the definite article used with the number and it is never used with te word ‘day’. I notice also that Hebrew is much more careful (as is Greek) with the concept of definiteness. English speakers tend to use definite also as generic and often without much thought.

    Should translators into English of Genesis 1-2:4 be more careful with the idea of definite? And why is the definite not attached to the word day in the 6th and 7th day. Does the number act as adjective here or as something slightly different?

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | October 3, 2009 | Reply

  4. The Twelve Prophets . I find it strange that the abbreviation for these books is given as תרי עשר

    Why are the 12 called 10? Please could you say more about the grammar of this phrase. Thanks

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | October 13, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m not sure I understand the question. “Trei asar” does mean 12, albeit in Aramaic.

      Comment by Jonathan Katz | February 6, 2011 | Reply

  5. In Galatians 3:16 Paul makes an essentially linguistic argument about Genesis 22:18. Does the Hebrew word for ‘seed’ have a similar range of meanings as the English word? Paul’s argument feels strange in English because when ‘seed’ is used to mean descendants it is a non-count noun. Is the Hebrew world also a non-count noun?

    Comment by Dannii | October 22, 2009 | Reply

  6. Hi,
    I just had a question, hope you don’t mind. I was reading Matthew 5:17-19 and I thought maybe another translation would be possible.

    Here is the original Koine Greek, with no punctuation.

    μη νομισητε οτι ηλθον καταλυσαι τον νομον η τους προφητας ουκ ηλθον καταλυσαι αλλα πληρωσαι αμην γαρ λεγω υμιν εως αν παρελθη ο ουρανος και η γη ιωτα εν η μια κεραια ου μη παρελθη απο του νομου εως αν παντα γενηται ος εαν ουν λυση μιαν των εντολων τουτων των ελαχιστων και διδαξη ουτως τους ανθρωπους ελαχιστος κληθησεται εν τη βασιλεια των ουρανων ος δ αν ποιηση και διδαξη ουτος μεγας κληθησεται εν τη βασιλεια των ουρανων

    Translated in the NIV, the verse reads, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the, prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a, pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever, practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    However, the two “untils” in verse 17 seem a bit clunky to me and don’t make much sense. Seeing as there is no punctuation in the Koine Greek, would it be possible to punctuate it this way instead?

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the, prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a, pen, will by any means disappear from the Law. Until everything is accomplished, anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever, practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    Thank you very much!

    Comment by Cameron | October 25, 2009 | Reply

  7. What’s going on with the pronomial suffixes in Psalm 103 3-8? I can’t find כִי as a pronomial suffix in any of my grammar books – neither singular nor plural!

    Thanks for the question page.

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  8. Hey Dr. Hoffman,

    I am currently trying to find a good bible translation to read and study from. What would you reccomend and could you point me to any good articles/books/resources which could help me make this decision? Thanks!


    Comment by toryninja | November 9, 2009 | Reply

    • ive found that the translation known as “the scriptures” is very valuable as many of the words that have ambiguous meaning in english or are directly decended from pagan deities are replaced. the footnotes also bring together quite a few doctrinal discourses that are rarely covered. hope this helps!

      Comment by luke pickett | May 2, 2011 | Reply

    • I looked for “the Scriptures” and couldn’t find. Is there a more accurate title and author name?

      Comment by Dayla | January 10, 2014 | Reply

  9. Here is something I ignored when I translated Job and I don’t think I should have. In chapter 1 we get the בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים. In chapter 38 we get the beni elohim without the definite article. I am thinking that the first should be the children (or sons) of the gods or of the mighty, and the second the children of God? This is without looking up Tur Sinai and all the other references I used that are since back in the library – so I ask you instead (thanks).

    Comment by bobmacdonald | November 13, 2009 | Reply

  10. Is Genesis 4:7, the first 3 words, הֲלֹוא אִם־תֵּיטִיב שְׂאֵת an example of the idiom of a condition with antecedent but no stated consequence? Would the last of the three words apply to Cain (as KJV implies) or to Cain’s offering (JPS)?

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | November 22, 2009 | Reply

  11. Ooh, let me be number eleven! I’d like to formally ask about the possible meanings of Iscariot. Although I highly doubt it’s actually related to the Latin sicarius (assassin), I’ve heard that as an unlikely though interesting theory.

    What explanation(s) of that surname/epinym do you find plausible?

    Todah in advance!

    Comment by Gary Simmons | November 27, 2009 | Reply

    • I believe it means “man from cariot” איש כריות.

      Comment by Theomusics | February 29, 2016 | Reply

  12. Is it true that in Greek they didn’t have multiple words that meant the same thing or one word that meant multiple things? More clearly – that every word had only one meaning and each thing/idea had only one word for it. Thanks!

    Comment by Jim | November 28, 2009 | Reply

  13. I have a question relating to this comment here

    Is Mark translating the Aramaic correctly? And if so, is the Hebrew then badly translated?

    Comment by Joel | November 30, 2009 | Reply

  14. I have a question about Exodus 2:3. What does it mean that she saw that baby Moses was tov?

    Could it be a statement of affection, the way we refer to children and pets as “good?” Or does “seeing that…good” simply echo Genesis 1?

    Comment by Gary Simmons | December 2, 2009 | Reply

  15. Here is a question – I have explored the usage of ish and ishah in Ruth (here) and I was surprised to see in 3.14
    וַתָּקָם בְּטֶרֶם יַכִּיר אִישׁ אֶת-רֵעֵהוּ
    וַיֹּאמֶר אַל-יִוָּדַע כִּי-בָאָה הָאִשָּׁה הַגֹּרֶן
    and she rose before a man could recognize his friend
    and he said – let it not be known that ‘the woman’ came to the threshing floor

    This seems a strange use of the definite article! I wondered if it was a little joke between them.

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | December 3, 2009 | Reply

  16. I have a question about Matthew 27:54. The centurion and the rest of the detachment set to guard Jesus’ body cried out and said “truly he was the Son of God!” …or is that really what they said?

    Since it lacks the articles in Greek, and Latin doesn’t have articles, is it possible that they really said “truly he was the son of a god!”?

    If this is the case, then despite their ignorance of Judaism, they’d be affirming at least Jesus’ divine nature even if not understanding his full identity. The contrast with the Jewish leaders would produce further drama and irony, compared to the usual interpretation of this passasge.

    Comment by Gary Simmons | December 10, 2009 | Reply

  17. I have a question about the gender of nations. It seems like nations can be referred with both masculine and feminine pronouns. Is there any significance with this change? For example, Moab is “he” in Isa 16:12, Israel is “he” in Jer 2:14; 50:17 but “herself” in Jer 3:11, and Babylon is “she” in Jer 50:29, just to name a few.

    Comment by Davis | December 20, 2009 | Reply

  18. I wonder what information the definite article adds to XARITI in Eph 2:8.

    Also, what in the world do the words of Matthew 5:3 mean?


    Comment by WoundedEgo | December 22, 2009 | Reply

    • Was this answered “what in the world do the words of Matthew 5:3 mean?” because now I am curious…Rhoda

      Comment by Marcia Erber | June 20, 2010 | Reply

  19. The NET Bible does not render imperatives in this verse, while others do. Their footnote is helpful, but not enough for me to opine on which is right. What light can you shed on this?



    Comment by WoundedEgo | December 26, 2009 | Reply

  20. Dr. Hoffman: should English translations seek to retain subtle distinctions, such as the difference between dying and perishing?

    Much to my surprise, the (T)NIV chose to say “those who live by the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Since I grew up reading NIV, but have since become a pacifist, this editorializing is a shock and disappointment to me.

    Comment by Gary Simmons | December 29, 2009 | Reply

  21. As a grammar lesson, I tried parsing psalm 117. There is a possible usage of a ‘he’ marking the use of the vocative (BDB 1.i) but the article is missing on the first colon kol goyim and present on the second shavxuhu col ha’umim. It seems to me that ‘praise the Lord all ye nations’ is different from ‘praise the Lord, all nations’. While both may be vocative, English vocative would be ‘praise the Lord O nations all’, and English suggests preaching rather than invitation if the you or ye is added. What do you think about the use of ‘he’ as signaling the vocative and then the problem of expressing this in English.

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | December 30, 2009 | Reply

  22. What does “prince of peace” mean? Peaceful prince – as in “Not prone to war?”

    Comment by WoundedEgo | December 31, 2009 | Reply

  23. Along the same lines as WoundedEgo, how should ‘wounderful, counselor’ be translated?

    Comment by Joel | December 31, 2009 | Reply

  24. Still working on he and vav and I came across this pair of words in Ruth וַתִּשְׁתַּחוּ אָרְצָה
    Two questions – why the vav at the end of the first word? and why the he at the end of the second? KJV translates it as if it were hithpael – she bowed herself to the ground. If I were naming every consonant, I would write: and she-bowed-herself-his on her-earth. I wonder about what his gracious words might mean for her. Perhaps she gave him a bow on her earth.

    Thanks again for being open to questions.

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | December 31, 2009 | Reply

  25. I’ve been watching a documentary about Dietrich Boenhoffer. It says that this verse was very important to him:

    Isa 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

    His reading said that “he that believes does not flee”. Is that what this says?

    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by WoundedEgo | January 2, 2010 | Reply

  26. I’m not sure if this is appropriate for this blog, but I’ll “put it out there…”

    Where is Moses?

    We have a dispute about his body. So where is he? And in what body?

    Comment by WoundedEgo | January 2, 2010 | Reply

  27. Is it possible that this verse refers to, or alludes to, a broken neck (spinal column), with no possibility of mending (except, in modern times, T-cells)?

    Pr 29:1 ¶ He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck[, his neck] shall suddenly be broken, and that without remedy [mending].

    What is with the references to “reprover” and “fire” in the LXX?

    Pr 29:1 ¶ A reprover is better than a stiff–necked man: for when the latter is suddenly set on fire, there shall be no remedy.

    Comment by WoundedEgo | January 13, 2010 | Reply

  28. Do you have a suggestion for a better translation than “commandments” for DEVARYM in “ten commandments”?

    Comment by WoundedEgo | January 19, 2010 | Reply

  29. Mark 1:2 and Isaiah 40:3 — is the idea that crooked paths need to be straightened, or that obstacles need to be removed?

    Comment by Gary Simmons | January 21, 2010 | Reply

    • P.S. Do you still enjoy this blog three months later? I hope it doesn’t feel like a chore.

      Comment by Gary Simmons | January 21, 2010 | Reply

  30. I was wondering about Lamentations 4:3. All modern translations seem to agree that it mentions jackals, but the KJV translated it as “sea monster”, which commentaries then took to mean “pelican” (on the basis that pelicans were thought to feed their young with their own blood, a myth of good parenting that’s relevant to the context).
    How could the KJV have got it so wrong? It’s not as though they’re similar animals. And is the modern translation certain?

    Comment by Mark | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  31. Me again, I’m afraid.

    Wikipedia, the source of all truth, says that Nabal in 1 Samuel 25:25 is “euphemistically translated as fool”. So far as I can tell, it’s always translated as fool or something similar. I can’t seem to find a dirty meaning for “nabal” anywhere. Is that because mainstream scholarship is too prudish or is Wikipedia talking nonsense?

    Comment by Mark | February 18, 2010 | Reply

  32. Joel, I ran across Genesis 6:9 in the TNIV, which says “this is the account of Noah and his family.” I’ve checked the KJV, NIV, NASB, ESV, Message, Luther’s translation (1545), the Amplified Bible, the NLT, and the Leningrad Codex for good measure. Only the TNIV and NLT mention his family.

    Is this something the translators added due to a perceived need to clarify, or is there some textual-critical basis for this that I am unaware of?

    Comment by Gary Simmons | February 28, 2010 | Reply

    • As a side note: I would propose the word “legacy” for toledoth in the ten special occurrences in Genesis. Does that correctly capture the idea?

      Comment by Gary Simmons | February 28, 2010 | Reply

  33. Okay, I give up. What does this mean?:

    1Jn 5:6 This is he who came by water and by blood, Jesus Christ; not by water only but by water and by blood.

    Comment by WoundedEgo | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  34. I made a post some time ago about Job. The interchanges are all interesting, but this last one raises an interesting take, and I wonder if it has any validity…


    Comment by WoundedEgo | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  35. With respect to word order, Psalm 27:2 is very tangled. Though we can unconsciously rearrange it – we all hear in the same temporal sequence. So word order has a dramatic or potential dramatic purpose in that we can delay a key word. Hebrew also rarely uses the stand-alone personal pronoun. This verse and the next contain two instances that seem to me to demand treatment in translation.

    How would you handle the stumbling word order and the stand-alone pronouns here?

    in drawing near to me
    to break
    to eat even my flesh
    my troublers and my enemies
    they – to me
    they stumbled and fell

    and in the following verse

    If an army against me is armed
    my heart will not fear
    if war arises against me
    in this I – even I will trust

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | March 3, 2010 | Reply

  36. Thank you so much for your help!

    Comment by liberalbaptistrev | March 3, 2010 | Reply

  37. I have come across a paragraph at the end of the Psalter in my borrowed TNK – it contains this word דספר which looks suspiciously like a specialized use of dalet prior to a word I recognize. I wonder if you might comment on that paragraph which I reproduce here. I am going to try and translate it myself also

    ח ז ק
    סכום פסוקי דספר תהלים אלפים וחמש מאות ועשרים ושבעה.
    וסימנו יי׳ אהבתי מעוץ ביתך ומקום משכן כבודך. וחציו

    Thank you again
    ויפתוהו בפיהם. וסדריו תשעה עשר. וסימנו המשביע בטוב עדיך:

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | March 7, 2010 | Reply

    • This text isn’t actually part of Psalms. I’ve posted a reply on your site.

      Comment by Joel H. | March 8, 2010 | Reply

  38. I have put my best guess at translating this unpointed unfamiliar Hebrew here

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | March 7, 2010 | Reply

  39. I have a question about Heb 3:13. When it says “exhort yourselves”, is the Greek literally saying “you all exhort each other” or “you all exhort your own selves”, supporting Galatians 6:4? Would the expression in question be
    παρακαλειτε εαυτους?

    Comment by Anthony | March 15, 2010 | Reply

  40. Joel, I really just can’t “grasp” what Paul is doing with katalambano in Philippians 3:12f. There’s no way to translate all three occurrences concordantly, is there?

    Comment by Gary Simmons | March 15, 2010 | Reply

    • Joel: I think I found a way to handle this passage.

      Not that I’ve already gotten a handle on everything or that I’ve fully matured. I seek that I may take hold, since Christ took hold of me.

      Comment by Gary Simmons | August 2, 2010 | Reply

  41. Help! please. The first word of Lamentations 3 is a strange word. I can’t find it in BDB or my Hebrew-Latin Concordance. Is it an object marker with a mater and a first person singular pronoun? Strange.

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  42. sorry – first word of Lam 3:2 (3:1 is OK)

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  43. Two ideas for translation traps:
    1. Prepositions mean everything. Example: nagad with either the bet preposition or with el.
    2. Prepositions don’t mean anything. See merimnao at the end of Matthew 6, where it occurs with the object in raw dative, raw genitive, peri plus the genitive, and eis plus the accusative. With no discernible difference in meaning.

    To put in question format:

    How does a responsible translator/interpreter analyze the various ways a given verb can take an object?

    Comment by Gary Simmons | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  44. Thanks for And God Said and your blog.

    On p. 155 of AGS you claim that “there is no divorce in the Bible.”

    Based mainly on David Instone-Brewer’s works and my studies I have found 5 divorces between named individuals.

    Abraham d. Hagar – Genesis 21:9-14
    Shaharaim d. Hushim & Baara – 1 Chr 8:8
    God d. Israel – Hosea 2:2a, Jeremiah 3:8a
    Xerxes d. Vashti – Esther 1:19a

    Also, you speculate that perhaps the Bible would call both an ex-wife and a current wife, “his wife” but this is not true, in Deu 24:1-4 we see “former wife”.


    Comment by Don Johnson | April 8, 2010 | Reply

    • God “hates divorce”… but apparently, he hated his wife even more!

      Comment by WoundedEgo | April 8, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for stopping by, Don, and thanks for your great questions. I’ve posted a detailed answer here.


      Comment by Joel H. | April 9, 2010 | Reply

  45. On translating SOS 4:12 as “my equal, my lover” I was asked by another what does one do with SOS 8:1 where “brother” is used?

    P.S. I agree with “my equal, my lover” and am just passing along the question.

    Comment by Don | April 9, 2010 | Reply

    • It’s a really good question.

      Throughout most of Song of Songs, achot (“sister,” but obviously not anatomically — see my video here) is used to represent power structure.

      But in 8:1, the ach (“brother”) specifically “nurses at my mother’s breasts,” so we see evidence that the word is intended literally as “brother.” But I suspect that it’s also a word play.

      But I can’t think of a way to translate ach here that would preserve the word play, so I think the best we can do is preserve the meaning, and render the Hebrew as “brother,” perhaps adding a note that the English misses some of the the cleverness of the Hebrew.

      (As it typical with poetry, the text is full of clever uses of language, including the “mandrakes” that are featured at the end of the previous chapter. The word for “mandrakes” is dudaim, which sounds like dodi, the male hero of Song of Songs.)

      Comment by Joel H. | April 9, 2010 | Reply

      • I am not of the opinion that SOS is referring to God and Israel, nor of Jesus and the assembly, but for those who hold that it does, I should think that, along with the kinky imagery, “my equal” would be pretty uncomfortable for most True Believers.

        Also, might the nuance of the word be tinged more with “commonality” than “equality?” I’m thinking of “hoodies” or the Australian “mate” idea, or “chum” or “buddy.” In other words, the referent is someone from your “circle” or “family.”

        To a soldier, a fellow soldier in the same barracks… that kind of thing. I’m just guessing from the usages, and the uncomfortable nuances of exactitude implied in “equal,” given how it is actually used.

        Comment by WoundedEgo | April 9, 2010

      • By the way, “dodi” likewise has an interesting semantic domain.

        Comment by WoundedEgo | April 9, 2010

  46. At first I thought that this “About” mechanism was a clever idea, but with 55 comments and counting, you might need a database!

    Anyhoo, it crossed my mind that BAPTIZW is nothing more than “I rinse.” John was “one who performs [ceremonial] rinsings.” “Dip” just is wrong. Transliteration is not useful. “Wash” requires soap.

    I know that some are concerned with “acceptance” but in a pure world, isn’t it just “rinse”?

    Comment by WoundedEgo | April 13, 2010 | Reply

  47. Hi!
    When I read Gen 3 I notice that the serpent and Adam get punished “because you did this/listened to your wife…” but the woman (not yet named)doesn’t get a “because you did..” punishment. Further down it’s notable that only the man is expelled from the garden of Eden (3ms – sorry, I can’t type hebrew on this computer). From my understanding Eve – now given the name connected to “living, life” is not expelled. Did she follow volontarly since it would not be good to be in “her seperatedness,” was she forced by Adam or did God perhaps intend for her to be a sort of substitute for the tree of life in the garden?
    If only Adam was expelled (he didn’t obey the commandment given to him alone, before the woman was created) because he didn’t obey God, than indeed the woman was deceived on purpose by Adam, since he didn’t act on her behalf at all as the conversation with serpent was going on.
    To me that gives the story a different flavor and also puts the woman in a different position than generally tought. It also gives the words eshet chayil a much stronger meaning – like a life rescuer.
    Interested in your thoughts on this.

    Comment by Ciccie Pernveden Malm | April 22, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi, Ciccie. Obviously you have given much thought to these matters, and that’s generally a good thing. I would wonder, though, if you aren’t focused too much on the *implicit* rather than the explicit information? You seem to be “reading between the lines.” Some of that is good, but I’d personally be more inclined to be receptive to your ideas if you could show where they are explicitly stated in the text.

      Comment by WoundedEgo | April 23, 2010 | Reply

      • It seems you got it backwards. The thing is I do not read between the lines, but that’s what most people seem to do or have been doing. Read this passage for yourself in Hebrew and you’ll notice 2 things:
        1. The woman was not created when Adam was given the command
        2. God speaks to Adam 2ms when the expelling takes place – there is no plural. Can’t be more explicit than that. Read for yourself! Gen 2:16-17 (2ms) and 3:17 –
        BTW only Adam was made from the dust. Eve was made from Adam’s side or rib, so how could anyone but “Adam till the ground from which he was taken”. 3ms. Can it be more explicit?!
        I can’t understand from where you draw the conclusion that I read between the lines…

        Comment by Ciccie | September 13, 2010

  48. Growing Old and Fat in God’s Courtyard
    The word is not fat, the word is oil!

    עוד ינובון בשיבה דשנים ורעננים יהיו

    Ps 92 They shall again return in the ages; they shall be invigorated with oil;

    Comment by LeRoy | May 11, 2010 | Reply

    • That looks right. “Oil” is symbolic of spirit. Read the gnostic gospels, or Sant Mat (www.RSSB.org).

      Comment by Robert Wahler | March 25, 2013 | Reply

  49. Translation Challenge: Isaiah 28:16

    Isa 28:16 Therefore here said the Lord GOD, I lay in Zion for a plinth a stone, to establish a mark, a precious corner, established to be institutionalized: he that hastens to believe shall not become weary.

    Comment by LeRoy | May 11, 2010 | Reply

  50. I would love to know what the Hebrew difference is between being born again and adoption. Are they different words which makes the different translations.
    I read the KJV and would like to know if this is one of the better ones for Truth plus can you recommend a better one that conveys Truer Hebrew but is still printed in English?
    Any revelations on the shortest verse in the Bible- Yahshua wept. ?
    When Yahshua feed the sop to Judas was this His clue for how the sons of perdition could and would be recognized since that time since S.O.P. is the initials for son of perdition…?!!!
    I have so many more questions but this is all for now.
    Bless you and the Work you have accepted for the good of His Kingdom. You will surely help many to find and stay on His “straight and narrow” Way. Acts 12:13-16 Rhoda

    Comment by Marcia Erber | June 20, 2010 | Reply

  51. How should Proverbs 19:18 be translated, especially the final clause? The KJV reads, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” The NKJV changes the last part to “…And do not set your heart on his destruction,” and includes a footnote: “Literally ‘to put him to death’; a Jewish tradition reads ‘on his crying’.” Why did the KJV translators not translate literally? Is the last clause a Hebrew idiom?

    The first section of the verse also has competing translations: Do we chasten our sons WHILE there is hope (KJV, NASB) or SEEING there is hope (ASV 1901, DARBY)?; also the ESV, “FOR there is hope,” and NIV “FOR in that there is hope” give the same sense as the ASV.

    Leithart explains, “Waltke says that the second clause of this proverb is not ‘while there is hope’ but ‘surely there is hope.’ The issue is not that we should discipline in a timely way, before we lose the opportunity to direct our sons rightly. That is certainly the case, and the failure to act while there is yet hope is a regrettable one that haunts many aging parents. But the accent is on the fact that there is hope. Discipline will have its effect. So, get started and do it: Rebuke, correct, train in righteousness, use the rod, in the hope that this will bear fruit by the power of the Spirit.

    This hope is so secure that Solomon says – very bluntly – that anyone who fails to act on this hope is in fact encouraging the death of his son. Solomon puts it even more strongly: Anyone who fails to act on the hope that discipline will drive folly from the heart desires the death of his son. That is likely not a conscious and overt desire, but Solomon says that it is there. Failure to discipline a son is at least a statement of indifference: ‘I don’t care if he dies.'”

    Comment by Laura | July 15, 2010 | Reply

  52. What is the correct pronunciation of the tetragrammaton?

    Rabbi Morton Kaplan

    Comment by Morton Kaplan | August 16, 2010 | Reply

  53. […] About […]

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  54. Id like a clarification on “Elohim”. IIRC, from my long-ago schooldays studying Hebrew, the ancient Hebrew word “el-lah” means “god” (and is the origin of the Muslim “Allah”), “el-lat” means “goddess” (and is the origin of the ancient town of “Eilat”), “el-loh” means “either god or goddess”, and the suffix “-im” on a word makes it plural. This would mean that “Elohim”, used in the first chapter of Genesis, actually means “the gods and goddesses”, or “the pantheon”. Therefore it’s a pantheon that creates the universe — including human beings — rather than a single male god.

    The word “adonai”, which does mean “lord”, doesn’t appear until the second book of Genesis. This rather strongly implies that the Garden of Eden and the two humans therein were a separate and minor creation by one particular god rather than the whole pantheon. That has interesting applications concerning the supposed universality of the Judeo-Christian god.

    –Leslie <

    Comment by Leslie Fish | August 26, 2010 | Reply

  55. We have a Torah Study group that has several members who are feminists. Every year (this is our 6th year) we get to discuss why the word Lokach ishah, takes a woman, gets translated as “marries”. Genesis 24:67 Issac takes Rebekah as his woman and it gets translated in NJPS as …he took Rebekah as his wife, I love your explanation in “And God Said” that lokach ishah does not really mean married but indicates order of importance. There is a similar problem when kallah gets translated as daughter-in-law, Genesis 11:31. My question is when and how did the word chatunah, for marriage come into use and when and how did kallah start to mean bride? At one point I thought that lokach was used in the Torah but not in the Prophets and the Writings. Yet today I read that kach is still being used in 1 Chronicles 2:18.

    Comment by Yitz Zlotnik | October 12, 2010 | Reply

  56. This may be more of a philosophical/historical question than a linguistic one, but how would you render the word usually given as “vanity” in Ecclesiastes?

    Abstract nouns are notoriously difficult to track even within a language – “nobility” now is not what it was – but how would you render it given a all the time and ink in the world.

    I was told recently that it should be given as either “wind” or “nothing”, but that was merely a rumour.

    Comment by Mark Forsyth | October 26, 2010 | Reply

  57. Thnaks for your presentation for the ARC — You mentioned the use of “ahoti” in Song of Songs meaning more than “my sister,” but better translated as “my equal.” How do you understand Abraham’s turning to Sarah and telling her to tell the Egyptians that she is “…his sister, so that things will go well for him”?

    Comment by Enid C. Lader | October 28, 2010 | Reply

    • Glad you enjoyed the presentation.

      Here’s my answer.

      Comment by Joel H. | October 29, 2010 | Reply

  58. When in Israel a few days ago, my wife and I watched a Pink Panther film with subtitles in Hebrew. I haven’t yet dared to try and translate them and I didn’t get picture of the funniest, but this must be quite an exercise, doing subtitles for an English comedy. There are a few screen images here

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | November 1, 2010 | Reply

  59. I am an alum of AJR and I regret not having the time to hear you speak
    at the Staying Connected Series. I was teaching psalms to a group of
    seniors at a nursing home…

    I am troubled by an English translation of the Hebrew verb YiLaVeh,
    which is the source to the name of Levi. I have tried searching for
    more information as you do in your most recent book which I am
    just about done with on my Kindle…. However, I have fallen short.

    Two translations I have found are “attached to me” or “joined unto me”
    or “feel affection for.”

    Can you weigh in on what is the more accurate translation?

    Shabbat Shalom,


    Comment by Steven Rubenstein | November 9, 2010 | Reply

  60. I really enjoyed listening to you speak a few weeks ago. I have the following two questions:

    1. In the New Testament Romans 9-11 I think that it says something like “All Israel will be saved”. Have you done any of your linguistics analysis to determine whether this means what it says on its face or whether it means that all Israel will somehow see the light that Jesus is the Messiag and THEN all Israel will be saved?

    2. In Isaiah 53, it talks of a suffering servant. Have you analyzed this passage to determine whether this is referring to the people of Israel or a single individual (ie Jesus)?

    Thanks for your help.

    Comment by mark kaufman | November 21, 2010 | Reply

    • I would be very interested also in what a linguist says about this. From my understanding the word “Israel” needs to be qualified. Is Paul speaking of spiritual Israel (Gal 3:29) or physical Israel (Rom 9:1)? When Paul spoke of Israel he would have had in mind the Israel (whether spiritual or physical) of his day.

      In Romans 11:14, Paul is speaking of his hope to save some of those who are of his flesh – physical or literal Israel. In Romans 11:26 he says “and so all Israel shall be saved.” If all literal Israel was going to be saved he would not be “hoping” for the possibility that some of them might be saved.

      We always have to understand whether a passage is speaking of literal or spiritual Israel; there is a difference.

      Comment by Ray Foucher | January 29, 2011 | Reply

  61. […] About […]

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  62. Hi,
    I’m enjoying your blog, and your book, as a ‘non academic’ believer.

    Could you discuss some time how to distinguish the ‘normal’ and ‘specialist’ uses of NT church leadership terms (apostolos, presbyturos, diaconos, …?), with particular reference to their appearance in masculine & feminine forms?

    I’ve noticed that some translations assume all the feminine forms must be ‘normal’ use, whilst some of the masculine ones are translated using specialist church words.

    Comment by Peter Parslow | January 1, 2011 | Reply

  63. In Matthew 5:27 there are phrases about offensive right eye and hand and that you should get rid of them to save your whole self from hell. In what sense can your limbs offend you? Modern interpretation of the literal sense would have that your eye is entirely subservient to the mind so plucking it out can’t help. Interpreting the phrases metaphorically is easier but then the difficulty is that there is one about the eye and another about the hand so it would appear that the writer intended literal interpretation (otherwise why not use a different metaphorical domain in the second usage).

    Comment by Rob Searle | January 12, 2011 | Reply

    • Rob, Moses described man as being composed of two parts:

      * flesh (clay)
      * breath (the “breath of life”)

      For Moses and the Jews, the body was the wonderful handiwork of YHVH.

      But Greek philosophy began to think in terms of matter being evil, and “beneath contact with the diety.”

      Considered alone, the Matthew passages might seem to just be figures, exaggerations or what have you. But Paul clearly and explicitly, over and over, attributes sin to be “living in his members” almost like an evil alien being. He says the flesh has a separate and distinct mind from the breath. I think that we are compelled to understand these writers to conceive of the members of the body as being “sin compartments.” Note that Paul explicitly lays the blame on the members (or rather, Mr. Sin living in his members):

      Rom 7:23 But I see another law ***in my members***, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin ***which is in my members***.

      That’s pretty explicit. I commend you on your not dismissing the text based on modern suppositions.

      Comment by WoundedEgo | January 13, 2011 | Reply

      • When Paul uses images from Greek philosophy, I often wonder whether that was “simply” in order to communicate with people who had a Greek mindset, or whether he accepted their understanding of human nature (in this case), over against the Jewish understanding which he presumably knew at least as well.

        Comment by Peter Parslow | January 14, 2011

      • Paul seems to have his own take, which has the two elements from Moses (SARX and PNEUMA) which he takes as being in opposition, ala the Greek philosophers, whereas for the Jews, by and large, saw them in harmony. The Jew, according to Paul, had two distinct minds. The mind which was intelligent and could agree with the law and the mind of the flesh, which was hostile to that law. Two distinct minds! The second mind is also what Paul refers to as “Mr. Sin.”

        Comment by WoundedEgo | January 14, 2011

  64. Can you comment on the Hebrew and/or Septuagint of Psalm 119:4?

    Is the following translation remotely viable?

    “You have commanded Your precepts to keep them [i.e. the people spoken of in v.3] diligently.”

    I’ve been curious about this for a few years.

    Thank you,
    Derek Ashton

    Comment by theoparadox | February 18, 2011 | Reply

  65. Daniel 7:21 (KJV) says “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;” The word translated “prevailed” is Strong’s #3202
    And is translated as can (6 times), able (4 times) and prevailed (1 time). The single use of prevailed does not seem to convey the same meaning as the other uses. It could sound discouraging to the saints facing the last days but is it translated correctly?

    Comment by Ray Foucher | February 25, 2011 | Reply

  66. Election, Ephesians 1:4. Based on the Greek Grammar, would this be an appropriate translation?:

    “Even before the foundation of the world, he chose, to be holy and blameless before him, us, in him, in love.”

    I realize in the English it is not a pleasant construction and must be read with all appropriate inflection/nuance but my reason for asking is because of the “to be” adverb einai which acts as an adverbial infinitive to the main verb exelexato. In other words this indicates that this passage should be understood as God choosing, not specifically who would be “in Christ” but that whoever would be “in Christ”, that this is the means by which they would be holy and blameless. Christ is the location or place God chose for to be holy and blameless and not necessarily who would be holy and blameless (Calvinisms election) but that in Christ, we would be holy and blameless. As well, if it were about who would be in Christ it would grammatically be normal to attach it to choosing those “to be” in Christ and not those who are “to be” holy and without blemish, in Christ.

    Comment by Alex Guggenheim | February 25, 2011 | Reply

  67. I’m curious about your finding on the word Satan which it’s my understanding of the OT most often comes from the word sawtawn. I’ve done some reading from research done by author James R. Brayshaw who shows that the first appearance of the word ‘sawtawn’ in the OT is in Numbers 22 when the Angel of the LORD appeared to Balaam to be and adversary to him. The word ‘sawtawn’ was translated to ‘adversary’ in this instance because it was referring to the LORD but is the same word that appears in the book of Job and many other places that is translated as capital ‘S’ Satan. Brayshaw argues in his book that every instance of the word Satan should not be capitalized because it was not intended to be a name of a literal being, is this correct?

    Comment by Chris | March 19, 2011 | Reply

    • Great question. I look forward to the response with bated breath.

      Comment by WoundedEgo | March 20, 2011 | Reply

  68. I need help in translating a phrase into classical Hebrew that I plan to incorporate into one of my drawings. The concept I wish to express is: “I fell; (yet) I shall establish* and I shall be raised)”. *or: create / found. The symbolic context is that of our being (now) in the “fallen” state but, through our own efforts/initiatives to improve ourselves, we can be “lifted up” to a more divine state; Optimally (for visual and symbolic effect), I should like the phrase to consist of three word clumps. Am I anywhere close with: נפלתי: אקים והרומתי ?
    Thank you for any help you could provide!

    Comment by Charles-Christopher Hall | April 24, 2011 | Reply

  69. As I understand things, it is the Egyptians that invented the concept of the “nation-state.” Abraham was a figure of a patriarchal society (society defined by family relation, ruled by the alpha males). So when YHVH says to Abram, “I will make you the father of many GOYIM,” and “In you all the GOYIM will bless themselves,” was he saying:

    * “You will be father many sons that will form many nation-states, who will see you as their wonderful father”;

    * “Your descendents will be be a great nation-state, like a magnificent alpha male to all of the other nation-states”;

    * “Your descendents will be a great tribal society and the nation-states around you will be dependent on you, and seek your blessing”;

    Or something else altogether?

    In other words, was he referring to the promise of being a great family? Or a great nation-state? Or in some sense a super-state or Uberman over the other nations?

    Does the word GOY distinguish reliably?


    Comment by WoundedEgo | April 24, 2011 | Reply

  70. im looking for a connotative dictionary of hebrew to help w the understanding of a few passages/words. but it would also b a great value to further studies im sure! any help forthcoming is appreciated. ty

    Comment by luke pickett | May 2, 2011 | Reply

  71. Joel, in another discussion, a Hebrew speaker claims that the plurals of Genesis 1:26 are not in the text. Is this true? I know they are in the Greek, but can’t tell if they are in the Hebrew, but everybody puts them there. If they aren’t there, then why does everyone put them there? Thanks.

    Comment by WoundedEgo | May 18, 2011 | Reply

    • Hmmmm, if you are referring to God’s use of the plural (‘us’ and ‘our’), the Hebrew text of BHS shows the verb (na’aseh) as the qal imperfect,1st person plural. The Hebrew word translated as “our image” (tzal’menu) is similarly plural having the 1st person plural suffix.

      Maybe I’m missing something, though.



      Comment by mtp1032 | June 28, 2011 | Reply

      • Wouldn’t b’tzal’menu be the plural of image (images), rather than ‘Our’ as in reference to God Himself? vai·yo·mer e·lo·him, na·’a·seh a·dam would translate ‘said God make man’. There’s no ‘Let Us’ in there. If you look up Ezra 10:3 “Let us make [a covenant]” we get “nich•rat-” – totally different Hebrew words. Likewise kid·mu·te·nu would indicate likenesses, rather than ‘Our’ likeness, right?

        Comment by Judah's Daughter | September 25, 2011

  72. Would you care to comment on the translation of Genesis 3:16, specifically the phrase (NIV) “your desire will be for your husband…”.

    Is it possible that the Hebrew word תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ is a parablepsis? The LXX, for example, translates its Hebrew source as ἀποστροφή (turning back or returning) — almost as if the LXX translator saw a form of the word t’shuvatekh, not t’shuqatekh.

    The phrase would then read something along the lines of “you will [re]turn to your husband…”.

    (If I seem like I know what I’m talking about, it’s because I read your latest post on mistakes).



    Comment by mtp1032 | June 28, 2011 | Reply

    • While you are at it, does “husband” denote one’s “man”, one’s “spouse” or is it in essence a farming term?


      Comment by WoundedEgo | June 29, 2011 | Reply

  73. Psalm 103 appears to have several nouns ending in kaf-yod translated as thy (you singular) in AV but looking like a construct of the you plural kaf-mem with the mem written so as to almost run on the sentences as if they should be piled on to each other. I couldn’t find a pronomial suffix like this in Lambdin. In vv 3, 4, 5 only one suffix is a normal kaf – all the others are kaf-yod.

    Is there a rule I should have found in my books? Thanks

    Comment by bobmacdonald | July 27, 2011 | Reply

  74. In Numbers 35:19 we have the words “goel hadam”. It seems that many if not most translations render goel as avenger. Sometimes in brackets there is blood redeemer. Shouldn’t the translation be “redeemer” and allow the reader to decide if the redemption will be a form of revenge, an eye for an eye, or of intense dialogue and/or monetary payment? In my way of thinking redeemer and avenger are not synonyms. How are they similar and how are they different?
    Leshalom, Y

    Comment by Yitz Zlotnik | July 31, 2011 | Reply

  75. Judah’s Daughter wrote:
    >”Wouldn’t b’tzal’menu be the plural of image (images), rather than
    >‘Our’ as in reference to God Himself?”

    Grammatically, the answer is no. Theologically, one interpretation holds that God is speaking to His heavenly court. This explains the use of the 1st person plural possessive ‘Our’. This is an interpretation to which I hold. This is not unlike my saying to my wife, let us paint our house. House is singular.

    The problem with my answer, however, and what makes your question interesting theologically is a two-fold problem: to what does God refer when he says ‘our image’. To be grammatically strict, the image must either be (1) the image of the collective court or (2) God’s image, but an image in which the court participates.

    >”vai•yo•mer e•lo•him, na•’a•seh a•dam would translate ‘said God
    >make man’. There’s no ‘Let Us’ in there.”

    Literally translated, you are correct. However, the verb in question, naaseh, is viewed grammatically as being in the ‘cohortative’ mood (the 1st person variant of the Jussive). Think of these moods as reflecting intention, purpose, or command. When addressed to superiors this mood is often interpreted as a request. When addressed to inferiors, this mood is often interpreted as a command. Thus, the English phrase “Let us” is generally used by translators to capture the idea of intention or purpose.

    >Likewise kid•mu•te•nu would indicate likenesses,
    >rather than ‘Our’ likeness, right?”

    Well, no. The word for likeness, d’mut, is singular in form.



    Comment by Michael | September 25, 2011 | Reply

  76. Thank you! I’m no Hebrew scholar, but if ‘nu’ makes the word to which it’s attached plural (perhaps I’m wrong), it would act as an ‘s’ in English…meaning ‘images’ (male and female) and ‘likenesses’ (of the heavenly host – governance). I hold to the same view as you, that the LORD God was speaking to His heavenly host. The use of “Us” is obviously incorrect, and the use of “Our” for intensity only aided the birthing of the false doctrine of the ‘Trinity’.

    Comment by Judah's Daughter | September 25, 2011 | Reply

    • Okay, so I looked up what -nu indicates in Hebrew, which is ‘our’. The verse would literally state, “said God make man” Our image to Our likeness”. The verse continues about how man will rule. Since “Let Us” is not literally there, as is translated in Ezra 10:3, we can agree it was God who made man in His own [singular] image (Gen 1:27), yet we were made in the image and likeness of the heavenly host, in regard to governance. I think I put this to rest now. God bless and thank you for your patience ~ I’m yet learning.

      Comment by Judah's Daughter | September 25, 2011 | Reply

  77. I’m enjoying And God Said. And I’m puzzled. In the Chapter “Heart and Soul” you collect examples of what ‘levav’ meant during the time of the writing of the Hebrew bibie to create the context for its translation. Since the texts in the HB span centuries, if not millennia, doesn’t that approach elide and blur all historical differences?

    With ‘levav’ the question becomes even more fraught with difficulty because heart/soul/mind/core/center-of-being have been the topic of theo- psycho- mytho-logical discussion for about as long as humans have been self-aware. It’s almost as though, under the rubric of translation, you want to distill the essence of what it is to be a human being.

    Maybe I’m not being totally articulate, but you have touched the tip of an enormous question, and your solution, though perhaps it solves the immediate question of how to translate ‘levav’ and ‘nefesh’ more usefully, begs the questions of how those concepts may have evolved over the time represented by our texts. It’s almost certain that, in Jesus’ time, ‘levav’ may have meant only a fraction of what you have found–because there seems no reason to think his era any more linguistically sophisticated than any other. Since our texts for NT are Greek, not Hebrew, that adds an additional layer of context and cultural blurring.

    I’m wrestling with something quite stubbornly recalcitrant, and your book both stimulates and frustrates! Perhaps you have articles that more finely-tuned distinctions or more in-depth historical material?

    Thank you if you have struggled through this!

    Comment by Marjory Lange | October 3, 2011 | Reply

  78. My latin teacher, years ago, advised me that “peace, good will towards men” was a latin mistranslation and that the correct translation is “peace to men of good will” Any thoughts?

    Comment by Ben Locke | October 14, 2011 | Reply

  79. Joel, I see the links to your books on your site page. May I make a suggestion? Have a picture of your books, and not just the titles, so they stand out more, and people will know at a glance that you have books available.

    Comment by WoundedEgo | October 17, 2011 | Reply

  80. I strongly second WoundedEgo. I would add that you (Dr. Hoffman) might want to explore the [free] Amazon Affiliates program. As a member, Amazon will provide you with a link to any books you recommend (including your own) and when someone buys a book from your website, you get a little kickback.

    At the risk of being viewed as a troll, here is a web page from my site that advertises and recommends your two books.


    Follow the “Amazon Store” tab to the Joel Hoffman page.



    Comment by Michael | October 17, 2011 | Reply

  81. Is there a play on words in the Hebrew in this verse:

    Mic 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he **come forth** unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose **goings forth** have been from of old, from everlasting.

    I’m wondering if his “coming forth to God” is the same referent as in “goings forth have been from of old”.


    Comment by bibleshockers | November 16, 2011 | Reply

  82. Please could you explain the translation for Bereshit 6:2 “sons of god” and the “daughters of man” and any possible explanation about the nephilim (is that a metaphor?)

    This is an interesting blog- I’m glad and grateful to have discovered it. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    Comment by Jennifer | November 18, 2011 | Reply

  83. I heard there was a new bible translation released this week. I have been unable to find information on it. Are you able to find any reference of it?

    Comment by Jane Post | November 28, 2011 | Reply

    • You may be talking about the IEB: http://www.internationalenglishbible.com/

      Comment by Joel H. | November 29, 2011 | Reply

      • Ugh, clearly another silly “translation” with an incredibly low bar for accuracy.

        Comment by bibleshockers | November 29, 2011

      • Thank you for the help. Hoped it would be a more interesting version!

        Comment by Jane Post | November 29, 2011

  84. Question… Is Psalm 65 personifying sin when it says “my iniquities prevail against me”?

    Comment by WoundedEgo | November 30, 2011 | Reply

  85. Would it be presumptious to infer that Psalm 65:1 reflects an ancient Jewish belief that God himself would one day dwell in the land promised to Abe and his descendants?:

    Psa 65:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm and Song of David. Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.
    Psa 65:2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

    Comment by bibleshockers | December 1, 2011 | Reply

  86. Dr. Hoffman. Just finished your book, enjoyed it greatly, and found it quite informative. I suspected, however, that you would have detractors. And I definitely found one.


    Do you have a response to his attack on your translate of chamad?


    Comment by Paul Wright | December 5, 2011 | Reply

    • I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed And God Said.

      I hadn’t seen the piece you mention.

      It seems like the author there is reacting to my short piece in the Huffington Post (“Five Ways Your Bible Translation Distorts the Original Meaning of the Text“), not to my book, which it doesn’t seem that he’s read.

      He writes that “the context prevents chamad from meaning take” in places like Micah 2:2: “and they chamad fields, and take them by violence.” But I disagree, because, in fact, synonyms or near synonyms are commonly put in parallel in the Bible. His reasoning would also mean that, for example, in Psalm 95 (“let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation”) the “rock our our salvation” cannot be “the Lord.”

      Comment by Joel H. | December 6, 2011 | Reply

      • I think another example of parallelism in the Tanak is Zechariah 13:7 (Matt. 26:31 and Mark 14:27) where Brown-Driver-Briggs (note #3, page 85) shows an acceptable usage of “et” or “eth” as the accusative, “Strike, *O* Shepherd”, not “Strike *the* Shepherd”, change of subject. This is the GOOD Shepherd of the good shepherd/bad shepherd pericope. The parallel is “Arise, O sword — strike, O shepherd” all in one sentence (as in the KJV). He, as Master, ‘refines as in fire” his little ones, and makes them fit to “become my people” (13:8-9).

        Obviously, this key Christian prophecy is grossly mistranslated if my version is correct.

        Comment by Robert Wahler | March 25, 2013

  87. Thank you, Dr. Hoffman. I had wondered if some form of parallelism might be the explanation. It appears that the only hope of the reader of translations is that the translators will engage in public discussion of their differences so that there will be some basis of making decisions.


    Comment by Paul Wright | December 6, 2011 | Reply

  88. This has all proven to be quite an eye opener. May I ask what your views are on the new translations added to the Catholic Mass? While it mostly pertains to the Nicean Counsil, I do think an objective observer could provide some helpful insight. Afterall, we all came from the same root, Judiasm.

    Comment by Dan | December 9, 2011 | Reply

  89. What would you do with 1 Samuel 24v4? It seems to be a bit of a crux between literalism and meaning. Saul goes into a cave in order to…
    The Hebrew (I believe) says “cover his feet”. That’s probably an ancient euphemism for taking a crap and so almost all modern translations render it as “relieve himself”, presumably on the basis that no modern reader would understand “cover his feet”. However, it’s possible that cover his feet meant “take a nap” or perhaps Saul’s toes were merely cold. If you translate it as “relieve himself” then all the other possibilities are suppressed.
    Aside from anything else, I’d just like to be sure that “cover his feet” really does mean “take a crap” as it seems to alter the sense of the story to mere comedy at Saul’s expense, whereas if he’s sleeping then we would feel more pity for him.
    P.S. If the Hebrew doesn’t mention feet at all, I apologise.

    Comment by Mark Forsyth | March 2, 2012 | Reply

    • I’m curious what the reading “relieve himself” is based on. Is it just the context? Or was that inscribed on the Rosetta Stone? The reason I say that is that plenty of myths are simply propagated by preachers who heard it from someone else who heard it from a preacher…

      Comment by bibleshockers | March 2, 2012 | Reply

  90. What does the Hebrew bible say about divorce in Malachi 2?

    Comment by Dawn Oliver | March 18, 2012 | Reply

  91. Question: the Bible appears to indicate that hell is the most terrible thing that could ever exist, that it is eternal, and that most people are going there. In your understanding of the Bible, would you agree with that? Or is it Biblically plausible that hell is not exclusively a place of terrible pain (for punishment to have any moral value, should it not be remedial, not merely disciplinary), and is it Biblically plausible that people can eventually leave hell or that it is not a permanent state for everyone who goes there? Thanks!

    Comment by Jesiah Wurtz | March 20, 2012 | Reply

    • Jesiah, if you carefully study out what the Bible says about the Lake of Fire (see Revelation 20) you will gain some important insights into the truth about Hell and the final destruction on the lost. Ezekiel speaks about the final destruction of Satan himself:

      “All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never [shalt] thou [be] any more.” (Ezekiel 28:19)

      Read it in context and you will see he will not be forever stoking the flames of hell but will, in the end be destroyed and never exist again. The same will happen to all who are lost. A loving God does not punish people without end for the sins of a relatively short lifetime. Study how the Bible defines/uses words like hell and eternal/forever and it will become clear.

      Also, bear in mind that Jesus took the punishment we deserve – He was not burning in hell.

      Hope that helps

      Comment by rayfoucher | March 23, 2012 | Reply

  92. See a good study about the Lake of Fire at http://www.jesus-resurrection.info/fire-and-brimstone.html

    Remember what Revelation says about the Lake of Fire:

    Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    Rev 21:8 also says the same thing. The lake of fire is an experience, not a place. When that is understood it will be much more clear.

    Comment by rayfoucher | March 23, 2012 | Reply

  93. How different is (or should be) Bible translation and translating the Haggadah? Might one borrow translation theory, principles, and practice (and even English language) from the one to the other?

    At another blog, there’s an interesting discussion going on. Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman and Dr. Joel Hoffman are both mentioned recently. Would you care to comment?


    Comment by J. K. Gayle | March 27, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks for bringing that discussion to my attention. I’ve posted a brief reply there.

      Comment by Joel H. | March 27, 2012 | Reply

  94. I would love to see you address the issues surrounding “first of sabbaths” translated as “first day of the week” in the resurrection passages in the New Testament. (see http://www.torahtimes.org/Open%20Directory/First_of_Sabbaths_vs_First_of_Week.html for a discussion on the matter) It is interesting to consider how this affects our understanding of the chronology of the crucifixion and resurrection. This chronology also impacts the question on Saturday or Sunday worship.

    – Doug

    Comment by Doug Shuffield | March 28, 2012 | Reply

    • No takers?

      – Doug

      Comment by Doug Shuffield | April 19, 2012 | Reply

      • I couldn’t reply to your reply, Doug, so I have one more question about ‘Sabbaths’ as relates to ‘days of the week’ or the various ‘Sabbaths’ of Judaism. Jesus said He would be three days and three nights in the tomb (the sign of Jonah) – He was interned on a Wed (the day before a high Sabbath) and rose on the evening of Saturday (after the seventh-day Sabbath had ended, making it ‘the first day of the week’). Wouldn’t replacing ‘first day of the week’ with Sabbath mean He rose on ‘the first Sabbath’ after the last Sabbath and if so, would this confirm or contradict the number of days/nights in the tomb? Thank you.

        Comment by judahsdaughter | April 28, 2012

    • Doug, I read the linked article, but want to know how those referenced verses should be translated, using ‘Sabbath’. Would you do that for me? Email me at judahsdaughter@gmail.com. I’m anxious to hear Joel’s input on this question. This is the first I’ve even ‘seen’ this. Thank you.

      Comment by judahsdaughter | April 23, 2012 | Reply

      • I am not sure how to translate and/or interpret the phrase, that is why I asked the original question. From what I have read, the phrase has been traditionally interpreted in an idiomatic sense meaning “first day of the week”. However, some suggest the proper translation centers around the counting of Sabbaths after Passover to Pentecost. A day of the week is not in view at all and instead the counting of a number of Sabbaths is in view thus, “first of Sabbaths” or “one of Sabbaths”.

        Bill Mounce touches on the subject at http://www.billmounce.com/blog/01-17-2010/sabbaths-and-sunday but his analysis leaves alot to be desired.

        Another in-depth analysis of this issue can be found at http://www.torahtimes.org/Sabbaton_Week_Sabbaths.html

        Dr. Joel, I am still interested in hearing your input on this issue.

        – Doug

        Comment by Doug Shuffield | April 27, 2012

  95. I would like to see the “first of the Sabbaths” issue addressed as well. I see this as evidence for a sabbath resurrection which, of course, undermines the claim for supposed Sunday sacredness on the basis of a Sunday resurrection.

    Comment by rayfoucher | March 31, 2012 | Reply

  96. Bara – meaning

    You may wish to consider verses such as Joshua 17:15 and 17:18 Clearly, Joshua wants the people to “cut” down the forest. They are not creating anything. Or are they? The implication is that by “cutting” down the forest they are creating something for themselves. Bara, as used in Genesis 1, implies the same understanding, which is that by cutting (seperating), something new is created. A near perfect recapitulation of the creation is found in Numbers 16:30 when the Lord makes a “new thing” in the earth. At that time the earth divided (was cut), gaped open and swallowed Korah and his followers. The Hebrew for “new thing” is from bara and a noun formed from bara, which is beriah. Here, the events themselves unmistakenly define the Hebrew words used to express the events.
    In fact, Korah is a covenant breaker. His fate is a play on the origin of the Hebrew word for covenant, berith, which also comes from bara – both of which connote a cutting or seperating (dividing).
    Think of what a covenant is and anciently how a covenant was made -the cutting of the animal (Gen 15), or the cutting of circumcision, which is a token of the covenant. By means of a covenant, man is spiritually created, he is separated from the world and divided from evil by divine covenant promises (fufilled in Christ who was cut, divided as a sacrificial animal, for us.)

    Indeed, bara has many meanings. But, we cannot say that it simply means creation ex-nihilo (though in fact that may be the case). That exclusive definition cannot be justified by its derivatives, or its later and varied uses. What occurred when God spoke and creation happened, we simply don’t entirely know. But, the fact that creation from Gen 1:2 forward is a clear process of division seems to indicate that Gen 1:1 begins (is the genesis) of that process, captured in the Hebrew word bara.

    Comment by ML | April 1, 2012 | Reply

  97. ISTM that “poor in spirit” which is actually (“down and out in breath”) makes little sense taken literally and is likely an idiom (my boss is also an idiom, ha,ha). If you agree, what does the idiom really say? I’m thinking the “in breath” might suggest “emotion” here, so it is “happy are the depressed” or, if speech, possibly “happy are the self-deprecating”. Or reflection, as in “happy are those who consider themselves destitute”. Or, a variation of one of these:

    Psa_34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

    Psa_51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

    Isa_57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

    Isa_66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

    Brenton LXX:
    Psa_34:18 The Lord is near to them that are of a contrite heart; and will save the lowly in spirit.

    Daniel 3:
    Nevertheless in a contrite heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted. Like as in the burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, and like as in ten thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be in thy sight this day, and grant that we may wholly go after thee: for they shall not be confounded that put their trust in thee.

    Comment by bibleshockers | April 5, 2012 | Reply

  98. Which English translation of the Bible would Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) have read? He learned Latin and Greek but not Hebrew, so I’m wondering particularly about how he read Tanakh.

    Comment by Natasha Shabat | April 24, 2012 | Reply

  99. Natasha,

    I am just guessing, but I suspect he read the English KJV. If he needed/wanted to read in Greek, he could have read the Septuagint provided published copies were even available.

    Comment by mtp1032 | April 24, 2012 | Reply

  100. He was reading “the Classics” in Latin and Greek. The reason for my question is that he quotes Kohelet, directly and indirectly, in “Walden,” which he wrote, of course, in English. So I’m trying to figure out where his English quotes of Kohelet are coming from.

    Comment by Natasha Shabat | April 24, 2012 | Reply

  101. This is for Doug. Thank you for the information. I just have one more question. Since Jesus said He would be in the tomb three days and three nights (sign of Jonah), we know He was interned on a Wed (just prior to a high Sabbath) and thus rose just after the seventh-day Sabbath (possibly Saturday evening – which would be ‘the first day of the week, according to the Jewish calendar). If He rose on the first Sabbath after He was interned, would that confirm or contradict the number of days and nights in the tomb? Thank you.

    Comment by judahsdaughter | April 28, 2012 | Reply

    • I always find “we know” interesting in this sort of discussion:) On this, occasion it is almost mischevious, given that all other verses about the timing of Jesus’s resurrection with respect to his burial come across as “on the third day”. In English, that would only allow for two nights.

      I’ve often wondered how to reconcile these two phrases: “Three days and three nights” and “on the third day”. That allows me to return to a linguistic question, appropriate for this forum, given the Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew contexts of these phrases, what do they seem to mean?

      Comment by Peter Parslow | April 28, 2012 | Reply

  102. @Doug – since Jewish ‘days’ are 24 hours and include ‘nights’, Jesus was in the tomb Wed, Thurs and Fri nights and in the tomb Thurs, Fri and Sat days…coming out of the tomb at the beginning of the ‘first day of the week’ when Sat Sabbath was over, right?

    Comment by judahsdaughter | April 28, 2012 | Reply

    • Actually, when Miriam arrived “before sun up” then by a Jewish reckoning, he was not there on the first day of the week.

      But a better question is, did he have a feast and wash feet on the Passover? Or did he die on the Passover?

      Just sayin…

      Comment by bibleshockers | April 28, 2012 | Reply

      • Sorry, bibleshockers, I thought I was replying to Doug, but I replied above #103 to you. Here is a P.S. The Passover lamb was sacrificed and eaten at the official Passover meal on Wed, so the meal Jesus shared with His disciples is known as ‘the last supper’, for they did not consume lamb that night, rather they were preparing for the official meal the next day. Thus, we understand Jesus’ statements about ‘eating His flesh’…

        Comment by judahsdaughter | April 30, 2012

      • @judahsdaughter, note: Num 28:16 And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD.
        It was a one day feast was it not? And by the way, they did not eat a “lamb” but an *adult* flock animal… usually a goat.

        Comment by bibleshockers | April 30, 2012

  103. @ Doug, Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, so of course His body was not there. He appeared to Mary in the morning. Jesus was crucified ON Passover, because the Passover meal was held the first night (Tues eve, which was the beginning of Passover); He was betrayed and arrested that night and crucified the following afternoon, just as the first day of Passover was ending.

    Comment by judahsdaughter | April 30, 2012 | Reply

    • The Passover is on the 14th of Nisan (though some scholars believe it is on the 15th of Hyundai) 🙂 :

      Num_28:16 And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD.

      That is also the beginning of the feast of Pita bread, which lasts a week:

      Exo_12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.

      The second gospel says that on Passover (the 14th), Jesus celebrated with his disciples in the upper room:

      Mar 14:12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?
      Mar 14:13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.
      Mar 14:14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
      Mar 14:15 And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.

      The fourth gospel says nothing about the upper room being a Passover meal and has Jesus being led away about 11am or 12 on the morning of the Passover as the priests were killing the goats:

      Joh 19:14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
      Joh 19:15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
      Joh 19:16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.

      And Mark has him being nailed up around 8 or 9am:

      Mar 15:25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

      The goat was to be completely consumed before morning:

      Exo 34:25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

      So I would say that the fourth gospel has Jesus dying at on the morning just before the Passover (which began that evening) and the second gospel has him dying the previous morning.

      At least, that is how I read it.

      Comment by bibleshockers | May 6, 2012 | Reply

  104. @ bibleshockers, Jesus appeared the Mary the same ‘day’ He arose. He rose sometime between Sat eve and Sun morning. Ex 12:4-10 “It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, when the whole assembly of Israel will slaughter it between the two evenings. … That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. …” So, we’ll let this thread get back to ‘God didn’t say that’ now, okay? God bless you.

    Comment by judahsdaughter | April 30, 2012 | Reply

    • I’m fine with that as long as you agree that Passover is a one day feast. I don’t like to see misinformation spread around the Internet if I can help it.

      Comment by bibleshockers | May 1, 2012 | Reply

      • Exodus 12:6 specifies that the Passover sacrifice happen on Nisan 14. Mark 14:12 speaks of the day when they killed the Passover as the first day of unleavened bread. The terms Passover and Unleavened Bread were used interchangeably to refer to the whole feast – (Luke 2:1). Since scripture identifies Nisan 14 as the day before Jesus died and He ate the Passover with them (Luke 22:15) in the evening after they sacrificed the lamb, Jesus died on the 15th.

        Comment by rayfoucher | May 6, 2012

  105. Quoted from this article: http://www.herealittletherealittle.net/index.cfm?page_name=Last-Supper-Passover-Meal JOHN 13:1 “Now before the Feast of the Passover…” John shows that the “last supper” took place on the same night Judas Iscariot betrayed Yeshua (John 13:21-30). The first verse plainly states that this was “before the feast of the Passover,” which lasts for seven days (from Nisan 15 through Nisan 21). John is obviously referring to the same night described by the other three Gospel writers (Matt. 26; Mark 14; Luke 22). John goes on to reiterate several times that these events took place before Passover. Clearly, the Passover meal traditionally eaten on the evening of Nisan 15 had not yet been observed.”

    Comment by judahsdaughter | May 6, 2012 | Reply

    • No, the article is flat wrong. And citing it to negate the scriptures not useful. Passover is the 14th of Nisan and the feast of unleavened bread is from 14th thru 21st though Josephus incorrectly understood the feast of unleavened bread to be the 15th through the 21st.. There is no “first day of the Passover” only “the Passover”. God does not give Brownie Points for twisting words to make him look better.

      Comment by bibleshockers | May 7, 2012 | Reply

    • One needs to understand a few points to understand what was going on here:

      – there were differences even 2000 years ago over when to observe Passover
      – John referred to the meal according to the timing understood by those who were observing Passover a day later than Yahshua and His disciples and others
      – the Feast of Unleavened Bread was designated in scripture (Lev 23:34) to be the 7-day period from Nisan 15 to 21 inclusive
      – the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed on Nisan 14 (Exo 12:6)
      – by Yahshua’s time the terms Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread were used interchangeably (Luke 22:1)
      – clearly, the disciples prepared for the meal on Nisan 14 (Matt 26:17, Mark 14:12, Luke 22:7-8)
      – clearly, Yahshua ate the passover meal the evening before He died (Luke 22:13,15-16)

      Therefore, we can conclude that Yahshua and His disciples followed scripture in their preparation for Passover on Nisan 14 and in their partaking of the meal in the evening of Nisan 15 as specified by scripture.
      The question then is: what about the idea that Jesus could only have died on Nisan 14 when the Passover Lamb was supposed to die?

      Go to http://www.jesus-resurrection.info/res do some reading, request the material that is offered on the site and you will find the answer and some amazing insights into the character of God.

      Comment by rayfoucher | June 2, 2012 | Reply

      • “…and in their partaking of the meal in the evening of Nisan 15 as specified by scripture…”

        I have zero respect for you and your kind.

        Comment by WoundedEgo | June 2, 2012

  106. I wondered if you heard this episode of radiolab http://www.radiolab.org/2012/may/21/sky-isnt-blue/
    They claim that the color blue is new in human consciousness and that it didn’t exist in ancient languages–including Hebrew, Of course, several people have jumped on the site and said that the tallit has a blue thread. Their response appears to be that we moderns are translating incorrectly. So, I guess my question is (a) is that correct? Does no one know what “Tekhelet” is, and (b) how do we know what the Hebrew names of colors represent? I have already seen in the commentary that the translators admit that they are unsure what some of the animal names represent. How do we know the colors?

    Comment by marian42 | May 26, 2012 | Reply

  107. Techelet is not blue it is Indigo. See link:http://www.tekhelet.com/MANFAQ1/faq.php?answer=22&cat_name=Tekhelet%20Questions&category_id=2.
    Leshalom, Y

    Comment by Irving (Road Runner) Zlotnik | May 28, 2012 | Reply

  108. I know people have probably covered this, but i noticed that all but one of the ten commandments is about actions, and the only one that isn’t uses the term “covet”. Is there a translation problem?

    Comment by Paulh | July 18, 2012 | Reply

  109. Just asking how realistic would the claim be that before Jesus, sin was about actions and that after Jesus, sin began to move to include thinking about doing something or entertaining bad thoughts. I wonder how much translation of the old and new testament would support that. Probably not much

    Comment by Paulh | July 19, 2012 | Reply

    • @Paulh, there is a verse that really confuses this issue: Mat_5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
      But this verse is actually nothing new… it SHOULD read: “…whoever looks on a WIFE to lust after her..” which the is merely a restatement of Exodus 20:17, which says, essentially, “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, his ass or his wife’s ass!”:

      Exo 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

      But if Joel is right (which in this case, I’m not sure I’m agreeing) then as you say, this is a new idea.

      Comment by WoundedEgo | July 19, 2012 | Reply

    • In terms of “sin” and translation issues, I would certainly start with Dr. Gary Anderson’s Sin: A History, which I review here.

      Comment by Joel H. | July 22, 2012 | Reply

      • Thank you! Interesting review. Now to the book!

        Comment by Paulh | July 22, 2012

  110. This past week Rabbi Anne Brener wrote a Dvar Torah in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles on Parshat Matot-Masei, July 18, 2012, see; http://www.jewishjournal.com/torah_portion/article/ritual_of_return_parashat_matot-masei_numbers_302-3613_20120718/. In it she expounds on the Hebrew word “Tumah”. I am not sure if this explanation is a chidush/chadash or not but it got me all excited. For the first time I have an inkling into what is meant by “Tumah”. However, she must use multiple words “something of the experience sticks to us”. How then would one get this across in a translation? Would one have to rely on notes? An example in Torah is Numbers 19:20. There the root tav, mem, aleph appears twice, right next to each other. NJPS translates Tumah as impure/purify, OJPS as unclean/purify, Stone as contaminated/purify, Alter as unclean/cleanse, NIV unclean purify, NLV defiled/purify and ESV unclean/ cleanse. All these translation miss the whole point. It is not about being clean, contaminated, impure nor defiled. It is about an experience that clings/sticks to us and we have difficulty letting go and that is when we need help from Hashem to let the experience “leave” us so that we then go about our lives.

    Comment by Irving (Road Runner) Zlotnik | July 23, 2012 | Reply

  111. Is “worship” a mistranslation in the OT? Would it be more accurate to render it “bow down”? For example, Moses “bowed” to his father-in-law (Ex 18:7). And the Hebrew “worship” in the book of Daniel also seems to be related to the idea of “falling down”. How should these words be translated? Doesn’t the English word worship carry a wider meaning?

    Comment by Robert Kan | July 24, 2012 | Reply

  112. Good day Dr. Hoffman, I want to know what you think of the following verses; whether there are any mistranslations:

    1. Genesis 18:14 (NIV) – “Is anything too hard for the LORD?…”

    2. Deuteronomy 21:14 (NIV) – “If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.”

    I have a couple concerns in Gen 18:14. 1) “for the LORD” is prefixed with a “mem” which is what you see in Gen. 24:50 but is translated there as “from the LORD”; 2) Why is “dabar” translated as “anything.”

    In Deut. 21:14: My main concern is with “le’nafshah” which is translated “wherever she wishes.”

    Comment by George M | August 21, 2012 | Reply

    • First part of the answer is here.

      Comment by Joel H. | August 23, 2012 | Reply

  113. Is this “your reward will be very great” or “I am your great reward”?

    Gen 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

    LXX has:

    Gen 15:1 And after these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I shield thee, thy reward shall be very great.

    K&D opine:

    The words of Jehovah run thus: “Fear not, Abram: I am a shield to thee, thy reward very much.” הַרְבֵּה an inf. absol., generally used adverbially, but here as an adjective, equivalent to “thy very great reward.”…

    I’m not sure if they are saying “this is grammatically “your reward very great” but should instead be taken as “your very great reward” or that it is grammatically “your very great reward”.


    Comment by WoundedEgo | September 1, 2012 | Reply

  114. Dr. Hoffman,

    Can you shed some of your copious light on Psalm 41:9? Is “lifted his heel” idiomatic for “greatly supplanted me”, like Douay-Rheims seems to posit? The DRB fits my theory of ‘Judas’ as “successor James” to a tee. Also, Zechariah 13:7 is another Judas as James mistranslation. What is the earliest reliable version of this? Qumran only had lacunae for this section of Zechariah, much to my dismay.

    Comment by Sahansdal | September 7, 2012 | Reply

  115. Douay Rheims Bible
    Zecharaih 12:10

    10 And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.

    1 The burden of the word of the Lord upon Israel. Thus saith the Lord, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man in him

    The second verse above is Zechariah 12:1. The person speaking is THE LORD, the one who “stretcheth forth the heavens”. It wasn’t Jesus. Why does John, in John 19:37 CHANGE Zechariah 12:10 from “they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for HIM” to only: “they shall look upon HIM whom they have pierced”? I say to make people think that both parts are about Jesus, instead of the Lord, the one “they pierced through to” and mourned. Joel, I am especially interested in your comment on the full verb form for ‘pierced’ — Hebrew, “daqaru” — as ‘pierced through to’. If it is possible, I am sure I am right in saying that this is a reference to meditation on the Lord.

    Comment by Sahansdal | November 19, 2012 | Reply

      • Wounded Ego,

        And not a very good one. Conclusion: “Emending a text may be a convenient way of demonstrating one’s theological beliefs, but has nothing to do with biblical authenticity.” Have you ever read anything so blatantly self-serving and self-evidently untenable in your life??? Good grief….

        Comment by Sahansdal | November 19, 2012

      • Let me amend my comment. Coming from a Jewish perspective, the author must mean Old Testament authenticity, not the NEW!

        Comment by Sahansdal | November 19, 2012

      • I’m wondering if “daqaru” might mean, “pierced through – with a swizzle stick!”

        Comment by WoundedEgo | November 19, 2012

      • Wounded:

        The context is “a spirit of compassion and supplication”. The “mourning” is a positive thing, lamenting the time lost when before the “pouring out”, the devotee was away from the Lord’s presence: “pierced through TO” — within the mind, during meditation.This is a common theme in Eastern mysticism. http://www.RSSB.org and links

        Comment by Sahansdal | November 19, 2012

    • Wow! This thread took off in a hurry. It’s a great question.

      I’ve got an answer here: “The Case of Mistaken Piercing in Zechariah 12:10 and John 19:37.”

      Comment by Joel H. | November 20, 2012 | Reply

  116. Dr. Hoffman,

    Regarding Zechariah 13:7, I want to know if the accusative case where ‘et’ appears is, as Brown-Driver-Briggs (page 85) says is a possible use, a change of subject from 13:7a, “sword”, to 13:7b, “Shepherd”. I say the correct translation is, as poetic form elsewhere in Zechariah (11:1-2) suggests, “Strike, O Shepherd that the sheep may be shattered.” Secondly, is “shattered” possible in place of “scattered”? My Hebrew lexicon (bible.cc) says so.

    Comment by Sahansdal | November 19, 2012 | Reply

    • In the accusative case it would read, “You! Shepherd! Yeah you! You are the one who struck the sheep!” (Just kidding!)

      Comment by WoundedEgo | November 19, 2012 | Reply

      • Wounded,

        That’ll work. As long as it isn’t the Shepherd Master being the one struck. That wouldn’t make sense, if he was the one the Lord” was “raising up” (11:16). The pericope (Zechariah 10:2 – 13:9) needs to resolve here with the GOOD Shepherd, because it ends with 13:9. They are ‘struck’ by the Shepherd when he “refines” them as in FIRE (13:8) for their own good. There is a lot of hanky-panky going on with this ‘prophecy’ business. It ISN’T prophecy of Jesus.

        Comment by Sahansdal | November 19, 2012

    • I have a different take altogether on the passage. First, Yehovah is going to gather the nations to attack Jerusalem. Then the Jerusalemites and even the suburbs of surrounding Judah, prevail mightily by divine power. Then suddenly it says that they (?) will look at him (Yehovah) whom they pierced. That who pierced? I would think that given the words it would mean that Yehovah was identifying with the slain, as in “They (the victorious Jerusalemites and Judaeans) will look upon me (the slain gentiles) whom they have pierced through [with their swords] and mourn for him (the slain, who they are to understand to be also Yehovah, by identification) as for a beloved.” This reading would then make sense of the fact that the Jews clearly are the ones who will be lamenting, “singing a song as sad as when the beloved grove of pomegranates was cut down.” Notice that the passage is saying that God is going to be giving the Jews a deeply compassionate heart, and will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the “breath of graciousness and of supplications”… So he will give them great victory followed by lamenting over the ones they pierced with their swords.

      Comment by WoundedEgo | November 19, 2012 | Reply

      • Wow. Your effort leaves me breathless. Identify with the Gentiles? I thought Gentiles were archetype of the unsaved. The lamenting isn’t over someone else, it is remorse at having been awol. Read 13:8. Two thirds will be lost (“cut off and perish” – RSV) and one third “left alive”. These, the ‘lucky ones’, will then be put IN THE FIRE. You have got to make sense of this. They are the very ones who the Shepherd “strikes” in 13:7. This is the same dynamic of 11:16, “tearing the flesh off the hooves of *the fat ones*”.

        ALL the translations of 13:7 from the Hebrew have been the same: “Strike the shepherd”. But I think it is wrong, and Brown-driver-Briggs allows “Strike, O Shepherd” with the accusative “et” as an emphasis of a change of subject, which I think is also demanded poetically. Read Numbers 24:5, “how fair are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel!” or Isaiah 1:2, “Hear, O heavens, listen O earth”. This poetic pairing, saying something linked poetically in a pair is very common. It is even used elsewhere in this good shepherd/bad shepherd pericope at 11:1-2, “Open your doors, O Lebanon … Wail, O cypress”. Read it that way and see how beautiful it has become! I think it is very exciting. It is like uncovering a DaVinci beneath a whitewash.

        I think the Christian-era translators (are there any other?) — even the Jews — have all missed the correct rendering. It is mystic allegory, that much is clear (at least to me). You only have to look into the abundant mystic literature of the East, or even the gnostic Christian scriptures, to find it in evidence there.

        It’s been fun, whatever you make of this!

        Comment by Sahansdal | November 19, 2012

      • More to the point: Which is it?: I will ‘raise up’ a shepherd (11:16) that will ‘strike’ the sheep for their own good, or I will ‘raise up a shepherd’, and then will ‘strike the shepherd’ that I just raised up, to scatter the sheep? Wouldn’t the Lord then have called him an ‘offering’ or ‘sacrifice’, instead of a ‘shepherd’ ?

        Comment by Sahansdal | November 19, 2012

      • @Sahansdal, I think your concern is whether the shepherd is the smiter or the smitten, no? I think the point is that God says the prophets will be loathe to do their job and will instead pretend to be farmers. Because they have lived in the cloistered life of a prophet they will not have hands accustomed to the hard work and when they get blisters on their hands people will say, “What are these blisters?” And they will say, “I got hurt at my friend’s house.” So God is bringing an attack on prophets/shepherds to scatter his people.

        In modern society the figure might be “I’m going to send your school teachers into construction work, and your children will be uneducated, unprepared, lost…

        Comment by WoundedEgo | November 19, 2012

      • The Hebrew is “yad bayin” = “wounds BETWEEN the hands”. yad = hands, bayin = between. This, I think, is nothing so pedestrian as rough hands from farming. We’re talking about smitten shepherds or sheep and people coming to the Lord (13:9). I think it is mysticism. The hands are held on the forehead over the eyes in meditation (I do it every morning), and when the mention is made of ‘wounds between the hands’, it is the ‘mourning’ at the center of consciousness, the single eye at the forehead (think Goliath and the five smooth stones meant to be flung there). We are taught, today, to repeat five words given by the Master, concentrating at the single eye (Matt. 6:22). There, when concentration becomes complete, the Word is heard. It is the RIGHT ear where it is heard (Malchus has his RIGHT ear cut by the disciples’ sword or Word). I know that’s a lot different than what you think. But that’s mysticism! I have looked through the whole Bible, and I find it all over the place. I’m not the only one, either. Deut. 11:18, “frontlets between your eyes” … the ‘words’ in the Teffelin, etc….

        Comment by Sahansdal | November 20, 2012

      • He’s being “found out” by the telltale blistered hands of a man unaccustomed to farming. “If you were raised on a farm, then why are you hands blistered? You shouldn’t have blisters if you were raised doing farm work.” So “smite the shepherd” is God speaking to his own sword, telling it to kill the derelict keeper of the flock and the goats and sheep will be “harassed and helpless, like flock animals without a herdsman”.

        Zec 13:4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:
        Zec 13:5 But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
        Zec 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
        Zec 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

        Dr. Hoffman, can we read “in the middle of your hands” as the LXX does? Or should it be “in”? Thanks.

        Comment by WoundedEgo | November 20, 2012

  117. “Wow. Your effort leaves me breathless. Identify with the Gentiles? I thought Gentiles were archetype of the unsaved….”

    Um, no, not in the Jewish scriptures. That is an anachronism. They are those who are not Jews, to whom the Jews are to be a blessing.

    “The lamenting isn’t over someone else, it is remorse at having been awol…”

    So their disobedience is like a pomegranate grove that has been cut down? I don’t see it. That makes no sense. The gentiles have been pierced and cut down like a pomegranate grove.

    Comment by WoundedEgo | November 19, 2012 | Reply

    • Where is that? I couldn’t find it googling ‘pomegrantes’.

      Comment by Sahansdal | November 19, 2012 | Reply

      • Sorry, it is in the LXX of Zec 12:11 “In that day the lamentation in Jerusalem shall be very great, as the mourning for the pomegranate grove cut down in the plain.” The KVJ has “In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.” The Jewish Encyclopedia has this: “Hadad” combined with “Rimmon” is found in Zech. xii. 11; the context of the verse shows that the mourning of, or at (see below), Hadadrimmon represented the acme of desperate grief. The older exegetes agree in regarding “Hadadrimmon” as denominating a locality in the neighborhood of Megiddo. The lamentations, of Sisera’s mother (Judges v. 28), and the assumed weeping over Ahaziah, King of Judah, who died at Megiddo (II Kings ix. 27), have been adduced in explanation of the allusion. The most favored explanation is that given by the Peshiṭta, that the plaint referred to was for King Josiah, who had fallen at Megiddo (II Kings xxiii. 29). The Targum to Zech. xii. 11 combines two allusions, one to Ahab, supposed to have met his death at the hands of a Syrian by the name of “Hadadrimmon,” and another to Josiah’s fall at Megiddo. These various references to public lamentations over one or the other Biblical personage have been generally abandoned by modern scholars. Following Hitzig, it is now held that Zechariah had in mind a public mourning for the god Hadadrimmon, identified with the Phenician Adonis (Ezek. viii. 14, “Tammuz”), whose yearly death was the occasion for lament. This theory, plausible on the whole, is, however, open to objections arising from the text of the verse in Zechariah.” At any rate, the allusion/figure is that of weeping for the dead. Mourning the dead. Unless somehow God literally died in the conflict with the gentiles as they converge on Jerusalem, how will the Jews mourn his death by being pierced through? The only sensible thing is that Yehovah identifies with those gentiles thrust through by the divinely empowered Jews, mourned because God poured on them his breath of graciousness and supplication. It is a prophecy of Yehovah giving his people tremendous compassion over those he enables them to defeat; a remarkable thing! Imagine if you please, after the Civil War, the Union soldiers mourning the rebel dead they had just killed and you have a sense of the profundity of Zechariah’s apocalypse.

        Comment by WoundedEgo | November 19, 2012

      • “Rimmon” means “pomegranates” and the LXX mistakenly took it as literal fruit but it appears the allusion is actually to the beloved king Josiah who was shot with an arrow in the valley of Megiddo as he, incognito, fought in battle. Legendary mourning ensued: 2Ch 35:25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.

        Comment by WoundedEgo | November 20, 2012

      • http://chatbible.com/zechariah/12-11.asp

        Comment by WoundedEgo | November 20, 2012

      • This is interesting. The chatbible (Jamieson-Fausett-Brown Commentary) has the Jews changing “me” to “him” in Zech. 12:10. — Do they mean ‘him’ in: “look upon him whom they pierced”, or “mourn him”? Can you interpret this? “Messiah ben Joseph” is Jesus?


        me … him — The change of person is due to Jehovah-Messiah speaking in His own person first, then the prophet speaking of Him. The Jews, to avoid the conclusion that He whom they have “pierced” is Jehovah-Messiah, who says, “I will pour out … spirit,” ***altered “me” into “him,”*** and represent the “pierced” one to be Messiah Ben (son of) Joseph, who was to suffer in the battle with Cog, before Messiah Ben David should come to reign. But Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic oppose this; and the ancient Jews interpreted it of Messiah.

        Comment by Sahansdal | November 20, 2012

  118. This Septuagint translation has “mocked me” for “pierced” (Hebrew daqaru). That’s weird. How do they get that in the Greek for ‘daqaru’?

    Comment by Sahansdal | November 19, 2012 | Reply

    • It’s probably just a misreading of the Hebrew. The Hebrew for “pierce” is Daled-Koof-Resh. But the letters Daled and Resh look similar. Mix them up, and you get Resh-Koof-Daled, which means “dance.”

      The Greek word here is the verb “dance” (orchesmai) preceded by the prefix kat-.

      The Septuagint is full of this sort of thing.

      Comment by Joel H. | November 20, 2012 | Reply

      • They will look upon him whom they ‘danced’? I don’t think so, The chatbible has idiomatic “reviled” (#1856) which is a perfect fit. Do you see it that way?

        Comment by Robert Wahler | January 13, 2013

      • Sorry, answered the wrong question. I see you saying translators used ‘mocked’ as the word for ‘danced’. OK. But I found the bit aboout “reviled’ in chatbible and was instantly struck with its perfect applicability. Read it that way and the “mourn for him” now makes more sense.

        Comment by Robert Wahler | January 13, 2013

      • Joel,

        I never saw your response to “daqaru” as “reviled” (chatbible.cc note #1856 for Zech. 12:10). It would be a Hebrew idiomatic reading, indicating that they ‘reviled’ the one they later ‘mourned’ when realizing he was really the Lord — a mystic reading.

        Comment by Robert Wahler | March 25, 2013

  119. I’m curious on a couple of translations and omissions. These may be very novice questions, but, well, I’m a novice.

    First, most English Bible translations change the name of God: Elohim, Adonai, etc, never appear in my English Bibles. Why?

    Second, when God created Adam, Adam is, I believe, a Sumerian word, A’dam, meaning “first people.” Might some of the problems of in Genesis (who did Cain marry, etc) be solved if Genesis read that God created the “first people” from dirt?

    And lastly, Eden is also a Sumerian word that means a fruitful plain. If that is true, why do Bible translations speak of Eden instead of a fruitful plain?

    Like I said, I’m just beginning to question and search. Thanks!

    Comment by Jim | December 18, 2012 | Reply

  120. What is the most accurate translation of ‘kavod’? I notice the name “Ichavod” in 1 Samuel 4:21 was seemingly given in response to the ark (which is to say, the crowning glory?) being captured, but in other verses i.e. Isaiah 60:1-2 ‘kavod’ appears to refer to something tangibly seen, perhaps a synonym of ”awr’. Does the translation of kavod depend entirely on its context, and what is the best way to translate this word, if it is possible?

    Comment by Bradley Sutton | December 21, 2012 | Reply

  121. Hi Dr. Hoffman, I have a question:

    What relationship does the Bible imply between Jonathan and David?

    In 1 Samuel 18:1-5, most translations come across kind of ambiguous, and interpreting these verses from a modern understanding hints at them being more than friends. Also, 2 Samuel 1:26 mentions Jonathan’s love to David as being “more wonderful than that of women.”

    Does the Hebrew offer any clarification? And, what does the Septuagint say?

    Comment by George M | January 13, 2013 | Reply

  122. I’ve been looking at the passage about the so-called “stubon and rebellious son.” The word translated as “stubborn” is sarar, written with a Samek (Strong 5637 “to rebel,” “to be stubborn,” describing an ox that won’t be yoked, a woman that won’t submit to her husband, rebel princes). This word is related to sarah (ending with a Heh) which means “apostasy,” “defection,” “violating a law.”

    It doesn’t seem to be related to sarar (Strong 8323, written with a Sin, “to reign,” “have power over,” “prevail over”) from which Abraham’s wife Sarai / Sarah got her name.

    Nowadays Samek and Sin are both pronounced the same. Was there once, long ago, a difference, and could these two sarar words have been thought of as related?

    Comment by Lee Gold | January 25, 2013 | Reply

  123. Dear Mr. Hoffman,
    You argue that chamad means take but not desire or covet. If that’s true then what’s the difference between take and steal? And don’t all the other passages make more sense when chamad is covet as opposed to take?
    Thank you.

    Comment by Jake | March 23, 2013 | Reply

    • Two good questions.

      The answer to the first is that I don’t know. As a guess, chamad means to take with intent to return, while lakach (“steal”) mans to take with no intent to return.

      The second question is the key, though. All of the other passages make more sense when chamad is translated “take.” There is no context that points in the direction of “covet” for chamad.

      I go through all of the evidence in my And God Said, and I have a summary of a lot of it in this “Exploring the Bible” video: “Thou Shalt Not Covet.”

      Comment by Joel H. | March 24, 2013 | Reply

  124. Using the information from Dr. Hoffman’s book, And God Said, I extended the translation from ‘take’ to “use without permission”. I think this more clearly explains why the Israelites feared leaving their fields unguarded when they went to Jerusalem, viz, they didn’t want their neighbors’ herds grazing on their fields. Similarly, we are not to use our neighbor’s lawn mower, swimming pool, or driveway (e.g., for the guests to our parties) without first asking permission.


    Comment by Michael | March 24, 2013 | Reply

  125. Psalm 68 says that God chamads the mountain of Jerusalem for his abode, the Temple, so sometimes it’s all right to chamad. Does chamad mean to claim a right to enjoy or take something? Does God have the right to take things without asking permission?

    Comment by Lee Gold | March 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Of course! That’s why he’s God!

      Comment by George M | March 25, 2013 | Reply

  126. Having read (for the 2nd time) Dr. Hoffman’s “In the Beginning”, I’d like to ask a question that has puzzled me for some time. What became of the vowel sound /a/ as in apple, can, or and (or did early Hebrew ever support this vowel)?

    Comment by Michael Peterson | April 17, 2013 | Reply

  127. Hi, first, sorry if my English is bad here because English is not my first language. I would like to ask Dr. Hoffman regarding Malaysian controversy over the usage of the word Allah in the Malaysian language Bible.

    First, do you think it is appropriate for Christians to use Allah in their Bible?

    Second, in Lord’s Prayer(Matthew 6:9/Luke 11:2), after the verse Our Father in Heaven(Malay translation: Ya Bapa Kami yang di syurga), the translator add this verse “Allah Yang Esa”, roughly means “The One God”, before continue to next verse “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, So all together would be this:

    1 -This, then is how you should pray(Malay Translation: Beginilah sepatutnya kamu berdoa)
    2 – Our Father in heaven(Malay translation: Ya Bapa Kami yang di Syurga)
    3 – The One God(Allah Yang Esa)
    4 – Hallowed be Thy Name(Semoga NamaMu disembah dan dihormati)
    …………………. until the end

    Do you think the ‘additions’ of this-No3 above – “One And Only God/Allah yang Esa” is appropriate? I try to email this question to the translation committee in Malaysia but receive no reply yet. Hopefully you can give you comments on this.

    Thank you in advance.

    Comment by Joshua Hisham | September 26, 2013 | Reply

  128. As long as the concept of love, faith, charity and good will to all is relayed… the rest is just semantics. Let’s not worry about the words as much as the sentiment that is being relayed. The key is love. Beyond that, what else matters?

    Comment by Dan | September 27, 2013 | Reply

  129. I saw a teaser on the History Channel about a Bible show coming up. They said that the Virgin Birth is a translation mistake. Is this really true?

    Comment by Brian | November 2, 2013 | Reply

    • I did not see the teaser but I’m guessing it’s about the verse in Isaiah 7:14 from which Matthew and Mark use the word “parthenos”, the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “almaha”, In Greek, “parthenos”. Where the former is widely recognized as meaning a young girl of child-bearing age, parthenos can be construed as “virgin”.


      Comment by Michael | November 3, 2013 | Reply

      • *typo — “almaha” should be “almah”

        Comment by mtp1032 | November 3, 2013

    • Answer here (“Q&A: Is the Virgin Birth a Mistranslation?“)

      Comment by Joel H. | November 3, 2013 | Reply

  130. My pastor and so many commentaries say the fear of God for believers is just reverance and awe. I disagree but don’t know what the original Hebrew and Greek really meant. I would really appreciate your input and help. Thanks. Dwayne

    Comment by Dwayne Gaeddert | November 9, 2013 | Reply

  131. I have a question: among some of the mistranslations of the Bible, I’ve heard that Matt. 28:20 has been mistranslated from “[i will be with you to the end of the] aeon” to ‘[i will be with you to the end of the] world”. I’ve heard that the phrase is supposed to end in the world “age”. If that’s true, then what about that along with the other astrological references in the Bible? Are they authentic too?

    Comment by Jacob | December 8, 2013 | Reply

  132. what do you think of the translations in Exodus 21:22? Specifically, “yeled” and “yatsa'” ?

    Comment by Eric | December 16, 2013 | Reply

  133. Normally I take “yatza” as “goes out,” “comes out,” “goes forth (towards wherever).”
    Looking at Exodus 21:22 (and the earlier Genesis 31:18), it looks as if it might also be a euphemism (like the modern “passing”) for “dying.”

    I take “yeled” as “child” or “someone who’s been born,”
    sometimes an adolescent accompanying a parent, sometimes a childrecently born: “a newborn baby.” I can’t see any other Biblical usage where it might mean an “unborn child” and the more I think about it, the more I doubt that that’s what’s going on here.

    I think that what’s going on here is that the pregnant woman gives birth and the yeled (born child) emerges and dies (yatza) but but the woman herself isn’t hurt.

    –Lee Gold

    Comment by Lee Gold | December 16, 2013 | Reply

  134. Dr. Hoffman,

    I was wondering if you have done any posts on James 5:14-16. I’ve been doing a little digging, trying to resolve to a few questions I have, but my Greek is poor and – given the differing translations of verse 16b – I must assume the grammar is complex. Also there seem to be some key differences between the extant manuscripts (shown conveniently for comparison here: http://www.greeknewtestament.com/B59C005.htm). For example, in verse 15 the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority have ta paraptōmata where the Alexandrian and Hort and Westcott have tas harmartias.

    I was hoping you had already done some study on these verses – perhaps even posted on the topic – but I could not find any such post. So, I was hoping you might at least have an opinion. Here are my questions:
    • Does “sick” mean physically sick?
    John MacArthur does not believe so (“I am convinced that the thrust of this passage has nothing to do with healing physical sickness or disease. The focus is healing spiritual weakness, weariness, and depression, which calls for prayer.” http://www.gty.org/resources/positions/P09/when-the-healing-doesnt-come), nor does Ladd (A Theology of the New Testament, rev. ed. Eerdmans, 1974, 1993. Page 636), but Grudem (Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Zondervan, 1994. Page 1065) clearly has no compulsion seeing it as referring to physical illness and healing.
    • Is there any warrant for the use of “fervent” in verse 16?
    This seems to require using ischuei or energoumen¬ē twice, once for “fervent” and once for “availeth.” Alternatively, it might be justified based on BDAGs first usage of deēsis, which is something like (sorry, I don’t have it in front of me right now) “an earnest request to meet an urgent need.”
    • Whose sins should be confessed to whom, and do we actually mean sins here?
    There seems to be a correlation in the text between confession, forgiveness, and righteousness (perhaps that’s a figment of my imagination), which could suggest that the emphasis is on the elders confessions, although allēlois seems much more inclusive than that. But regardless of whom, the question of what still remains; is it ta paraptōmata or tas harmartias, and are these general acknowledgements of sinfulness of specific incidents?

    Well, those are my questions. I’d love to see a post on them. I would think the usage of “fervent” falls into your declared interest of translations and mistranslations at least.

    Yours truly,

    Andrew Sturt

    Comment by Andrew Sturt | March 17, 2014 | Reply

  135. I have been doing some research on the LXX, and what I knew about it before reading up on it was that it was a clumsy translation. However, most of the things I have come across recently say that the LXX is in agreement with some Dead Sea Hebrew OT manuscripts, and that these findings make the LXX more reliable than the Masoretic text. I’m interested in the actual evidence and justification for this.

    What parts agree with the LXX that disagree with the MT? Is there any possibility that these Dead Sea manuscripts could have used the LXX as a source text and not the other way around? To me, the Hebrew in the Masoretic seems much more nuanced and idiomatic than what I imagine a Hebrew text similar to the LXX would be–seeing as how the LXX comes off very dull and flat. Also, is the MT a Pharisaic corruption of older Hebrew manuscripts or is it the preservation of such texts?

    If anyone could weigh in, it would be much appreciated.

    Comment by George M | April 28, 2014 | Reply

  136. Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Exekiel all use the word ‘min’ (‘kind’) as some way of classifying animals & plants. It’s very easy to assume it’s an exact match for a high school biology understanding of ‘species’. But do we have a good picture of what it actually meant? I somehow suspect it wasn’t that specific (excuse the pun!).

    Comment by Peter Parslow | June 27, 2014 | Reply


    Approach > Desire > Action

    My understanding, chamad means “approach”, “go near”. It is a step prior to “desire” and “action”. When you go near something desirable, there is a big possibility that you will really desire it, you can’t control your desire and you can’t help yourself taking it or doing something evil.

    Don’t even go near the net, you will be trapped
    Pro 12:12 The wicked chamad (approach) the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit

    Don’t even go near your neighbour’s wife, don’t even go near fornication

    Eve approached the tree, then she desired it
    Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be approached (chamad) to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

    Approach is different from “pursue”. When you pursue something, you already have desired it. Approach is something more neutral emotion.
    – approach : come near or nearer to (someone or something) in distance.
    – pursue : follow (someone or something) in order to catch or attack them.

    Comment by agastautsava | March 11, 2015 | Reply

  138. I’m not sure I agree with your understanding of the Hebrew, but I’m willing to be educated. The way I read it, the word in question (nechmad – a participle) is meant to convey the idea that the appearance of the tree was seductive, attractive, or appealing. I can find no other translation (including my own) that conveys the semantics you describe in your note. Am I missing something?


    Comment by mtp1032 | March 13, 2015 | Reply

  139. Isaiah chapter 53 verse 10
    Does the Hebrew word ( zera) in Isaiah 53:10 mean biological children OR metaphorical children?
    And why do you believe so?
    Thank you so much SIR.

    Comment by Mr.T | February 23, 2016 | Reply

  140. I have a question about the Psalms 45:14 (sometimes verse 13): כָּל-כְּבוּדָּה בַת-מֶלֶךְ פְּנִימָה

    Often the translation is given as “All of the honor of the daughter of the King is within”, but that doesn’t fit the context very well in my opinion. I’ve seen this translation mostly in the context of discussions on modesty, for example this article: http://www.aish.com/ci/w/48964691.html

    Other translations I have seen include “All glorious is the king’s daughter within the palace” (JPS translation, http://mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2645.htm#14) and “Of riches all, the king’s daughter, Penima” (translation to English of the German “An Schätzen alles, des Königs Tocher, Penima” by Naftali Herz Tur-Sinai 1954).

    How would you translate the phrase?

    Comment by tuxeliana | March 17, 2016 | Reply

    • forgot, the Tur-Sinai translation has a note that ‘pnmw’ has been found as the name of a Canaanite king in inscriptions, so this is why he translated it as a name.

      Comment by tuxeliana | March 17, 2016 | Reply

  141. I made a comment to a Facebook friend that there are occasional differences between the Masoretic text and recently discovered texts of the Hebrew bible. Looking back at your book, “In the Beginning”, I think that I may remember incorrectly. In that book, you show a difference in Deut. 31:1, but I don’t see any other reference to the Torah itself. All of the other references are from the Writings and the Prophets. Is the Leningrad Codex and the DSS essentially exactly the same when it comes to Torah? And is the DSS still the oldest text? And you mention difference branches of the Masoretic movement. Are all of their texts the same?
    (I’ve already retracted my offhand remark to fb. Now, I am just curious if anything has changed since publication.)

    Comment by marian42 | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  142. Dr. Hoffman,
    Have you ever commented on Solomon Zeitlins’s contention that the Dead Sea Scrolls are of early medieval, Karaitic origin?

    Rabbi Morton Kaplan

    Comment by Morton Kaplan | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  143. I read with interest “The bible doesn’t say that” and must say I disagreed with just about everything I read. You use the wrong bible. Only the King James is correct. There is only 1 rule book in sports and 1 rule book in life. God is not the author of confusion. I would not use the other (per) versions. The bible needs no interpretation. It interprets itself. You take verses literally until you can’t take them literally anymore. I’m glad I’m saved and God has given me insight to His book. It’s just that simple.

    Comment by chris mcgee | June 16, 2016 | Reply

    • I have next to no understanding of the idea that communication doesn’t require interpretation, even very specific or assigned pieces of it, because seemingly obvious and concrete rules like ‘Imported fruit faces a higher level of tariff than imported vegetables.’ eventually involve the Supreme Court of a nation as legalistic and overreaching as the USA in deciding that while tomatos are a fruit in the biological, botanical sense, most people actually think of them in their everyday lives and in their informal speech as vegetables, and our culinary behaviors and sales systems have always handled it as a vegetable, and therefore, at least as far as the tax code is concerned, in the US, tomatos are vegetables.
      I’m not kidding. That’s an actual case argued before and decided by the SCOTUS.
      My point isn’t a civics lesson, but to provide an example that even something seemingly trivial and ‘concrete’ can legitimately be interpreted by very adept and diverse and capable minds. For me, the idea that any communication, religious or otherwise, ‘needs no interpretation’ goes against the reality of what two minds communicating or attempting to communicate are actually doing during the process.
      But let’s assume I’m wrong there, for the sake of the discussion, and that you’re right in that the KJV bible ‘interprets itself’. Why do you believe this? I don’t mean about biblical reliability overall, I mean about the KJV. Why is that version, alone among the thousands which have ever been written, the one free from the inherent and structural bias and limitations in scope of every other religious text written with the hands of men but by the inspiration of Heaven?
      I ask this honestly, I don’t know the details here.

      Comment by Travis Shane Smith | May 4, 2019 | Reply

  144. Well, that settles it then.


    Comment by Michael | June 16, 2016 | Reply

  145. I’m curious about 1 John 3:16,17,18. They just don’t sound right with the KJV. Any input?

    Comment by Liz | June 9, 2017 | Reply

  146. Year after year, since I was a child, vicars and priests and pastors told me with cheery or stern conviction that Jesus was born of a virgin. With Christmas round the corner, I dread another round of nativity narrative theologoumenons, things stated as fact which may well be fancy or worse, deception. All those beautiful hymns and stirring liturgies: a veritable walled city of certainty! But the certitude seems frayed. Its just confusing. Add to that, our favourite naysayer Bart Ehrmann and fellow sceptical scholars declare that this virgin stuff just ain’t so. (Of course Ehrmann wasn’t the first to cast doubt on the virgin birth, but he certainly managed to bring the debate into the public arena). But even if we dismiss agnostic/atheist scholars like Ehrmann, the battle lines seem drawn between defiant evangelical inerrantists and the cautious text criticism scholars… Christians disagreeing on this important issue. It sets the head spinning. I become cynical precisely because of these conundrums (I mean, Jesus is the Truth, according to his followers, but they can’t even agree on his paternity, or if his mother was a virgin, whether there were three wise men or three kings or none at all, whether the Saviour was born in Bethlehem or not, whether the gold Frankincense and myrrh were a bit of creative licence, whether the star above the stable was not a detail added later, the murder of the innocents ahistorical.. it seems the deeper one digs the darker the hole becomes.

    Comment by Scott Harrison | October 20, 2018 | Reply

  147. Dr. Hoffman during a sermon recently the preacher said something to the effect: The ten commandments are correctly translated “Thou shalt not (or should not)”. They went on to say the text could legitimately read “Thou wouldst not” – the point being made is that God was providing both a moral code and a statement of fact – His people would not even conceive of doing these ten things. Is this valid? I have not been able to find a source for this assertion. Thank you.

    Comment by Howard Edwards | August 24, 2019 | Reply

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