Hebrewisms of the Bible:
Hebrew Idioms of the New Testament:
An Idiom is the language of a peculiar group of people.
1. Why did the Father draw to His Son, men who were more or less uneducated, and of a poorer class? These men became the instruments of the most amazing revolution in the religion of mankind.
2. Why did the Holy Spirit choose to deliver the important truths of God in the common street language of a few Galileans? Why did He not use the language of the well educated, or of the advanced strains of the Greeks?
The answer to both the above questions is the same. He did so that it might appear without any question, or doubt, that the fullness of and the truths of the gospel message were from God and God alone.
A large portion of the construction and the phrases of the New Testament are that of the Greek which was spoken in Macedonia. Because of this, the language of the N.T. will obtain illustrations from the classic Greek writers’, and from comparing carefully the Sept. version of the Old Testament.
Also in the New Testament there occur words that express both doctrines and practices which were unknown to the then known Greek language. Also many words in Scripture held a widely different interpretation from those found in ancient Greek writings.
The New Testament contains examples of all the dialects of the Greek language.
1. Aeolic: This was a group of dialects of ancient Greek, spoken by the Aeolians.
2. Boeotic: This is an Aeolic dialect of ancient Greek, used by the Boeotians.
3. Doric. This was a dialect of ancient Greek spoken in southern and eastern Peloponnesus, the Isthmus of Corinth and some of the southern most Aegean islands. The Islands being Crete, Rhodes, the southwest coast of Asia minor and several colonial areas, especially Sicily and southern Italy. It was also used in Greek literature, especially by the Greek poets Pindar, and Theocritus.
4. Ionic. This was a dialect of ancient Greek used in Ionia.
5. Attic or Athenian: This was a dialect of ancient Greek that was originally used in Attica and became the literary language of the entire Greek speaking world.
Not only do we have to consider the Hebrew idioms being translated into the different Greek dialect, but also the Rabbinical, Syriac, Persian, Latin, and other idioms and words found there.
Rabbinisms: during and subsequent to the Babylonian captivity, the Jewish language sustained considerable changes. New words, new sentences and new expressions were introduced, especially terms of science. Moses and Isaiah would have had little if any knowledge of these things.
This new Hebrew language is called Talmukical or Rabbinical from the writings in which it is used. Although these writings are of a much later date than the N.T., yet from the coincidence of expressions, it is not improbable that even in the time of Christ, this was the language of the Rabbin’s.
Syriac is a Syrian language; Chaldean refers to Babylon, the people and the language. Both languages and their modes of expressions, and their dialect were used by the Jews in the time of Christ. They branched into two dialects, differing in pronunciation rather than in words. The east Aramaean or Chaldean was spoken at Jerusalem and Judaea. It was used by the Lord in His familiar discourses and conversations with the Jews. The West Aramaean was spoken in Galilee of the Gentiles.
Now because of this it was natural that numerous Chaldee and Syriac words, phrases, and terms of expressions would be intermixed in the Greek N.T. These words and phrases are not to be found in the Septuagint and the existence of these Chaldaisms and Syriasms is strong intrinsic proof and evidence of the genuineness and authenticity of the N.T.
If the N.T. were free of these idioms, we might naturally conclude that it was not written either by men of Galilee, or Judea, and therefore not genuine. Peter’s speech betrayed him to be a Galilean when Jesus stood before the Jewish tribunal. Certainly the written language of Peter who was born, educated, worked and lived in Galilee, would leave marks on his epistles concerning his native tongue, therefore betraying or confirming him to be a Galilean.
Following are some of the principal Aramaean of Chaldean, and Syriac words occurring in the N.T.
1. Romans 8:15, “Abba” = (Father).
2. Aceldama, Acts 1:19, “the field of blood.”
3. Armageddon, Revelation 16:16, “the mountain of Megiddo.”
4. Bethesda, John 5:2, “the house of mercy.”
5. Cephas, John 1:42, “a rock or stone.”
6. Corban, Mark 7:11, “a gift, or offering dedicated to God.”
7. Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabacthani, Matthew 27:46, “my God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me?”
8. Ephphatha, Mark 7:34, “be thou opened.”
9. Mammon, Matthew 6:24, “riches.”
10. Maran atha, 1 Corinthians 16:22, “the Lord cometh.”
11. Raca, Matthew 5:22, “thou worthless fellow!”
12. Talitha Cumi, Mark 5:41, “maid arise!”
Lets compare a few Hebrew words and forms of expressions with those which occur in a Greek set form of words, especially those words which are used in a ceremony or ritual, and particularly in doctrinal passages.
As all languages have some modes of speech which are common to each other, it sometimes happens that the same word or expression is both Hebrew and Greek gives a proper meaning, whether we take it in a Hebrew or a Greek sense. But in such cases, it is preferable to adopt that meaning that a native of the land = (Jews) would give it. It is most likely that the writers of Scripture had this in view rather than the Greek meaning.
For example the expression found in,
John 8:24, “Ye shall die in your sins,” if explained according to the Greek Idiom is equivalent to, “ye shall persevere in a course of sinful practice to the end of your lives:” But according to the Hebrew Idiom, it not only means a physical, or temporal death, but also eternal death, and is equivalent to, “ye shall be damned on account of your sins in rejecting the Messiah.” The latter interpretation therefore, is preferable as agreeing best with the Hebrew thinking, and also with the context.
This rule applies particularly to the doctrinal passages of the N.T. which must in all cases be interpreted according to the way of thinking of the Hebrews, and according to their ancient language. So to, “fear God” in the language of the Jew, means to reverence, or worship God.
The knowledge of God, which is so frequently mentioned in the N.T. if taken according to the Hebrew idiom, implies not only the mental knowledge of God, but the worship and reverence of Him which flows from it, and consequently it is both theoretical and practical knowledge of God. The reason for this rule is obvious.
1. The apostles, being the first teachers of Christianity, were Jews, who having been educated in the Jewish religion and language; and who with the exception of Paul were for the most part uneducated, therefore unacquainted with the finer points of the Greek, this at the time when they had been called to the apostolic office. Therefore because of this shortfall, they could only express themselves in the style and manner familiar to their countrymen.
2. The religion taught in the N.T. agrees with that delivered in the O.T. of which it is but a continuation. In the Old, the ritual worship was ordered by the Law of Moses, but is now succeeded by a spiritual, or internal form of worship in the New. The legal dispensation is now succeeded by the Gospel dispensation, in which what at first was imperfect and obscure, has now become perfect and clear.
Things that are continued are substantially the same, or of a similar nature. The expression, “to come to God,” occurs both in the Old and the N.T. In the Old it simply means to go up to the temple; in the New, it is continued so that what was once imperfect, now becomes perfect, and now implies a mental, or spiritual approach unto the Most High, and also the spiritual worship of God.
In like manner since the many particulars related in the O.T. concerning the sacrificed victims, the priests, and the temple are now transferred in the N.T. to the atoning death of Christ, to the offering of Himself unto death and to the Christian church, the veil of figure being withdrawn.
The force and beauty of these expressions cannot be perceived, or can their meaning be reduced to a certainty, unless we interpret the doctrinal parts of the N.T. by, and with the aid of the Old.
The most elegant of the language and the most generally used was that of Attic. It is broad stroked in every book of the N.T. Attic with its poetic dialect was used by extensively by Paul. Examples follow.
1. Acts 17:28, “For in Him = (Christ) we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets = (Greek poets) have said, For we are also his offspring.”
2. 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Be not deceived; evil communications (evil company corrupts) corrupt good manners = (habits.)”
3. Titus 1:12, “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cre-tians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies (lazy gluttons.)”
Because the writers of the New Testament. were Jews, they were acquainted with both the Hebrew Idioms, and the common language of the people. Therefore when they used a Greek word, one corresponding to a Hebrew word, having like signification, they employed it in the Hebrew sense, the word or Idiom having either a common or appropriated sense.
Following are some Hebrewisms found principally in the New Testament. An example such as, “To be called,” “To arise,” or, “To be found,” to the Jew meant the same as, “To be.” For example “to be called,” in the following verses means in the Hebrew way of speaking, “To be:”
1. Matthew 5:9, “They shall be called the children of God.” Or, they are, to be, the children of God.
2. Matthew 5:19, “he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” Or, he is, to be the least in the kingdom of heaven.”
3. 1 John 3:1, “That we should be called the sons of God.” Or, “We are “to be” the sons of God.
The same applies to the word “arise.” In all places where the word arise in the O.T. appears, it means no other than actual being, or existing, this according to Hebrew idiom.
1. 2 Samuel 11:20, “If the king’s wrath arise.” Or, wrath already exists in the king.
2. Esther 4:14, “Enlargement and deliverance shall arise to the Jews.” Or, enlargement and deliverance already exists to the Jew.
3. Proverbs 24:22, “Their calamity shall arise suddenly.” Or, their calamity already exists.
So the idea of the word, “arise,” to the Jew when used in the N.T., signifies also no other than actual being, or existing.
1. Luke 24:38, “Why do thoughts arise in your hearts?” Or, “Why are they there?”
2. Matthew 24:24, “There shall arise false Christ’s,: Or,
“there shall actually be at that time such persons according to my prediction.”
“To be found,” has the same importance, with the above mentioned expressions, and according to the O.T, one is put for the other. “To be found,” is equivalent to “was.”
1. 1 Samuel 25:28, “Evil hath not been found in thee.” Or, “evil “was” not in thee.”
2. 2 Chronicles 19:3, “good things found in thee.” Or, good things exists in thee.”
3. Isaiah 51:3, “Joy and gladness shall be found therein.” Or, “was therein.”
4. Daniel 5:12, “An excellent spirit was found in Daniel.”
In the N.T., “To be found,” in imitation of the above form of Hebraism, is, “to be.”
1. Luke 17:18, “There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. Or, none were to be found to give glory, etc.
2. “Acts 5:39, “Lest haply ye be found to fight against God.”
3. 1 Corinthians 4:2, “That a man be found faithful:
4. “Philippians 2:8, “Being found in fashion as a man.”
5. Hebrew 11:5, “Enoch was not found,” which is the same as, “enoch was not,” is seen from comparing this with, Genesis 5:24, to which Hebrews 11:5 refer.
6. 1 Peter 2:22, “Neither was guile found in his mouth.” This is taken from,
Isaiah 53:9, “Neither was there any deceit = (guile) in his mouth.” So it appears in these, as well as other texts, “to be found,” is equivalent to, “was.”
In the prophetic writings especially of the N.T. verbs expressive of a person’s doing and action are often used to signify their imagining something to exist, or to be true, or of the discovering and acknowledging of facts, or of persons declaring and foretelling of future events. Example,
Matthew 10:39, “He that finds his life shall lose it,” means, he that expects to save his life by abandonment of what has been professed in God, shall now lose his eternal life.
1 Corinthians 3:18, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.” This is equivalent to, strip yourself of your worldly wisdom, be content to be called a fool, and become wise unto salvation, seeking that which comes from God.
Isaiah 6:9-10, “Go and tell this people = (the Jew,) hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat (dull,) and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes;” Interpreted; This foretells of the ruin of the Jewish people.
Acts 10:15, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” God had made a distinction between the Jew, and the Gentile’s at first. The Jews’ had been declared clean, and the Gentiles’ to be unclean. God now removes this distinction, and declares all people to be clean. The good news of Jesus Christ was now to be preached among all men.
Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
Luke 14:32, “But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”
How were these verses to be understood by the apostles? Neither man, or angels, or Jesus Himself has permission to make know this hidden truth. Jesus had come to finish the work, and to do the will of His Father, and nothing else. His manifestation, His coming, was to seek and to save the lost. He finished the work of redemption, and returned to the right hand of His Father. Beyond this, no further knowledge was to be given us.
Negative verbs are often put for a strong positive affirmation. As in;
1. Psalms 84:11, “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” This means, He will give them all good things.
2. Romans 4:19, “being not weak in the faith,” means, being strong in the faith.
3. John 14:18, “I will not leave you comfortless,” means, I will both protect and give you a most solid comfort.
The privilege of the first-born among the Jew is of extreme importance, carrying many privileges, and responsibilities. He, or it, that is first-born, is head, or chief, having, or taking preference over anything, or anyone in a family; the firstborn having an eminent role in the things pertaining to the family.
Genesis 49:3, Jacob said to his sons, “Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.”
But Jacob also said speaking of Reuben, “Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed.” Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn, now because he had committed fornication with his father’s wife, Reuben had forfeited all the privileges of his birthright. Judah was now given all the privileges of the firstborn.
In Job 18:13, “The firstborn of death shall devour his strength.” This is a personification full of poetical horror. Bil-dad is saying, Job is dying; he is seized by the first-born of death, or the most deadly disease that death has ever produced.
Isaiah 14:30, “The firstborn of the poor shall feed.” The firstborn of the poor denotes those who are extremely poor and unhappy, this from grief, sickness, pain, etc.
Psalms 89:27, “I = (the Father) will make him = (Jesus) my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” Jesus shall become the most eminent of kings, “the King of Kings.”
Romans 8:29, “For whom He = (the Father) did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Jeremiah 31:9, The LORD said, “I am a Father to Israel, and E-phra-im is my first-born.”
Ephraim having gone astray, was no longer worthy to be called a son by God. Yet again they shall be called a son.
1. Exodus 4:22-23, “Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me.” God serves this notice on all people, for all time. “Let my son (Israel) go, that he may serve me.” So of the elect church,
1 Corinthians 6:18, “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.”
Colossians 1:15, Speaks of Jesus, “Who is the image of the invisible God (the Father,) the firstborn (first in rank) of every creature.”
Colossians 1:18, “He = (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church.”
Hebrews 12:23, “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn.”
The words son, sons, and children have various peculiar meanings.
The “sons or children of Belial,” so often spoken of in the O.T. represent wicked men, those who are good for nothing, also those who live outside the law, being governed by nothing, or by no person.
Ephesians 2:2, “Ye walked according to the course (age) of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.”
Children of light are those who have been, and are enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
1. Luke 16:8, “The children of light.”
2. John 12:36, Jesus said, “While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.”
3. Ephesians 5:8, “Walk as children of light.”
As the children of hell, Matthew 23:15, Jesus speaking to the Scribes and Pharisees said, “Ye make him (new converts) twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”
Children of wrath: 1. Ephesians 2:3, “Were by nature the children of wrath.”
2. 3 John 17, “The son of perdition.” This speaks of one who is worthy of ruin or destruction.
3. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, “there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” This title has been applied to Judas, the anti-Christ, and the second beast, he coming out from the earth. Antichrist is that man of sin, one who exalts himself above all that is worshipped, including the Lord Jesus.
A son of peace:
1. Luke 10:6. The son of peace is one that is worthy of peace.
2. Matthew 10:13, “If the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it:”
The children of a place are the inhabitants of it.
Ezra 2:1, “The children of the province — came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city.”
Psalms 149:2, “Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.”
Jeremiah 2:16, “the children of Noph and Tahapanes.”
So the word daughter is likewise used,
1. 2 Kings 19:21, “The virgin, the daughter of Zion hath despised thee.”
2. Psalms 137:8, “O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed.”
3. Lamentations 2:13, “O virgin daughter of Zion.”
4. Zechariah 2:10, “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion,” the city being as a mother, and the inhabitants of it taken collectively as her daughter. An example of this is found in,
1. Revelation 21:2, “New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” means, the holy city is as a mother, the inhabitants of it are the Bride of Christ prepared by the Father, to be presented to the husband which is Jesus Christ.
2. Galatians 4:26, “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” This verse speaks of the children of the promise which are those who embrace and believe in the promises of the gospel.
3. Heb.11:10, “For he = (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
4. 2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
Psalms 4:2, “O ye sons of men,” these are no more than men. Christ is often called the Son of man, as he is a man.
Genesis 6:2, “the sons of God saw,” are those who are of the professors of religion. So also in the N.T. they are of the church; and so sons of God by profession.
Matthew 5:45, “That you may be children of your Father which is in heaven.” These are Christian’s such as imitate Jesus, and are governed by Him.
1 John 3:10, “In this the children of God are manifest.” Also, “the children of the devil,” are men called for the same reason.
Father is to be understood in the same sense,
1. John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” Those who are inventors of any thing, or instruct others, they are called their father, as in,
2. Genesis 4:20, “Adar bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.”
The word, “name,” is frequently used as synonymous with persons. So to believe on the name of Jesus:
1. John 1:12, “As many as received him = (Jesus) to them gave he power — even to them that believe on His name.”
2. John 3:18, “He that believeth on Him = (Jesus) is not condemned.”
3. John 20:31, “Believing ye might have life through = (in) His name.” Again, name is used as synonymous with persons,
4. Acts 1:15, “The number of names together were about an hundred and twenty.”
5. Revelation 3:4, “Thou hast a few names — which have not defiled their garments.”
In the same manner, “soul,” is put for a person.
1. Matthew 12:18, “In whom my soul is well pleased,” means, “in whom I am well pleased.”
2. Genesis 12:13, “Thou art my sister, — and my soul shall live because of thee.” Or, “I will live.”
3. Genesis 19:20, “My soul shall live.”
4. Psalms 106:15, “Sent leanness into their soul.”
5. Job 16:4, “I would speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead.”
6. Proverbs 25:25, “As cold water to a thirsty = (weary) soul.”
7. Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.”
8. Hebrews 10:38, “if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
As the Jews had but few adjectives in their language, they had recourse to substantives in order to supply their place. Substantive means; of, relating to, or being something totally independent, or real rather than apparent.
So we find kingdom and glory used to denote a glorious kingdom.
1. 1 Thessalonians 2:12, “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory.”
2. 1 Thessalonians 1:3, “patience of hope,” means, patient expectations.
3. 2 Thessalonians 1:9, “glory of His power,” means, glorious power.
So circumcision and uncircumcision mean a circumcised and uncircumcised man.
1. 1 Corinthians 16:22, “Anathema,” means an excommunicated member of a church.
2. 1 Corinthians 14:32, “the spirits of the prophets,” means the spiritual gifts of the prophets.
When one substantive governs another, in the genitive, one of them is sometimes used as an adjective.
1. Colossians 1:22, “In the body of his flesh.” means, in his fleshly body.
2. Colossians 3:14, “Bonds of perfection,” means, a perfect bond.
3. Ephesians 6:12, “Spiritual wickedness,” means wicked spirits.
4. Romans 7:6, “Newness of life,” means a new life.
When two substantives are joined together by the copulative “and,” the one frequently governs the other as in,
1. Daniel 3:7, “All the people, the nations, and the languages,” means, people of all nations and languages.
2. Acts 23:6, “The hope and resurrection of the dead,” means the hope of the resurrection of the dead.
3. Colossians 3:8, “Philosophy and vain deceit,” mean, false and deceitful philosophy.
4. 2 Timothy 1:10, “Hath brought life and immortality to light,” means to bring immortal life to light.
5. John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” means, I am the true and living way.
It is important to observe that in the original, nouns in the genitive case, sometimes express the object, and sometimes the agent.
1. Matthew 9:35, “The gospel of the kingdom,” means, good news concerning the kingdom.
2. 1 Timothy 4:1, “Doctrines of devils,” means, doctrines concerning demons. The faith of Christ often denotes the faith which the Lord Jesus directed for us. The righteousness of God sometimes means, His personal perfection, and sometimes that righteousness which He requires of His people.
Colossians 2:11, “The circumcision of Christ,” means the circumcision enjoined by Christ.
The Hebrews used the word living, to express the excellence of the thing to which it is applied. Thus, living water, living stones, living way, living oracles, mean excellent water, excellent stones, an excellent way, and excellent oracles.
The Jews having no superlatives in their language employed the words of God, in order to denote the greatness or excellency of a thing. Superlative means, of, relating to, or constituting the degree of grammatical comparison that means an extreme or unsurpassed level or extent, also surpassing all others, supreme, excessive, etc.
1. Gen.13:10, “The garden of the Lord,” is a beautiful garden.
2. 1 Samuel 26:12, “A sleep from the Lord,” is a very deep sleep.
3. 2 Chronicles 14:14, “The fear of the Lord,” is a very great fear.
4. Psalms 36:6, “The mountains of God,” are exceeding high mountains.
5. Psalms 80:10, “The tallest cedars,” mean’s the cedars of God.
6. Exodus 9:28, “The voice of God,” can be rendered, “mighty thunderings,” superlatively, “loud thunder.” Compare also the sublime description of the effects of thunder, or, “the voice of God.” Psalms 29: 3 through 8,
1. “The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thunders,”
2. “The voice of the Lord is powerful: the voice of the Lord is full of majesty,”
3. “The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars; yea, the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.”
4. “The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire.”
5. “The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.”
Following are a few commentaries that I have found concerning the verses in,
1. Psalms 29, the phenomena of nature are made to exhibit the glory and majesty of the one who created it. This theme to give glory to the Lord and it calls upon “the sons of the mighty, among man,” and, “the gods of the earth: who must all, “die like men,” to worship their Creator.
2. Psalms 82:6-7, They are invited to listen to His voice as it thunders through the heavens, then come and worship, “In His glorious sanctuary,” every part and every article in it speaks of His glory and of His grace. Therefore, when we read and study these verses, we can recollect that the thunderbolts of the Almighty often convey His call to man; a call to meet Him at His judgment bar.
Jeremiah 10:13, “When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings with rain, and brings forth the wind out of His treasures.” Here the production of rain, when there is lighting, is alluded to. The same mode of expression occurs in the N.T.
Acts 7:20, Moses is said to be fair to God, or, as it is correctly rendered, “exceeding fair.” Because Moses was sanctified from his mother’s womb, this made him beautiful in God’s eyes.
2 Corinthians 10:4, “The weapons of our warfare are termed, “Mighty through God,” the doctrines of Christ’s gospel coming to Christian’s through His Holy Spirt, are mighty indeed.
According to the Hebrew idiom, a sword has a mouth, or the edge of the sword is called a mouth.
1. Luke 21:24, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations.”
2. Hebrews 11:34, they shall by the mouth, (or as our translators have rendered it,) by “the edge of the sword,” escaped. The Greek has it, “the mouths of the sword.”
The word “edge” must be clarified, as it is a Hebrew phraseology. Its meaning is, by the mouth of men. The idea of a two edged or double-edged sword as seen in,
Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, etc.” In the Hebrew understanding, when the word of God is read and/or heard, it will enter a man as nothing else can. It will cause a proud spirit to become humble, and a corrupt spirit to become meek, and obedient to God’s will follows.
Compare the following, to verify the Hebrew phraseology of, “two edged sword.”
1. Judges 3:16, “Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges.” He then went to the king of Moab. Verse 21, and Ehud took the two edged sword, “and thrust it into his (the king’s) belly.”
2. Psalms 149:6-7, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand: to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people.”
3. Proverbs 5:3-4-5, “For the lips of a strange woman (immoral woman) drop as an honeycomb = (drip honey,) and her mouth is smother than oil: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold of hell.”
Isaiah 49:2, “He = (God) hath made my mouth like a sharp sword.” So the idea of a sword, single or double edged has both a literal, and spiritual meaning. One can cut the flesh, the other can cut into a man’s soul and spirit.
The verb, “to know,” frequently in the N.T. denotes to approve.
1. Matthew 7:23, Jesus said to those who profess a false form of Christianity, a different gospel, “I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” It means, I never approved you, you workers of iniquity. These shall receive the greater damnation. A similar construction occurs in,
2. 1 Corinthians 8:3, “If any man love God, the same is known of him.”
3. Romans 7:15, where Paul said, “For that which I do I allow = (understand) not: for what I would, that do I not: but what I hate, that do I.”
In Corinthians 8:3, “If any man love God, the same is know of him,” known can mean approved. As for Romans, compare with,
Psalms 1:6, “For the LORD knows the way of the righteous.” Again knows, can be translated “approved.”
To hear means to understand, to attend to, and to regard what is said. Illustrations can be found by comparing the following verses. Comp.
Deuteronomy 18:15, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee of thy brethren like unto me; unto him ye shall harken.” Compare with Acts 3:23, “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear = (understand) that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” See Also,
Matthew 17:5, “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: hear = (understand) ye Him.” Compare with,
1. Matthew 11:15, Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” or regard what is said.
2. Matthew 13:16, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”
3. Luke 8:8, “When He (Jesus) had said these things, He cried, he that hath ears to hear, let him hear = (understand.)”
The Hebraisms of the N.T. are to be compared with the Greek which occurs in the Sept.
As the Hebraisms occurring in the O.T. are uniformly rendered in the Sept. this translation may be considered as a commentary and exposition of those passages, also as conveying the sense of the Jewish nation, this concerning their meanings. It ought to be consulted in those passages of the N.T. in which the writers have rendered the language literally. In,
1 Corinthians 15:24, death is said to be, “swallowed up in victory,” this is quoted from Isaiah 25:8. The Hebrew words mean, “forever without end, or incessantly, and as the Septuagint sometimes renders it, “in victory,” but more commonly “forever.” The general feeling is that the later belongs. Therefore it would read, “Death is swallowed up forever.”
In passages that are Greek, which are common both to the Old and the New, the corresponding words in the Hebrew O.T. are to be compared. In some cases it is not sufficient to consult the Greek only, but the Hebrew also. Such words of the Septuagint and N.T. have acquired a different meaning from what is given to them by the Greek writers, and are sometimes to be taken in a more lax, or sometimes in a more strict sense. So in,
Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5, it is said that Enoch pleased God, which in itself is very clear, and is also good Greek. But if we compare the corresponding expression in the Hebrew, its true meaning is, “that he (Enoch) walked with God.”
The Greek translators did not render the Hebrew verbatim, but, they did translate it correctly as to the sense. Enoch pleased God, because he lived habitually as in the sight of God, setting him always before his eyes in all things said, thought, or done.
In Psalms 2:1, the Septuagint reads, “Why did the nations rage?” Though this expression is proper Greek, it does not fully render the original Hebrew, which means, “Why do the nations furiously and tumultuously assemble together, or rebel?” The Septuagint does in this case come up short.
The expression, “they are not,” is good Greek, but does have a variety of meanings, such as, or indicating those who are not yet in existence, those who are already deceased, or figuratively, persons of no authority. His expression occurs both in the Sept. version of Jeremiah 31:15, and Matthew 2:18. If we compare the original Hebrew, we find that it is to be limited to those who are dead.
So it will be evident that the collation of the original Hebrew, will not only prevent us from taking words either to lax, or too strict a sense, but will also guard us against uncertainty as to their proper meaning, and will lead us to that very sense which the writer intended.
Phillip LaSpino www.seekfirstwisdom.com