Let us reason together

quote-come-now-let-us-reason-together-lyndon-b-johnson-67-54-60During the Vietnam war crisis, LBJ used part of Isaiah 1:8 with the protestors who were against the USA’s involvement.  With the division among the people of faith, I thought I could use the same verse now.  But that’s the problem when using just a half a verse–you don’t have the right context. It’s not talking about about listening to each others’ viewpoint, as a kindly arbitrator, trying to be objective and compromising.  It’s talking about sin and how the LORD can settle the legal matter of our sins through cleansing.  As you read past the verse and even past the chapter, you’ll see the theme.

And then when I went into the Hebrew verb for “reason”, I found that God wasn’t trying to reason with anyone. The verb is yakakh.  It is used in the niphal form which means to correct or rebuke. In everyday parlance, that means God is telling people that they are plain wrong.  It’s not up for discussion.

יכח

To see what the verb means, let’s see how Isaiah uses this verb.

PEACE

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah 2:4

FAKE NEWS

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

Isaiah 11:3,4

MOCKING GOD

Perhaps the LORD your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, sent to mock the living God, and perhaps he will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard. So lift up a prayer for the remnant that still survives in this city.”

Isaiah 37:4

CROOKED LEADERS

Who cause a person to be indicted by a word, And ensnare him who adjudicates at the gate, And defraud the one in the right with meaningless arguments.

Isaiah 29:21

I think that the psalmist in Psalm 141:5 gives us the best way to use this verb, but it may be lost in the KJV:

Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.

Let’s look at another translation to get the sense of it in modern thought:

Let the godly strike me! It will be a kindness! If they correct me, it is soothing medicine. Don’t let me refuse it. But I pray constantly against the wicked and their deeds.

The Five Most Difficult Words in the English Language to Pronounce

When I facilitated International Business Communication classes with software developers, I would use the activity of a role-play scenario of two people: one who has hurt the other and needed to apologize. I observed senior managers stutter and hesitate, finding the five words “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” almost impossible to pronounce. To many in the Asian context, admitting that you were wrong is a sign of weakness. I also found this as a mantra in the Clinton campaign.

What has Yom Kippor, a Jewish Holiday, have to do with good business for Jews and non-Jews alike? Before Yom Kippor, Jews ask and receive forgiveness from each other. Good business is all about relationships. Employees and managers need to be trained to be first-responders in repairing not only client relationships but colleague and vendor relationships. It doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Either we choke on our self-righteousness, “I was NOT wrong” or we slink away in shame knowing that we were.

Now learn the three Hebrew words for forgiveness from this video. They are difficult in the same was as the English words.  http://www.aish.com/h/hh/video/Yom-Kippur-The-Three-Levels-of-Forgiveness.html?s=feat

YOU crown the year

I came across Tehillim (Psalm) 65:12 (11) and I thought it was perfect for Rosh HaShana, although I could find anyone else on the internet who thought so.  Rosh HaShana literally means “Head of the Year.”  In Beresheet 1:1, we the word for “In the beginning” as B’resheet.  The word resheet comes from the root word of rosh meaning head or beginning.

 

So David is saying here that the LORD crowns the year with goodness or harvest.  If you could look at Israel from an airplane right now, you could see the golden wheat ready to be harvested. It encircles Israel like a crown.  The Hebrew word for crown is like the word that we use for a woman’s crown–a tiara.  It is עטר or ATAR.  David uses this word again in Psalm 5:12, ” Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround (ATAR) them with your favor as with a shield.

 

He uses it again as a verb in Psalm 103:4, “the one who rescues your life from the pit, the one who crowns you with mercy and compassion”. 

To celebrate Rosh HaShana, I like the imagery of the LORD crowning this year, 5777, with His bounty and prosperity.  Shana Tova to you all.

How Job left his mark: The letter Tav

tav ת

The last letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called a Tav.
And it looks like this ת.
The letter Tav also means “mark” in Biblical Hebrew and the  word looks like this תו

Let’s see the word Tav תו used in Job 31:35. What word do you think means Tav תו or mark?

Oh that I had one to hear me!
Behold my signature:
let the Almighty answer me!
And let mine opponent write an accusation!

Job feels like he’s is in a legal battle. He uses Tav תו as we would an ID card, passport or credit card. So תו is translated as signature here. It could also mean his testimony or written account.  “Here’s my mark, my pledge.”  This is an official statement. Job wanted concrete evidence for his defense because he wanted to take his accusers to court. He wanted written statements from his accusers in order that he could defend himself.  He was being accused of many things, but didn’t have the accusations written and defined in order that he could deal with them.  Why did he want to go to court? He wasn’t sure the Lord was hearing his plea and dealing with his accusers, so he went to Plan B.

The KJV version translates תו”desire”–sort of misleading, don’t you think? Look at the verse for yourself:

Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.

Even one of the smallest words in Biblical Hebrew, the name for the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, can shed light on a verse for us, and in this case perhaps make Job come alive and his book easier to understand.

Perhaps you don’t read Hebrew.  And תו just looks like a mark to you.  That’s ok.  See if you can pick out תו in Job 31:35 below.

מי יתן־לי שמע לי

הן־תוי שדי יענני

וספר כתב איש ריבי׃

Oh, that I had one to hear me!
(Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!)
Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!

מי יתן־לי שמע לי

הן־תוי שדי יענני

וספר כתב איש ריבי׃

Well, you just started reading Biblical Hebrew. If you’d like to get to know the Hebrew letters, consider our E-Vreet course called Meet the Hebrew Alphabet at UDEMY  https://www.udemy.com/hebrew-alphabet-evreet/learn/#/

If you’d like to learn more two-letter words in Biblical Hebrew, thus learning how to read, consider our E-Vreet course called Learn Hebrew from the Bible, where scriptures come alive.  Visit https://www.udemy.com/aleph-bait-soup-read-biblical-hebrew-a-letter-at-a-time/learn/

 

 

Defining words in Biblical Hebrew

 

 

I monitor a Facebook group called Hebrew Learn E-Vreet.  It’s always good when members participate.  We had one member talk about the meaning of El-Shaddai.  Well, there have been many discussions on this name of God by many scholars and rabbis for hundreds of years.

But you want to know the best way to define a Hebrew word in Biblical Hebrew?  See how the Hebrew word is used in the Bible.  First, see how it is used in Genesis.  Then, in the Torah, and finally, in the Tanakh.

But the most important thing is to let the whole verse, the whole chapter speak to you.  The reason we learn Biblical Hebrew is to understand what God is trying to tell us in the Bible.  So let’s look at El-Shaddai אל שדי in the first-mention, Genesis 17:1 in the JPS translation:

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine,

the LORD appeared to Abram,

and said unto him:

‘I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou wholehearted.

El אל is the short for for Elohim אלהים .  We cover this in our course, Learn Hebrew from the Bible.

The root verb of El-Shaddai is SDD שדד

The verb is not used in Genesis.  It’s not used in the Torah.  We don’t see it until Judges.  It is used in its negative sense–to destroy.  Hebrew verbs can be used negatively or positively.  You can use strength for good or bad.  Obviously, God uses it for good.

There are no easy answers for the meaning of Shaddai.  So let’s focus on what God is trying to tell us in the verse.  He’s talking to Abram, before the name change to Abraham.  He’s directing Abram to follow Him, follow in His ways, His manner.  He asked Abram to be wholehearted.  What does that mean?  The word in Hebrew is תמים T’MIM and it means integrity, not to be of two minds–be fully engaged.

This is just a quick blog to stir your heart.  Read the whole chapter; read the chapters surrounding Genesis 17, giving you context.  And that will give you the meaning of אל שדי

By the way feel free to join our Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/evreet/

Who’s coffee is it?

Bow-care Tov בוקר טוב
Shhh, you are talking way too loud. I’m just having my first coffee קפה. Care to join me for a little Hebrew עברית while brewing your coffee קפה? (Couldn’t resist the pun.)
Today (hi-yum היום) I want to talk about how Hebrew עברית makes possessives. English makes a possessive like this:  Mano’s coffee — with the apostrophe and the letter “s”.  Sometimes we say “the coffee of Mano” although it’s a bit old-fashion.  But hold on to the old-fashion way because this way will help you understand the Hebrew method of showing ownership.
To show ownership in Hebrew.
1.  Use the old fashion English way of showing possession:
     THE COFFEE OF MANO
2.  Drop the “THE” and “OF”
     COFFEE MANO
Note:  If we leave it like this, Mano is in desperate trouble.  He doesn’t own the coffee.  Anyone could take it, and he could have a bad start to the day.  Hebrew realizes this and has a solution.  So watch the video here.  It’s a clip from the UDEMY course “Learn Hebrew from the Bible”.

Shalom, Shlomit

shlomit
The name Shlomit comes from the word Shalom which means more than peace–“peace” is only one small part of the meaning.
“Shalom” is used to both greet people in Israel and to bid them farewell, and it means much more than “peace, hello or goodbye”….
Hebrew words go beyond their spoken pronunciation. Each Hebrew word conveys feeling, intent and emotion. Shalom is more then just simply peace; it is a complete peace. It is a feeling of contentment, completeness, wholeness, well being and harmony.
In modern Hebrew, it is related to the words Shelem means to pay for and Shulam means to be fully paid.
Let’s see the root verb in action in the Tanakh in Isaiah 65:6
Behold, it is written before me:
“I will not keep silent,
but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their lap…
So where is the Shalom?  or the verb שלם? It’s there twice:

הנה כתובה לפני לא אחשה כי אם־שלמתי ושלמתי על־חיקם׃

Behold, it is written before me:
“I will not keep silent,
but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their lap…
We need to say goodbye or Shalom to Shlomit. She was killed yesterday in Israel. Unfortunately, she did not know the safety of Shalom. Israel does not know the contentment and harmony of Shalom. We pray for Shalom together now before you scroll on, ok? Amen. And let’s not keep silent. Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet

What does the word Hebrew mean?

In our UDEMY course, Learn Hebrew from the Bible, a student of mine asked this question: what does the word Hebrew mean.  As usual, students inspire teachers.

Interestingly, you won’t find the word “Hebrew” used in the Bible for the Hebrew language. Hebrew comes from the word EVRI עברי. It’s like Eber’s name in Genesis 10:12

For word origin, I always like to go to the verb because that is where the root meaning is. So that takes us to ABAR עבר.

עבר means to pass over, to cross a national border. IVRI people were sort of known as “the people who passed over from the other side.”

The best way to understand a word in Biblical Hebrew is to see how it is used in the Bible. The first time it is used is always significant. Let’s look and see for yourself:

Genesis 8:1

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind TO PASS OVER the earth, and the water subsided.

(This gives you the basic characteristic of the word.)

Genesis 12:6

Abram PASSED THROUGH the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

Genesis 14:3

And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew–now he dwelt by the terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were confederate with Abram.

(Now you see how people talk about Abram as the “overpasser” or “passerover”. It’s the same root: עבר

E-Vreet goes over this later in the course. By the way, עברית (E-Vreet) is the feminine form of עברי. The feminine form is used in Modern Hebrew to refer to the language. In Biblical Hebrew, עברית is talking about a female Hebrew. See Exodus 1:19.