Something to Brag About: Jeremiah 9:22–23 (Part 1: Conjunctions) – Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields

Lee Fields on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,.


My daughter shared with me a verse she decided to memorize as she was reading through Jeremiah. It is a great verse for God’s people to know and there are several interesting and instructional features as well.

Hebrew vs. English Versification

The first thing this verse illustrates is that versification sometimes differs between the Hebrew and the English. In this section of Jeremiah, the Hebrew numbering includes the English 9:1 as 8:23, throwing off the numbering one verse. They reunite at 10:1. This post will follow Hebrew numbering with…

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Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Gen 1:2: A Disjunctive/Offline Clause

Lee Fields on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

In last month’s blog, we looked at different ways Gen 1:1 can be understood with respect to the following verses. In this blog, we want to look at v. 2 and analyze how vv. 1–3 relate.

Of Conjunctions and Clauses

The key to identifying clauses is noting how they are joined together. There are three categories of clause connections: (1) those connected by Waw, (2) those connected by another conjunction or subordinating word, and (3) those without any conjunction whatsoever. For the conjunctions, you may like to read Hebrew for the Rest of Us, 81–85, and especially on Waw, pp. 81–82.

Waw is the king of conjunctions. It is always prefixed to a word; it…

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Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Is Gen 1:1 a Subordinate Idea or a Main Clause?

Lee Fields on 4 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Dead Sea Scroll - Isaiah ScrollThe creation stories in Genesis are fodder for the arguments of Bible believers and skeptics alike. Even Gen 1:1, one of the Bible’s most familiar verses, is not free from dispute on linguistic grounds. The traditional translation is “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

But alternatives have been offered. Here is a sampling:



At issue structurally is how v. 1 relates to vv. 2…

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Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Hebrew Poetry and Isaiah

ZA Blog on 5 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

isaiahAccording to Duvall and Hayes in Grasping God’s Word , more than one-third of the Old Testament is written in the form of poetry. (373) Modern English versions usually mark off poetry by punctuation, namely, by arranging into poetic lines rather than a continuous running text. This helps us identify poetic sections, but there is still more to understanding Hebrew poetry.

Hebrew and English poetry often use the same devises, e.g., rhyming, figures of speech, forms of parallelism, rare words or forms. But the may use them to different degrees or ways. Of course, it is oftentimes impossible to translate poetic features. Knowing some Hebrew can help us appreciate what authors…

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Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Understanding English Ps 37: Part 2

Lee Fields on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Westminster_Psalter_DavidThis post concludes a post begun last month on the verbs from the root חרה. Of interest is Ps 37 where it is translated three times with fret. Since the English word is not used much, it forms an interesting object of study.

Most major versions use the word fret in Ps 37 (NIV, NASB, ESV, NRSV, KJV). Fret means “devour, eat, rub, chafe,” and then…

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Last Chance! Biblical Languages Certificate Introductory Discounts End Soon

ZA Blog on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.


Maybe you’ve always dreamed of learning the biblical languages, but going to seminary has never been an option. Or perhaps you once knew Greek and Hebrew well, but over time, you’ve lost some of your proficiency.

When you complete the new Biblical Languages Certificate Program, you’ll be able to work with the languages the Bible was originally written in.

You’ll discover meanings you might not see in an English translation. You’ll be able to see the kinds of rhetorical devices that get lost in translation. And you’ll be prepared for advanced language study.

Understanding Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic will transform how you understand and interpret the text of God’s Word.

Last chance!

Introductory discounts end this coming Friday, September 30.

If you…

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Miles Van Pelt on Learning Biblical Hebrew Online

ZA Blog on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

We recently sat down with Miles Van Pelt to discuss learning biblical Hebrew online.

Here is what he said:

One of the things that is difficult about studying the Old Testament is it represents a culture that is far away in terms of its time and in terms of its practices.

77.3% of our Bible appears in Hebrew. So if we want to know what the Bible says, and if we want to know how to accurately communicate what the Bible says, then we will learn the language in which the vast majority of the Bible was written.

Hebrew has this way of connecting us back to that culture, connecting us back to their idiom, connecting us back to their way of thinking.

One of the great things about our day and age is that if you are in…

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Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Understanding English Ps 37: Part 1

Lee Fields on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,.


Fret is not a word people use very often, but in Ps 37 it appears three times: vv. 1, 7, 8. Most major versions use the word fret in Ps 37 (NIV, NASB, ESV, NRSV, KJV). Miriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, lists six different entries for fret. The one we are interested in is defined as “devour, eat, rub, chafe,” and then metaphorically “to cause to suffer emotional strain,” or “to become vexed or worried.”

These notions of the meaning of fret all fit the context of Ps 37:1 and 7, but v. 8 seems a little less appropriate. Verse 8 reads (NIV):

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

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Announcing the new Biblical Languages Certificate Program

ZA Blog on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.


Imagine opening a copy of the Greek New Testament or the Hebrew Bible and being able to understand what it says in the original languages. When you complete the new Biblical Languages Certificate Program, you’ll be able to do exactly that.

The Biblical Languages Certificate Program will deepen your understanding of God’s word for preaching, teaching, and personal study. You’ll gain foundational knowledge for reading and understanding the Bible in the languages it was originally written in, and you’ll be well-positioned for advanced language study.

By signing up for the Biblical Languages Certificate Program, you’ll learn the basics of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic—everything you need to begin working with the text of the Bible in the original languages.

Whether you prepare sermons, lead…

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Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Can a Person Change or Not? Jer 13:23

Lee Fields on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

A friend of mine read Jer 13:23 in the NIV and in the Amplified Bible and wondered about the apparent contradiction. This gives an opportunity to dig into a conjunction. The chart below gives the Hebrew, letters for each line in the verse, and three versions for comparison.


The NIV says that the people cannot change, while the Amplified and ESV seem to say that change is possible.

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Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields — The Tree of the Knowing Good and Evil (Gen 2:9)

Lee Fields on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,,.


Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 5.28.38 PMThis well-known verse describes the situation in the Garden of Eden before the fall. There is great theological import in all of these chapters on creation, but what concerns us here is an interesting point of grammar, the last clause, וְעֵץ הַדַּעַת טֹוב וָרָע (weʿēṣ haddaʿaṯ ṭôḇ wārāʿ)

What is the Problem?

The usual analysis of the grammar is that הַדַּעַת is a noun with the article in the construct with the next noun meaning “the knowledge of.” The difficulty with this is that if the article is used to mark the determination (or “definiteness”) in a construct chain, only the…

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Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields — When Does What Happen? Verb Shifts in Ps 24:2–6

Lee Fields on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,.


There is debate about the nature of Hebrew verbs. Are they primarily tenses, moods, or aspects? I follow the view that aspect is not the most prominent notion, but rather that time and mood are dominant (see recommended works at the end of the post).

The significance of seeing aspect as not the most prominent is reflected my choices for the names of the Hebrew tenses. The Perfect (completed action), and Imperfect (incompleted action), are really misnamed with respect to their essential import. Better is to use the form names, Qatal and Yiqtol.

To understand the Hebrew verb routine texts ought to be taken as normative. Routine is best seen in Hebrew prose. Poetry, almost by definition, uses deviations from the norm. Still,…

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