Of Heroes and Hearsay – Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields
Recently I heard on a Christian radio station a one-minute devotion on Gideon. The speaker began by pointing out the popularity of various comic book superheroes. Then he transitions into Scripture with the statement, “There is only one person called a hero in the Bible.” Then he quotes a passage: ‘The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”
The speaker created this arresting segue to hook the audience into the topic of Gideon’s being uniquely declared by God to be a hero, even though his actions in the narrative did not portray Gideon as an ideal hero. It is as though God’s declaring Gideon a hero makes him a hero able to be used by God. This is a nice devotional idea. But is the “hook” true?
The power of catchy…
7 tips for learning biblical Hebrew from Miles Van Pelt
Miles Van Pelt recently shared some tips for learning Biblical Hebrew. If you’re thinking of learning Hebrew, you’ll want to take a look at what he says. And don’t forget to check out his Biblical Hebrew online course.
When you’re studying a language, it’s always good to have a study group or a partner.
You want to do this for a number of reasons.
The first reason…
An Introduction to the Hebrew Alphabet
One of the difficulties of studying the Old Testament is that it represents a culture that’s completely foreign to us: both in terms of its time and practices. 77.3 percent of the entire Bible was originally written in Hebrew. So if we want to know what the Bible says and how to accurately communicate it, we should learn the language in which the vast majority of the Bible was written.
Understanding the Hebrew language has a way of connecting us back to that culture, back to that idiom, and back to their way of thinking. One of the great things about our day and age is that even if you can’t find a school to teach you biblical languages, then online courses can provide a unique opportunity to learn Hebrew.
In Basics of Biblical Hebrew, the Zondervan Academic online…
Something to Brag About: Jeremiah 9:22–23 (Part 3: Articles, Particles, and Verbals, Oh My!) – Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields
This month’s post concludes a post begun June 2017; please see that post for an explanation of versification. As mentioned there, this post will follow Hebrew numbering with Hebrew texts and English numbering with English texts.
Articles “A” and “The” in v. 23b–d
Hebrew and English differ in that English has both definite and indefinite articles: the and a(n), respectively. Hebrew has no indefinite article, and so it is more precise simply to say it only has the article. English translators must make choices with more options than Hebrew. The Hebrew article overlaps with English the.
The Hebrew article makes expressions definite, just as…
Something to Brag About: Jeremiah 9:22–23 (Part 1: Conjunctions) – Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields
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 Hebrew texts and English numbering with English texts.
Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Gen 1:2: A Disjunctive/Offline Clause
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…
Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Is Gen 1:1 a Subordinate Idea or a Main Clause?
The 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:
Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Hebrew Poetry and Isaiah
According 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 are doing.
In this post, let’s look at two features, sounds and…
Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Understanding English Ps 37: Part 2
This 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 metaphorically “to cause to suffer emotional strain,” or “to become vexed or worried” (Miriam-Webster’s…
Last Chance! Biblical Languages Certificate Introductory Discounts End Soon
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.
Introductory discounts end this coming Friday, September 30.
If you were to sign up for each course separately,…
Miles Van Pelt on Learning Biblical Hebrew Online
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…
Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Understanding English Ps 37: Part 1
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.
There are two difficulties with fret meaning “worried.” (1) The two nouns in the…