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…
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 – 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…
Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Swirling Tenses in Ps 2:1–3
The Forms and Translation
The NIV, as do all the most common versions, render all the verbs of Ps 2:1–3 with the English simple present. This English tense refers to action that is portrayed generally or is repeatedly true. It does not usually portray action as currently in progress, for which English uses the progressive present tense: “are conspiring,” etc.
The Hebrew, however, shows variation. The four verbs and their tense-aspects are:
If this were a narrative text instead of poetry, one translation reflecting the tense-aspects would be
1a Why did the nations rage, 1b and…
Discover An Unexpected Spiritually Rewarding Practice for the New Year
For the past year I have had the privilege of serving as a theological and exegetical reviewer for a new Bible translation. Interacting with the original biblical languages in greater measure has been a surprisingly rich, deeply devotional endeavor.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, however, because knowing and studying the original languages can and should be a spiritually rewarding exercise. That’s the premise of a new devotional resource built on the scaffolding of biblical Hebrew.
With Devotions on the Hebrew Bible Milton Eng and Lee Fields have gifted the church a remarkable resource. Not only is it meant to encourage continued Hebrew language engagement, it’s also meant to nurture our devotional life and faith. Each of the 54 devotions “are designed to bring out…
Software Sale: Biblical Greek & Hebrew Resources Are 50% Off
Software Super Sale: Zondervan Greek and Hebrew Software is 50% off!
Explore the Old and New Testaments through the lens of their original languages! Wherever you are in the Biblical languages learning process – from beginner to scholar – you will find a resource that will propel you to the next step.
Act fast! Sale ends 12/19/15.
Here are a few recommendations:
How to Study the Bible More Completely & Worship More Deeply
“Bible study isn’t complete until it results in worship.”
Before this book I’m not sure I would have considered studying the biblical languages a devotional exercise! Yet I appreciate Fields’s point: unless our study of Scripture leads us to worship the God who authored it in full-hearted, full-throated worship our study is incomplete.
The Biblical languages provide a footbridge between complete study and deep worship, which is the two-fold aim of this book:
To encourage students and pastors to continue (or to resume!) using their Hebrew knowledge in their work;…
Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields: Hebrew Verbs and Hebrew Stories
The Old Testament is full of gripping stories that are quite memorable. Understanding something of the Hebrew verbs can enhance one’s reading of Hebrew narrative. I would like to recommend two resources: Jan Joosten, The Verbal System of Biblical Hebrew (Jerusalem: Simor, 2012) and Robert Chisholm, Interpreting the Historical Books (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2006).
For those readers who might not know it, the Hebrew letter Waw is the most common Hebrew word by far. It is used a conjunction most often translated “and,” though it has other important functions. Most notably, it is part of the Hebrew verbal system. Unlike English, this Waw is always prefixed to a word; it never stands alone.
The Hebrew verbal system can be divided into two main categories that go by many names; I like to use Real,…