There has been a growing interest in the Hebrew language among those who have awakened to the biblical roots of our faith. Not only have we learned that the commandments of YHWH are still intact but there is a desire to understand the original language they were spoken in.
Some would say this is a futile pursuit; for the Bible written in English is just as good.
I am not saying that English should be discarded and Hebrew is the only way to read the Bible. I read every day and I read it in English. Why? That is my mother tongue. Hebrew is the Father's tongue. That is why it interests me so. I wanted to understand what YHWH was saying. My delving into Hebrew started after listening to several different Torah teachers point out some interesting facts not seen in the English.
I am not proficient in the Hebrew language, but I can give you a little insight into the wonderfulness of this most awesome tongue. I truly believe that there are things hidden from us when reading only in the English. We have a tendency to read only what we see on the surface of a verse and miss so much of the message YHWH is giving in just a simple sentence.
When writings are translated from one language to another many times the actual meaning of something may be lost. When you mix in the theology of the persons translating; the picture can sometimes be bent to fit that view.
Let me give you a few examples:
Gen 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
In this version of the King James you get the impression that YHWH is giving a command to Abraham to do this thing - no questions asked. However, the word for 'now' in Hebrew is asking with politeness. Let us read it in the mechanical translation:
Gen 22:2 and he said, please take your son, your solitary one which you love, Yits'hhaq [He laughs] and you will walk to the land of Moriyah [Appearance of Yah] and make him go up there for a rising upon one of the hills which I will say to you,
In this request, YHWH is asking Abraham to trust Him.
Let us look at another one.
Gen 21:9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
Look at the word 'mocking'. This is the very same word in Hebrew used in the following verses:
Gen 26:8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.
Exo 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
The words 'sporting' and 'play' are the same Hebrew word as for 'mocking' (H6711 in the Strong’s). In understanding this we can see that Ishmael was not just laughing at Isaac. He was doing something improper and Sarah saw it! That is what brought on her anger against the lad. The word also can mean to laugh, however in view of Sarah’s response - Gen 21:10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham: 'Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.' - it is quite obvious it was the more serious meaning.
We miss these kinds of things when only sticking to a translation. I have also noticed that the explanation for some words coming from the Strong’s was not very clear or helpful, so I would turn to the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon. This would take me back to the more accurate meaning and give a clearer picture. We also need to try to understand the culture in some way too for that helps us to grasp the import of something YHWH asks to be done in a certain way. In Judges 1 we read of the removal of the thumb and great toes of the enemy. Why? This was a physical removing of the ability to hold a weapon of war or run in battle any more. They were truly defeated. So, compare that to the blood placed upon the ear, thumb, and great toe of Aaron and his sons. In light of the first use; could this be the symbolic way of showing the anointing of power of walking, serving and hearing the Father in service?
How much more can we learn about our Father? How much have we misunderstood about His character? Let us not close ourselves off from discovering all He has and is in His Holy Word.
I will close with this one verse:
Zep 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
What is most interesting about this verse is the verse right before it contains all of the letters of the aleph bet including the final five forms at the end of words called the ‘sofeet’. How amazing is our Elohim!