Hebrew Research Center
March, 2005 Issue #013
Word of the Month – Worship
Name of the
Month – Mount Sinai
of the Month – Kiss the son?
Verse of the
Month – Genesis 26:5
Biblical Word of the Month - Worship
By: Jeff A. Benner
Webster’s Dictionary defines "worship" as;
1. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol,
or a sacred object.
2. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by
which this love is expressed.
As I have stated many times but worth repeating, when we read the Old
Testament/Tenach we must define our words from a Hebraic perspective, not
English. Unfortunately, when we see the word "worship" in the Bible
we automatically assume the above definition causing miss-interpretation of the
If I asked the average Christian/Jew/Messianic, "Is it okay to worship a
man?" The answer would be, "Absolutely not, we are only to worship
The first question we must ask is, "What is the Hebrew word behind the
English word ‘worship’ and what does it mean?" Below are a couple of
verses in English using the word "worship".
Genesis 24:26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the
1 Samuel 15:31 So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped
Psalm 29:2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship
the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
In each of these verses the Hebrew word behind the English word
"worship" is "shahhah" (the hh is pronounced hard like the
ch in the name Bach). This Hebrew word appears 172 times in the Biblical text
but is only translated as "worship" 99 times in the KJV. Below are
some other translations of this same word.
Gen 27:29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee
In this passage other nations will bow down/worship the descendents of Jacob.
Exo 18:7 And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance,
and kissed him; and they asked each other of [their] welfare; and they came
into the tent.
In this passage Moses bowed down/worshiped his father-in-law.
1 Kings 1:53 So king Solomon sent, and they brought him [Adonijah] down from
the altar. And he came and bowed himself to king Solomon: and Solomon
said unto him, Go to thine house.
In this passage Adonijah was found righteous when he bowed down/worshiped
Whenever the Hebrew word "shahhah" is used as an action toward God,
the translators translate this word as "worship". But, whenever this
same Hebrew word is used as an action toward another man, the translators
translate this word as "obeisance", "to bow" or "bow
down". As you can see, the translators are preventing the reader from
viewing the text in its proper Hebraic context. The literal meaning of the
Hebrew word "shahhah" can be seen in Numbers 22:31 - "and he bowed
down his head, and fell flat on his face". "shahhah"
means to bow down with the face to the ground.
The concept of "worship" as defined by Webster’s dictionary is not
Hebraic in any way and is not found in the Bible. We would be better off to
remove the idea of "worship" from our Biblical vocabulary and replace
it with "bow down". The only true way to bow down/worship God or a
man from a true Hebraic perspective is to bow down with the face to the ground.
Of course, this concept of bowing is an eastern custom that is not practiced in
our western culture.
of the Month – Mount Sinai
By: Jeff A. Benner
Mount Sinai (sinai - see Exodus 19:20) is the mountain that Israel met with God upon leaving Egypt. The
Hebrew word Sinai (Strong's #5514) means "thorn". This word comes
from the parent root SN (sin-nun), also meaning thorn. Another word derived
from this parent root is seneh (#5572) meaning "thorn bush". The bush
that Moses saw burning in Exodus 3:2 is a seneh. It was not just a burning
bush, but a burning thorn bush.
Mount Sinai is also called Mount
Horeb (hhorev - see
Exodus 3:1). The Hebrew word hhorev (#2722) comes from the root hharav (#2717)
meaning "to lay waste", "be dried up" as well as "to
By definition the words sinai and hhorev are synonymous as a dry wasteland is
often filled with thorn bushes. But there is also an interesting connection
between the Garden of Eden and Mount Sinai.
When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, God placed a "flaming
sword" at its entrance. The Hebrew word for "sword" is hherev
(#2719). Hherev (sword/sharp) comes from the same root, hharav (fight/make
waste), as the word hhorev (wasteland) which is also called Sinai
(thorn/sharp). The burning thorn bush of Exodus is a picture of the flaming
sword of Genesis.
Is it possible that the burning bush and the flaming sword are one and the same
thing? Was Mount Sinai the entrance into the
Garden of Eden?
By: Jeff A. Benner
Q: Should the beginning phrase of
Psalm 2:12 be translated as "embrace purity" as in the Jewish
translations or "Kiss the son" as in Christian translations?
A: The phrase in Hebrew is
"nashku var". (The word var is actually the word "bar" but
because it is preceded by a vowel it takes the spirant sound "v"
The word nashku is from the root N-SH-K (Strong's # 5401) which means
"kiss". The "u" at the end of the word is the masculine
plural imperative. When the author uses the word nashku he is telling a group
of people to "Kiss ...”
The second word is "bar" (Strong's # 1249, 1250, 1252, 1253) this
word can have several meanings in Hebrew including "grain",
"clean" or "pure".
Combined these mean "kiss grain" or "kiss purity" with the
second possibility being more in context with the verse.
But there is always a but :-). There is the Aramaic word "bar"
(Strong's number 1247, 1248, 1251) which can mean "son" or
"field". We now have the possible translation "Kiss the
son", or do we?
The question is, "Is the word "bar" in Psalm 2:12 a Hebrew or
Aramaic word? All of the Psalms are written in Hebrew though there are a few
Aramaic words scattered through them. The Hebrew word for "son" is
"ben" (Strong's # 1121) and this word is even used in this Psalm
(verse 7). We see the author of Psalms 2 using the Hebrew word ben for son and
it would not make sense that he would change to Aramaic later in the psalm.
Therefore it makes sense that he was using the Hebrew word "bar"
meaning purity, not the Aramaic word meaning "son".
There is another aspect of the Aramaic word "bar" that is often
overlooked. Technically the Aramaic word for son is "ben" (the same
as Hebrew, Strong's # 1123). The word "bar" does not mean
"son" but is the construct form of the word "ben". In
Hebrew and Aramaic you would write "Kiss the son" as "nashqu
ben" not "nashqu bar". When translating the Aramaic word
"bar" the English word "of" must follow it as it is a
construct word. For example one would say "ben avraham" (son OF
Abraham) in Hebrew, but say "bar avraham" (son OF Abraham) in
Aramaic. The common phrase "bar mitzvah" is actually Aramaic, not
Hebrew, meaning "son OF commandments".
This Aramaic word "bar" is used in Proverbs 31:2 - "What, my
son? and what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows?" But again,
in each case the word "bar" is used in the construct state - son OF.
(The translation “my son” at the beginning of the verse is a little misleading
as the literal translation would be "son OF me").
In conclusion, it is my opinion that the phrase nashqu bar" should be
translated as "kiss purity" rather than "kiss the son" for
the following reasons.
1. The grammatical use of the word "bar" requires it to be used in
the construct state "son of..." and not as a standalone word for
2. The Aramaic word for "son" when not in the construct state is the
word "ben" and would have been used here if that was the author's
3. The Hebrew word for "son", "ben", is used in this same
Psalm indicating that the author would have used the word "ben"
instead of "bar" if he had meant "son".
By: Jeff A. Benner
In our previous verse we saw that God made Abraham's path
straight because he supported God. In this verse we are going to see how
Abraham supported God.
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice,
kept my charge, my commandments, my
statutes, and my laws (ASV)
The first word is the word עקב meaning "because". The original
meaning of this word is the "heel" and is the same word in the name יעקב (ya'acov - Jacob). It
literally means "to be on the heel of something".
The next word is אשר
(asher) meaning which, who or that. Its original meaning is a rope and is used
in the Biblical Hebrew language as a rope that attaches to thoughts together.
Combining this with the previous word we have the idea of "on the heel of
that", or "because". The "that" is in reference to the
previous verses where God promises Abraham many descendents and this verse
tells us why he is going to receive many descendents.
The verb שמע (shama) literally
means "to hear". While this is understood as "to be
obedient" it literally means "to hear and act upon what is
heard". This can mean to be obedient but when God "heard" the
cries of the Israelites in Egypt,
he did not obey them; rather he acted upon that hearing by rescuing them.
The next word is the name אברהם
The word בקלי (beqoliy) is a
combination of the prefix ב
(b) meaning "in" or "with", the root word קל (qol) meaning "voice" and the
suffix י (y) meaning "of me" or
"my". While most translations read "Abraham heard my
voice", the Hebrew reads "Abraham heard in/with my voice". To me
this means that Abraham not only heard God but God's voice is inside of Abraham
and is a part of him. This would be the end of their first thought in this
The next word is וישמר
(vayish'mor). The root of the word is שמר
(shamar). The word shamar literally means to guard or protect. This word is
often translated as "obey" but this is not the case, though obedience
can be a part of guarding and protecting something. The ו (v) means "and" which is often used to divide
sentences into different thoughts. The י
(y) is added to the verb root to identify the subject of the verb, masculine
singular or "he", and the tense, perfect tense or completed action.
The next four words are what Abraham heard and protected. The first is the word
(mish'mar'tiy). The suffix י
(y) again means "of me" or "my". The word מדמרת (mish'meret) is the
feminine form of the word משמר
(mish'mar) which comes from the root שמר
(shamar), the same root found in the word טישמר (vayish'mor) above
meaning to guard and protect. The word משמר
(mish'meret) literally means "a guarding" and is usually used in the
Torah in reference to the priestly duties of the tabernacle. In Numbers 3:25 we
read; "At the Tent of Meeting the Gershonites were responsible for the
care of the tabernacle and tent, its coverings, the curtain at the entrance to
the Tent of Meeting". The phrase "responsible for the care of"
is this word. The priests' responsibility was to "guard" the
The second word in this list is the word מצותי (mitsvotiy). You
should be able to recognize the suffix again meaning "to me" or
"my". The word מצות
(mitzvot) is the plural form of the word מצוה (mitsvah) meaning "command".
This word is often used for commands that deal with the do's and don'ts.
The third word is חקותי
(hhuqotiy). The word חקות
(hhuqot) is the plural form of the word חקה
(hhuqah). Every time this word is used in the Bible it is usually used in
reference to re-occurring festivals as seen in Leviticus 23:41; "Celebrate
[the Feast of Tabernacles] as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year.
This is to be a lasting ordinance (huqah) for the generations to come.".
The word "lasting" is this same word.
The final word ותורתי
(v'torotiy) contains the prefix ו
(v) meaning "and", the suffix י
(y) meaning "my" and the word תורה
(torot). The word torot is the plural form of the word תורה (torah). The word תורה comes from the root ירה meaning "to point". The father
points the way for the child by teaching him the correct path he is to take in
life. The literal meaning of תורה
is the pointings or teachings of a father. While this word is almost always
translated as "law" in the Bible, it is not a good translation. The
torah of God are his teachings to his children, in the same way as the father
teaches his children.
The following is a literal rendering of this verse from its Hebraic meaning.
Because Abraham listened/followed with
my voice, and he guarded/protected my requirements for guarding my sacred
places, my commands of do's and don'ts, my lasting festivals and my teachings
for my children.
Copyright © 2005
Jeff A. Benner
Ancient Hebrew Research
Please feel free to use, copy
or distribute any material within the "Biblical Hebrew E-Magazine"
for non-profit educational purposes only.