Jeff A. Benner: 20+ years teaching Biblical Hebrew and Bible InterpretationJeff A. Benner
20+ years teaching Biblical Hebrew and Bible Interpretation.
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My Answers on

June, 2018

What are the names of 12 disciples and their Hebrew meanings?

Peter's original name, according to the Greek text is Simon son of Jonah (John 21:15). However, being a Jew, his Hebrew name would have been שמעון בן יונה (shimon ben yonah). The name שמעון (shimon, Strong's #559) means "heard." ... (More)

What does the name Adam mean in hebrew?

The Hebrew language, from which the name Adam comes from, is a system of words and roots, where all of the words that are derived out a root are going to be related in meaning. The name Adam is derived from the root אדם (A.D.M), which is a verb meaning "to be red or ruddy" (Strong’s #119). The other words that are derived from this verbal root are; ... (More)

How is covenant described and presented in the Bible?

The Hebrew word for a "covenant" is ברית (b'riyt, Strong's #1285). This noun is derived from the verb ברה (B.R.H, Strong's #1262), which means "to select the best." ... (More)

What language is referred to in Genesis 11.1, and can you substantiate the answer by using scripture or history or both?

Using the Bible itself it is possible to conclude that the language of the world prior to Tower of Babel was Semitic (Hebrew). In ancient times the name of a person was a word or phrase, taken from their language, characteristic of that person. As an example the name Adam means "man" in the Semitic language since Adam was the first "man". ... (More)

What are the cardinal directions in the Bible/Torah based on?

In the modern world we use "north" as the primary orientation, but in the Ancient Near East "east" was primary orientation. The Hebrew word for East is קדם (qedem, Strong’s #6924) and is from the root word קדם (Q.D.M, Strong’s #6923) meaning "to meet" and the rising sun is "met" each morning in the "east." ... (More)

March, 2018

What is "God is the greatest" in Hebrew?

As usual, I will be answering this question from a Biblical Hebrew perspective. While the phrase "God is the greatest" is not found in the Bible, a similar phrase is. ... (More)

What happened to the Ark of the Covenant?

There are number of different theories about the fate of the Ark of the Covenant. 1. The Ark and other Temple treasures were taken by the Babylonians in the 6th C. BC during their conquest of the land and probably melted down to make other gold items. ... (More)

Did cannabis help Moses to communicate with God?

While I don't think Moses used cannabis to help him communicate with God, the question is not absurd as many would think. ... (More)

How do you say "my" in the Hebrew language?

In Modern Hebrew “my” is expressed with the word שלי (sheliy) literally meaning “of me.” This word consists of the preposition של (shel) meaning “of” and the possessive pronoun suffix י (iy) meaning “me.” ... (More)

How many unique Hebrew words (or roots) are there in the Old Testament (Tanakh)? Are there 8674?

Strong's Dictionary identifies 8,674 words in the Hebrew Bible. However, of these, 2,415 are proper names (such as Moses, David and Isaiah), leaving us with 6,259 Hebrew words. ... (More)

In Hebrew, why are the letters Beit and Veit the same letter if they make different sounds?

Having one letter with multiple sounds is not unique to the beyt/veyt of Hebrew. For instance, in English the letter “C” can have an “s” or “k” sound, such as we see in the word circle (sirkle). ... (More)

How does biblical archaeology change your view on the Bible? What new insights has it revealed?

From a linguistic perspective, I always had a problem with this verse. Note that only “one” molten calf was made, but then they said, “these are your gods.” The word “these” implies plurality. ... (More)

Why does the Bible use "behold" so much? What would be a better translation today?

The word "behold" is an archaic word that is rarely used today, but at the time the King James Bible was written (1611) it was a fairly common word that meant "To look; to direct the eyes to an object." ... (More)

What are some good reasons to learn Hebrew?

Reading a translation of any writing will always be inferior to the original language, especially when we are talking about a translation from an Ancient Oriental language like Hebrew to a Modern Western language like English as these two languages are very different. Let me demonstrate. ... (More)

February, 2018

How do you say son in Hebrew?

The Hebrew word for “son” is בן (ben). The Hebrew word for daughter is בת (bat), which is actually the feminine form of בן. The original word for daughter was בנת (banat), but the letter nun (נ) frequently drops from words, so בנת (banat) became בת (bat). ... (More)

What are some of the biggest challenges to learning Hebrew?

In my experience, the biggest challenge to learning Hebrew is all of the different verb forms. Most conjugated verbs will identify the tense, mood and voice of the verb as well as the subject of the verb. ... (More)

What is the common general viewpoint among scholars & the Hebrew speaking world regarding the correct translation of the Hebrew word "אַל־מָוֶת" at Proverbs 12: 28? English Bibles either translate it as "to death", "no death", or "immortality".

In order to understand the phrase אל מות (al mavet) in Proverbs 11:28 in its proper context we will need to examine the Hebrew text for this verse, which is; ... (More)

How are modern Hebrew and Arabic related to ancient cuneiform?

The word cuneiform means "wedge shaped" and is used in reference to writing that was done with a tool that had a wedge shape at the end that was pressed into wet clay to create the writing, such as can be seen in the image below. ... (More)

What are the distinctions in meaning of the different Hebrew words for roads or streets, such as כביש, דרך, רחוב?

I will be answering this question from a Biblical Hebrew perspective and not from a Modern Hebrew perspective. In Hebrew, Biblical, more so than Modern, there may be multiple words for an object or animal depending on its function. ... (More)

Where the King James Version of the Bible uses the word “excess”, what is the Hebrew word that is being translated and what is meant by it?

In the King James Version of the Bible there are three Greek words translated as “excess.” ... (More)

How were symbols chosen for the expression of written languages over the years?

The Modern Hebrew alphabet looks like this; But 4,000 years ago this alphabet was written with pictures (symbols) and looked like this; Over the past 4,000 years the Hebrew alphabet went through ... (More)

Was Hebrew the first language spoken in the world?

I am going to answer this question from a Biblical Perspective and from this perspective, the answer is yes, Hebrew was the first language spoken in the world. According to the Bible, all people ... (More)

January, 2018

Why does Moses have horns?

The Hebrew word in question is the verb קרן (Q.R.N), which we find in the following verses (my translations). …and Moses did not know that the skin of his face had קרן (Q.R.N) in his speaking with him. (Exodus 34:29) ... (More)

Does the Talmud have significance to Christians given its Old Testament roots? Is it commonly studied by Christians?

While the Talmud does not hold any real religious significance to Christian theology, it should be noted that the New Testament was not written in a vacuum. It was written by Jews whose philosophy was heavily influenced by the teachings of Jewish sages, the Talmud. ... (More)

Is there a group of people today who speak ancient Phoenician/paleo-Hebrew?

The question correctly identifies the fact that Phoenician and Paleo-Hebrew are the same alphabet. The image to the left is a Phoenician inscription on a sarcophagus that was discovered in 1855, and dates to the 5th Century BC. The image to the right is the Siloam Inscription discovered in 1838, which is written in Paleo-Hebrew, and dates to the 8th Century BC. ... (More)

What is the translation for "I am alive" in the language of Jesus?

While American scholarship teaches that Hebrew ceased to be the language of the Jews prior to the first century AD, Israeli scholarship knows that Hebrew continued to be the language of the Jews into the second century AD. The language of Jesus and his disciples was Hebrew, not Greek. ... (More)

What are the differences between the Phoenician and the old Hebrew alphabets?

There is no difference between the Old Hebrew, also called Paleo-Hebrew, alphabet and the Phoenician alphabet. Both of these alphabets are identical. Below are images of the letters beyt and hey taken from Old Hebrew and Phoenician inscriptions from about 800 B.C. ... (More)

December, 2017

What does Philistine mean in Hebrew?

The Anglicized word “Philistine” means “a native or inhabitant of ancient Philistia,” and comes from the Hebrew word פלישתי (p’liysh’tiy, Strong’s #6430). To define this word we need to examine the root of this word. ... (More)

In Psalm 23:4, when it mentions a shepherd's rod and staff, what's the difference?

There is absolutely no difference. After reading all of the other answers, where everyone is trying to make a distinction between a "rod" and a "staff," people need to understand the unique style of writing employed by the Hebrews. ... (More)

What does Eber mean in Hebrew?

The name Eber is first found in Genesis 10:21 - Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber… (KJV) ... (More)

Why are names in the Bible different with every translation?

For the most part, most translations will transliterate the names fairly consistently, but occasionally they will differ. There are several factors that will cause one translation to transliterate a name one way, but another translation will transliterate the same name a different way. ... (More)

Could anyone who speaks Hebrew and English confirm that the Bible is an exact translation from its original text?

The "original texts" of the Bible have not survived to this day and all we have are copies of copies of copies. Many English translations, such as the Geneva Bible, the King James Version, The New International Version, etc., have been made from these "copies." So the question is, "Are these English versions of the Bible exact translations of the known Hebrew and Greek copies of the Bible? ... (More)

Can you please explain the Hebrew meaning and context of the word “jealous” found in Exodus 34:14?

The Hebrew word translated as “jealous” in Exodus 34:14 is the noun קנא (qana, Strong’s #7067). In order to define this word within its cultural context we need to begin by looking at the parent root of this word, which is the word קן (qen, Strong’s #7064), which is a bird’s “nest.” ... (More)

Has science ever proved any parts of the Bible to be accurate? If so, what?

In the Biblical Hebrew language all of the words that are used for “time” are also used for “space.” An example is the word קדם (qedem, Strong’s #6924), which can spatially mean the direction of “east” (Gen 3:24) or temporally an “ancient” time (Deu 33:15). Other examples are; ... (More)

Why does the Bible mention everything from the creation of the Earth, to its end, but it doesn't mention the dinosaurs?

It might. There are many creatures mentioned in the Bible, such as from the following verse from the King James Version. ... (More)

How did the book of Genesis measure 1 day if there was no sun at that time?

One of the most common mistakes people make when interpreting the Bible is that they assume the authors of the Bible wrote from the same perspective that we do today in our Western World. This could not be farther from the truth. ... (More)

What are the best resources for teaching myself Biblical Hebrew?

I have several resources available for learning to Read Biblical Hebrew. I have used the methods in these resources to teach thousands of people how to read Hebrew over the past 20 years. ... (More)

Would you rather read the original, or the other various editions of the Holy Bible?

When the question uses the word "original," I am assuming the author of the question means "original language," as the "original" texts of the Bible no longer exists. ... (More)

Why was the word Nephilim translated as giants in some Bibles?

The Aleppo Codex (The Hebrew Bible also called the Tenakh or the Old Testament) was made around 1,000 AD, and it and the Leningrad Codex, which was made around the same time, are the oldest complete copies of the Hebrew Bible. However, in 1947 the Torah portion of the Aleppo Codex went missing, leaving us with the Leningrad Codex as the oldest complete Hebrew Bible in existence today. ... (More)

What are some things you need to know about the "Ten Commandments"?

There is no such thing as the “Ten Commandments” in the Bible. What?! ... (More)

When you critically analyse Genesis chapter 3, would you say the serpent told a single lie, or truly deceived Eve?

Let's take a look at each of the serpent's statements. Did God say, `You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'? (Gen 3:1) ... (More)

Can you explain the new covenant in Jeremiah to me from a Jewish perspective?

I am not Jewish, but I do read Hebrew and study the Bible from an Hebraic perspective. In the Ancient Near Eastern world a covenant was instituted by taking an animal and sacrificing it, then splitting it into two. ... (More)

When God planted the Garden of Eden, who gave the serpent and the devil access, God or man?

The Hebrew Bible was written from an Ancient Eastern (the Hebrew people are classified as Orientals) perspective, but we will usually read and interpret that Bible from a Modern Western (Greco-Roman) perspective. ... (More)

How does the Bible define worship? Is it reserved only for God, or can men also be worshipped without angering God?

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. ... (More)

How do I memorize vocabulary of Biblical Hebrew effectively?

When I was learning Hebrew about 20 years ago, these are the flashcards that I used. ... (More)

How important is the Peshitta to you, in Bible interpretation?

Very important. Based on my research into the New Testament I am convinced that it was originally written in either Hebrew or Aramaic first and then later translated into Greek. If my hypothesis is correct, then the Aramaic New Testament, the Peshitta, would be much more accurate than the Greek New Testament as the Greek is a translation of the Peshitta. ... (More)

What words exist in Hebrew for which there is no English equivalent?

As I read Biblical Hebrew and do not speak Modern Hebrew very well, I will be answering this question from a Biblical Hebrew perspective, but the basics are pretty much the same in Modern Hebrew. ... (More)

November, 2017

What are the best sites and apps for learning Hebrew?

I suppose that I have to admit that I am partial to the courses and the method of learning Hebrew that I have created over the past 20+ years of teaching others Hebrew. ... (More)

Why is Cain "the accursed" since he did not murder Abel, but simply "knew" his sister, Hebel?

Your question makes three incorrect assumptions. 1. According to the Biblical text Cain did murder his brother Abel. ... (More)

Is the Old Testament an accurate historical text?

There are many instances where critics of the Bible have claimed that certain events, persons and places mentioned in the Bible never existed as there was no evidence of them found outside of the Bible. ... (More)

Was all of the New Testament written in Greek?

Scholars pretty much agree that the Book of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew as most of the Church fathers from the 2nd to the 4th Century have indicated as such. ... (More)

How do you think the tetragrammaton (יהוה) was actually pronounced?

There is no way to know with 100% certainty how the Tetragrammaton (יהוה / YHVH) was originally pronounced. The only way this could be possible is if there were an ancient dictionary demonstrating the pronunciation of Hebrew ... (More)

How similar are Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew?

For the most part, Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew are almost identical, but there are some differences. The Paleo-Hebrew script and the Modern Hebrew script. Let's first address how Hebrew is ... (More)

What were the Hebrew names of the twelve apostles?

In my Biblical Hebrew eZine (see the archives) I provided a detailed analysis of each of the Hebrew names of the twelve apostles, but here is a summary of each from the eZine. ... (More)

What is a soul? And what is the difference between soul, mind, and brain?

This question could be answered from a multiple of cultural perspectives, but I will focus on the perspective of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh, also called the Old Testament). The Hebrew word for "soul" is ... (More)

Is the Torah the same as the Old Testament?

The Torah is a part of the "Old Testament" and is specifically the first five books of the Old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. In Christianity the Bible is divided into two major parts, ... (More)

I read that the Hebrew word for "the past " means literally "what is before us" and the word for "the future" means literally "what is behind us". Is this true and if so, was that also true in biblical times?

This is something that I have been teaching for many years and is probably the source of what you are referring to. In the Hebrew Bible the "past" is expressed with the Hebrew word ... (More)

What did Jesus mean, "Let the dead bury their dead?"

A major mistake that people make when interpreting the Bible is that they have no context. While pastors and teachers are often heard saying that you need to interpret the Bible based on context, what they are usually referring to is reading the passage in context ... (More)

When was the book of Isaiah written and when did Jesus come on the scene?

The prophet Isaiah lived in the 8th Century BC, about 700 years before Jesus. In Luke 4:17 it is recorded that Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah in the Synagogue. A scroll can be used for about ... (More)

Why is the Hebrew Bible so uninterested in the afterlife, while earlier Egyptian writings (e.g., Pyramid texts/Scroll of Ani) and later Christian writings were obsessed with this topic?

As I am not a student of Ancient Egyptian philosophy I am not able to compare them to the Hebrew people, but I am qualified to address the differences between how the Hebrews' of the Old Testament ... (More)

Was the New Testament originally written in Hebrew?

In order to answer the question, "Was the New Testament originally written in Hebrew?" a little background is necessary. ... (More)

Is it true that there are no verb tenses (past, present, future) in Biblical Hebrew?

The Modern Hebrew language uses the same verb tenses that we do in English; past, present and future. However, in Biblical Hebrew they only had two tenses; perfect and imperfect. ... (More)

Do you think the Magi mentioned in the Bible that came to the place of Jesus' birth were Zoroastrians?

There would be no reason for a non-Jew to be looking for a Jewish king. The Magi were most definitely Jewish sages from the East. What many forget is that when the Jews were taken into Babylonian captivity ... (More)

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