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


August, 2018

Are parts of the Bible lost in translation?

Yes, much of what the Bible is attempting to convey is lost through the translations. Let me give you an example. ... (More)

Why are parts of the Bible lost in translation? Didn't God have the foresight to use language in such a way as to prevent this?

This is a very good question and each religious group and individuals have differing opinions on this issue, which can be summarized with the following descriptions. ... (More)

Do any manuscripts from ancient Israel written in Hebrew (but in the Phoenician alphabet they used before adopting Aramaic script) still exist today?

There are quite a number of Hebrew texts written in Paleo-Hebrew that were written before, during and after Hebrew was being written with the square (Aramaic script). ... (More)

In the Bible, what does it mean to uncover the nakedness of your father?

I have always had two problems with this passage. First, why is it wrong for a son to see his father naked? Secondly, why was Canaan, the son of Ham cursed for this act? ... (More)

How many Americans believe the earth is flat?

I recently published a series of articles on the Flat Earth vs. the Globe Earth to my 3,000 plus subscribers on my mail list through my Ancient Hebrew website. My readers are predominately ... (More)

Does the Hebrew language really have no vowels?

Every language, including Hebrew, has vowels. Without them you could not pronounce the words. What you may be referring to is the Hebrew Alphabet, ... (More)

Has anyone been able to locate a copy of the original Hebrew text of the Gospel of Matthew?

While I do believe, based on the mounting evidence, that the book of Matthew and the rest of the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew, no one has ever found an ancient copy or ... (More)

Is Moses God?

From the perspective of the English language, no, as the definition of the word "God" is a "supernatural, all-knowing, all-present and all-knowing deity." However, from ... (More)

There are many who believes that the Earth is flat and like a disc. For the love of God, why so? How did they come to believe thus?

I have read through the previous 10 answers to this question and three things are very apparent to me. Those that have answered this question have; ... (More)

What is the correct translation of Genesis 4:1?

I have found this verse to be very perplexing. The first part of the verse is pretty straight forward and can literally be translated as ... (More)

Is there a relationship between the word human deriving from the word humus in Latin, Adam deriving from adamah, which means ground in Hebrew, and man being created from earth according to Islam?

I would have to say that this is just an interesting coincidence. However, with that said, I found this question very interesting as it is closely related to another set of words ... (More)

Should exclamation marks be used in Bible translations?

As a published Bible translator I have a very different opinion than most. As the source text, namely the Masoretic Hebrew text, has no punctuation, ... (More)

What is the most important biblical relic ever discovered by archaeologists?

I personally believe that this small piece of clay, called a bulla, is one of the most remarkable Biblical relics ever discovered. ... (More)

Why have we been taught that there is but one singular god, when the word Elohim is a word indicating a plural sense usage in the written Hebrew language?

There are two parts to this question that require explanation. First, is the Hebrew Elohim a plural word? Second, does the Bible ... (More)

July, 2018

How did you learn Hebrew?

My first exposure to the Hebrew language was with a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and Dictionary. With this great little tool I found that I could look up any word found in the King James Bible and find the Hebrew or Greek word behind the English word. ... (More)

Is there a Hebrew word for obey?

I am answering this question from the perspective of Biblical Hebrew rather than Modern and the answer is no, but sort of. In the King James Version of the Bible the word “obey” appears 43 times. In all but two of these occurrences, the word “obey” is the the translation of the Hebrew verb שמע (sh’ma, Strong’s #8085). However, “obey” is a poor translation of this verb as can be demonstrated with these two verses. ... (More)

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)

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