Update on “HaDavar, D’var יהוה “

01/21/20

Hu Ba!

It is FINALLY here!

I HOPE you get your copy, and are blessed and increased by reading His Word from these sources, and from a better, Messianic Jewish perspective, glorifying His Name and not hiding/blotting it out.

Click the link “HaDavar D’var יהוה ”  below…. amazon has it, they just haven’t posted the cover image yet.  If you struggle with the link, you can go to Amazon and search on “HaDavar Perek” and you’ll find it.

Read about it below if you’re not familiar yet with our project:

“HaDavar, D’var יהוה “

 

HaDavar

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails well fastened are those that are composed in collections; they are given from One Shepherd. And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of the making of many books there is no end…”

~Kohelet 12:11-12a

When one encounters a new translation of the sacred writings, one is perhaps hesitant, and that is understood. But, the words of G-d are indeed ‘nails well fastened,’ and are powerful beyond language. Nevertheless, a new translation begs the question, what would compel a soul to attempt another rendering of these same words in a language which has offered so many translations already? Is it fanciful desire? Or necessity? For us, who undertook this monumental task with great hesitance and trepidation, it was necessity. We realize what we see as necessity may not be so looked upon by others, but we had a specific goal in mind, and we hope every reader can find value in our bringing that goal to fruition out of our necessity.

What authority or qualifications do we have in order to presume to do this work and offer it to the wider believing community? We do not claim any superior authority over anyone else, nor intellectual authority over His Word, that precludes anyone else having interpretive authority over His Word. Further, we do NOT presume to have authority over The Creator and His Son, who are the arbiters of our destiny. But, we do know this “One Shepherd” who is the composer of these words in Hebrew and Aramaic, collected herein in English, and are as capable through Him of understanding them as any other who has studied those languages. Our great desire is to restore the context of those words from the original texts: historical, religious, and cultural context, as well as scriptural and linguistic.

While many people helped to bring this final version to print, this was primarily the effort of one person, a BA in Biblical Studies and an MA in History, whose study of the Hebrew language began some twenty-one years ago, after having become a Messianic believer by studying the Greek and Greek-sourced “New Testament” texts. After becoming a fluent reader of the Hebrew scriptures, and learning of the Aramaic Peshitta texts, he began to study the Aramaic Peshitta Brit Khadashah in Hebrew and Aramaic. He is now convinced by those words, and also other, external proofs, that they preceded the Greek translations, and are the source texts of those Greek translations. We realize not many scholars agree with this conclusion, but some very qualified persons do, and so we are in good company. But, the greater desire was to have a completely Semitic source of scriptures rendered into English, with the ancient Hebrew and Peshitta texts in Hebrew on facing pages, to give The Word a single flavor: a Jewish flavor. We still await the completion of a Hebrew/English version. But, there are many reasons for the desire of a more Jewish, English rendering of the sacred Hebrew texts, even though some already exist. Those reasons are further elucidated herein.

This is not the making of another book entirely. This is the making of a single volume that contains the Tanakh and Brit Khadashah writings of the ancient Jews who trusted in יהוה for Salvation. This work is meant to offer the Jewish scriptures which most call the “Old Testament”, in their original language, sourced from the Masoretic Texts, with an improved English rendering of those texts. The necessity of another English rendering is predicated upon seeing His Name, יהוה , in the English side of the book, and of seeing the Hebrew nature of the ancient concepts that are communicated in Hebrew to a modern world. It is thereby meant to bring the reader of the English closer to the Creator, if only from another, slightly different perspective. We are confident that the English Tanakh herein does exactly that, with integrity, and with beauty.

This work is also meant to offer a Brit Khadashah portion of the printed writ, “HaDavar,” [The Word] in the Hebrew language, sourced from the Aramaic Peshitta texts, and an English rendering on the facing pages. We still await the Hebrew version. But, this English version shows the reader that His Name, יהוה , was used by Yeshua and by His Talmidim, including Sha’ul, to declare the Good News of Messiah to the world. This Brit Khadashah text in English does that, and also serves to offer readers the Jewish flavor of HaDavar, maintaining the integrity of the original texts. It also shows just how Jewish the believers in the Brit Khadashah were, and remained for the rest of their lives. This volume, therefore, will be unique, giving the reader a different perspective on the use of the Name, completely Semitic text sources for both sides of the Bible, and Hebrew transliterations of important biblical words and concepts.

This translation contains translations of the Masoretic Texts of the Tanakh, and an English rendering of the Aramaic Peshitta Brit Khadashah. The English Tanakh herein is new and original, but relies heavily on the Jewish Publication Society 1917 Tanakh. Similarly, the Brit Khadashah herein is new and original, but relies heavily on Lamsa’s 1933 New Testament. Other sources were consulted for controversial/disputed passages, such as the “Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon”, the “Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible” by Jeff Benner, “The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon”, by Benjamin Davidson, and “Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature” by Marcus Jastrow.

We realize there are similar works out there, but none that we found using the Peshitta as a base text for the Brit Khadashah and the Masoretic Hebrew texts as the base for the Tanakh, that also satisfies our other desires, in a single volume.

There is not one volume offered by anyone we found that offers both the English and the Hebrew of these source texts in a single volume. And that was our primary motivation for setting about to do this work. We have yet to complete the Hebrew translation of the Brit Khadashah, but chose to publish the English ahead of time, by request.

Our secondary and tertiary motivations have already been stated: those of giving The Name יהוה a preeminent place in the English versions, of making the English language more Jewish in tone, and of clearing up confusing and/or contradictory renderings of certain phrases seen in the more traditional versions of scripture. We will cite just a few of those to begin to make our point herein.

There are many places where other Jewish translations of the Hebrew Tanakh into English are obviously not drawing on the Hebrew language alone, but possibly on doctrine, and they seem to betray a motivation to hide the Messiah Yeshua from our Jewish people. One of these places, and perhaps one of the more important, is in the book of Zekhar-Yah [Zechariah] 12:10 “…and they shall look unto Me [ where it is clear that יהוה is speaking ] whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.” The traditional, Jewish renderings of this verse, which read in this wise: “and they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through”, change the meaning altogether, seemingly in an attempt to hide Messiah from the Jewish reader. The Christian community has also done likewise with certain verses, seeming to promote doctrine rather than translate the text faithfully. One example is from the book of Ma’asei HaShlikhim [Acts] 20:7, “And at the beginning of the week, when we assembled to break bread…” Most offer a different reading of this verse, inserting a word, seemingly to support a doctrine. Similarly, though probably not deliberate, the use of antiquated English words can leave room for misinterpretation. The best example of this, perhaps, is the use of the word “tongues” in the Brit Khadashah, where the context clearly shows us this word is referencing known, earthly languages. Others have used the literal but vague nature of this rendering to create doctrine. 

There are several examples in both sides of the book [OT and NT] where these types of renderings give us pause. Again, this was NOT our primary motivation, and we are not trying to say that all other versions are bad, but only that in certain places the translators seemed to have been influenced by something other than the language and culture of the scriptures. Having these passages cleared up and made more plain seemed a useful pursuit. Returning the English to a closer, more faithful “Hebrew” flavor gives the reader a better sense of the Jewish nature of these texts, and an understanding of the plain meaning of the text itself, leaving the establishment of doctrine to the reader[s], as much as possible.

The last motivation, but a good one, was that giving the Hebrew tone of the names of Biblical characters, places, and consecrated items not only gives the reader a better sense of the culture of the book, and compels the reader to learn more vocabulary, but also allows a Hebrew student to learn the language more quickly. Having the Hebrew on hand with this volume makes learning the language more meaningful, by having so large a vocabulary accessible in the texts, and a glossary to help learn those words.

This eight years of diligence, dedication, hard work, and sacrifice has truly been a labor of love. We truly hope that everyone who invests their time and means into this work is blessed for doing so, as we know and trust that His Word is the most important earthly evidence of our Creator, apart from His People, and the creation itself.

“Yes, He loves the peoples, all His K’doshim, they are in Your hand; and they sit down at Your feet, receiving of Your words.”  ~D’varim 33:3

Life’s Happy Door – Part 1

“I will open a door for you that no man can shut.”  The title is not going to appear to match the content of this article, but the NEXT article will complete the sequence, and you’ll understand why.  The below is actually a post on fb that was presented as a memory today.  And it goes hand in hand with the next article I started, due to post this week, having been compelled by my recent study of scripture, and mild frustration with the modern idea of today’s ‘grace without works’ mentality, where teachers do not compel the students of Messiah to obey HIM.

Since the scriptures are to be our source for all understanding, and the Ru’akh uses the scriptures to teach us, this article will discuss the twisting of the scriptures that was already present in the times of the Shlikhim [apostles].  See Kefa Bet [2 Peter] 3:14-18.  If the origin of scripture is debated, then the twisting Kefa warned us of MUST be considered.  Is it at all possible that many do not have the best texts in front of them?

First, I am a historian by education.  And I do not subscribe to ‘revisionist history,’ nor want to re-write all history.  But, I am also keenly aware that certain men who write history do so as the victor, and at the peril of the truth concerning the vanquished.  A true historian, then, is one who is willing to cede that SOME of what has been considered as conclusive is indeed tainted by the world view of the writer of the history.

Such is the case in regard to the Brit Khadashah [NT] scriptures.  We have been told by the catholic authorities that these scriptures were written in Greek first.  All of them.  When their own sources record for us emphatically that Matti [Matthew] was indeed written in Hebrew.  What most Bible readers are not aware of, however, is that there has existed a ‘Messianic’ community of believers for 2,000 years that have had the texts of the Shlikhim in the Aramaic language from their inception.  These are the believers in the areas of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and even parts of Israel, who read the Aramaic “Peshitta” texts, and have for 2,000 years, NEVER having had a ‘greek-sourced’ Bible.  These are the direct recipients of ALL of Sha’ul’s [Paul] letters in the original hand!  It is important to understand that these believing congregations existed LONG before the Roman ‘church,’ long before the B’sorah [gospel] even made it to Rome, and nearly 300 years before Constantine, a GREEK ruler of the Roman Empire, and a life-long pagan, forced the congregations of the west to unite under a new ‘papacy’ and earthly governmental dictatorship.

This community is known as the “Peshitta” community.  This word comes from the Aramaic/Hebrew word ‘pashat’, which means ‘simple.’  This moniker was given to this community because they would NOT unite with the new “Roman Catholic” [universal] theocratic dictatorship, because of the re-defined nature of their ‘christ’.  They said that what the council put down concerning Messiah was beyond the ‘plain meaning of the text’.  It was beyond the “Peshat” level of the text.  This is a Hebrew mind-set, that there are indeed many levels in which to study the scriptures, but that NO deeper level may violate what the PLAIN, colloquial meaning of the text says.  In other words, ‘simple’ people should be able to understand it.  “Peshitta” people.

Mar-Yah (mem-resh-yod-alef), is the emphatic form used for the sacred Name of Elohim in Aramaic.  Most scholars agree that this word, Mar-Yah, is used EXLUSIVELY to represent the Name of Elohim [G-d the Creator] : יהוה

One of the main reasons that we are convinced that the Aramaic preceded the Greek texts is this word above.

Aramaic is the language closest to Hebrew, and part of the Semitic family of languages. Part of the Tanak [Old Testament] was written in Aramaic, especially Daniel 2-7. Aramaic was actually the “lingua franca” of the Mesopotamian area from the time of Daniel all the way through the time of Messiah and the Apostles. Jews avoided greek; Josefus tells us that he learned greek, but had a hard time of it.  He was a Jewish priest who grew up in Israel, and had to learn greek after the Roman Empire conquered Israel, of which he was an eye-witness. Josefus had been conquered, and seems to have somewhat capitulated to Rome after Jerusalem was conquered, probably in self-preservation.

Historically, the B’sorah [Gospel] of Matti [Matthew] is known to have been written in Hebrew for the Jewish Believers in Yehuda [Judah/Israel], as already stated. That is a well established fact confessed even by the catholic church, the first official purveyors of anti-Semitism, after Haman and Egypt. It is very, very possible that the other gospels were written in Hebrew as well, though greek sympathizers have a hard time admitting even the slightest possibility of it.

Many believe that all the Brit Khadasha [New Testament] was written in Aramaic. That is more likely than its having been written in greek. But, my personal hunch is that more of it was written in Hebrew, and the rest in Aramaic.

One of the reasons I believe this to be true is this word at the top of this post: “Mar-Yah”, or “Master יהוה “. Constructed this way, the usual word for “lord” in Aramaic, ‘Maran” is changed to indicate in Holy Writ the Holy Name of יהוה , the name that has been given to Messiah Yeshua.

If the Brit Khadasha was written in greek first, and this conjugation of ‘maran’ to ‘Mar-Yah’ means nothing distinct, WHY, please deduce, WHY did the whole Aramaic community use it in their ancient texts, and HOW did they know which places to translate KURIOS to Mar-Yah? [Kurios is the greek word for “lord/master” only, and NOT an equivalent to יהוה .]

Analyzing the Aramaic texts over the past ten years, we see that מָּריא is used in some very critical places in the Brit Khadasha:

Kefa, a Jew, quoting scripture [Tehillah 110 [psalm]], says this, according to the Aramaic Peshitta, which would perfectly match Tehillah 110:1:

“Mar-Yah said to marai [my lord], sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

In Hebrew, then, in ACTS 2:35 it reads:

יהוה  said to Adoni [my master], sit at my right hand…”

And Yeshua used this verse to teach concerning His identity as well, in Yokhanan Markos 12:36.

In the greek, both of these read, ‘Kurios said to my kurios’, which does nothing for the distinction between the Father and the Son here.

In Aramaic, Acts 2:36 reads this way,

“Elohim [G-d] has made this Yeshua BOTH  יהוה / Mar-Yah AND Mashiakh”

Greek reads, “Theos has made this Iesous both kurious and kristos”; a little less impactful on His identity.

The Aramaic, therefore, explains the Name of the FATHER being given to the Son, according to Yeshua’s own words:

“Now I am no longer in the world. They are in the world, but I am coming to you. Av Kadosh [Holy Father]: guard them by the power of YOUR NAME, which You have given to me, so that they may be one, just as we are.” John 17:11

Considering Hebrews 1:4, “The Name Elohim has given Him is superior to theirs”, we have to ask, is He talking about “Yeshua” here? Given that Yeshua [Joshua] is a common name among Jewish men, especially at the time Hebrews was written, it cannot be!

Abba gave the NAME, יהוה, to Yeshua, His Son; just as I gave my name to my son.

Phillipians 2:9-11 has much more impact, and is more easily understood, under the light of the Aramaic texts:

“Therefore Elohim raised Him [Yeshua] to the highest place and gave Him the Name above every name; that in honor of the name given Yeshua, every knee will bow – in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Yeshua the Messiah is Mar-Yah/ יהוה , to the glory of Elohim, His Father.”

If greek came first, this would read the way it does in English: “every tongue will confess that Iesous Kristos is lord.” Not near the impact.

Would the Aramaic community really have been so careless with the Name, if they were indeed translating from greek, arbitrarily picking these particular places to distinguish between kurios and יהוה ?

I do not think so.  This is ‘surgical’, precise use of יהוה in these verses, and many, many others.  This shows us the direction of translation: from Aramaic TO Greek, and NOT the other way around.

This, along with many other proofs, gives me absolute confidence that the Aramaic texts came before the Greek texts.

Now, before anyone goes off like a wing nut, I came to Messianic faith nearly 30 years ago by reading the KING JAMES bible and studying the GREEK TEXTS!

They were very skillfully translated. FROM HEBREW AND ARAMAIC. EVERY person who wrote in the Brit Khadasha was a JEW. The WHOLE BIBLE is a JEWISH BOOK. And those early redactors did a fantastic job of taking Hebrew and Aramaic texts and putting them into Greek. BUT, the Latin and ENGLISH redactors did NOT do so fantastic a job! THEY wrote DOCTRINE into their translated texts!

I am merely pointing out that some of the issues with greek are resolved and clarified by the Aramaic, which the catholic church insists came second to greek. NO. CONSTANTINE forced that lie on the ‘church’ when he purged ‘christianity’ of all things Jewish, including the JEWISH LEADERSHIP. Constantine was a greek. This is why LATIN did not become the ‘lingua franca’ of Western Christianity for many years! He ruled ROME, which spoke Latin! But, HE had the scriptures translated to GREEK, because HE WAS GREEK. Latin did not come into the western church ‘officially’ for another sixty years, and it still took some time to make it defacto.

Two other examples of Aramaic primacy are:

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”

We’ve all heard this, and preachers have invented some crazy explanations of this verse. They are all bunk!

In Aramaic, it reads “It is easier for a ROPE to go through the eye of a needle.”

The word is gamal, and is a homonym to Aramic ‘gamal’ meaning ‘camel’….hence, the greek redactors messed up, and translated it to ‘camel’ and not rope.

A rope, made up of multiple threads, CAN go through the eye of a needle, if it is ‘broken down’, which is EXACTLY the lesson Yeshua was trying to teach!

Another example:

Romans 5:7

“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.”

Seems a mite redundant?

Here’s why. Aramaic reads this way:

“For almost NEVER would someone die for a WICKED MAN, but, for an UPRIGHT MAN some might die.”

The greek redactors confused an Aramaic letter in the word WICKED, and translated it WRONG as RIGHTEOUS. WHAT?

So, for myself, there is abundant, internal, BIBLICAL proof that the Aramaic preceded the greek and latin texts.

My intent is not to argue over it, but to declare that men confuse things, distort things, and hide things from the pure, the ‘simple’ “Peshitta” people, who want truth. Truth is clarified better through the Aramaic texts. But, AGAIN, that does NOT mean the greek texts are bad. I still sometimes consult my King James bible and the greek texts. But, for study and reading, give me the Semitic languages any day, the ROOT language of Messiah Yeshua, the quintessential Semite.  A JEWISH RABBI.