Frank W. Nelte

May 2022

150 Mistranslations in the Bible PART 2

This is the second in a series of seven articles, in which the following Scriptures are discussed in a Genesis to Revelation sequence.

20

EXODUS 7:3

21

EXODUS 9:31

22

EXODUS 12:2

23

EXODUS 12:11

24

EXODUS 12:14

25

EXODUS 19:13

26

EXODUS 23:12

27

EXODUS 23:16

28

EXODUS 23:18

29

EXODUS 34:22

30

EXODUS 34:25

31

LEVITICUS 2:14

32

LEVITICUS 16:8-10, 26

33

LEVITICUS 19:20

34

LEVITICUS 23:2,4,37,44

35

LEVITICUS 23:14

36

LEVITICUS 23:15-16

37

LEVITICUS 24:16

38

LEVITICUS 25:9

#20 = EXODUS 7:3

THE QUESTION: Did God Harden Pharaoh’s Heart?

There are in fact 19 verses in Exodus that speak about Pharaoh’s hardened heart. 18 of those verses contain easily identifiable mistranslations of the Hebrew verbs that are involved. The remaining verse (Exodus 7:3) involves a technicality of Hebrew grammar. We’ll deal with the 18 verses first, and then look at Exodus 7:3.

Now these 19 Scriptures fall into 3 distinct groups. And scattered throughout these 19 verses we find 3 different Hebrew verbs, which are all indiscriminately and rather randomly translated as “harden”. Here are the 3 groups, in each case with the respective Hebrew verbs which are translated as “harden”:

Group 1: There are 11 verses that state or imply that “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”. Those 11 verses are:

        Exodus 4:21       Exodus 7:13       Exodus 9:12       Exodus 10:20

        Exodus 10:27      Exodus 11:10      Exodus 14:4       Exodus 14:8

        Exodus 14:17

The above 9 verses all use the Hebrew verb “chazaq”.

        Exodus 10:1 uses the Hebrew verb “kabad”.

        Exodus 7:3 uses the Hebrew verb “qashah”.

Group 2: There are 3 verses that state that “Pharaoh hardened his own heart”. Those 3 verses are:

        Exodus 8:15       Exodus 8:32       Exodus 9:34

All 3 of these verses use the Hebrew verb “kabad”.

Group 3: There are 5 verses that use the passive voice, as in “Pharaoh’s heart was hardened”, without ascribing the responsibility for that hardening to any specific individual, though it implies that Pharaoh himself was responsible in those 5 instances. Those 5 verses are:

        Exodus 7:22       Exodus 8:19       Exodus 9:35

The above 3 verses all use the verb “chazaq”.

        Exodus 9:7 uses the Hebrew verb “kabad”.

        Exodus 7:14 uses the Hebrew adjective “kabed”, which is formed from the verb “kabad”.

All of these 19 verses are examined and discussed in my 27-page article from 2018 entitled “Did God Harden Pharaoh’s Heart?”. Here I will only present the correct information without going into the detailed proof. For the detailed proof and explanations see the article.

The meanings of these 3 Hebrew verbs are as follows:

1) The verb “chazaq” is used in 12 of the 19 verses. It means: “be strong”. When used with the piel stem, this verb means “become strong”. This verb refers to the ability to use power. But this verb does not mean “to harden”.

“To harden” refers to an attitude towards something. But an attitude has nothing to do with the ability to use power. “An ability” is not the same as “an attitude”. So “harden” is a clear mistranslation for the Hebrew verb “chazaq”.

As a matter of interest, the main way that God “strengthened” Pharaoh’s heart was by God bringing each of the plagues to a speedy end. It was the speedy termination of each plague that resulted in Pharaoh remaining stubborn, just as God wanted. The strengthening didn’t involve God actively doing anything to strengthen Pharaoh’s mind; the quick removal of punishments produced Pharaoh’s stubborn attitude.

Pharaoh was like the stubborn person who refuses to let any punishments change his attitude. Proverbs 29:1 applied perfectly to Pharaoh.

2) The verb “kabad” (including “kabed”) is used in 6 of the 19 verses. It means: “to honor”, “to glorify”, etc.

This verb “kabad” is used by God to refer to Himself.

And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honor (Hebrew “kabad”) upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. (Exodus 14:18)

Similarly, in the 10 commandments God instructs us to “kabad” our parents.

Honor (Hebrew “kabad”) your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12)

This verb “kabad” is used 116 times in the Old Testament, and it is only when this word is used to refer to Pharaoh and the Egyptians that it is ever translated as “to harden”. “Harden” is clearly a mistranslation for a verb that means “to honor”.

3) The verb “qashah” is used only 1 time in our 19 verses. This verb means: “to be hard, severe, fierce”, etc. So here we have a verb that actually means “to harden”. And it is used only one time in reference to Pharaoh.

And I will harden (“qashah”) Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 7:3)

So Exodus 7:3 is the most significant verse in our discussion here. The other 18 verses can all easily be shown to be mistranslations, because the two verbs “chazaq” and “kabad” have nothing at all to do with “to make hard”. None of those 18 verses, when translated correctly, even remotely imply that God in any way “hardened” Pharaoh’s heart.

So the question about the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart comes down to this one verse: Exodus 7:3.

The examination of Exodus 7:3 involves a technicality of Hebrew grammar, for which we don’t have any direct equivalent in the English language. That difference is due to the fact that Hebrew is an inflective language, whereas English is a syntactic language. The specific technicality that concerns us with this verse is as follows:

Hebrew verbs have a root and a stem. The root remains constant, but there is a range of different stems available for each verb. These stems convey different meanings. This technical information is also discussed in more detail in my 1995 article entitled “Some General Points About Hebrew Verbs”.

Briefly, different stems are used to convey different meanings. In our context we need to understand two of those stems. They are known as qal and hiphil.

The qal stem expresses a simple action. When you see the meaning for a Hebrew verb in a Hebrew-English Lexicon, then the first meaning you see almost always represents the meaning with the qal stem.

The hiphil stem expresses causative action.

Now for a verb that means “to harden”, and applied to God, these two Hebrew verb stems have the following effect:

1) If God wants to say that He, God Himself, will harden Pharaoh’s heart, then God will use the verb with the qal stem. With the qal stem this will mean “He (God) hardened”.

2) If God wants to say that He will get someone else to do the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, then God will use the verb with the hiphil stem. With the hiphil stem this will mean “He (God) caused to harden”.

With this latter option God does not have to explain who He will use to get the job done. God simply states that “I’ll cause it to be done”. In this case (i.e. using the hiphil stem) God Himself didn’t do anything directly to Pharaoh.

Think about that! With the qal stem God Himself does something. But with the hiphil stem God causes someone else to get that something done. As a matter of interest, two out of every fifteen Hebrew verbs in the whole Old Testament are used with the hiphil stem. This stem is used a lot.

And yes, in Exodus 7:3 God used the verb “qashah” with the hiphil stem.

When we think about it, the Bible is for the most part a record of God getting other individuals to do things for God. God told His servants to present God’s messages to the people of Israel. God also sent angels to take messages to His people. And when God wanted to send a false message to some people, then God sent a demon (i.e. “a lying spirit”).

The Hebrew hiphil stem is an expression of how God has in most cases worked with human beings. God has worked through messengers.

What this means in plain terms is that God Himself doesn’t actually do many of the things that are attributed to God. This is by no means always the case. But very often God has an angel or a human servant or even a demon do the things God wants done.

For example, when God wanted King Ahab to die in battle (see 1 Kings 22:19-22), then Satan volunteered to be a lying spirit in the mouths of Ahab’s false prophets. And then God’s servant Micaiah said:

Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets, and the LORD has spoken evil concerning you. (1 Kings 22:23)

When we read that account, it is clear that Satan volunteered to be the lying spirit. And God simply gave Satan permission to do what Satan had volunteered to do. And then God warned Ahab through God’s servant Micaiah that his (Ahab’s) prophets had a lying spirit. So Ahab was certainly given fair warning regarding being told lies by his own prophets.

Coming back to Exodus 7:3, this was an introductory comment God made to Moses, before even the first of the ten plagues was poured out upon Egypt. This preamble to the ten plagues upon Egypt applied to Pharaoh’s attitude throughout all of the plagues being poured out. Some of the other verses we have referenced apply to after one or more plagues had been poured out. But Exodus 7:3 was an overview statement for the whole process of the ten plagues.

So when God here said “I will cause Pharaoh to harden his heart”, God was saying: Pharaoh will harden his heart as a result of how I will deal with him!

You and I have done exactly the same thing: we have caused other people to do something we wanted them to do. Sometimes we have wanted to force others to do certain things. If speaking alone didn’t get the results we wanted, then we forced them to comply with our demands by how we treated them, and by what we did to them. It wasn’t that we put our thoughts into their minds. No, we treated them a certain way, and that achieved the results we wanted.

And that is what God did with Pharaoh!

God wanted Pharaoh to harden his heart, and to not let Israel go after the first or second or third ... or ninth plague. That was so because God had determined that He was going to pour out ten plagues, and not just nine or eight or seven.

So the way God caused Pharaoh to harden his heart was to remove each penalty before Pharaoh would capitulate and let Israel go.

God could also have led Israel out of Egypt by imposing only one plague on Egypt, and leaving that one plague in place long enough until Pharaoh would give in and let Israel go. That would have been easy to achieve, but that was not what God wanted. God had decided in advance that God wanted to pour out ten plagues, and not just one.

And God’s will is always going to be achieved!

We will have the same type of situation at some point in the time that still lies ahead of us. God has determined that there will be the seven last plagues before Jesus Christ will commence His millennial rule. Now God could achieve the circumstances God is going to achieve by having only one or two “last plagues”. But that is not what God wants!

God has decided that there will be exactly seven plagues poured out, and not one less. Therefore, if any one of the first five plagues threatens to cause too much damage, creating too much damage too quickly, then God will bring that plague to an end, to still leave room for the remaining plagues that still need to be poured out, before Jesus Christ begins to rule over, and to repair this planet earth.

So to repeat: God caused Pharaoh’s heart to be hardened by bringing each of the first nine plagues to a speedy end, before Pharaoh’s rebellious spirit would be totally crushed, and he would let Israel go. But God did not intervene in Pharaoh’s mind, to make him more rebellious. No, God used outside circumstances to cause Pharaoh to harden his own heart.

This information is hidden by mistranslating the Hebrew verb “qasha” with the hiphil stem as if this verb was used with the qal stem. God did not actively harden Pharaoh’s heart. Rather, God used external circumstances to cause Pharaoh to harden his own attitude regarding letting Israel go.

For more of the details regarding these 19 verses see the article that deals with this question.

#21 = EXODUS 9:31

THE VERSE:

And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The words “in the ear” are an acceptable translation, provided the reader does not attach any unintended meanings to this expression. Specifically, it is wrong to use this Scripture to claim that “abib” must mean “immature grain”.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The words “in the ear” are a translation of the Hebrew word “abib”. This Hebrew word “abib” is discussed in detail in the section dealing with Leviticus 2:14. Please see the information presented there.

The point about “abib” is this:

Apart from referring to the first month of the year, this word is only used twice in the OT, i.e. here and in Leviticus 2:14. Here in Exodus 9:31 it does not allow us to draw any conclusions as to the stage of maturity that the barley had achieved at that point in time. But in Leviticus 2:14 “abib” is clearly identified as fully mature grain.

That is not to say that here in Exodus 9:31 “abib” might not have included grain that was not yet fully mature. The point is that the expression “in the ear” can cover the spectrum from early, immature grain to fully mature grain ready for harvesting. But this does not allow anyone to conclude that therefore “abib” must mean “green ears”, because that claim is flatly contradicted by Leviticus 2:14.

So there is no problem with this translation, so long as no one tries to assert that “in the ear” must somehow apply exclusively to young, immature grain. Based on Leviticus 2:14 there is also the possibility that here in Exodus 9:31 “abib” could mean “ripe”.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

The KJV translation is acceptable.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

At the time of these plagues just prior to the exodus from Egypt the barley was either ripe for harvesting or else it was not yet fully mature. But it was already standing in the fields, and so it was destroyed by the hail.

There is nothing in Exodus 9:31 that limits “abib” to mean “green, immature ears”. And there is nothing in this verse that contradicts the information which Leviticus 2:14 provides for the word “abib”.

#22 = EXODUS 12:2

THE VERSE:

This month (chodesh) shall be unto you the beginning of months (chodesh): it shall be the first month (chodesh) of the year to you.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

This translation gives the impression that here God is focusing on a month being at a certain time of the year (i.e. in the spring). But that focus is only partially correct. The focus is really on the new moon, the first day of the month, being at a certain time of the year.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

Ever since the Julian calendar (later the Gregorian calendar) was accepted in the western world, the moon has not been particularly important to people. We today don’t need the moon to establish our secular calendar. But in ancient times, before Julius Caesar imposed his calendar on the Roman Empire, the moon was seen as extremely important, because it was needed to accurately record the passage of time.

Historically people focused on a number of different aspects of the moon’s cycles. Specifically, people noted: 1) the first day of every month, 2) the length of a lunar month, 3) the event of the actual new moon. Of these three things, the first day of the month and the event of the new moon are basically the same thing (without getting too technical here), but they have a different focus; i.e. either on the actual day involved, or on the actual event involved. And so some languages have one word to express both of these focuses (the first day of the month, and also the day of the new moon) at the same time (e.g. Hebrew), while other languages have two different words to distinguish between these two things (e.g. Latin).

Let’s look at these things in three different languages: Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The column “1st Day” below refers to “The First Day of the Month”.

LANGUAGE                MOON       MONTH     NEW MOON       1ST DAY

HEBREW =                YAREACH   YERACH     CHODESH           CHODESH

GREEK =                   SELENE      MEN          NEOMENIA         none

LATIN =                    LUNA MENSIS     NEOMENIA         KALENDA

[COMMENT: The Greek word for “new moon” is “neomenia” in the LXX and “noumenia” in the Greek NT. I have here chosen the form “neomenia” because this word was later accepted into Latin, and thus the origin of the Latin word is easier to identify.]

Let’s now examine this information by language.

IN HEBREW there are two distinct words involved. First there is the word for “moon” which is identical to the word for “month”, i.e. in Hebrew the spelling is identical but the unwritten vowels are different, enabling a distinction between “moon” and “month”. We should be able to see that “yareach” and “yerach” are basically the same word. Then there is a completely different word “chodesh” which also has two meanings. It at the same time means “new moon” and also “the first day of the month” (i.e. “the new moon day”). So in Hebrew the word for “month” is derived from the word “moon”, but a completely different and unrelated word means both “new moon” and also “first day of the month”.

However, while “yerach” is the word for “month”, the word “chodesh” is also frequently used to mean “month”. Moses already used both of these words to mean “month”. Thus, in Genesis 7:11 and 8:4 Moses used “chodesh” to mean “month”, while in Exodus 2:2 and in Deuteronomy 21:13 Moses used “yerach” to mean “month”. The one distinction that can be seen in these Scriptures is that when “chodesh” means “a month”, it is always referring to a period of days that STARTS with a new moon day, i.e. a period that starts with day #1 of the month. On the other hand, the uses of “yerach” in Exodus 2:2 and in Deut 21:13 show that this word simply focuses on THE LENGTH of a month, i.e. without regard for the day on which this period may start and end.

An interesting use of both these words in one verse is found in 1 Kings 6:38. This verse reads: “And in the eleventh year, in the month (“yerach”) Bul, which is the eighth month (“chodesh”), was the house finished”.

In this verse the month Bul is identified as the eighth new moon of the year. The word “yerach” is the general word for “month”, and “month” is its only meaning. The word “chodesh” primarily means “new moon” or “new moon day”, and then by extension it means “a month starting with a new moon day”. The focus of “chodesh” is always on the new moon day of that month.

Gesenius in his Hebrew Chaldee Lexicon gives as the only meaning of “yerach” “a month,” pointing out that this is the word “the older writers” (i.e. earlier writers, like Moses, etc.) used to refer to a month. For “chodesh” Gesenius gives the first meaning as: “the new moon, the day of the new moon, the calends (i.e. the first day) of a lunar month”.

Gesenius has in fact pointed out the exact meanings that apply to Exodus 12:2.

IN GREEK there are three distinct words involved. First there is the word for “moon” (i.e. “selene”). This word is not used to form any of the other words here. Secondly, there is the word for “month” (i.e. “men”). Thirdly, we have the word for “new moon” (i.e. “neomenia”), which is formed from the word for “month”, and which literally means “new month”. This illustrates that in Greek the purpose of a new moon was to establish a new month. With this linguistic connection between “month” and “new moon” Greek did not have an extra word to mean “first day of the month”.

IN LATIN there are four distinct words involved. First there is the word for “moon” (i.e. “luna”). This word is not used to form any of the other words here. Secondly, there is the word for “month” (i.e. “mensis”). This word came into Latin via the Greek “men”. Thirdly, there is the word for “new moon” (i.e. “neomenia”), which was also taken over from the Greek. While taking their words for “month” and for “new moon” from the Greek language, the Romans also had their own particular customs. And amongst the Romans the first day of every month had always been given special attention. Thus the Romans had a special word to identify that first day of every month. They called that first day of every month “kalenda”, and the year consisted of a succession of “kalendae”.

Our English word “calendar” comes from this Latin word “kalenda”. Thus “a calendar” is simply “a system for establishing the first day of every month in the year”. That is what the word “calendar” literally means.

The point we should understand here is that the Hebrew word “chodesh” covers the meanings of the two Latin words “neomenia” and “kalenda”, and that its Greek equivalent is “neomenia”.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

This new moon shall be unto you the beginning of new moons: it shall be the first new moon of the year to you.

[COMMENT: If we were to use the correct Latin word for “chodesh” in this verse, then it should read as follows: “This kalenda shall be unto you the beginning of kalendae: it shall be the first kalenda of the year to you”. This is, however, not the way Jerome translated “chodesh” in this verse. Here Jerome translated “chodesh” with “mensis”, i.e. “month”. But Jerome did translate “chodesh” with “kalenda” in other verses, like Isaiah 1:14, 2 Kings 4:23, Numbers 29:6, etc.]

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

Yes, this verse speaks about the season in which God says the year is to start, i.e. in the spring. However, this verse does not imply that it is acceptable to start the year with a new moon that occurred before the start of spring. That line of reasoning might perhaps have been possible if the word “yerach” was used in this verse. But that line of reasoning is simply not possible with the word “chodesh”.

As the Hebrew scholar Gesenius pointed out, “chodesh” focuses on “the calends of a lunar month”. That focus cannot be denied. “Chodesh” is the equivalent of the Latin “kalenda”. With the word “chodesh” the first day of the month is always the key focus. And therefore that first day itself must be in the spring.

If a new moon day (i.e. a “chodesh” or a “kalenda”) before the start of spring is used to start the first month, then God’s instruction here in Exodus 12:2 is being violated. It is because the present Jewish calendar is repeatedly in violation of this clear instruction, that some people, in an attempt to support the Jewish calendar, argue for only “a part” of the first month having to be in the spring. But that line of reasoning violates the clear meaning of “chodesh”.

And that violation is addressed by God Himself in Isaiah 1:14. See the comments there for further information.

#23 = EXODUS 12:11

THE VERSE:

And thus shall you eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S Passover.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The expression “in haste” here is used to imply that they would rush through the meal before departing from Egypt that same night. Jewish customs for the Passover on the 15th day rely heavily on the words “in haste” in this verse.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The Hebrew word here translated as “in haste” is “chippazown”, which is used only three times in the OT. It is formed from the verb “chaphaz”, which really means “to fear”.

Hebrew words that really do mean “in haste” include “”mahar” (used in Genesis 18:6; Genesis 19:22; Genesis 44:11; etc.), “chuwsh” (used in Judges 20:37; 1 Samuel 20:38), “uwts” (used in Genesis 19:15; Exodus 5:3), and “nachats” (used in 1 Samuel 21:8). But “chippazown” does not mean “in haste”.

It is clear that the ancient Jewish sages (i.e. the tannaim and the amoraim) deliberately assigned a new meaning to the verb “chaphaz” in order to support their 15th day Passover customs. “Chaphaz” means “to fear, to be in trepidation”. But these sages gave this word the meaning of “haste” in order to apply the meaning “in haste” to the noun “chippazown” in Exodus 12:11.

THE THEOLOGICAL WORDBOOK OF THE OLD TESTAMENT (TWOT) lists the verb “chaphaz” as entry #708.0. There it makes the following statement:

“Some contexts give support, though less than decisive support, for a meaning of ‘hasten’ (i.e. in terror).”

In plain language, this is an admission that “chaphaz” really does mean “to fear, to be in terror”. It also shows that people have reasoned out the meaning of “hasten” by the way they interpret certain passages. TWOT obliquely acknowledges that this reasoning out is weak at best, and hardly convincing.

Even the JPS tacitly acknowledges that elsewhere “chaphaz” means “to fear” rather than “haste”. In Job 40:23 the KJV reads: “Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth (chaphaz) not”. In the JPS this has been corrected to read: “Behold, if a river overflow, he trembleth (“chaphaz”) not”. When we consider that the JPS largely follows the text of the earlier KJV translation, this is a clear admission that they really know that “chaphaz” refers to fearing and not to hastening.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

And thus shall you eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in trepidation: it is the LORD’s Passover.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

Of all the annual observances listed in the Bible, this is the only one that was to be kept in their homes, and also the only one that took place in the evening.

The instructions in this verse were to get Israel to be in a sober and respectful attitude, fully dressed. Their whole demeanor was to convey this attitude of fear and respect. It was a night in which perhaps half a million Egyptian first born would die. The Israelites were not to be barefoot and thinking about going to sleep. But neither were they to go out of the doors of their houses until the morning light (verse 22).

The word “chippazown” describes the attitude with which the Israelites were to eat the Passover, an attitude of fear, not one of gulping down their food in haste. No supporters of the “in haste” position actually ever offer an explanation for what “eating in haste” would look like in practical terms. And Jewish customs for the Passover hardly qualify for the expression “eating in haste”. Realistically, it is absurd to claim that God instructed the Israelites to eat the Passover “in haste”.

A correct translation of Exodus 12:11 removes a major argument for the Jewish custom of keeping the Passover on the 15th day.

See also the sections on Deuteronomy 16:3 and Isaiah 52:12, the only other places where the word “chippazown” is used.

#24 = EXODUS 12:14

THE VERSE

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. (Exodus 12:14)

IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION

As it stands, this text was only divided into sentences and verses long after it had originally been written by Moses, and those divisions into sentences and verses are not in any way “inspired”. Here in the KJV this verse is presented as one sentence.

This verse is a good example of where the division into both sentences and verses is plain wrong, because it creates ambiguity as to the intended meaning.

 

Notice how this verse is translated in Green’s Literal Translation

 

And the day shall be a memorial for you. And you shall celebrate it [as] a feast to Jehovah, for your generations. You shall celebrate it [as] a law forever. (Exodus 12:14 LIT)

Notice that Green presents this verse as three separate sentences. The first part is given as a complete sentence on its own. This division into three sentences I believe is a clearer representation of the intended meaning, for reasons which I will state below.

Notice also that Green acknowledges that the two occurrences of the word “as” in his text are not in the Hebrew text, by placing both instances in square parentheses. The KJV has correctly not included the word “as” in its translation.

One theme of Exodus 12 (i.e. the Passover) goes from verse 3 to this first sentence in verse 14. That first sentence in verse 14 concludes the discussion of the Passover. Thus it should read:

 

        “And this day (the 14th of Nisan) shall be a memorial for you.”

 

The next sentence in verse 14 then starts a new subject, the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread, which discussion continues up to verse 20 inclusive.

So the discussion of the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread starts with the last two statements in verse 14, which in Green’s Translation read:

 

“And you shall celebrate it [as] a feast to Jehovah, for your generations. You shall celebrate it [as] a law forever.” (Green’s LIT Translation)

THE PROBLEMS WITH THE KJV TRANSLATION

Our English language translations imply that the second part of verse 14 is a reference to the day that has been previously discussed, up until this point in time (i.e. that it supposedly refers to the Passover).

This is implied by combining these two sentences into one verse with the previous sentence, which previous sentence is a reference to the Passover; and by including the word “it” in both of these last two sentences.

Now here is something to consider.

The first sentence in verse 14 speaks about the Passover. But it does not call the Passover “a Holy Day”, and neither does it call the Passover “a Feast”. It calls the Passover “a memorial”.

This is extremely important!

The Hebrew word translated as “memorial” is “zikkaron” (or “zikron”). This Hebrew noun is derived from the verb “zakar”. This verb “zakar” means: to remember, to recall, to call to mind.

Now the Hebrew noun “zikron” does not mean “Feast”, and neither does it mean “Holy Day”. I have checked all 24 occurrences of “zikron” (or “zikkaron”) in 22 different OT verses, and the word “zikron” itself has nothing to do with “Feasts” or with “Holy Days”. It is completely wrong to imply that “a memorial” must be “a Feast”.

If “a memorial” is intended to refer to “a Feast”, then that point must be stated quite clearly. And if “a memorial” is intended to refer to “a Holy Day”, then that point must likewise be stated in very clear terms.

For example, here are some of the places where the word “zikron” is used:


On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records (Hebrew “zikron”) of the chronicles; and they were read before the king. (Esther 6:1)

There is no remembrance (Hebrew “zikron”) of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance (Hebrew “zikkaron”) of things that are to come with those that shall come after. (Ecclesiastes 1:11)

Then you shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial (Hebrew “zikkaron”) unto the children of Israel for ever. (Joshua 4:7)

For there is no remembrance (Hebrew “zikron”) of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dies the wise man? as the fool. (Ecclesiastes 2:16)

Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance (Hebrew “zikkaron”) was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name. (Malachi 3:16)

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a Sabbath, a memorial (Hebrew “zikron”) of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:24)

With this last verse note that it is not “zikron” that makes the Day of Trumpets an annual Sabbath or Holy Day. The word “zikron” only refers to a specific physical activity on that day, namely, the blowing of trumpets. What makes the Day of Trumpets a Holy Day (but not “a Feast”!) is that God calls it “a holy convocation”, completely independent from whether or not it is “a memorial”.

The word “zikron” of itself has no direct or implied religious significance. It can refer to “a book of records”, and to “stones” being used for a memorial. It can refer to deceased people in general. And yes, it can also refer to a Holy Day. But when that is the case, then this fact must be clearly stated.

On its own the word “zikron” simply means: memorial, reminder, remembrance. In other words, whenever “something” is designated as a “zikron”, then that is to tell us that the “something” is supposed to remind us of “something else”.

The Passover is a “memorial” because it is supposed to remind the Israelites of the fact that their lives were spared when the death angel went through the land of Egypt and killed all the firstborn of man and beast on that first Passover.

It is logical and very appropriate to identify the Passover as a “memorial”. And referring to the Passover as a “memorial” is also a very logical way to conclude the discussion of the Passover. After that statement nothing more needs to be said about the Passover.

Don’t be misled by the devious division into sentences and verses here. The material in verse 14 should not all be one sentence, because two different subjects are discussed. And these two different subjects should not be presented within the same one verse. Combining these two different subjects into one sentence and one verse is aimed at endorsing the Jewish custom of referring to the Passover as a “Feast”.

Let’s now examine the second part of Exodus 12:14. This will involve a technicality of Hebrew grammar.

The English text for this part reads:

And you shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

The transliterated Hebrew text for this part of verse 14 reads:

wa-chaggotem (“and you shall keep”) otow (“it”) chag (“a feast”) YHWH (“to the Eternal”) la-dorotekem (“throughout your generations”) chukkat (“by an ordinance”) olam (“for ever”) ta-chagguhu (“you shall celebrate”).

The technicality in this text involves the Hebrew word “otow”, translated as “it”. Hebrew “otow” is a form of the Hebrew word “eth”. The rest of the Hebrew text does not present any difficulties.

Here is what the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Dictionary says about “eth”:

“sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative.”

Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Dictionaries of the Greek and Hebrew Testaments state the following about “eth”:

used to point out the object of a verb (or preposition) more definitely.  (hence) even or namely.

Let’s simplify the information about this word “eth”:

1) It is used as a form of emphasis, to focus attention, i.e. it points out the object of the verb “more definitely”.

2) It is usually not translated in English.

3) While it is usually not translated, the English equivalent for “eth” without any suffix would be words like “namely” and “even”.

4) It refers to something that follows. It does not refer to what went before.

Now here is the technicality:

In Exodus 12:14 “otow” is not just a simple form of “eth”. Rather, “otow” is in fact the word “eth” plus a suffix for the third person singular. That is, the suffix attached to “eth” here refers to “he” or to “it”. Since “he” doesn’t make any sense in this context, therefore here “otow” is equal to the Hebrew word “eth” plus the suffix for the impersonal pronoun “it”.

That’s where English translators get the pronoun “it” ... from the suffix attached to “eth”.

The problem here is that as languages Hebrew and English function in completely different ways. Sometimes the way you say something in Hebrew can be ambiguous, when the Hebrew text is literally translated into English.

The point here is that Hebrew is an inflective language, while English is a syntactic language. And there are significant differences between syntactic languages and inflective languages.

English is a syntactic language, which means that in English the functions of words depend on their positions in a sentence. The word order is extremely important, in order to establish the correct meaning. Thus, for example, there is a huge difference between saying: “the dog bit the boy”, and in saying: “the boy bit the dog”. The five words in these two statements, including all their endings, are identical, but the meanings conveyed are vastly different because of the difference in word order within the sentence. That is typically the case in a syntactic language.

Hebrew, Greek and Latin, on the other hand, are inflective languages. In these languages the intended meaning is not conveyed by the word order in the sentence, as much as it is by the endings attached to each word. In these languages it frequently doesn’t matter whether the word order is: the dog bit the boy, or whether the word order is: the boy bit the dog.

Both forms can convey the same meaning, because in these languages the functions of words are indicated by their endings, largely independent of their positions in a sentence. Different endings for words in inflective languages convey different meanings.

Highly inflective languages also have declensions for nouns and adjectives (e.g. Latin has: nominative, vocative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative; and Greek has: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative; i.e. Greek does not have the ablative case of Latin).

In a syntactic language like English, on the other hand, we don’t decline the nouns, etc. Instead, we employ prepositions plus word positioning within the sentence to convey those same meanings.

When we translate Hebrew into English, we are not just translating a set of words from one language into another language; we are also translating from one way of thinking into another way of thinking. Language experts and translators are obviously aware of these things. But most of us “amateur translators” who depend totally on the Strong’s numbering system, and who argue vociferously based on thumping our Strong’s Dictionary, are oblivious to these finer distinctions.

To look at a simplified example in our context:

In English we would never say: “when you go to the library, then you shall read it a book”, with the pronoun “it” referring to “a book”. That’s because in English we can never use the pronoun “it” to refer to something that has not been previously mentioned in the conversation. In English the use of the pronoun “it” presupposes that what the word “it” refers to has already been presented to the audience. That is how syntactic languages (like English) work.

But that is not how things work in inflective languages like Hebrew!

In Hebrew you can readily use the pronouns “he” and “it” before you have even identified who “he” and “it” are intended to refer to. You can do this in inflective languages because the endings attached to the relevant words clearly identify who or what you are referring to.

So in Hebrew you can make the correct statement “when you go to the library, then you shall read it a book”. The endings will make clear that here “it” is an emphatic form of referring to “a book”.

Now in Exodus 12:14 the Hebrew pronoun for “it” is not just arbitrarily placed before the direct object “a feast”. Here the pronoun for “it” is placed before the direct object because the Hebrew word “eth” generally precedes the object that it refers to. So attaching the pronoun for “it” to the Hebrew word “eth” means that the pronoun for “it” will also precede the object to which it refers. This is simply following the rules that apply to the usage of the word “eth”.

In the inflective Hebrew language you can say “you shall read it a book” just like you can say “you shall keep it a feast”. And in both cases the pronoun “it” refers to the direct object of the preceding verb. For people with a Hebrew-thinking mind this format does not create any ambiguity regarding what the pronoun “it” refers to.

But that is not how we say things in the syntactic English language. In English the pronoun “it” does not make sense in either of these two sentences. Put another way, not only is the pronoun “it” not needed in these two sentences; in English in these two sentences the pronoun “it” must in fact be omitted, to avoid creating confusion.

In these two sentences the pronoun “it” must be omitted in English, because here “it” does not refer to anything that has been mentioned previously. And if it does not have any reference to anything that has been mentioned previously, then in English “it” should not be included in these two translated sentences.

I realize that this is all rather technical. But the point is this:

While technically speaking it might be viewed as correct to include the pronoun “it” in the translation of this Hebrew text with the word “otow” in it, in actual practice a correct translation of the Hebrew text into English demands that the pronoun “it” must be left out in the English translation.

The pronoun “it” must assuredly be left out here, because the English pronoun “it” is expected to refer to the antecedent (which is the Passover), whereas in Exodus 12:14 the Hebrew pronoun “it” in the word “otow” does not refer to the antecedent!

Rather, the suffix for “it” in the word “otow” is expected to refer to the direct object that follows (which is the Seven Day Feast of Unleavened Bread).

So note!

In order to avoid evaluating “it” from an English syntactic perspective, therefore the word “it” must be left out in the translation of this Hebrew expression in Exodus 12:14.

Can you follow?

Beware of people who argue from the premise that the Hebrew text does include the pronoun for “it”. Yes, the word “otow” does include the suffix for “it”, but not in the English language way of thinking. The key is that the Hebrew word “eth” refers to the direct object that follows, which is contrary to how the word “it” functions for us in English. That is the reason why “it” must be left out of the translation into English.

This covers the middle statement in verse 14. The final statement in this verse reads in Green’s Literal Translation “You shall celebrate it [as] a law forever”. In the KJV this part reads “... you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever”.

In this statement the Hebrew text does not include the third person pronoun “it”. So in this statement there is no justification for including the word “it” in our English translations. The translators provided the pronoun “it” to be in line with the previous (mistranslated) statement. Here “it” must also be removed from our English translations. So where it reads “you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever”, it should correctly read “you shall keep a feast by an ordinance for ever”.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

This verse would have been a lot clearer if it had in fact been divided into two verses as follows:

 

First Verse: “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial.”

 

Second Verse: “And you shall celebrate a Feast to the Eternal throughout your generations. You shall keep a Feast by an ordinance forever.”

THE CORRECT MEANING

Two other passages of Scripture make quite clear that “the Feast” (“chag” in Hebrew) is the period that starts on the fifteenth day, while the 14th day is “the Passover”. Notice:

 

In the fourteenth [day] of the first month at even [is] the LORD’S Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month [is] the Feast of Unleavened Bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:5-6)

 

And in the fourteenth day of the first month [is] the Passover of the LORD. And in the fifteenth day of this month [is] the Feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. (Numbers 28:16-17)

These verses show us that “the Feast” spoken about in the second part of Exodus 12:14 is “the Feast of Unleavened Bread”. We should also note that immediately after Exodus 12:14 we have the identical wording which is included in the above two quotations. Exodus 12:14 is also followed by the statement: “seven days shall you eat unleavened bread”.

 

That is identical to what we find in Leviticus 23:5-6 and in Numbers 28:16-17. As it stands in our Bibles, Exodus 12:14 is a wrong way of dividing the text into verses, in addition to the wrong inclusion of the impersonal pronoun “it”.

To summarize the discussion of Exodus 12:14 as it appears in our translations:

 

1) The Passover is “a memorial” of the death of Jesus Christ, and of the death angel “passing over” the houses of the Israelites back in Egypt; and it is on the 14th day of the first month.

2) “The Feast” is a reference to “the Feast of Unleavened Bread”, which is seven days long, and which starts on the 15th day of the first month.

3) The word “it”, used twice in our English translations of this verse, must be omitted in both places. In the first instance it must be omitted because its inclusion in English would change the meaning away from the meaning of the word “it” in the Hebrew text. In the second instance it must be omitted because there is nothing in the Hebrew text to justify its inclusion.

#25 = EXODUS 19:13

The mistranslation in this verse is easier to recognize when we examine this verse together with verse 16 in the same context. Verse 16 reveals how the mistranslation in verse 13 came about.

THESE TWO VERSES:

There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mount. (Exodus 19:13)

And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that were in the camp trembled. (Exodus 19:16)

THE PROBLEMS WITH THESE TRANSLATIONS

Exodus 19 is the build-up towards God (i.e. Jesus Christ) speaking the 10 commandments from Mount Sinai. God called Moses up to the mountain and Moses then presented the words of God to the people. The people then responded with “all that the Eternal has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). Then God once again gave Moses certain instructions.

In Exodus 19:9 Moses “told the words of the people unto the Eternal”. God then instructed Moses to tell the people to be ready on the third day (Exodus 19:11). Now let’s note the following.

1) In Exodus 19:12-13 God is still speaking to Moses on the mountain. These verses speak about things that had not yet taken place; they speak about what would shortly happen.

2) In Exodus 19:14 “Moses went down from the mount unto the people”.

3) In Exodus 19:15 Moses then gives some specific instructions to the people.

4) In Exodus 19:16 we then come to that “third day”, and the things God had predicted then actually take place.

So here is the point:

Exodus 19:13 speaks about things before they happen, while Exodus 19:16 speaks about things while they were happening.

 Verse 13 is a prediction and verse 16 is a fulfillment. Can we see that?

In our English text both of these verses contain the word “trumpet”. But the Hebrew word translated as “trumpet” in verse 13 is not the same as the Hebrew word translated “trumpet” in verse 16. Two different Hebrew words are used in these two verses, both translated as “trumpet”.

To repeat:

In verse 13 nothing actually happens! Verse 13 only speaks about what would happen later!

It is only from verse 16 onwards that things actually happen! But verse 13 is nothing more than a description of what would happen, and how the people were to respond to what would happen. Let’s now look at these verses again and include certain Hebrew words in the text.

There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet (Hebrew “yobel”) sounds long (Hebrew “mashak”), they shall come up to the mount. (Exodus 19:13)

And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet (Hebrew “shofar”) exceeding (Hebrew “me’od”) loud (Hebrew “chazaq”); so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. (Exodus 19:16)

Here is the mistranslation and why it happened.

The translators did not understand the instruction God gave Moses in verse 13! That is the problem!

What the translators did is look at what happened in verse 16 (i.e. the shofar sounded exceedingly loud), and then they misapplied what happened in verse 16 to their translations of verse 13. But they didn’t actually translate verse 13 correctly.

Let’s look at the details.

In verse 16 the expression translated as “the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud” does not contain any verbs. The translation for this verse is basically correct.

In verse 16 “shofar” refers to a trumpet made from a ram’s horn. The adverb “me’od” means “very, greatly, much, exceedingly”, etc. Here it is appropriately rendered as “exceeding”. The adjective “chazaq” or “hazaq” means “strong”, and in our context here “loud” is appropriate.

Literally the whole Hebrew expression means “the voice of the shofar very strong”. “The voice” refers to the sound the shofar makes, and so our English translation “the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud” is a fair rendering of the intended meaning of the Hebrew expression involved in verse 16.

2) In verse 16 there were four things that occurred, namely:

        - thunders

        - lightning

        - a very thick cloud upon the mount

        - a very loud sound of the shofar.

QUESTION: Did God intend any one of these four things to be more important than the other three? Or did God intend all four of them to present one unified picture? Specifically, was the sound of the shofar more important or was the lightning more important? The sound of thunder can be deafening, so was the thunder more important or was the shofar sound more important? Do you get the idea?

God was providing a setting where all four of these things worked together to achieve one purpose, without setting one of these four things above the other three in importance. One unified picture, with no component being given preeminence above any of the other three components.

This the translators did not understand!

To the translators “the voice of the trumpet” was the only important thing, and the other three things were to them only secondary trappings, like window-dressing. And so the translators assumed that God’s statement in verse 13 was a reference to the sound of the shofar.

That assumption was a mistake.

In verse 13 God was not talking about “the trumpet sound”, not at all!

So now let’s look at the mistranslated second half of verse 13. Here it is:

“... when the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mount”.

This statement consists of two parts:

        1) God states something that would happen.

        2) Then the people were to respond by doing something.

As the text stands, in English these two parts say the following:

        1) the trumpet will sound long.

        2) Then the people are to come up to the foot of the mount.

The mistranslation here is the first statement.

The Hebrew text does not say “when the trumpet sounds long”. The Hebrew text actually says something different, something that none of the translations I have checked have translated correctly.

For a start, in the Hebrew text this expression does not contain the word for “trumpetor the word for “ram’s horn”. This statement is not speaking about any kind of trumpet at all!

Next, in the Hebrew text this expression does not talk about “sounding long”! This statement does not refer to making any sounds, long or short!

So this whole expression is a mistranslation.

This expression in verse 13 consists of just two Hebrew words, one word mistranslated as “the trumpet” and one word mistranslated as “sounds long”. The dictionary form of the word mistranslated as “the trumpet” is “yobel”, and the word mistranslated as “sounds long” is the verb “mashak”.

Hebrew “yobel” is a noun formed from the verb “yabal”, which verb means “to lead forth” people, or “to bring forth” things. So “yobel”, the word also translated as “Jubilee”, refers to “people being led forth from somewhere”, or else it could refer to “things being brought forth from somewhere”.

But “yobel” does not in any way mean “ram’s horn”. “Ram’s horn” is a brazen mistranslation for “yobel”. This I have documented quite thoroughly in my 2012 article “THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF: THE LAND SABBATH AND THE JUBILEE YEAR”.

Next, the Hebrew word “mashak” is a primitive root verb. Here is how three different Hebrew reference works define “mashak”.

The BDB Lexicon defines “mashak” as: to draw, drag, seize. With the qal stem (used here) BDB lists the following as the first meaning:

        1a) to draw and lift out, drag along, lead along, drag or lead off

TWOT provides the following information for “mashak”:

The following meanings are attached to the verb mashak in the Qal:

(1) To draw in the sense of ‘to raise’ Genesis 37:28, ‘They drew, and lifted up Joseph from the pit.’ Jeremiah 38:13, ‘So, they hauled up Jeremiah with ropes,’

(2) To draw in the sense of ‘to extend,’ Psalm 36:10; Psalm 85:5 have already been noted. Cf. also Psalm 109:12 and Jeremiah 31:3, ‘For you have I prolonged kindness.’

(3) To draw in the sense of ‘to draw in, associate with’; Psalm 28:3, ‘Do not rank me with the wicked’; Hosea 7:5, ‘He stretched out his hand (mashak yado) with scorners’ possibly means, ‘He associated with scoffers.’  (TWOT #1257.0)

GESENIUS in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament defines “mashak” as follows: when applied to persons, it means “to draw someone anywhere”.

I have now quoted three highly qualified reference works, BDB, TWOT and GESENIUS, regarding the meaning of “mashak”. It should be clear that this Hebrew verb does not have anything at all to do with “making any sound”, neither long sounds, nor short sounds, nor loud sounds, nor soft sounds, nor any sounds!

It is because the misguided translators believed that “yobel” somehow means “ram’s horn”, that therefore, and only therefore, the translators had to conjure up this “long-sounding” meaning for this Hebrew verb “mashak”. But that meaning is false and totally unjustified.

Yobel” means: to lead forth; and “mashak” means: to draw someone somewhere. It really is that simple!

So let’s look at the last part of Exodus 19:13 again.

Where our English text reads:

“When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mount.”

The correct translation should read:

When the leading forth (yobel) draws them (mashak), they shall come up to the mount.” (Exodus 19:13, last part)

In other words: the verb “mashak” has an effect on the noun “yobel”. This tells us that the people will be “drawn” towards God by “the leading forth”. The events that make up “the leading forth” are not defined in this verse. After all, this is only a prediction of what was still to happen later in verse 16.

Regarding Exodus 19:13, all translators and commentators have assumed that this must be a reference to “the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud” in verse 16. But that assumption is plain wrong.

The truth is that God intended the whole package to be instrumental in “leading them forth”! In other words, God intended that the four factors working together would produce the leading forth. Those four factors working together were: the thunder + lightning + thick cloud + loud trumpet. All four of these things very obviously exerted a very powerful influence over the Israelites at that point in time. They were just as scared out of their wits by the thunder and the lightning, as they were by the trumpet sound.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the leading forth draws them, they shall come up to the mount. (Exodus 19:13)

 

 

#26 = EXODUS 23:12

THE VERSE:

Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest (Hebrew “shabath”): that your ox and your ass may rest (Hebrew “nuwach”), and the son of your handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed (Hebrew “naphash”). (Exodus 23:12)

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

In this verse two different Hebrew verbs are translated as “rest”. But one of those two Hebrew verbs does not mean “rest”. That Hebrew verb has been mistranslated.

I have highlighted three verbs in this verse, because “refreshed” is also connected with resting. What we have in this verse is as follows:

1) The Hebrew verb “nuwach” is correctly translated as “may rest”.

2) The Hebrew verb “naphash” is correctly translated as “be refreshed”.

3) The Hebrew verb “shabathis mistranslated asshall rest”.

The Hebrew verb “shabath” does not mean “to rest”. It really means: “to cease doing something”, “to stop certain activities”.

The mistranslation of the Hebrew verb “shabath” is discussed at length in my 40-page 2001 article “FURTHER UNDERSTANDING ABOUT THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT”. See that article for more information on the verb “shabath”.

So the picture the Bible presents to us about the Sabbath is as follows:

1) In Genesis 2:2-3 God “established” the Sabbath, but without commanding human beings to observe it in any way. This Genesis account does not say that God “rested”. It only says that God “ceased doing certain activities”. These verses use the Hebrew verb “shabath” for God, but they do not use the verb “nuwach”.

2) The fourth commandment in Exodus 20:8-11 adds new information, in that verse 11 tells us that God had in fact “rested” on that original Sabbath. This verse uses the Hebrew verb “nuwach” for what God had done.

3) We should note, however, that this Sabbath commandment does not actually command us “to rest”; it only command us “to not work”. What we are commanded to do is presented in verses 9-10. Verse 11 is not a command for what we are to do; it is only a statement about what God had done. What God had done and what we are commanded to do are not necessarily the same thing.

4) Exodus 23:12, the verse we are here examining, elaborates on the commandment in Exodus 20. This verse has an interesting focus. When we correct the mistranslation in this verse, then it becomes clear that here we are also not told “to rest”.

Rather, we are told “to cease doing something”, and the result will then be that our domestic animals get “to rest”, and our servants/employees “are refreshed”. Read it. We cease ... and they are refreshed and rested.

That’s an expression of godly love, which is an outgoing concern for others. In this case, others are to benefit from us ceasing certain activities.

This whole subject is also further discussed in my short 2022 article entitled “WHEN DID GOD COMMAND SABBATH OBSERVANCE?”.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall stop your regular work activities: that your ox and your ass may rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed. (Exodus 23:12)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

In this verse we are given the instruction to stop doing certain activities. However, this verse does not state any specific benefits for us personally as a result of obeying this instruction. Rather, this verse only spells out the benefits that others receive (our domestic animals and our employees) from our obedience to this instruction.

The benefits of our obedience accrue to others. That’s what godly love is like. Now we ourselves clearly also receive benefits from obeying this commandment; but those benefits to us personally are simply not the focus of this statement here, or even of the commandment in Exodus 20.

#27 = EXODUS 23:16

THE VERSE:

And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of your labors, which you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The wording “in the end of the year” is intended to support the Jewish custom of referring to the 1st day of the 7th month as “new year”. But we are dealing with a mistranslation.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

Before we even look at the Hebrew words involved, let’s notice the absurdity of referring to the Feast of Tabernacles as supposedly taking place “in the end of the year”.

If the 1st day of the 7th month (i.e. Day of Trumpets) is supposedly “new year”, then how on earth could the 15th day of that same month possibly be “in the end of the year”? In terms of our Roman calendar that would be like referring to the period of January 15-21 as “in the end of the year”, when January 15 onwards is very clearly near the beginning of the Roman year.

So if the year is supposed to start with the 7th month, then the Feast of Tabernacles would have to be placed at the beginning of the year, and not “in the end of the year”.

On the other hand, if we accept that the year starts with the first month, then the Feast of Tabernacles takes place 15 days after the middle of the year, which hardly qualifies for the term “in the end of the year”. In Roman calendar terms that is like referring to the period of July 15-21 as “in the end of the year”.

We need to recognize that either way there is no possibility that the Feast of Tabernacles could be described as taking place “in the end of the year”!

So why do almost all translations say “at the end of the year”?

This goes back to the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into another language. That was the Greek language LXX translation. In the Greek LXX the relevant expression in this verse reads “ep exodou tou eniautou”, and this translates into English as “at the exit of the year”. This Greek mistranslation was then copied by the Latin Vulgate Version as “in exitu anni”, Latin for “at the exit of the year”.

These two mistranslations, the Greek LXX and the Latin Vulgate, represent the sources for all the English language mistranslations of Exodus 23:16.

So now let’s look at the Hebrew text.

In this verse the expression “in the end of the year” is a translation of the Hebrew “bezet ha-shanah” (or “betset ha-shanah”). This expression is made up of two words: the verb “yatsa,” translated as “in the end of,” and the noun “shaneh,” translated as “the year”.

This verb “yatsa” is used 1069 times in the Old Testament, and it is translated 518 times as “out” and 411 times as “forth”. But this verb does not mean “end”. And it is a verb and not a noun. Only here in Exodus 23:16 is this verb “yatsa” ever translated by the English noun “end”. One single time out of 1069 occurrences shows that “end” is a mistranslation! And “bezet ha-shanah” does not mean “in the end of the year” at all.

The timing for the Feast of Tabernacles is identified in three different ways, two of which are mistranslations in English:

1) Exodus 23:16 = “in the end of the year” = “bezet ha-shanah”

2) Exodus 34:22 = “at the year’s end” = “tekufat ha-shanah”

3) Leviticus 23:34 = 15th day of the 7th month

It follows that the expression “bezet ha-shanah” refers to the exact same time as the expression “tekufat ha-shanah”. So as an equation we could write: bezet ha-shanah = tekufat ha-shanah.

In Exodus 23:16 Tabernacles is identified as “the feast of ingathering”, and the expression “bezet ha-shanah” is clearly a reference to the harvest time, the season of autumn at “the going forth of the year”, but certainly not “at the end of the year”.

In Exodus 34:22 Tabernacles is identified in English by the same expression “the feast of ingathering”, and here the expression “tekufat ha-shanah” means “at the turn of the year”, a reference to the time of the autumn equinox, one of the four annual “turning days” which have been correctly identified since antiquity.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of your labors, which you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering at the proceeding forth of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

The Feast of Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles are in this verse both identified with harvesting grain crops. The timing of the autumn crop is when the year is “going forth”, but considerably before the year comes to an end. See also the section on Exodus 34:22.

And it is impossible to consider the Jewish calendar equivalents (in our Roman calendar) of either “January 15-21" or else “July 15-21" to ever be called “in the end of the year”. Such a reference defies all logic, and “the end of the year” is most definitely not the meaning of the Hebrew expression used here.

#28 = EXODUS 23:18

THE VERSE:

You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of My sacrifice remain until the morning.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The KJV translators did not understand what this verse is speaking about. It seems they thought this is an instruction for Passover observance, and so they mistranslated one word in their attempt to make the text clearer. But in so doing they created confusion. As a matter of fact, the Passover is never mentioned in Exodus 23, and this verse is certainly not a reference to the Passover.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

There are two different Hebrew words in this verse which are both translated as “sacrifice”. This creates unnecessary confusion.

Here is this verse with key Hebrew words correctly translated in brackets. Notice:

You shall not zabach (offer) the blood of My zebach (sacrifice) with chametz (leavened bread); neither shall the cheleb (fat) of My chag (feast) remain unto the morning.

The correct Hebrew word for “sacrifice” is “zebach”, formed from the verb “zabach”, which verb means “to sacrifice”. The Hebrew word “chag” means “feast”. And so where this verse in the KJV reads “the fat of My sacrifice” the Hebrew text actually reads “the fat of My feast”.

This expression has been correctly translated in many translations including ASV, RSV, NIV, NAS, JPS, etc. For example, here is the NRSV translation:

You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the fat of My festival remain until the morning. (Exodus 23:18 NRSV)

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of My feast remain until the morning.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

There are two different Hebrew verbs with somewhat similar meanings, but also with clearly distinct uses. And then there is one Hebrew noun we should also look at.

1) “Zabach”: This verb is used here in Exodus 23:18, and translated “offer”. This verb means “to sacrifice,” but it is never used to refer to the Passover.

2) “Shachat”: This is the verb which is used to refer to the Passover being killed. But this verb is never used in Exodus chapter 23. The use of the verb “zabach” instead here in Exodus 23:18 makes clear that the Passover is not being referred to. See the section on Exodus 34:25 for more details regarding this verb.

3) “Cheleb”: This noun for “fat” is never used to refer to the Passover; it is invariably used to refer to the sacrifices of the whole sacrificial system performed by the Levitical priesthood. The Passover was not a part of that system. The Passover had already been instituted by God in Exodus chapter 12, almost a full year before God instituted the Levitical priesthood and the sacrifices for which the Levitical priests would be responsible.

And so the Book of Leviticus does not give a discussion of the Passover anywhere, showing that the Passover was not one of the duties of this Levitical priesthood. The word “Passover” is mentioned without any explanation only one single time in the whole Book of Leviticus, in Leviticus 23:5, which simply spells out when the Passover is to be observed. But the Passover was not one of the duties of the Levitical priesthood. Its omission from the Book of Leviticus proves this.

Exodus 23:17 speaks about the three annual feasts (Hebrew “chag”), and Exodus 23:18 refers specifically to those three feasts, and not at all to the Passover, which is not a “chag” occasion.

Notice verses 17 and 18 when they are read together, with verse 18 being correctly translated into English:

Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD. You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of My feast remain until the morning. (Exodus 23:17-18)

Verse 18 is an instruction for the sacrifices that were brought to the priests at the annual feasts. This verse has nothing to do with the Passover. See also the section dealing with Exodus 34:25.

#29 = EXODUS 34:22

THE VERSE:

And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

As also in Exodus 23:16, we are again dealing with a mistranslation.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

Here the expression “at the year’s end” is a translation of the Hebrew “tekufat ha-shanah”. This expression is made up of two nouns: the word “tekufah,” translated as “end,” and the word “shaneh,” translated as “at the year’s”.

This noun “tekufah” (or “tekuphah”) is used only four times in the Old Testament. It comes from a verb that means “to go around in a circuit, to compass about”. And so this noun means “circuit” or “turning”. Many translations have acknowledged this in their translations of this verse (e.g. Darby, JPS, NAS, NIV, NRSV, etc.), thereby clearly showing that “end” is an incorrect translation.

Jewish encyclopaedias, the Talmud and many other Jewish reference works freely acknowledge that this word “tekufah” has only two meanings.

Firstly, it refers to the only four “turning days” in the solar year that can be predicted in advance, i.e. the two equinoxes and the two solstices.

Secondly, it refers to the four seasons which start on those four “turning days”. It has no other meanings, and “tekufah” certainly does not have the meaning “end”.

The correct understanding for the mistranslated KJV expression “the feast at the year’s end” is “the feast at the season that starts with the autumn equinox”, meaning that the Feast of Tabernacles is always after the autumn equinox; it can never start before the fall equinox (Northern Hemisphere).

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the turning of the year.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

The text of this verse is very similar to Exodus 23:16, and so the meaning is also identical to that verse, except in one small respect. The Feast of Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles are in this verse again both identified with harvesting grain crops.

But in this verse the timing of the Feast of Tabernacles is identified with the season that starts with the autumn equinox (“the turning of the year”). This is a slightly different way of pinpointing the timing than the way it is stated in Exodus 23:16 (where the focus is on the crops being gathered in). But the end result is the same: this feast is to be observed in the season that starts with the autumn equinox, when the crops have been gathered in. See also the section on Exodus 23:16.

#30 = EXODUS 34:25

THE VERSE:

You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

This translation is vital to uphold the otherwise unbiblical Jewish customs regarding calling the Feast of Unleavened Bread “the Feast of the Passover”.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The problem here is discussed in great detail in my article on Exodus 34:25, available on my website.

Briefly: Originally Exodus 34:25 was a verbatim repetition of the text of Exodus 23:18. The Old Covenant is recorded from Exodus 19:17 to Exodus 24:3. While Moses was with God on the mountain, the people made the golden calf (Exodus 32). Moses then smashed the two tables of stone, and then again went up to God (Exodus 34:4).

Since the people had descended into idolatry after the instructions in Exodus 23, therefore God repeated the original instructions in Exodus 34.

Had the people not gone into idolatry, Exodus 34 would never have been recorded. This chapter is simply a re-statement of instructions that had been given before, but which the people had already violated.

A careful comparison of chapters Exodus 23 and Exodus 34 shows that the subject matter is the same. And the instructions are also the same, with some very minor additions in Exodus 34. But to suddenly introduce “the Passover” into Exodus 34 would have represented a major change in focus from what was said during the original covenant.

The key to understanding the fraudulent alteration of the text in Exodus 34:25 is to recognize that the Passover is simply not mentioned within the Old Covenant between God and Israel! It was not a part of the Old Covenant! After the Passover was discussed in Exodus 12 (mentioned five times in that chapter), it is briefly mentioned one time in Leviticus 23:5, and then it is discussed in Numbers 9 (mentioned eight times in that chapter).

So after Exodus 12 the Passover is not discussed again until the next Passover came around in Numbers 9. The Passover simply does not feature in the covenant recorded from Exodus 19:17 to Exodus 24:3. It just isn’t mentioned in that covenant! The word “Passover” is completely out of context in Exodus 34:25.

See the above-mentioned article on this Scripture for a detailed discussion, with much additional information about this point, including identifying the three unauthorized changes that were made to the text of this verse.

A CORRECTED TEXT FOR THIS VERSE:

You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of My feast remain until the morning.”

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

Because the people had fallen into idolatry after the original instructions in Exodus 23, therefore God here repeated the original instructions from Exodus 23:18.

At some point some dishonest Jewish scribe altered the text of Exodus 34:25 by doing three things:

1) He changed the verb “zabach” to the verb “shachat”.

2) He changed the noun “cheleb” to the noun “zebach”.

3) He inserted the word “pesach” between the words for “feast” and “until the morning”.

With these three changes that dishonest scribe produced a justification for the Jewish customs regarding the Passover.

#31 = LEVITICUS 2:14

THE VERSE:

And if you offer a meat offering of your firstfruits unto the LORD, you shall offer for the meat offering of your firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

This is a major deception! It has been around for so long that it is usually accepted as self-evident and above being questioned. Its purpose is an attempt to justify why the Jewish calendar so frequently starts the year in the winter. If you are a part of the Church of God, then very likely you have heard that the Hebrew word “abib” means “green ears of corn”. That is not correct.

[COMMENT: Throughout this section the word “corn” means “grain”, rather than the American reference to maize.]

By attaching the meaning of “green ears of corn” to the Hebrew noun “abib” used here, it is implied that “abib” refers to young or immature ears of corn. This has enabled the Jews to justify placing the start of the first month (previously called “Abib”, and since Ezra’s time known as “Nisan”) very early in the seasonal cycle, in fact frequently even before the end of winter.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

Here the words “green ears of corn” are a translation of the Hebrew noun “abib,” which is used eight times in the Old Testament. Of those eight occurrences, it is in the KJV rendered as “Abib” six times (the name of the first month of the year), once as “in the ear” in Exodus 9:31, and once as “green ears of corn” here in Leviticus 2:14.

The point is that “abib” really means “ears of grain”, and notgreen ears of grain”! The characteristic “green” (meaning “young” or “immature”) does not enter the meaning of “abib” at all. “Green” was subtly added by the ancient Jewish sages in an attempt to justify their calendar starting the year in the winter.

The Bible itself explains this correct meaning quite clearly. Of the eight times this word “abib” is used in the Old Testament, the six cases where it refers to the name of the first month do not provide us with any clues as to what this word means.

That leaves Leviticus 2:14 and Exodus 9:31 as the only places that can faithfully reveal the correct meaning of this ancient Hebrew word. And these two verses also happen to be the only sources available to Hebrew language authorities to establish the meaning of “abib”.

So let’s look at Leviticus 2:14 again, but this time let’s leave the Hebrew word “abib” untranslated. Here’s what we have:

And if you offer a meat offering of your firstfruits unto the LORD, you shall offer for the meat offering of your firstfruits, abib dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.

Without any preconceived ideas about the meaning of “abib”, what does this verse tell us?

1) First of all, it tells us that “abib” is something that is dried by the fire. But that is assuredly not immature green ears. Parching is reserved for mature grains.

2) Secondly, it tells us that “abib” is corn that is beaten out. The Hebrew noun “geres” translated here as “corn beaten” means “that which is crushed”! But immature green ears are assuredly not beaten out or crushed because their water content is still far too high. Beating out and crushing are reserved for fully mature plants with a much lower water content.

3) Thirdly, it tells us that “abib” refers to full ears. Again, this does not refer to immature green ears; it means fully grown mature ears.

So in this verse the word “abib” is followed by three qualifying expressions, all of which identify “abib” as fully mature grain!

Without a mind that is preconditioned to believing that “abib” has to mean “green ears”, it is impossible for anyone to draw the conclusion from Leviticus 2:14 that “abib” somehow means “green ears”.

The only conclusion an unbiased person can draw from this verse is that “abib” must refer to fully mature plants. This verse makes no provision for “immature plants”. And the three qualifying expressions that follow “abib” in this verse make the correct meaning quite clear and unambiguous.

Next, the only other meaningful occurrence of “abib” is in Exodus 9:31. There the word “abib” is translated as “in the ear”, an expression that does not really specify whether the grain is mature, or whether it is still young and immature. The point in Exodus 9:31 is that the hail had destroyed the barley. Exodus 9:31 does not provide any clear guidance to the state of maturity of the barley. See also the section that deals with Exodus 9:31.

Thus Leviticus 2:14 provides the only clear application for the word “abib”, by providing us with three qualifying expressions. All those people who insist that “abib” must mean “green ears” willingly ignore the evidence to the contrary that this verse provides.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

A correct translation leaves out the word “green”.

And if you offer a meat offering of your firstfruits unto the LORD, you shall offer for the meat offering of your firstfruits ears of corn dried by the fire, corn beaten out of full ears.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

This is a part of the description of the grain or flour offerings in the sacrificial system God gave to Israel. The offering was to consist of mature produce, a part of which was intended as food for the priests. There was no intention whatsoever to offer young and immature grains in this offering, as is implied by the word “green”. The last part of this verse clearly spells out that it was to be mature produce.

#32 = LEVITICUS 16:8-10, 26

THE VERSES:

And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10)

And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. (Leviticus 16:26)

The mistranslation in these verses is thoroughly discussed in my 2018 33-page article “Who Is The Azazel Goat?”. Here I will present only a brief summary.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The word “scapegoat” implies an innocent victim who takes the blame for someone else’s transgressions. This is a completely inappropriate translation of the Hebrew word used in these verses.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The Hebrew word translated “scapegoat” in the KJV is “azazel”, and a number of translations have left this Hebrew word untranslated in their versions (JPS, RSV, Darby, Rotherham, etc.).

The Hebrew word “azazel” is formed from two root words. They are: “ez” and “azal”. The word “ez” in turn is formed from the word “azaz”. So “azazel” is a compound word that incorporates the meanings of the two words “azaz” and “azal”.

Azaz” means: strong, hard, obstinate, etc.

Azal” means: to go away, to disappear, to depart, etc.

So this compound name “azazel” (used only in Leviticus 16:8,10,26) is intended to mean: the strong and obstinate one who is destined to disappear.

This name combines two different facts about Satan. The first part of this name describes Satan’s character (he is obstinate and rebellious); and the second part describes Satan’s fate (he is destined to be driven away into everlasting darkness).

“Azazel” is clearly intended to be a codename for Satan. And Satan is anything but an innocent “scapegoat”. The account in Leviticus 16 is an enactment of what will happen to Satan in the future. In this regard see also the section on Ezekiel 28:16.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THESE VERSES:

The name “Azazel” is best left untranslated, with a clear understanding of the meaning this name has.

And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for Azazel. (Lev 16:8)

But the goat, on which the lot fell to be Azazel, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for Azazel into the wilderness. (Lev 16:10)

And he that let go the goat for Azazel shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. (Lev 16:26)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THESE VERSES:

The goat that was sacrificed represented Jesus Christ, and the goat that was driven away represented Satan, whose codename in this ceremony is Azazel. This name Azazel incorporates into its meaning the stubbornness of Satan’s character and also his future destiny, which is to be permanently driven away from any contact with other beings.

#33 = LEVITICUS 19:20

THE VERSE:

And whosoever lies carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed (Hebrew charaph) to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged (Hebrew biqqoret); they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. (Leviticus 19:20)

This verse is explained in detail in my 2019 article “THE MISTRANSLATION IN LEVITICUS 19:20".

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The KJV translation implies two things here: first it implies that this slave girl is engaged to marry some man; secondly it states that this slave girl is to be scourged, but without in any way specifying the amount of scourging.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The description of this scenario contains two expressions that are of significance. They are “not at all redeemed” and “nor freedom given her”. The Hebrew text for these two expressions makes the emphatic point that this woman was helpless in this situation! She was a weak, helpless slave who was confronted by a strong man intent on forcing her to have sex with him.

Question:

Why on earth would God possibly decree that a helpless slave should be “scourged” because some perverse man had raped her?

I mean, that is a perverse judgment if there ever was one! God would never punish a woman with scourging for having been raped against her will! The idea is perverse! It in fact sounds very much like the way the pharisaic sages in the Talmud reasoned.

Expressions like “... he is scourged twice”, “... he is scourged once only”, “... he should be scourged six times”, “... he is scourged three times”, etc. are easy to find in the Talmud. The Talmud very readily talks about people being scourged for the flimsiest of reasons. The Talmud in several places also freely talks about “the rape of a betrothed maiden”, though without referring to this specific verse. But this concept is freely expressed in the Talmud.

In this verse we are dealing with two gross mistranslations.

1) The Hebrew verb “charaph” here translated as ‘betrothed” or “engaged” doesn’t mean betrothed at all! This Hebrew verb really means “to reproach, to cast blame, to defy, etc.”. For the 41 times it is used in the Old Testament, it is only once mistranslated as “betrothed”, and that is here in Leviticus 19:20. There really is no connection between “reproaching and casting blame” on the one hand, and “being engaged” on the other hand. This is a serious mistranslation. None of the translations I have looked at have translated “charaph” correctly in this verse.

2) The Hebrew noun “biqqoret” here translated into English as the verb “she shall be scourged” doesn’t mean scourged at all! This noun is only used this one time in the entire Old Testament. But this noun is led back to the verb “baqar”, and this verb means “to enquire, to seek, to search”. Again, there is no connection between “enquiring, searching, seeking” and “scourging”. This is another serious mistranslation. But this mistranslation has at least been addressed by a number of other English translations.

Next, the Hebrew word rendered as “a husband” in this expression is the word “ish”. This is the basic Hebrew word for “a man”, whether he is married or whether he is single. The word does not imply marriage at all. To uphold the predetermined meaning for this verse, it was simply required to here translate “ish” as “husband” rather than simply as “man”. But here “man” is correct, and “husband” is wrong.

So the correct meaning for the expression incorrectly translated as “betrothed to a husband” is “reproached by a man”. When the man raped this slave woman, then the woman had very obviously been defiled, abused and reproached by her rapist. It is not “betrothed to a husband”, but “reproached by a man”. It is not “to”; it is “by” that applies in this specific context.

Next, the Hebrew noun “biqqoret” is led back to a verb that means “to enquire, to seek, to search”. But it has nothing at all to do with “scourging”. In recognition of this fact, here are a number of different translations for this verse:

- JPS = ... there shall be inquisition

- ESV (English Standard Version) = ... a distinction shall be made

- RSV = ... an inquiry shall be held

- NRSV = ... an inquiry shall be held

- YLT = ... an investigation there is

- LEB (Lexham English Bible) = ... there shall be an obligation to compensate

However, the majority of the translators stayed with the idea that the woman is somehow also guilty and needs to be punished.

Notice the statement that this slave woman is “not at all redeemed”. What does this mean? It is easy to assume that this refers to her status as a slave. But that is not what this refers to. Her status as a slave is already expressed by the word “bondmaid”. So this is not a statement about her status. It is a statement about what has happened to her.

The Hebrew verb translated as “redeemed” is “padah”. It certainly means “redeemed”, but with a focus on being “delivered, saved, rescued”. That’s also what the word “redeemed” refers to. This Hebrew word assuredly also has a physical literal application. And in this verse, after telling us that this slave woman has been raped, the expression “not at all redeemed” really means “not at all saved or rescued or delivered” from her rapist. She is a victim! And this expression “not at all rescued or saved” from her rapist proves her status as a victim.

The next expression further reinforces her victim status.

The expression “nor her freedom given her” implies that she was treated wrongfully. In other words, this mistreatment (having been raped) could have been judged to warrant giving the woman her freedom as compensation for having been raped. The expression “nor her freedom given her” refers to a consequence to having been raped; it does not refer to her status before the rape took place.

Let’s understand that the two expressions “not at all redeemed” and “nor freedom given her”, both mentioned after it is stated that she has been “reproached by a man”, both apply to after the rape, and not to before the rape! They both apply to consequences of the rape. The woman really should have been rescued from her rapist; and after the rape she should have been given her freedom (with the rapist responsible for any financial loss incurred by the owner of the slave woman).

But the translators couldn’t understand all this. And so they couldn’t see the obvious contradiction in their own positions. That contradiction is as follows:

1) A man forces a slave woman to have sex with him, raping her.

2) Her helpless status is clear: she doesn’t have her freedom.

3) Furthermore, nobody helped her when the rapist attacked her.

4) The woman had in effect been “reproached” when she was raped.

5) An enquiry is to be made into the matter to establish all the facts.

6) If in this situation the woman had been a free woman, then the man would have received the death penalty. But the death penalty was not to be applied because the woman was only a slave.

7) After the enquiry has been made, the man is the one who is pronounced guilty, and that is shown by the man having to bring a trespass offering. A trespass offering was an acknowledgment of guilt. That’s verse 21.

8) The man brings the trespass offering because he is the guilty one.

9) The priest makes an atonement for the man (verse 22), because he is the guilty one. No atonement needs to be made for the woman, because at no stage was any guilt implied for her; she was only the victim.

Without the perverse mistranslation “she shall be scourged” there is in fact in these verses not the slightest hint that the woman has any kind of guilt at all in this situation. She wasn’t out there trying to seduce him into having sex with her; no, he just raped her!

The contradiction is that the translators want the woman to be scourged, when it is the man who is guilty, and who has to acknowledge guilt for the matter by bringing a trespass offering.

They scourge the woman, but all the man has to do is give one of his animals. So in this mistranslated scenario the man actually gets off far lighter than the woman ... giving a ram would not have been any big deal compared to receiving a scourging, one that would very likely be public.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

And whosoever lies carnally with a woman that is a bondmaid (i.e. a slave), and who has been reproached by this man, and she is not at all helped, nor is her freedom given her, an enquiry shall be made; he shall not be put to death because she was not free. (Leviticus 19:20 corrected)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

1) It is all about the man. If he, the man, rapes a slave woman, then here is what you do with the man.

2) There is nothing in this instruction that applies to the woman. At no stage is the woman the subject of this verse. She is only the victim, nothing more. This verse is not about what was to happen to the victimized woman.

3) The premise at the start of this verse is that a man has raped a slave woman. The conclusion, after due investigation, is that he shall not die because she was not free.

4) If she had been a free woman, then he would have had to die! Why? For raping her!

5) Instead of having to die for raping this woman, he only has to bring a trespass offering, which was a public acknowledgment of guilt (verse 21).

6) The perverse mistranslation of this verse twisted this correct focus to one of assigning joint responsibility to the victim, the raped woman.

7) So let’s understand that ... “he shall not be put to death because she was not free”.

#34 = LEVITICUS 23:2,4,37,44

THE VERSES:

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My feasts. (Verse 2)

These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. (Verse 4)

These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: (Verse 37)

And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD. (Verse 44)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THESE TRANSLATIONS:

The implications are that these verses are speaking about “feasts”, which is not true at all! None of the above four verses are references to “feasts”.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The problem is that there are two completely different Hebrew words, both of which the translators unfortunately translated into English as “feasts”. However, only one of these two words means “feasts”, and the other word only refers to “gatherings”, which may or may not also be designated as “holy”.

The two Hebrew words involved are: “chag” and “mow’ed”. “Chag” is the Hebrew word for “feast”. But “mow’ed” does not mean “feast”! And “mow’ed” is the word used in verses 2, 4, 37 and 44.

Mow’ed” is derived from a root verb which means “to meet together”. And so this word is mostly translated as “congregation”. In a religious context this word frequently refers to a “religious meeting day”. If, and only if, the Hebrew also includes the word for “holy”, then the word “mow’ed” means “a Holy Day”. However, when “mow’ed” is used without the word for “holy”, then it is not talking about “a Holy Day”. In that case it simply refers to a day to gather for some purpose, but without that day being holy.

To illustrate this point:

Today a congregation of God’s Church may decide to have a Bible Study every Wednesday evening. In that case Wednesday evenings would be “mow’ed occasions” for that particular congregation, though not necessarily for other congregations of God’s Church. But Wednesday evenings would most certainly not be “holy mow’ed days”. Referring to Wednesday evenings for that congregation as “mow’ed occasions” would simply indicate that the congregation in question had decided to “get together” on Wednesday evenings for a specific purpose. But it would not be “holy” because God has not commanded gatherings for Bible Studies on Wednesday evenings.

Similarly, another congregation may decide to have a “Spokesmen’s Club” every Monday evening. And so for that congregation Monday evenings would be mow’ed occasions ... because that’s when the men in the Church get together for a specific purpose. But again, these Monday evenings would likewise certainly not be “holy”.

Mow’ed” by itself does not imply any command from God, or any holy status. It just describes a gathering of some or all people in a specific group. It is the inclusion of the word “holy” that converts an ordinary meeting into “a Holy Day”.

I mention this because the weekly Sabbath Day is called “a holy mow’ed”. And then there are seven days in the year that are also defined as “holy mow’ed days”. Those seven days we call “Holy Days”.

And then there is the Passover. The Passover is also called “a mow’ed day”. But it is not called “a holy mow’ed day”. The word “holy” is conspicuously absent from every description and discussion of the Passover. Why is that?

The reason why God has not designated the Passover as “holy” is because the whole 14th day has not been set apart by God! The 14th day includes a specific observance, which God commanded all Israelites in the Old Testament to observe, with the condition that all participating males were circumcised. Uncircumcised males were prohibited from observing the Passover in Old Testament times. (In New Testament times the observance of the Passover is restricted to baptized members of God’s Church.)

It is only a part of the 14th day that is allotted to the observance of the Passover. Once this observance has been fulfilled in the early evening hours of the 14th day, then the rest of the 14th day is not set aside by God in any way whatsoever. To indicate this to us, therefore God did not declare the 14th day to be holy.

The Passover is thus a mow’ed occasion, one that in fact has been commanded by God. But the whole day of the 14th is not a mow’ed day. This tells us that God does not want us to observe the whole 14th day of the first month! God only wants us to observe a very specific observance at the start of the 14th day. But God has not given any instructions for the rest of the 14th day. In other words, the start of the 14th day is “a mow’ed occasion”, but the 14th day as a whole is not “a mow’ed day”.

Not making the whole 14th day a Holy Day leaves the 14th day available to use for preparing for the upcoming 7-Day Feast of Unleavened Bread. This preparation on the 14th day would not be possible if God had pronounced the 14th day to be holy.

So much for the Hebrew word “mow’ed”. Let’s move on to the second word, the word “chag”.

The word “chag” comes from a root verb that means “to celebrate, to hold a festival”. So this word really does mean “feast”.

So Hebrew has two distinct words to differentiate between two different categories of religious occasions: some occasions are “feasts”, while others are “religious meetings” without necessarily being “feasts”. In some cases a day may be both “a feast” and also “a religious meeting”. But that is not the case for all Holy Days.

Biblical Greek (read LXX and the Greek NT text) does not have the ability to distinguish between these two different occasions identified in biblical Hebrew. Biblical Greek only had one word to apply to both of these categories of occasions.

That is a problem, because the New Testament could not distinguish between a “chag” occasion and a “mow’ed” occasion. And so for scholars of the Greek text this distinction, so clearly preserved in the Hebrew text, has become obscured.

The only way for us to know with certainty whether a New Testament reference to “a feast” is really a reference to a feast (i.e. a reference to a “chag”), rather than being a reference to a Holy Day (i.e. a “mow’ed”), is to be able to correctly relate that New Testament reference back to a specific verse in Leviticus 23.

There is no other way to correctly understand New Testament references to “a feast”, because biblical Greek simply did not have the ability to distinguish between “a feast” and “a Holy Day”.

For example, New Testament references to “the feast of the Passover” don’t make the Passover “a feast”. The Old Testament makes clear that the Passover is a commanded gathering (for families back then, and for the baptized members of the Church today), which means that the Passover is a “mow’ed”. But the Passover is not, and never has been, a “chag”, i.e. it has never been a feast! The Jewish customs that have turned the Passover into a feast are unbiblical. The constraints of biblical Greek, by not being able to distinguish between a “chag” and a “mow’ed” occasion, have for us created some confusion in this regard.

Both Hebrew words “chag” and “mow’ed” are used in Leviticus 23, and there both of them have regrettably been treated as synonyms, which they are not. That has also created confusion.

1) The English word “feasts” (i.e. in this chapter always in the plural) in verses 2, 4, 37 and 44 is a translation of the Hebrew “mow’edim”. Since verses 2, 4 and 37 also include the Hebrew word for “holy”, therefore in these verses it should correctly read “Holy Days” or “commanded assemblies” rather than “feasts”.

It is interesting that the concluding statement for this whole section, verse 44, does not include the word for “holy”. That concluding statement covers all the days in the year that have been mentioned. And one of the mow’ed occasions that has been mentioned is not a Holy Day (i.e. the Passover). So the word “holy” is omitted from verse 44. Each of the Holy Days has already been identified as “holy” in the verses that discuss each Holy Day.

2) The English word “feast” (i.e. in this chapter always in the singular) in verses 6, 34, 39 and 41 is a translation of the Hebrew “chag” and therefore in these verses “feast” is a correct translation. These verses don’t contain mistranslations.

So Leviticus 23 identifies three categories of days:

1) A “mow’ed occasion” which is not designated by the word for “holy”. The only day in this category is: the Passover.

2) “Mow’ed days” which are also designated by the word for “holy”. This designation makes these days “Holy Days”. The days in this category are:

        - the weekly Sabbath Day

        - The 1st Day of Unleavened Bread

        - the 7th Day of Unleavened Bread

        - Pentecost

        - Trumpets

        - Atonement

        - The 1st Day of Tabernacles

        - The Last Great Day (i.e. the 8th Day)

3) “Chag occasions” are Feasts which consist of either 1 Day or else 7 Days. These chag occasions are not designated as “holy”. The occasions in this category are:

        - The 7-Day Feast of Unleavened Bread

        - The 1-Day Feast of Pentecost

        - The 7-Day Feast of Tabernacles

[Comment: While Leviticus 23 does not specifically identify Pentecost as a Feast (i.e. the word “chag” is not used), Pentecost is clearly identified with the word “chag” in Exodus 23:16 and in Deuteronomy 16:16.]

The Feast of Unleavened Bread itself is not referred to as holy. But this Feast does include two Holy Days. Days 1 and 7 are Holy Days, as is also the weekly Sabbath Day during this 7-Day Feast. The remaining 4 or 5 days of this Feast are not holy.

Pentecost is simultaneously a Feast and a Holy Day. So the Feast of Pentecost does not include any days that are not holy.

The Feast of Tabernacles itself is not holy. But this Feast does include one Holy Day, and the weekly Sabbath Day during this Feast is also holy. The remaining 5 or 6 days of this 7-Day Feast are not holy. And this 7-Day Feast is immediately followed by another Holy Day, the Last Great Day.

We might also note that the three annual offerings (Deuteronomy 16:16) are commanded for the three “chag” occasions (Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Tabernacles), and not for the seven annual “mow’ed” occasions.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THESE VERSES:

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the commanded assemblies of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My commanded assemblies. (Verse 2)

These are the commanded assemblies of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. (Verse 4)

These are the commanded assemblies of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: (Verse 37)

And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the commanded assemblies of the LORD. (Verse 44)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THESE VERSES:

The focus of Leviticus 23 is on all the commanded assemblies for the year. The primary focus of this chapter is not on “the feasts”.

It is within the greater framework of all the annual commanded assemblies that God also identifies two seven-day periods that God designates as “feasts”. Other Scriptures (Deuteronomy 16:16; etc.) identify that Pentecost, an annual Holy Day, is the third of the three annual feasts.

#35 = LEVITICUS 23:14

THE VERSE:

And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The translation “green ears” implies young immature corn (i.e. grain). But that is not correct. See also the discussion on Leviticus 2:14.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The words “green ears” in this verse are a translation of the Hebrew word “karmel”. But “karmel” does not mean “young immature plants”. The word “green” is totally out of place in this verse.

This word “karmel” is used 13 times in 11 different verses of the OT. In eight of those verses it is translated in the KJV as a “fruitful (or plentiful) field (or place or country)”. These eight verses are: Isaiah 10:18; 16:10; 29:17; 32:15; 32:16; Jeremiah 2:7; 4:26; 48:33.

In Leviticus 2:14 “karmel” is translated as “full ears”. In 2 Kings 4:42 it is translated as “full ears of corn”. This covers all the places where “karmel” is used. It is only here in Leviticus 23:14 that this word is translated as “green ears”, implying immaturity. In this context “green” is an interpretation rather than a translation. The word “green” should be left out, to avoid inferring an incorrect meaning to the word “karmel”.

Gesenius in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament states that “karmel” refers to “a fresh and tender ear of corn, not a green ear”, what we might call “newly ripe”. The expression “green ears” presents an unjustified limitation for the word “karmel”.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor ears of corn, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

This instruction covered three things they were not to eat before bringing the commanded offering. Firstly, they were not to eat any “bread”, meaning any baked products made from grain. Secondly, they were not to eat any “parched corn”, meaning any grain that had been “processed” by parching or roasting. Thirdly, they were not to eat any “ears of corn”, meaning any grain that had not yet been processed.

With these three instructions God covered all grain and grain products, from the earliest plants that could perhaps be eaten, to the harvested grain that had been roasted for preservation, to the grain that had been turned into flour for use in the baking of bread. While “green” may sound plausible in this context, it is not really justified from the meaning of the Hebrew word “karmel”.

#36 = LEVITICUS 23:15-16

THESE VERSES:

And you shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

This translation is in fact correct! However, there are those who want to assign a different meaning to the word “Sabbath” in this context. These verses are an example of where people attach a wrong meaning to a correctly translated passage.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The attempt to attach a wrong meaning to this passage is most clearly illustrated by the Jewish Translation. The JPS text for these verses reads:

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the day of rest, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the waving; seven weeks shall there be complete; even unto the morrow after the seventh week shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall present a new meal-offering unto the LORD.

This is clearly one of the more dishonest translations for these two verses. The word for “Sabbath” appears three times in the Hebrew text of these two verses, but you wouldn’t know that from looking at the JPS translation.

The expression “the day of rest” is a deliberate attempt to hide the fact that the word for “Sabbath” is used here, in an attempt to apply this to the First Day of Unleavened Bread rather than to the Sabbath. And the other two expressions “seven weeks” and “the seventh week” are blatant mistranslations. The Hebrew word “shabbath” never means “week”.

Jewish religious customs require that none of the three uses of “Sabbath” in these two verses actually mean “Sabbath”. Beware of people who try to tell you that here (and nowhere else in the Bible!) Hebrew “shabbath” supposedly means “week”. These verses are discussed at length in my 1998 article “When Should We Keep Pentecost?”

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THESE VERSES:

The KJV has translated these verses correctly.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THESE VERSES:

The Bible gives us two different ways of counting for Pentecost, with both ways always reaching the same answer.

1) Here in Leviticus 23:15-16 we are instructed to count seven Sabbath days from the Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Pentecost is then declared to be the Sunday following that seventh Sabbath.

2) In Deuteronomy 16:9-10 we are instructed to count seven weeks from the same Sunday morning during the Days of Unleavened Bread. By starting with a Sunday, counting seven weeks brings us to another Sunday seven weeks later. So in this instruction to count “seven weeks” there is no need to then still go to “the morrow after” (as in Leviticus 23:16).

Both counts start on the same Sunday morning. In counting “seven weeks” there is no instruction to go to “the morrow after”. But in counting “seven Sabbath days” there is the absolute necessity to go to “the morrow after the seventh Sabbath” in order to get to the same Sunday result as the seven weeks counting.

Note! This distinction (that “7 Sabbaths” requires us to go to “the day after”, but “7 Weeks” does not require us to go to “the day after”) makes unequivocally clear that the Hebrew word “shabbath” in Leviticus 23:15-16 cannot possibly mean “week”! If this word did mean “week”, then Leviticus 23 would lead us to a different result than the one to which Deuteronomy 16 leads us.

This expression “the morrow after the seventh Sabbath” proves that “shabbath” in Leviticus 23:15-16 cannot possibly mean “week”! In counting weeks (Deuteronomy 16) there is no “morrow after” involved!

#37 = LEVITICUS 24:16

THE VERSE:

And he that blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemes the name of the LORD, shall be put to death.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

This is not a mistranslation at all. However, an incorrect understanding of the instructions in this verse lies at the root of why the correct pronunciation of the Hebrew name “YHWH” was lost.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The Hebrew verb here translated as “blaspheme” is “naqab” (or “nachav”). This verb “naqab” has several meanings. The three main meanings listed by Gesenius are: 1) to hollow out, to bore, to excavate; 2) to separate, to distinguish; 3) to curse.

In the Old Testament the two basic meanings are:

1) to bore, perforate, pierce or cut. This meaning is exemplified in 2 Kings 12:9, 2 Kings 18:21, and Habakkuk 3:14. When applied to speech, this meaning is: to curse or make cutting remarks or to blaspheme.

2) to declare distinctly, to say clearly, to express precisely. This meaning is exemplified in Numbers 1:17, 1 Chronicles 12:31, 1 Chronicles 16:41, Amos 6:1, and Ezra 8:20.

Clearly this Hebrew word has two distinct meanings, one positive meaning and one potentially negative meaning.

The Jews applied the meaning of “naqab” as “to declare distinctly” to Leviticus 24:16, thereby making this verse a prohibition to even pronounce the Hebrew name “YHWH”. This interpretation of Leviticus 24:16 is clearly wrong.

The clear intention of Leviticus 24:16 is to prohibit speaking the name of God in a cutting or derogatory or contemptuous way. This verse is an amplification of the third commandment, “to not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7). The emphasis of the commandment is on not taking the name “in vain”; the emphasis is not on not “pronouncing” the name of God.

It is because of this approach to Leviticus 24:16 that the Jews have lost the correct pronunciation of the Hebrew name “YHWH”.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

The KJV translation of this verse is not really a problem.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

This verse is a prohibition to ever use any of God’s names carelessly, callously, contemptuously, or in any blasphemous or vulgar way. The only way we are ever to refer to God is with the utmost respect. Any reference to God that lacks respect violates this instruction here in Leviticus 24:16.

#38 = LEVITICUS 25:9

THE VERSE:

Then shall you cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. (Leviticus 25:9)

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

This verse mentions “the trumpet of the Jubilee” in our English translations. However, in the Hebrew text there is no word for “Jubilee” in this verse. The Hebrew word for “Jubilee” is used in the next verse, but it is not used in verse 9. And there is a very clear reason why it should not be used in verse 9.

So in Leviticus 25:9 we are dealing with another mistranslation. The Hebrew word mistranslated as “Jubilee” in this verse is “teruwah” (also “teru’ah” and “teru’a”). The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (BDB) lists the following four meanings for “teru’ah”:

1) alarm of war, a battle-cry;

2) a blast (for starting a march);

3) shout of joy (with religious impulse);

4) shout of joy (in general).

Now in Leviticus 25:9 it is assuredly not “an alarm for war”, and it is equally assuredly not “a blast to start the army marching”! In Leviticus 25:9 the Hebrew word “teruwah” is very obviously used to refer to “a shout of joy”!

So this verse should correctly be translated as follows:

Then shall you cause the trumpet of the shout of joy to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. (Leviticus 25:9)

So let’s note!

On the Day of Atonement in the 49th year it is not “the trumpet of the Jubilee” that is sounded! This trumpet here is sounded almost half a year before the Jubilee actually starts. And for that reason all by itself this trumpet cannot possibly be called “the trumpet of the Jubilee”, because it is still more than five full months before the Jubilee will start. And the word “Jubilee” is not used in this verse.

The purpose for sounding this trumpet of joy should be clear:

That Day of Atonement represents the permanent and final binding of Satan, when Satan is permanently banished into “the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1:13). That occasion will be cause for an enormous amount of joy and celebration amongst all people still alive at that point.

This will be just after a huge multitude, “the number of whom is as the sand of the sea”, Revelation 20:8, has been killed by fire from heaven. That final permanent removal of Satan clears the way for God’s plan of salvation for mankind to finally be completed. All that remains is to resurrect those in the second resurrection, and to work with them for a period of 100 years. That is reason for great joy.

While those people in that second resurrection will have the freedom to freely embrace God’s way of life or to reject it, that will all happen without any kind of drama. Satan is permanently removed, and any of the people in the second resurrection who choose to still reject God’s way of life will not be able to have a negative impact on others around them, or on the environment in which they will live.

They will be free to reject God’s way of life with their minds, but no outward actions of rebellion or disobedience will be tolerated! If they attempt to transgress God’s way of life in any outward action, they will hear a voice that will in no uncertain terms say: this is the way, walk you in it! (Isaiah 30:21).

So people can, if they choose to do so, stubbornly refuse to submit their minds to God during that 100-year period, but they will not be permitted to say or do anything that would negatively affect even one other person. It will be the home-stretch for God’s plan of salvation and the finish-line is clearly in sight.

So yes, those who mentally still resist God will be “tolerated” for 100 years, in the hope that they will still come to a real repentance, a real change of heart. But they will be powerless to adversely influence anyone else. And the shout of joy at seeing Satan permanently removed at the time just before the second resurrection will be real and heartfelt by all those still alive at that time.

That 100-year period is represented by the short period from the Day of Atonement in the 49th year to the very end of that 49th year. Symbolically, on the very last day of that 49th year the third resurrection takes place and the universe-wide lake of fire is initiated by God. And this entire present universe is then burned up.

Then the stage is set for the 50th year to start!

And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and you shall return every man unto his possession, and you shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:10)

Liberty is not proclaimed on the Day of Atonement in the 49th year!

Liberty is only proclaimed when the 50th year starts! This 50th year represents all future eternity in the new heaven and the new Earth. What Paul said to the Romans ties in at this point.

Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

The liberty proclaimed in the Jubilee Year is the same as “the glorious liberty” that Paul speaks about in Romans 8. And the present creation is not released from the bondage of corruption until it is replaced by the new heaven and the new Earth.

So when we view the description of the Jubilee in Leviticus 25:10 together with Paul’s comments in Romans 8:21, then it really leaves no other option but that the Jubilee Year really must represent future eternity in the new heaven and the new Earth.

Now let’s also consider the next verse.

A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of your vine undressed. (Leviticus 25:11)

This raises the question: what does the word “Jubilee” actually mean?

The Hebrew word translated as “Jubilee” is “yobel”. Now this word “yobel” is formed from the root word “yabal”, and “yabal” is in fact the root word for a whole group of words. When we examine all of the words that are formed from this root word “yabal”, then the meaning of the word “yobel” becomes quite clear.

The following grammatical information is based on both the TWOT and BDB reference works. Here is what we have:

1) The root word “yabal” is a verb which means: to cause to transport an object from one place to another. This root word is used in two applications:

        A) When the object of this verb is inanimate, then it means “to bring”.

        B) When the object of this verb refers to people, then it means “to lead”.

Examples of where this root verb “yabal” means “to lead” include the following Scriptures:

        Jeremiah 31:9 = in the millennium God will lead (yabal) Israel ...

        Isaiah 55:12 = Israel will be led forth (yabal) with peace ...

        Psalm 60:9 = who will bring me (yabal) in the strong city ...

        Isaiah 53:7 = Messiah is brought (yabal) as a lamb to the slaughter

So let’s note the following: whether the object of the verb “yabal” is a person or whether the object is inanimate, in both cases this verb means:

to transport something or someone from one place to another”.

In English we associate the word “Jubilee” with such words as: jubilant, rejoicing, sing, good cheer, etc., all of which are words with positive emotional overtones. We should, however, note that the Hebrew word “yabal” is emotionally neutral, that it has neither positive nor negative emotional overtones.

From this one Hebrew root word we have a number of other biblical Hebrew words, all of which illustrate the inherent meaning of the word “yabal”. Thus:

1) The words yabal & yubal & ubal all refer to rivers or streams.

        Isaiah 30:25 = streams (yabal) of waters ...

        Jeremiah 17:8 = by the river (yubal) ...

        Daniel 8:2 = I was by the river (ubal) ...

Rivers transport water from one place to another place.

2) The words bul & yebul both refer to produce, with yebul referring to produce of the soil, and bul referring to the produce of trees.

        Isaiah 44:19 = the stock (bul) of a tree ...

        Job 40:20 = the mountains bring him forth food (bul) ...

        Deuteronomy 11:17 = that the land yield not her fruit (yebul) ...

        Psalm 67:6 = the earth yield her increase (yebul) ...

“Produce” is brought forth by plants.

3) The word tebel refers to the world.

        2 Samuel 22:16 = the foundations of the world (tebel) ...

        Job 18:18 = chased out of the world (tebel) ...

        Psalm 90:2 = You have formed the earth and the world (tebel) ...

4) The word yobel is the word for Jubilee. This is our word in Leviticus 25.

So to understand the intended meaning of the word “yobel” we should keep the meaning of the root word “yabal” in mind. The root word “yabal” means: to cause to transport someone or something from one place to another place. Thus:

1) A River (yabal & yubal & ubal) transports water from one place to another.

2) Produce of the soil and of trees (yebul & bul) is brought forth from the soil by the plant.

3) The World (tebel) brings forth both growth and people.

4) The Jubilee refers to a time when something will be brought forth and when people will be led forth from one place to another.

Can we see that all the words that are formed from the root word “yabal” in some way retain this quality of something being brought forth? All of these words that refer to rivers and produce and the world are emotionally neutral; they don’t convey any feelings one way or the other. So likewise, the word “yobel” by itself does not convey any emotions or feelings.

The positive feelings and emotions that go along with “yobel” (the Jubilee) are based on “the shout of joy” that was trumpeted on the preceding Day of Atonement. And it is because of this association with the “shout of joy” that we need to attach very powerful positive emotions to the Jubilee, not because the word “yobel” itself somehow conveys such emotions.

So in plain terms:

The Jubilee refers to a time when all of mankind “will be led forth” by God from a physical existence into a permanent spirit existence; and that leading forth will be the cause for immense joy and jubilation. It is also the time when the whole creation “is brought forth” from a state of corruption into a state of incorruption. It is the leading forth that comes first, and the jubilation follows that leading forth.

This concludes Part 2 in this series of 7 articles. Part 3 starts with mistranslations in the Book of Numbers.

Frank W. Nelte