Hebrew Gospel Pearls #13 – How Jewish scribes changed Hebrew Matthew to make it match the Greek

In Hebrew Gospel Pearls #13, Nehemia and Keith discuss how Jewish scribes changed Hebrew Matthew to make it match the Greek, the secret origin of the Hebrew word for praise, and why some Christians interpret the Beatitudes as a replacement for the Ten Commandments.

I look forward to reading your comments in the Comments Section below!

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Hebrew Gospel Pearls #13 - How Jewish scribes changed Hebrew Matthew to make it match the Greek

You are listening to Hebrew Gospel Pearls with Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Nehemia: Where that becomes extremely important in Hebrew Matthew is that George Howard, who published Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew originally in 1987, later in 1995, the second edition, he argued that there was a process of correcting Hebrew Matthew in the direction of the Greek.

Keith: Welcome to Hebrew Gospel Pearls, the second season. We hope we are in a brand-new section of the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. For many people, you’ll understand this to be what is traditionally called - in my tradition - The Beatitudes, but I’m calling it the Biblical Beatitudes, Nehemia. I think that with what we’re about to do, at least let’s say this. We’re going to try to at least get through the Beatitudes for this series. Would you commit with me, at least, to get through the Beatitudes? That’s my question.

Nehemia: For sure, the Beatitudes. I’d love if we could get through this year, through season two, the Sermon on the Mount, possibly? I don’t know if we can, but at least… the Beatitudes is Matthew chapter 5 verses 1 through 12, and it comes from the Latin word that means blessed, bless-ed So it’s “blessed are this, blessed are that.”

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: It’s a series of statements like that, that are blessed.

Keith: So here’s what I want to do, Nehemia. Before we get into this, I want folks to know that there really has been… And every time I say this, it really is surprising to me. We’ve raised the bar again in terms of what we’re going to be trying to do with Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. If you could, I know some of you are here for the first time. You’ve heard about us doing the Biblical Beatitudes series, this is your first time here. Nehemia, can you just give people a little bit of background of what we did in season one, and the new approach that we took with these manuscripts that you’ve given us access to?

Nehemia: Yeah. So we’re talking about the Hebrew Gospel Pearls, and what we’re doing is, I’m coming from my perspective as a Karaite Jew, you’re coming from your perspective as a…

Keith: Gentile. I’m just a good, old-fashioned gentile, kicked out of the Methodist Church. [laughing]

Nehemia: Kicked out of the Methodist Church, and we’re trying to look at the words of Yeshua and the account of Yeshua as it’s told in the Hebrew version of the Gospel of Matthew, comparing it to the Greek. And I want to say that up front, if you’ve never heard Hebrew Gospel Pearls, you’ve never heard me teach before, I am not saying throw out the Greek text. I’m not saying that at all. The Greek is the primary text that tells us what there is in the Gospel of Matthew, or what happened 2,000 years ago. The Hebrew text that was preserved by Jews through the Middle Ages was recorded by this rabbi named Shem Tov Ibn Shaprut around the year 1380, that gives us another witness, another testimony of what happened.

Keith: A powerful witness.

Nehemia: I think so. Now, some people say, “Oh, well that was just translated from Greek, or it was translated from Latin.” And I’ve written a book about it, The Hebrew Yeshua Versus the Greek Jesus. We wrote a book together called A Prayer to Our Father. George Howard, before us, had argued that this is based on an ancient Hebrew text. It doesn’t mean every word and every letter is what Matthew wrote in the 1st century. It’s been transmitted just like the Greek’s been transmitted, right? It’s been transmitted through the centuries, and it is just another testimony, another witness of what may have happened in the 1st century.

It presents a Hebrew perspective, and you can see things there that you don’t always see in the Greek… or I should say, I can see things there, right, when I read it in Hebrew. You know, sometimes I’ll read something like Delitzsch’s translation - Delitzsch was this guy in the 19th century, a Christian scholar, and he tells us that he translated his work from the Greek; we know that, right? And when I read it in the Hebrew that he translated, I sometimes see things that I wouldn’t see from reading it in the Greek or reading it in the English. Sometimes, it’s not even what he translated. Like, I did a teaching on John 17 where he repeatedly uses this one Hebrew word, “natan, natan, natan, natan”. It’s the same word as in Netanyahu, the name “Netanyahu” means, “Yehovah gave,” right?

But when I’m reading it, I’m realizing, “Wait, there’s another Hebrew word, and if I put in that other Hebrew word as I’m reading it, I see it’s ‘yahav, yahav, yahav, yahavtani,”’ right? It may even be a play on words with Yehovah. So even though Delitzsch didn’t use that word, by reading Delitzsch I see things that I didn’t see by reading it in the English. That’s just how my brain works. I can see things there… like, okay, now this Hebrew word, I’ll just swap it out in my head. What’s another Hebrew word for that? Wow, that’s a word that sounds like “Yehovah”. And then we have “ahavah”, “love”.

So when we come to Hebrew Matthew, like I said, it’s been argued… and I think there’s a good case to say it’s based on a 1st century Hebrew text. It’s been transmitted through the centuries. We have 28 manuscripts of Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew; for the section we’re looking at today, which is Matthew chapter 5 verses 1 to 12, we have 20 manuscripts that have been preserved. So there are eight manuscripts that don’t preserve this section. Two of the manuscripts are only part of chapter 1, right? They’re what are called epitomes, or abbreviated texts. They’re only part of chapter 1.

But for chapter 5 verses 1 to 12 we have 20 manuscripts, and in preparation for this, Keith, I spent quite a bit of time. And it’s kind of funny, because I knew going into this, I’m going to spend days working on this, and it’s something that we’ll probably spend maybe five minutes in the program talking about it. [laughing] But it takes days, that’s what it is.

Keith: Nehemia, there’s no way that we’re going to let you spend the amount of time that you spent just with this section, for five minutes. I really do believe, in terms of what you’re bringing to the table, is fundamentally going to change the way we do Hebrew Gospel Pearls. Now, let me tell you this, before we get started too far.

I was talking to my wife about what we do, and she kinda gave me this look, Nehemia, like, she could repeat some of the words. She’d say, “Yes, you guys are doing text criticism,” but I don’t know if she really understood [laughing] the significance of it. But then she said something at the end of the conversation this morning. She said, “Keith,” and I said, “Andrea, do you really understand what it is, why this is such a game-changing situation, the work that Nehemia’s done, the text that he’s bringing forward, and the fact that we’re able to look at them?” She said, “Well, I may not get it all, but I do understand this - you say that your mission is to inspire people to build a biblical foundation for their faith, and that’s what you guys are doing, exactly the same thing.” In other words, we’re bringing to the table something that can help people understand better with this other witness, potentially, the original words that Yeshua spoke. As you mentioned, it doesn’t mean that every single letter in the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew is exactly what it was. We certainly know that it wasn’t the case in Greek, because he wasn’t speaking Greek.

But between the two, we’re able to come up with something that literally can help people build a biblical foundation for their faith. And these sources - the Hebrew sources of their faith, as you talk about in your mission - are just phenomenal, Nehemia. You said there are 20 manuscripts. They’re from different parts of the world. And here’s what’s exciting, folks. He’s actually gone to these places and seen these manuscripts for himself. So I just want you to make sure… I want people to understand.

Nehemia: I haven’t seen all 20 for myself.

Keith: Well, a lot of them.

Nehemia: Ironically, there are some in far-off places like the Vatican that I’ve seen, and held in my hands, whereas the ones in New York, I haven’t seen because the library that has them in New York has been closed for several years. And now, with COVID, it’s definitely inaccessible.

I have held in my hands some of them. We’re actually working on one of them which is at Oxford, that I held in my hands and photographed on my iPhone, right? [laughing] And we have better photos from my iPhone than what we had before, which was black and white, based on microfilms. There’s one photo we’re going to bring, if we get to it, somewhere in this series, I don’t know if we’ll get to it today, which I just am so excited about, chapter 5 verse 4. To me it’s the most exciting thing we’ve done in the entire series, maybe with the exception of Matthew 3:10, right? That was a special story.

Then it’s the second most exciting thing, because the textual criticism thing there, I call it a smoking gun. It’s another smoking gun, it’s very, very cool. I’m very excited to get to that, but we’ve got to do some background before we get there.

Keith: We’ve got to do some background. Now, here’s the thing I want people to consider in the second season, at least for this series, and I want to throw this out, Nehemia. If people aren’t interested and we get through the Beatitudes, the Biblical Beatitudes, and there’s not a lot of people interested, okay it was good run.

But here’s what I want to say. I want people to join in with us, and they’re going to be able to join in with us because of the work that you’ve done. So this is going to be a joint study process. It certainly is for me, Nehemia. You bringing these sources and then actually doing the transcribing… I hope you’ll talk about that some more, because now I’m looking at your work, and I’m like, “What? How long did it take just for this section?” I think you told me it was 12 hours?

Nehemia: Yeah. At least.

Keith: [laughing] Just one section. But we’re going to let people come along with us, by studying with us. Many people know about Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5, but we’re going to take our time. And when I say we’re going to take our time, we’re going to give… for those that don’t know, this was something that we did last season, is that we have a public section of what we do, which is to give you good information, inspiration, and revelation. And then, for those who want to go deeper, and I will say, the work that you have done and what you’re bringing to the table really is a deeper look, we have Plus episodes both available at BFA International and at Nehemia’s Wall.

So what’ll happen is, we’re going to start now. We’re going to jump right into Matthew chapter 5 verse 1, and let’s just say it’s chapter 5 verse 1 and hopefully, we’ll get to verse 2 and in the first Beatitude. Can we do that? [laughing]

Nehemia: Sure. And then, just to explain to people who haven’t followed this before, we’re going to do, like you said, the public episode, you get that on your podcast, subscribe to it, share it with your friends. And then we do what we call Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus. This week it’s going to be on your website, and we alternate weeks. And that is something you can get if you join the… What is the thing you have over there, Keith?

Keith: So we have an academy, and I will tell you, we’ve made a shift and a change, and it’s because of Hebrew Gospel Pearls, just so everyone knows, it doesn’t change anything for those that want to be in the Plus section. But we’ve really made the site much more what I call membership focused, in that you’re a free member, you get access to a lot of things. If you’re a Premium member, you get access to everything. And so all that’s explainable when you come to bfainternational.com. We’re going to have the Plus episode for this section. But I’ll tell you right now, Nehemia, I mean, we can dive right in. And I think people are going to get…

Nehemia: And then, people who support my ministry, Makor Hebrew Foundation, they’ll get access to the even-numbered episodes of the Plus. Wonderful. All right, can we just start by reading it?

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: Okay. And I just want to tell people what I’m reading here is a composite text, okay? So what I’m reading here, as we dive into the individual verses, you’ll see that while it might say that in one manuscript, in the other manuscript it doesn’t say that. And you can make the composite text different ways. There’s an element there where it’s up to the judgement of the scholar. I mean, the truth is, it’s that way in the Greek, as well. I did a series on John 6:4 and we talked about this verse in Acts, that in some English translations it’s there, and in some, it’s not, and it changes some pretty important things. That’s all based on the Greek. Forget about the Hebrew, that’s all based on the Greek.

All right, so let’s start with the Hebrew chapter 5 verse 1, “Vayehi akharei zeh, ba’eit hahi, vayar hachavurot vaya’al ha’har, vayeshev vayakrivu lo talmidav,” or, “vayikrevu lo talmidav.” “And it came to pass after this, at that time, and He saw the crowds,” or “the multitudes,” “and He went up the mountain and He sat, and they presented to Him His students,” or, “His students approached Him.” It could be translated both ways. “Vayiftakh pi vayadaber aleihem le’emor,” “And He opened up His mouth and He spoke to them, saying.”

Keith: And before we go any further, Nehemia, why did He see the crowds, and what was happening? He was becoming pretty popular. I call this the “Red Letter revival at the mountain.” He had all these people that were interested in the work that He had done in the first four chapters, so when we get to this section, there were a lot of people that were interested. And He thought, “Let’s have a good old-fashioned event at the mountain.”

Nehemia: And you know, one of the things people have been doing for centuries, really, since probably even the 2nd century, is they create these books that are synoptic, or Gospel Harmonies is the other term for it. In other words, what you have is… I guess a synoptic is the opposite of Gospel Harmony. But basically what they do is, the story is told by four different Gospels in different ways, and what people have done is they take the different sections and try to make sense out of them. We can spend the entire time just dealing with that, but I want to refer people to a book, we’ve talked about it before. It’s called Synopsis of the Four Gospels by Kurt Aland.

And what he does is he has different columns, and in each column, in this case there are two columns. Well, in part of it, there are three, okay? So for example, on page 49 of his book you have three columns - Matthew, Mark and Luke. And there’s really nothing in John for this part. And he gives the story as it appears in Matthew with the parallel words in Mark, and the parallel words in Luke. And sometimes, there’s a sentence or a phrase, or something in Matthew that has no parallel in Mark and Luke, and vice versa.

So it’s really, really interesting, fascinating stuff, extremely important. We’ll get to some of that a little bit later. Can I quickly read the backgrounds in Luke, or shall I let the people do that themselves? I’ve got to do Luke, at least.

“And He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of His disciples, and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And those that were troubled with unclean spirits were cured, and all the crowds sought to touch Him, for power came forth from Him and healed them all. And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples and said…”

And then there’s this section in Luke that some people refer to as the Sermon on the Plain. So we’ve got the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain. And we actually did something in A Prayer to Our Father, I don’t think we’re going to get to it today, but we actually looked for the place where there’s both a plain and a mountain, where somebody could speak from a mountain but also be next to a plain. We’ll get to that maybe in a different program, a different episode.

Keith: Let me just say this. Let me just say one thing about this. Folks, the process that we have been in, this isn’t like, “Hey, let’s do the Sermon on the Mount series at Hebrew Gospel Pearls.” This has been a decades-long process that you’ve been in terms of study, you invited me to be in with you. And what he’s saying by that, for those that don’t know us… You know, sometimes, Nehemia, I think we think, “Oh, everyone knows our story.” You told me something years ago, “Keith, you’ve got to remind people.” And I at least want to let people know that there was something significant to what you just said for me, which was, I said to you, “Nehemia, I was in Israel before, and I know where the Sermon on the Mount was.” And you go, “Well, which spot?” And I’m like, “What do you mean, which spot? There’s only one spot. There’s the traditional spot for the Sermon on the Mount. [laughing] You’re going to mess up my tradition?”

And sure enough, you invited me to the process of looking at where, potentially, it could have been. And I think there were six or seven spots, were there not?

Nehemia: I remember five, but it’s been so long. People can read our book. You know, here you are in the situation where the book actually knows more than we do, because we were so informed and knowledgeable when we wrote it.

Keith: [laughing] What year was it?

Nehemia: 13 years ago, 12 years ago, something like this?

Keith: Yeah. So the point I’m trying to make though is, this isn’t just like a quick process. We’ve been in the process for a long time. Even your study of these manuscripts has been for decades. You said, “I’ve had stuff on my computer for years, and years, and years.” The fact that we’re now getting to it, and I want to bring context, we’re getting to it, folks. If you’re listening to this, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, or 30 years from now, we’re actually getting to this during a time that’s unprecedented. This is a pandemic that we’re in, the Coronavirus pandemic. And as result of that, we’re locked in our homes. [laughing] Nehemia, this is why I want to say this.

You know, we’re sitting here right now because we have the ability. We can’t get on trains, planes and automobiles. The work you did before, we now can bring to the forefront. The work that we did in Israel, we can now bring to the forefront. So the circumstances have kind of lined themselves up to be able to address now, the Sermon on the Mount in this more in-depth process. That’s all I wanted to say.

Nehemia: Okay. So now I’m just going to read this little part from Luke 6 verse 20, and it says, “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” And then there are three or four other separate ones, it goes on, other statements that are, “Blessed are, blessed are,” verse 21, verse 22. Verse 23 is, “Rejoice in that day,” which is kind of related.

So we have some relationship between the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain, and there are a few possibilities. One possibility is that these are two completely different events, right? Yeshua was preaching for - depending which chronology you follow - a year, or three-and-a-half years. These could be completely different events, unrelated. That’s possibility number one. Possibility number two is that it’s the same event, and the Plain and the Mount refer to the same event, which is what we talked about in A Prayer to Our Father.

And we have to refer to Luke 6 to some degree, because there is this inter-textuality. There’s some relationship between Matthew 5 and Luke 6 that’s going on, and then the introduction in Mark, as well, perhaps, is related, Mark 3. Look in Aland’s book.

All right, I want to continue reading in Hebrew.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: I’m going to do my best not to comment, so we can go back and start talking about this beautiful word, this word “ashrei”.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: “Ashrei”, blessed is, or blessed are, or “beati” in Greek.

Keith: Okay, Nehemia. So now you’re going to read Matthew 5 verse 3 in Hebrew.

Nehemia:Ashrei shiflei ruakh shelahem malkhut shamayim.” “Blessed are the low in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” “Ashrei hahokhim sheyinukhamu,” “Blessed are those who wait, for they will be comforted.” “Ashrei ha’anavim shehem yershu aretz,” “Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.” “Ashrei zakei lev, vehema yiru Elohim,” “Blessed are those pure in heart, for they will see God.” “Ashrei rodfei shalom, shebenei Elohim ikareihu,” “Blessed are those who pursue peace, for they will be called ‘sons of God’.” “Ashrei hanirdafim letzedek, shelahem malkhut shamayim,” “Blessed are those who are pursued,” or “persecuted,” “for righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” “Ashreikhem ka’asher yirdfu veyigadfu etkhem, veyomru aleikhem kol ra ba’adi veyikhazevu.” “Blessed are you when they pursue and insult you, and they say concerning you,” or “to you,” “all bad things about Me.” Or, “they say about you all bad things because of Me.” It could be translated both ways, “and they lie.”

Sisu vesimkhu rav me’od.” Wait, we’ll get to that, Keith. Don’t jump ahead. “Sisu vesimkhu shes’charchem rav me’od bashamayim she ken radfu hanevi’im.” “Rejoice and be happy, for your reward is very great in heaven, for so did they pursue the prophets,” or “persecute the prophets.” So much to unpack, here.

Keith: Folks, now, Nehemia would love to jump right into the first word, but I have a question that I need to ask you, Nehemia…

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: …that bothered me for several years. I think this would be a great introduction to some of what we’re going to do when we get to the Plus section. But in Howard, I’m holding here, folks, Howard’s Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, and Howard’s Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, he does something really interesting that threw me for a loop.

In chapter 5 verse 3, for the first “blessed”, it’s in parentheses, Nehemia. And when I saw it in parentheses, I thought, “Oh, no. What happened?” And so for folks that may not know this, could you explain, just at a basic level, why Howard put the first verse of the Blesseds, the Beatitudes, why is the first Beatitude in parentheses?

Nehemia: If you look in the 1995 edition of the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, page 16, you’ll see the Hebrew text, and you’ll see that verse 3 has parentheses. Even if you can’t read Hebrew, you’ll see the little three, and you’ll see that the words, “ashrei shiflei ruakh shelahem malkhut shamayim” are in parentheses. And if you look at the bottom, you will see what is called a critical apparatus. So if you look at the bottom, you’ll see it says, “5:3”, and it says, “whole verse”, and there’s a square bracket. And what that tells you is that what follows is essentially an explanation of whatever’s behind the bracket, right? It could be a word or it could be a verse. So the whole verse is omitted in the British Library manuscript, as well as manuscripts D, C, E, F, G, and the text he’s presenting here is based on manuscript A, which is in Liden.

Now, Howard had nine manuscripts. I have now 20 manuscripts that preserved this section. So Howard presented this - because it’s all he knew - as the reading of one single manuscript. I now have it in seven manuscripts. We’re going to see something really fascinating. In some ways, this is the most… I’m going to save it for verse 4, though. No, I’m going to reveal some of it now.

Keith: [laughing] Yes, okay.

Nehemia: So from Matthew 1 through 12, from this passage alone, I can now divide all 20 manuscripts -of the 28 that have survived - I can divide those 20 manuscripts into group A and group B, into two distinct groups. I could call them the group that has verse 3 and the group that doesn’t have verse 3.

Now, one data point like that, you might say, “Well, maybe it’s just a coincidence,” right? So we have some other data points. Verse 5 - all the manuscripts that are missing verse 3, all those same exact manuscripts are also missing verse 5. So that’s not a coincidence, right? They’re copying from a common source, and the ones that have verse 5 are copying from a common source.

So we have 13 manuscripts that don’t have verses 3 and 5, and 7 manuscripts that do have 3 and 5. Now, it’s not correct to say, “Well, the majority of manuscripts is what we follow.” That’s not a scholarly approach, it’s more complicated than that. But what we can say for certain is there’s group A and group B, and all of the group A manuscripts go back to a single manuscript, and all the group B manuscripts go back to a single manuscript. And ultimately, those two manuscripts go back to a single, right? But we have a branching here, and then here’s another data point.

So the manuscripts that have verses 3 and 5 also have a word that’s in verse 12 that doesn’t appear in the ones that don’t have verses 3 and 5. So we have all these little data points, and in verse 4 we’re going to see maybe what’s the most interesting one. I don’t know that we’ll get to it today. But this is exciting stuff to me, Keith. This is huge. This is the type of thing that a textual scholar dreams of finding. What you’re looking for are common characteristics. What you’re really looking for are common errors that are in manuscripts.

And I think what we can say… Here it’s more complicated, though. And this is true of Tanakh studies, as well, of Hebrew Old Testament studies, and Greek New Testament. In other words, if we’re looking at a manuscript of Josephus, or we’re looking at a manuscript of Plato, what we have is somebody copied the manuscript, another person copied from him, and they start to branch off, and it’s very clean, at least that’s the theory.

What we have in the Tanakh and the New Testament, in Greek as well, is the copyist didn’t just have his source in front of him, his written source. In other words, he has a manuscript here, and another manuscript here. And he’s looking here and writing here, he’s looking back and forth.

So he’s looking back and forth between his source and the manuscript that he’s copying. But in his head, he has other manuscripts. How does he have other manuscripts in his head? Because he’s spent his whole life in a monastery, reciting prayers, and some of those prayers are verses from the New Testament. And every day, they read from the New Testament.

And the same thing for Jews. The Jewish scribe who’s copying - he might be copying the Book of Chronicles, but he has read the Book of Kings. And so when he’s copying Chronicles, that verse from Kings is in his head, and he sometimes mis-copies it, right? That’s what’s called “textual criticism”, where we’re trying to understand the relationship between the manuscripts, and it gets complicated in that there is this… you could even call it like an “influence” of other manuscripts besides the two that are in front of the scribe; his source, and the one he’s copying.

And where that becomes extremely important in Hebrew Matthew is that George Howard, who published Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew originally in 1987, later in 1995 the second edition, he argued that there was a process of correcting Hebrew Matthew in the direction of the Greek. In other words, it was originally very dissimilar from the Greek, it was different from the Greek, and somebody said, “Wait a minute. The Greek has this verse. Why is verse 3 missing?”

And he came along and put in verse 3 because he knew it was supposed to be there, because he’d read the Greek, or maybe he even read other Hebrew versions, right? We had other Hebrew versions in the following centuries that were translated from Catalonian and other languages.

So there’s two possibilities, let’s put it that way. Verses 3 and 5, the original version of Shem Tov in 1380 either had verses 3 and 5, or it didn’t have verses 3 and 5. If it did have verses 3 and 5, then the 13 manuscripts that don’t have it have an error in them. There’s a mistake, that somebody forgot to copy that verse, and that would be a very easy to explain mistake.

What’s the explanation? Introduction to textual criticism, the definitive book is called Introduction to Textual Criticism by Emanuel Tov. It’s called “homoeoarcton”, that is, “the similar beginning,” “homoeoarcton.” “Homoeo” is the Greek word for similar, and “arcton” is the Greek word for beginning. So you have two verses that both begin with the word “Ashrei,” which is the Hebrew for “blessed be”. It’s one word in Hebrew, “ashrei”. And the scribe is looking back and forth from his source to the thing he’s copying, to his source, and he writes in the source, he sees in the source, “Ashrei shiflei ruakh shelahem malkhut shamayim,” and he writes those words.

And he looks back, and he’s looking for the next verse, and he sees ashrei and he says, “Oh, I already copied that.” And then, he goes on to the next verse after that. It happens all the time. In fact, among the 13 manuscripts that have verses 3 and 5, there’s manuscript G, which was known to Howard. Manuscript G also is missing verse 4.

And then, verse 4, possibly that was lost by homoeoarcton, by this scribal error that happens all the time. You see this in Torah scrolls, you see it in Tanakh manuscripts. You see it in Greek New Testament manuscripts, you see it in pretty much any manuscript that’s ever copied. They’re going to have some examples of homoeoarcton, or his brother, which homoeoteleuton, which is the similar ending.

So second possibility. Possibility one is, we said the original Shem Tov copied in 1380 has verses 3 and 5, and it was lost in the 13 who don’t have it. Second possibility - which is what Howard argued, and I lean towards this, but I’ll let the listener and viewer decide - the one I lean toward is that this was not in Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew originally, and a scribe came along and said, “Wait a minute. We know this is in the New Testament, we’ve read the New Testament. We’ve got to supply the missing verse.” And that’s a process of making the text more similar to the Greek.

Now, what supports that suggestion in this passage? And like I said, this is the type of thing you can dream about, as a textual scholar. You couldn’t hope for such a good example. It’s a textbook example. So the manuscripts that have verse 5, it comes before verse 4! Now, why is that important? It’s important because what tends to happen is, the scribe who realizes the verse was missing, would write it in the margin, and the next scribe would come along and say, “Wait a minute. This is missing. Why is this in the margin? I’ve got to put it in the body of the text.” And he doesn’t know where to put it in the body of the text, maybe he’s not that familiar with the Greek. So he puts it in the wrong place. So it’s literally textbook, when they teach this type of thing in text… am I right?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: When they teach textual criticism, they teach this type of example, that if you have a misplaced verse, it could be because it migrated into the margin. Now, here’s what I don’t have. I don’t have the manuscript where verse 5 is written in the margin. I have a hint that that’s what happened, and in a sense, I’m speculating, that’s all I can do. I mean, I have the evidence, it’s in front of me. And I have to try to explain it, and I think that’s a good explanation. So there’s a very strong possibility that verses 3 and 5 were added by some medieval scribe who was copying, and that the original Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew only had verse 2, obviously 1 and 2, followed by verse 4, followed by verses 8 through 12. And it was a very short passage, which is actually quite similar to the Sermon on the Plain.

Keith: [laughing] You skipped one little thing, Nehemia. Of course, they don’t know this...

Nehemia: Oh, I’ll let you bring that, verses 6 and 7.

Keith: 6 and 7 don’t exist, either.

Nehemia: So verses 6 and 7 don’t exist in any of the 20 Hebrew manuscripts of Shem Tov that I have.

Keith: And Nehemia, at this point, some people are saying, “Wait a minute. What are you guys talking about?” I mean, for those who don’t know what we’ve been doing, they’re like, “What do you mean? Are you going to take away my verses? Are you going to take away things that I know?” That’s not what we’re doing.

Nehemia: No, we’re not doing that. Oh, and I was speaking to somebody and explaining this to her. I was very excited, I was talking to my wife, and I was explaining this to her. And she said, “So, are you saying Jesus didn’t say verses 6 and 7?” And I’d say, “No, I’m not saying that.” We have a testimony from the Greek Matthew that that’s what He said. I’m not saying that. I’m saying the Hebrew version of Matthew doesn’t preserve that, it preserves a simpler version.

And where did verses 6 and 7 come from? They’re from the Greek, no question about it. Was somebody there who heard it? I have no way of knowing that, right? That’s beyond the scope of what I can talk about. That comes to a matter of faith. That’s not a question of textual criticism.

What I can say is, verses 6 and 7 don’t appear in Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew. Now, we’ll talk about verses 6 and 7 if you’ll let me, when we get that far.

Keith: Of course.

Nehemia: We’ll talk about the Hebrew background and context to those verses. I think that’s very important. I think it’s fascinating, in fact. But I don’t think we’re going to get to that this time.

So here’s what I’d like to do. I want to set the stage for the multitudes that came to hear Yeshua preach. When they heard the phrases, “Ashrei, ashrei, ashrei,” and in the Greek there are 10, and some people have said, “That’s opposite the Ten Commandments,” just as Yehovah called out from the mountain, in the Ten Commandments, the “Ten Words”, actually in Hebrew, that Jesus has now called out the 10 Ashreis, that there’s this new dispensation… I mean, aren’t there people who say that?

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: Or sometimes they say, “The entire Sermon on the Mount is opposite of the Ten Commandments.” It’s a new dispensation, essentially, replacing the Ten Commandments. Some Christians have said that. There’s actually a very - I’ll call it beautiful in an aesthetic sense – there’s this beautiful building in the Galilee called Galilee House. It’s a Catholic institution, and they must have spent tens of millions of dollars, I’m guessing. They have this beautiful marble sculpture, I guess you could call it, and it has in Hebrew on one side, the Ten Commandments, and opposite it, the Sermon on the Mount. And it’s the place some Catholics believe the Sermon on the Mount - or even before the Catholics - some place some Christians believe where the Sermon on the Mount took place. We actually went there, and they explained that the Sermon on the Mount replaced the Ten Commandments. This is the new law.

Now, I mean, I guess that’s a matter of faith. I’m not going to argue with that, one way or the other. I don’t think the Torah could ever be done away with. I think Yeshua says that, and we’ll get to that in a later episode.

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: But ultimately, that comes down to theology. But here’s what we can say. Anybody who came to hear Yeshua preaching, they had a whole constellation of ideas running around in their head. And particularly, the word “ashrei”. They had all these “ashreis” that they already knew, and if you believe what he says in Matthew 5:17 that we’ll get to in a future episode, he’s not replacing the ashreis in the Tanakh. I think he came to reiterate those. And so I think it’s important that we look at the ashreis, the “blessed be’s”, the Beatitudes of the Tanakh, and I want to do that in the Plus section, Keith. I think it’s so important. I don’t even know if we’ll finish it…

Keith: We’re going to take our time.

Nehemia: …in the Plus section. Before we jump to the Plus section, I want to just do this. I want to explain the word “ashrei”, just linguistically what it means. It’s translated as “blessed be”, but it has a connotation that’s much more than that. And I just want to read two passages to illustrate that, or maybe a little bit more than two, we’ll see.

So Proverbs 31:28, it’s one of my favorite passages in the Tanakh. I know I always say that, but it really is one of my favorite passages in the Tanakh. You know, for years, I prayed that Yehovah would give me the Proverbs 31 woman. That was my prayer, and Hebrew Proverbs 31:10 begins, “Eshet chayil mi yimtza,” “Who will find a woman of valor?” And when I found my woman of valor, I announced to the world, “I’ve found my eshet chayil,” and people thought that was her name. They said, “That’s a strange last name. Her last name is Chail? But okay, sure.”

But why is this important? It’s describing this woman of valor, the ideal Tanakh woman. Let’s read it. It’s so beautiful. I’m going to read the JPS translation here, and I may have to jump in and correct some things. “What a rare find is a capable wife.” Literally, it’s “Who can find a woman of valor?” And really, it’s a woman of might. It takes strength to be a devout wife, a good wife. “Her worth is far beyond that of rubies. Her husband puts his confidence in her and lacks no good thing. She is good to him, never bad, all the days of her life. She looks for wool and flax and sets her hands to them with a will. She is like a merchant fleet, bringing her food from afar. She rises while it is still night and supplies provisions for her household, the daily fare of her maids. She sets her mind on an estate and acquires it. She plants a vineyard by her own labors. She girds herself with strength and performs her tasks with vigor. She sees that her business thrives. Her lamp never goes out at night. She sets her hand to the distaff; her fingers work the spindle.” This is a beautiful passage. We should do a program just on this.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: I’m going to jump ahead, there are so many beautiful things here. Of course, there’s the most beautiful part of the whole song, or it’s really a poem. And by the way, it’s an alphabetical poem. Every line of this begins with a different letter of the Aleph Bet. So the letter Shin, which is verse 30, is, “Sheker hakhein vehevel hayofi,” “Grace is deceptive, beauty is illusory.” “Isha yirat Yehovah, he teet’halal.” “A woman who fears Yehovah, she shall be praised.”

Now, what does that have to do with the Beatitudes? Well, first of all, happy wife, happy life. Oh, and “ashrei” literally means “happy”. That’s the significance.

Keith: [laughing] That’s what I was waiting for, Nehemia…

Nehemia: Okay. So Proverbs 31 verse 28 is, “Kamu baneiha vyashruha,” “Her sons, her children arise and they proclaim her happy.” They ashrei her, right? How do they ashrei her? They declare her happy. “Ashrei” literally means “happy”. We translate it as “blessed be”, and we translate it as “beati”, and in Greek it’s a similar word. But “ashrei” literally means “happy”. “Kamu baneiha vyashruha, ba’ala vayehalellah.” “Her children arise and they declare her happy. Her husband, he arises and he praises her.” And you can get an idea of what it means to proclaim somebody happy from the word “vayehallelah”, “and he praises her.”

Now, this is the word that appears in Hallelujah. Keith, what does hallelujah mean? You’re the hallelujah Minister, to me, at least, you are. What does hallelujah mean?

Keith: [laughing] Praise Yehovah. That’s what it means.

Nehemia: But what does “hallel” literally mean?

Keith: Praise.

Nehemia: This is the pearl of the episode, Keith! It does mean praise, but it has a literal meaning. Now, this is a very common thing in every language that I know of, at least, but certainly, in biblical Hebrew, that things start out with a concrete sense, and from there, they expand to an abstract sense.

In the case of hallel, we have a rare phenomenon in language, which is that, most words in every language, linguists argue that there’s no connection between the word and the object it signifies.

So we have the word “kelev”, which means dog, and mainstream linguistics maintains that the word “kelev” has nothing to do with the word “dog”. It’s just that we’ve assigned that word and we could say, Yehovah assigned that word, because Hebrew is the original language spoken before the mixing of the languages that creation was spoken in. You could say that, but there’s nothing about the word “kelev” that would tell me it has anything to do with “dog”. What about the word “woof, woof”? A dog makes a sound, “woof, woof”. So “woof, woof” obviously is something to do with the sound it signifies. It’s what we call an onomatopoeia. Onomona is basically the sound it makes, in Greek, onomatopoeia.

So the onomatopoeia of woof, woof, in Hebrew, it’s not “woof, woof”, it’s “hav, hav”, because when they hear a dog barking, they hear, “hav, hav”. So the word “hallel” is actually an onomatopoeia; did you know that?

Keith: No, I did not.

Nehemia: So if you go to a Jewish wedding, especially Jews who come from the Middle East, and you go to other events, other celebrations, you’ll see particularly the women will make a noise which is the noise called “hallel” in biblical Hebrew. And the noise they make is with their tongue. It sounds something like… I can’t do it, I’m not a woman. I certainly wasn’t born in the Middle East. But it sounds like “Le, le, le, le, le, le, le,” have you heard that?

Keith: Of course.

Nehemia: Okay, so in English, it actually has a term, called ululation. In modern Hebrew, it’s called “hilulim”, and in biblical Hebrew, it’s “hallel”. So why does that mean “praise”? Because when you praise someone, in English we say, “Wow, he’s amazing!” And in the Middle East and ancient Israel, you would say, “Le, le, le, le, le, le, le.”

Keith: Le, le, le, le, le, le, le.

Nehemia: Now, some people will say, “Oh no, Nehemia. That comes from the Arab culture.” So I could actually show you a beautiful passage in an ancient Rabbinical book called Genesis Rabba. Genesis Rabba is a Midrash written around the year 500 or so. It contains earlier material. According to Genesis Rabba, there is this cute word pun between the name of Leah and ululation. It actually mentions there that the entire night before Jacob went in… remember the story? Jacob thinks he’s marrying Rachel, but he’s really marrying Leah. And the entire night before, according to Genesis Rabba, the women were crying out… the entire day before the big night, let’s put it that way, the women were crying out, “Heleah, heleah, heleah, le, le, le, le, le, le.” In other words, what Genesis Rabba is saying is, why do we make this noise when someone gets married, “le, le, le, le, le, le, le”? because when Jacob married Leah, which sounds like “le, le, le, le, le,” the women were warning Jacob, “It’s not Rachel! It’s not Rachel! It’s Leah, it’s Leah, it’s Leah!”

Now, I don’t think for a minute that the women were trying to tell Jacob that this is Leah. But what it tells you is when this was written, around the year 500 or 450 AD, or something like this, that Jews were already making this sound at weddings. This was a celebration, this is ululation.

So how does this have to do with ashrei? Because ashrei is to proclaim somebody happy. We say “blessed”, but really, it’s “happy”. And in many places, we have the word “ashrei” parallel to “hallel”.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: So when you say “someone’s happy,” you’re saying, “le, le, le, le, le, le, le, whoo-hoo. He’s happy, halleluyah!” “le, le, le, le, le, le, halleluyah.” That’s what it literally means, “hallel, halleluyah.”

Keith: This is such a natural transition, Nehemia, because what we’re going to do is when we move into the Plus section, we’re going to talk about how you can be happy.

Nehemia: I’m so excited!

Keith: And I’ll be honest with you, let me tell you, folks. I don’t know about you….

Nehemia: Le, le, le, le, le, le, le, le!

Keith: Hello?

Nehemia: Go ahead, sorry.

Keith: I don’t know about you, but I could use some happy. And so what we’re going to do is, we’re going to move on. Now, Nehemia, can I offer something to people?

Nehemia: Bevakashah.

Keith: …so that they can study along with us? We did do a section at BFA International. So this Plus section’s going to be at BFA International. You go there, you go to BFA International, front page, you become a Premium member, and you get the Plus section, which we’re going to dive into what I call the Biblical Beatitudes, getting to the depths of what Yeshua was teaching from the biblical basis.

But for those of you that are not ready to go to the Plus section, we also have the Red-Letter Series, which is actually covering these verses. So what we’re not able to do right now because of time, we are able to give you access to that through a free opportunity to study. I think there are six pages of notes just on Matthew chapter 5 verse 3. And we go through the entire Beatitudes and throughout the Sermon on the Mount.

But what I love about this is this. This allows us to really get to what I’m calling… And Nehemia, please excuse me for saying this, but I just feel like we just let you loose. With the information that you have, it’s exciting information, it’s going to take a hard hat. So folks that want to go deeper, that want to get into the depths of this, both from a textual standpoint, language, history, and context, please join us in the Plus section for this particular part. I don’t know how far we’re going to get, but then we’ll be doing more. The next time, we’ll do another episode that will be on Nehemia’s Wall. So that’s what we want to invite people to do, is to right now, come with us to be le, le, le, le, le! [laughing]

Nehemia: You can do it. You’re Jewish, le, le, le, le, le, le, le!

Keith: Le, le, le, le, le, le, le. Happy, as Yeshua taught the blessings, and that’s what we’re about to move to. Is that good with you?

Nehemia: Yeah. So I just want to explain to people one more time. What we’re doing now is, this is the constellation of ideas. And we’re not just going to get to the Tanakh ones, hopefully. We’re also going to look at other things from like Ben Sira. We have something from the Dead Sea Scrolls. These are the set of ideas that when people came to hear Yeshua say, “Ashrei”, it wasn’t that, “Oh, now we’re replacing all the ashreis we had in the past.” No, he’s clarifying. And so the ashreis that they had in the past, this is a natural extension, what he was teaching. And I know there are some people out there who are probably nervous, who are saying, “Wait a minute, Nehemia. You didn’t even really talk about verse 3. You’re really going to do Matthew 5:1 through 12 and not talk about verse 3.”

And so in the previous season, in season one, when we ran out of time we said, “Okay, we just won’t be able to get to that,” we actually made a decision beforehand that there’s so much importance in this passage in itself, 5:1 through 12, that if it takes two episodes, or four episodes, whatever it takes…

Keith: Five episodes, seven…

Nehemia: Whatever it takes, we’re going to get through the Beatitudes.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: We’re going to do everything we can, at least, to get through these Beatitudes, Yehovah willing.

Keith: And we’re taking our time, you all, because I’ll just tell you for me personally, it has already blessed me abundantly. It’s even changed some of my actions and things that I’ve looked at from a Hebrew standpoint, that really, really have blessed me. And so I’m looking forward to this for you all. We want to invite you to be a part of the Plus episode. Go to bfainternational.com, become a Premium member. It’s seven days free. You can be there, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it. But supporting us is important, and I want to say something about the support issue.

The support issue is why we’re able to sit here right now. I think it took us five to seven minutes just to go through a checklist of all the different things we have to do…

Nehemia: [laughing] It was more than that.

Keith: …to put this together, which doesn’t include all of the work that Nehemia did in giving us access to these manuscripts. So we really do want your support. We need your support. We’re asking for your support, your prayer support, your financial support. We’re going to continue to make these publicly available for folks, but for those that are ready to be a part of what I call the “hard hat section”, we’ll see you in the Plus section at bfainternational.com. Can we pray, Nehemia?

Nehemia: Bevakashah.

Keith: You pray first.

Nehemia: Sure. Yehovah, Avinu shebashamayim, Yehovah, I am so elated. I am so excited that I have had the opportunity… that I’ve lived long enough to be able to share this information with people, to learn it for myself. To come before You in praise, and learn what it means how to be happy, and to praise before You, le, le, le, le, le, le, le! Yehovah, I praise You with this ululation. You’re amazing. Hallelujah! Amen.

Keith: Father, thank You so much for the work that’s been put in, for the dedication that Nehemia has just provided and shown us in terms of this study. Thank You for having access, that we have access to this for our friends around the world. We pray that they would study along with us. Give them inspiration. Give them the zeal to want to have the knowledge, and as a result of that, Father, help us to understand just what Yeshua was teaching in a practical level, a biblical level, a practical level so that we can actually put it into practice in our life. We thank You in advance. We ask for a blessing for our producers. How they do this, we don’t know.

We just ask that You will continue to bring in our supporters, both in prayer and financial support. We thank You in advance for what You’re going to do through this series of the Biblical Beatitudes. And we give the entire Book of Matthew to You, however long You give for us to study. We’re going to do excellence with what You’ve given us each time we have an opportunity to do it. In Your name, Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

You have been listening to Hebrew Gospel Pearls with Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon’s Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

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  • Shelley Greening says:

    Nehemia! In the 13+ episode, you referred to Ex 34 where YHVH introduces himself to Moshe. That is also one of my very favorite section of verses. I’ve looked as far and as deeply as I can at the word “visiting” (the iniquity upon…) I found the idea of “overseeing, inspecting the status, checking up on, keeping track of”, which I have adopted as the likely meaning, but you said, “CARRYING”! Really??!! Wow! Please, please, please – would you share how you got that?

  • Diana Diananteza says:

    Shalom Keith and Nehemia! this Hallelu sound hit me to the core! in my mother tongue (Luganda) we call it enduulu and we touch our mouth and the sound that comes out is walalala!!!!

  • JERRRY says:

    i throughly enjoy all of the teaching please don’t stop,..is really informative<


    The first word of the first Psalm is ASHRE !

  • Aron says:

    In the Plus section:
    “This is a message for all mankind” from Nehemia about Isa. 56:3 concerning “happy”.

  • Aron says:

    Yes, Nehemia, Yeshua certainly did “reiterate” Torah, not “replace” Torah. Ululation in Hebrew culture: Very well researched. Halle-le-le-le-le-le-le-lelu-YAH!

  • Jennifer says:

    Nehemiah, not sure how to spell word you used for sound women made at weddings, but years ago heard it called “lulu”.
    @20 years ago, while attending a home school, Native American event, we learned what they called the “lulu”. The sound would be used by the women to welcome the warriors back to camp. We were asked to give it a try and I had no idea the sound I was about to make…seems I’m a natural lulu maker, my then young children were also thrilled…lol…and I was asked many times to lulu for their friends. I long thought it sounded Middle Eastern. So, thanks to you, I can now lulu with purpose!
    Blessings in Yehovah,

  • Kevin Latendresse says:

    I look forward to watching the Hebrew Matthew episodes every Shabat morning.
    I have a comment:
    I was raised with the nebulous attitude that all the blessings were the same, in that the rewards associated with the blessings was sort of binary, good or bad. Then, in recent years, I did a Bible study in which it was pointed out that “the meek would inherit the earth” was, according to the Bible study, not as desirable a reward as “getting into the Kingdom”. I was astounded in that I had never realized there was a difference in rewards and that the blessings were not all the same. That Bible study sort of pre-destined me to be more sensitive, than I would otherwise have been, to the revelation in this episode that verses 3, 5, 6 and 7 were missing in some of the versions of Hebrew Matthew. That extra sensitivity made me realize that a characteristic distinguishing groups A and B is that there is a hierarchy of rewards in the group with the verses, which is missing in the group without the verses. Without the verses, the reward hierarchy is more binary, whereas with the verses, the rewards are better delineated and stratified. I do not yet know what to make of it but it is an observation that struck me enough to comment.

    • Kevin says:

      Furthermore, if one “is blessed,” one may not presently be happy in that the rewards will come later, unless being assured of future rewards, that is, knowing that one will be happy in the future, can be called a form of present happiness and therefore “being” presently blessed. It makes me ask a question, “What is the tense implied in ASHRE?”

    • Kevin says:

      Keith mentioned that the concept of blessing was “hard to get your arm’s around.” If one knows for a fact that money has been put into his bank account, does one get the happiness immediately or only upon spending it? To me, blessing is like knowing the money is in the account but the word happy would be associated with the spending. My difficulty might come from understanding how the ancient Hebrew culture and language worked. I am informed (Jeff Benner’s web site) that nouns in Hebrew come from verbs of concrete action and so back then those nouns conceptually called to mind the concrete action of the verbs. This is reportedly in contrast to Greek abstract thinking. Speculating further in terms of the bank account analogy, maybe the Greeks (aka our Western minds) would use the abstract concept “having money in a bank account” or “having a number written on a piece of paper” to describe the situation, whereas the ancient Hebrew would describe the situation as “it is going to make you happy.”

      Either way, faith could promote “confidence in a future happiness” to a present happiness. That is another matter.

    • Kevin says:

      Interestingly, children can be made very happy with giddy expectation and happiness just telling them of some fun future event.

      Yeshua said (Luke 18:17), “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein..”

      So maybe this is a takeaway: If the fact that you have faith in the future reward, and if you act like a child with giddy expectation and happiness about it, then you are presently happy = blessed.

  • Lulu says:


  • Rae Lloyd-Jones says:

    Rae Lloyd-Jones
    February 27, 2021 at 8:28 am / Reply

    You two!


    Thank you so much for explaining אַשְׁרֵ֣י

    I am trying to learn Hebrew [THANKS KEITH for the Biblical Hebrew course] and i wondered why I keep seeing “blessed” in English, when it’s אַשְׁרֵ֣י in the Hebrew, especially now as we’re all studying Shem Tov and other Hebrew New Testament manuscripts.

    Thank you also, Keith again, for all the work in the Red Letter series 1 – especially Episodes 7-14 which I downloaded when we first moved into our van, and now am using today as my study material for Hebrew Gospel Pearls #13.

    Mazeltov Nehemia on your beautiful E-shet Cha-yil – you are beaming with אַשְׁרֵ֣י and it was wonderful to learn about the Li-Li-Li-Li-Li-Li-Li (which you do scarily well!) from Song of Solomon and Proverbs 31.

    I truly appreciate the days of study you both must have put into preparing for this Episode and the Plus.

    I am loving that you are both challenging we-participants to our own study, not just to sit and listen to you guys for 2 hours and leave it there, but to get into the Scriptures and the Hebrew and find out for ourselves what lies behind our English translations.

    I am hoping that in another year or two I will no longer be so reliant on those, but be able to read the Hebrew for myself.

    I owe this progress to you both for encouraging me and spurring me on.

    Rae L-J

  • LG says:

    I’m glad this series is back. I don’t think there is any support from this text that Jesus/Yeshua is replacing the Ten Commandments here. What many Christians do believe is that Jesus came to inaugurate the New Covenant by writing the Torah on our hearts in a way similar to Abraham. We believe that the Torah tells the story of Abraham who lived before the Torah but kept the Torah by faith (Gen 15:6; 26:5) and the story of Moses who lived under the Torah but died in the wilderness because of his lack of faith (Num. 20:12).
    Again to say that this text has Jesus/Yeshua replacing the Ten Commandments is incorrect, but I think it is important to understand how Christians (particularly Evangelicals) view the Torah.

  • Michael Mauro says:

    So thankful it’s back. Shabbat Shalom!