Hebrew Gospel Pearls #5 – Matthew 2:16-23

In Hebrew Gospel Pearls #5 (Matthew 2:16-23), Nehemia and Keith discuss why the verse "he shall be called a Nazarene" can't be found in the Tanakh, whether Jeremiah prophesied about modern Israeli prisoners of war, and the mystery of Rachel's tomb.

I look forward to reading your comments!

Podcast Version:

Download Podcast


Hebrew Gospel Pearls #5 - Matthew 2:16-23

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: Howard knew about nine manuscripts of Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew, and I’ve compiled a list of 28, and the last one I opened has “shera’u”, “that they saw”, and then above the line somebody wrote, “shela’agu”, “that they mocked”. [laughing]

Keith: Welcome, my friends to Hebrew Gospel Pearls episode 5. We are continuing in Matthew 2. We’re now moving onto chapter 2 verses 16 to 23. And I’m here with Nehemia Gordon, who is in the zone. We couldn’t even wait to do this one. This one he tells me… and folks, I want to tell you something. He wouldn’t tell me what it is, but it’s a game changer. Nehemia, what are you talking about? What do you mean, “game changer”? Where are we at here?

Nehemia: Well, I kind of stumbled upon something in Matthew 2:23. There’s the verse where it says, “He will be called the Nazarene.” Now, let’s read it. “There He made His home in a town called Nazareth so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled. ‘He will be called the Nazarene’.” And there’s no such verse in the Tanakh, except I think I’ve found it.

Keith: You’re literally going to jump to the end? [laughing]

Nehemia: We’ll do it in due course, but I think I found the verse that he’s quoting in the Tanakh. And look, we talked in the last program, Keith, about how there are different approaches to the New Testament, and one is the anti-missionary approach. And what they want to do is… Of course, anti-missionaries are Jews who say, “Hey, you target us as Jews, you missionaries. We want to counter that message.”

And the anti-missionary approach, or the counter-missionary approach, wants to find all the problems in Matthew in the New Testament and show why it’s not valid. And one of the things they’ll do is, in this verse, Matthew 2:23, they’ll say, “Hey, the New Testament quoted a phantom verse. The verse doesn’t exist. How can you trust this book?” Well, I think I’ve found the verse. We’ll have to save that for when we get to that verse later in the program.

Keith: Let’s back up then. We’re looking at 16. We’ve gone through Matthew 1, Matthew 2. We’re at 16, and if I can read it in English, if that would be okay?

Nehemia: Right, yeah.

Keith: And then I want you to do your thing. I mean, I’m pretty excited about this. It says that, “When Herod saw that he had been tricked…” in my English Bible, “tricked by the magi, he became very enraged and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in the…” it says here, “its environs, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the magi.”

Before I have you comment, I want to ask a simple question. In the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, when it opens up and it says, “And then Herod saw that he was…” and there’s a word there, and I think what Howard does is, Howard says, “He was mocked.” I don’t know if you got a chance to even look at this.

Nehemia: Oh! This is a really important issue here, Keith. Now, here we’re going to get to delve into some really hard-core textual criticism of the text of Hebrew Matthew. In other words, we have all these different manuscripts, and here, I actually did something - and I didn’t do this in every case yet, it’s an ongoing process. So like I said, there’ll have to be Hebrew Gospel Pearls season 2 - but for this one, I was able to go through every single manuscript and check to see exactly what it says in that verse.

Keith: Stop one second. Stop one second. Nehemia, did I ahead of time call you and say, “Look at this?”

Nehemia: No.

Keith: I did not.

Nehemia: No, you did not.

Keith: Did you call and tell me…?

Nehemia: No, this jumped off the page, what are you talking about?

Keith: Now, wait.

Nehemia: I had to look at this.

Keith: Folks, I want to stop for a second, Nehemia because, again, here’s the process that we’re in. We’re both looking at the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, and you’ve got these 28 manuscripts, which to me is a treasure trove of information, inspiration and many revelations, pearls that come up. But isn’t it interesting? We’re reading here, and this jumps off the page to both of us. [laughing]

Nehemia: Yeah, yeah.

Keith: I’m just telling you. I mean, it’s like when you’re reading Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, there are certain things that literally jump off the page. And so that’s why I want to say this to our folks that are listening, people that are listening, if you want to go deeper into study, you’ve got an opportunity to go to the Plus sections, and you can actually download a PDF that has the Hebrew word and then the English equivalent - it’s called our “interlinear” - that you can use. And we’re already finding, Nehemia, great news, we’re already finding people that are doing this and they’re having the kind of revelations that we’re having.

So the Pearls process is spreading amongst people all over. Now, go ahead and go into this, because it’s exciting.

Nehemia: All right. So let’s actually start with the Greek here, okay?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Or the English translation of the Greek. The Greek has the word - Matthew 2:16 - the Greek has the word “anipaichathei” which is translated in the NRSV as “tricked”. Delitzsch translates “heteilu”, which is “they deceived”. That’s the Hebrew translation of the Greek, “heteilu”. And interestingly, Ginsburg… Salkinson and Ginsburg also have the exact same word, “heteilu”. It leads me to the conclusion that Salkinson and Ginsburg and Delitzsch were… I guess Ginsburg came later, so Ginsburg was consulting Delitzsch’s translation into the Hebrew and using that as the basis for his translation, which is very common. When people translate today into English, they’ll usually start with something like the King James and they’ll say, “Well, no. It got it wrong here. We have to change this. We have to change that.” But they usually don’t start with a blank slate, which is why you compare these different translations and they’re so similar. And sometimes, they’re all wrong. [laughing] And I’m talking about the translation of the Hebrew into English, but here it’s the Greek into Hebrew of Delitzsch and Ginsburg.

Okay. I’m not saying it’s wrong here, it’s just saying “they deceived, they tricked” is two different possible interpretations of the Greek. The King James has “mocked”, which from what I looked in the Greek dictionary is definitely a possibility. Now here’s where the controversy comes in. In the British Library manuscript of Hebrew Matthew, and 8 other manuscripts, so 9 of 24 surviving manuscripts in this section, right? We have 28 total manuscripts of Hebrew Matthew, but those 28 manuscripts don’t cover all of Hebrew Matthew, some are a fragment of one chapter, or two of them in particular are fragments of part of chapter 1. So 24 manuscripts survive on this verse, on this passage. 9 of the 24 have “they saw him,” which makes absolutely no sense, and which is why Howard did what he did.

In other words, let’s read it the way the British Library and eight other manuscripts have it. “Then Herod saw that the astrologers…” or the magi “saw him.” “Then Herod saw that the magi saw him, and it was bad for him and his heart was saddened.” “Herod saw that the magi saw him”? What does that mean? And what it could mean is that he saw that they saw his intentions. That’s one possibility.

Keith: Can I tell what I did when I saw it?

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: Immediately when I saw that phrase, I went to the thought that when Herod saw that they saw him, meaning like they exposed him, meaning they found out what it was that he was doing.

Nehemia: Yeah, they saw what he was about, which was after. And that’s definitely the meaning of the Hebrew in these nine manuscripts of Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew. However, there are seven other manuscripts that instead of “they saw him” say, “sherimu”, “that they deceived him”. Now, here’s the fascinating thing. The words, “they saw” and “they deceived”, or “tricked”, really, “they saw” and “they tricked” or “they deceived”, the difference is one letter in Hebrew. One is Resh-Mem-Vav, and the other is Resh-Aleph-Vav. And in the writing of the Middle Ages, especially the semi-cursive, the Aleph and the Mem are virtually identical.

Keith: Ask me, I know. [laughing]

Nehemia: Now, I think you can come to no other conclusion that “they saw” and “they deceived” started with a single reading. And one of those, Resh-Mem-Vav and Resh-Aleph-Vav, one is an error for the other. In other words, we have a definitive error here in Hebrew Matthew along with the original reading of Hebrew Matthew, right?

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: Which one is the original and which is the error? I think I’d be inclined to think that “rimu”, “they deceived”, is the original, because it’s closer to the Greek. But here, I guess I’m revealing a Greek bias, right? “They saw” is also possible. What do you think about that?

Keith: I like “they saw”. I’m going to tell you why. It really goes back to something that you exposed me to years and years ago, and it has to do with when you’re reading in Hebrew, when you find words that are similar or words but may have a different meaning or a slightly different meaning. So when I was reading in Hebrew and I saw “when he saw that they saw,” I immediately thought, “Oh, that makes sense. “He saw that they saw him, they exposed him.”

Nehemia: It could be a sort of play on words on the Hebrew.

Keith: That’s what happened to me, but I love the fact that…

Nehemia: Okay – it’s definitely possible.

Keith: …you checked these other manuscripts, and folks, I want to stop and tell you something. This is the key, Nehemia, and I don’t mind saying this, this is the key of what I would call the “legitimacy” of this process. Having those 28 manuscripts and more than that, having you being able to go in to compare and to contrast, how exciting is that? I mean, that’s the thing that made you go, [mimics explosion]. This study’s based on all of the manuscripts. So this is pretty exciting.

Nehemia: I just want to put this in context. These manuscripts are hand-written, right?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: They’re hand-written. There are photographs. In order to find something in them, it’s a painstaking process of going through and looking. You open up the image you’re like, “Oh, no. That’s a later chapter. Now let’s find the page…” So let’s say conservatively it takes about 15 minutes per manuscript, and there are 24. That’s six hours of solid work for one word. But that’s what’s required. I mean, that’s the process that’s required to really get to the bottom of this.

Now, we’re not done with the story, it gets more exciting. So we have nine manuscripts that say, “they saw”, seven manuscripts say, “they deceived”. A difference of one single letter in Hebrew, a letter that’s graphically similar. Aleph and Mem in this type of script are almost identical. One is definitely an error for the other. Which one? Who knows, right? It’s hard to say which is original. Like I say, I gravitate towards the Greek.

Here’s the really exciting thing - there are seven more manuscripts, Keith, where it says a completely different word, “shela’agu”. It doesn’t look similar, it’s not graphically similar, a completely different word. And it means “they mocked him”. So there’s no question whatsoever! Definitively, somebody came along and saw the word “she ra’u”, “they saw”, and said, “Well, that doesn’t make sense.” And that’s not what’s in the Greek, so they replaced it with a different word that means, “they mocked him” based on the Greek or maybe the Latin. The Latin has “inlessess” which is “mocked”.

It’s beautiful what happened here. I mean, it’s a beautiful example of textual criticism, where you look at all the manuscripts and try to get what really happened here. There’s a smoking gun here, and I actually have the smoking, smoking gun that I’ll get to in a minute.

So we have the original reading which is either “they saw” or “they deceived”, take your pick. Somebody came along and saw the word “they saw”, in Hebrew it’s one word, and he said, “That’s not right. That’s not what’s in the Greek,” and he replaced it with a completely different word. It doesn’t even sound similar. It isn’t written similarly, “shela’agu”, that means “they mocked”, based on the Greek. Clear as day from 23 manuscripts, that’s what happened.

And then I opened the 24th manuscript, Keith! And the 24th manuscript - and this is not a manuscript Howard knew about. This is one of the ones that I discovered…

Keith: Wait, wait, wait. Stop, stop. Before you tell us about this, what do you mean, “He didn’t know about it?”

Nehemia: Howard knew about nine manuscripts of Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew, and I’ve compiled a list of 28. And the last one I open has “shera’u”, “that they saw”, and then above the line somebody wrote, “shela’agu”, “that they mocked”. [laughing]

Keith: [laughing] Stop the presses.

Nehemia: This is incredible. So we were able to put together from 23 manuscripts the steps that must have happened. It originally wrote, “they deceived”. There’s a mistake that says, “they saw”, or at least somebody perceived that as a mistake. In other words, maybe originally it said, “they saw”, and somebody said, “That’s not right,” and they changed it to “they deceived” thinking, “Oh, Aleph, Mem, they’re similar. This must be a mistake,” so they corrected the mistake, okay? Those are two possibilities, “they saw”, “they deceived”.

And then we hypothesized that when they wrote “they mocked him”, that was somebody correcting “they saw”, right? And then, we actually found the manuscript where that took place. This is unbelievable! In textual criticism, you can’t hope to have something like this, where we actually found the manuscript where the shift took place. The scribe went in and changed it.

It’s incredible. So this is the manuscript I’m going to be paying very close attention to. This is a manuscript that years ago, I ordered color photographs of, because in the black and white photographs it’s very difficult to read.

What they did is, they took what I call “rice paper”, but it’s actually called Japanese paper. It’s a very thin film, and they put it over the ink so the ink wouldn’t flake off. Well, now we come 100 years later and we can’t read it, because the ink is absorbed into the Japanese paper. At least in black and white, you can’t read it. In the color I was able to read it pretty clearly.

Keith: Which library, Nehemia?

Nehemia: That will be revealed in due time. It’s a library in Italy, I can say that. This set of photographs cost… let’s just say, an arm and a leg. The Italians - they’ll give you the color photographs. Some libraries won’t give you the color photographs. The Italians will do it, but they charge you a lot of money. And then they say, “We don’t want to photograph just a few pages. We want to photograph the entire manuscript.” Well, Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew is 30 or 60 pages, depending how it’s laid out, in a manuscript of 300 pages. So I had to pay for the 300 pages, and if I remember correctly, it was 15 Euros a page, so that was something like 4,500 Euros to get these color images.

Keith: Wow, unbelievable.

Nehemia: And I’ve had these for years now. But I’m able to study them now and discover things that Howard didn’t know about it, so it was worth every penny.

Okay, let’s go on, if we can.

Keith: “So he became very enraged and he sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem in the environs,” it says. But then there’s this phrase, and this is what the English does for us. It says, “From two years old and under,” so they’re actually putting time within the time that he basically found out…

Nehemia: Before we get that, let’s talk about the phrase, “he became very enraged”. In the Hebrew it says, “vayera elav me’od, vayitazev el libo,” “and it was very much evil to him. His heart was saddened, or saddened to his heart.” And the Greek has, “He became very enraged.” Hebrew has this full flowery idiom that the Greek doesn’t have, and I have to ask the question, if he’s just translating from the Greek, where did he get this full flowery idiom?

Here’s an example where we can look at Delitzsch and we can say, “Okay, Delitzsch - we know he translated from the Greek into the Hebrew, so how did he translate it?” And it might be a small point, but it is interesting. It says, “vayiktsof me’od”, “and he was very angry, he was very enraged,” in Delitzsch, right? So if you’re translating from the Greek, you’re probably not going to have this full, flowery idiom. And if you see this repeatedly happening… and then here’s another one, it says, “ragaz ad me’od”, “he was very enraged”. This is from modern Hebrew New Testament, the Bible Society in Israel 1976.

So they’re translating from the Greek, and they don’t have this full, flowery idiom. Where did the idiom come from? And this and other reasons is why Howard said, “Hey, wait a minute - this isn’t just the translation from the Greek, this might be an original Hebrew composition.”

Keith: Isn’t that amazing? Just in a matter of one verse, what is that, 16?

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: Before we even get to 17 we’ve got these pearls.

Nehemia: Well, we’ve got more in 16. I don’t know how we’re going to get to 23, that might be in a future episode. So then in 16 it says in the Greek, “And he sent and slew,” and the Hebrew says something really interesting. It says, “And he commanded and he sent his officers to slay.”

And again, if you’re translating from the Greek, where is all this coming from, right? The modern Hebrew New Testament of the Bible Society has, “veshalach leharog”, “and he sent to kill”, and Delitzsch, who we also know is translating from the Greek into Hebrew, has, “vayishlach”, “and he sent”, right? [laughing] So where is all this verbiage coming from? I think at the very least we have to say, “If you say Hebrew Matthew’s a translation, it’s not a translation from our Greek.”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: It’s a translation from some other text.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: From a “more primitive text”, as Howard calls it. Okay, Matthew 2:16, “from two years and younger” appears in the Greek. And I love the last example that we brought earlier in the verse where it said, “they saw, they deceived”, and somebody replaced it then with the word “they mocked”. Because Howard had hypothesized there was a process of correcting the Hebrew to match the Greek, and that I would be able to find the actual manuscript or a manuscript where somebody straight out did this. The Hebrew word’s there, and another scribe comes along and adds above the line, “they mocked”. So we have the same thing happening with the phrase “from two years and younger”.

I was able to find this in 21 manuscripts. 14 of those manuscripts don’t have the words “from two years and younger”, 6 of them have “from two years and younger”, and 1 of those manuscripts, the last one I looked at, has “from 2 years and younger” written above the line. And it’s the same one that had the word “they mocked” written above the line. [laughing]

Keith: I’m going to have to sit with you quietly in a pool or something and get the name of that manuscript. This is golden! [laughing]

Nehemia: Oh, no. And I understand that people want to see this. What I want to do is take all this information and publish it in a proper format. And since I went through a lot of effort and cost to procure this manuscript, I want to do this properly and systematically and show the corrections to Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew in this manuscript. That’ll be a very important study.

Keith: Before you go on, Nehemia, just about that. One of the reasons that this has been such a long process is that one of the things you’ve said year after year after year after year, “This has to be done correctly. It has to be done right. It has to be true text criticism that takes place.” You’re actually compromising, and I want to say this. Please don’t take this the wrong way. You’re actually allowing us to look into some of these things without the full… if I can use the word “scholarly” approach, can I say that?

Nehemia: Or the scholarly procedure, let’s put it that way.

Keith: The scholarly procedure. Now, this is what I want people to understand that is such a blessing, is that when you determined, “Yes, okay, we are going to go begin to look at these,” there’s a whole lot more that needs to be done. And it’s a process that you have been working for years and years and years and years. But the fact that you’re now allowing us – and I say this “allowing us” in a way that has been a blessing to me – because what you’ve always done, Nehemia, is you’ve said, “Listen. Here’s the key. Open the safe. Here’s where all the information is, but there’s so much more than can be done.” So that’s going to be done. That’s the point is that you’re going to take all of these manuscripts eventually, God-willing, and be able to do a proper process, a scholarly procedure, to do that.

But the fact that we also get these pearls now gives people a whole lot that they can look at and see. And so I just wanted to tell you thanks for that, because I’ve been begging you and you said, “Okay. Well, maybe there’s a compromise,” and this is the compromise.

Nehemia: Yeah. Well, I appreciate you bringing that up. So one of the criticisms I’ve had from some people, let’s just say, within my ministry is, “You can’t share this stuff. These are important discoveries. If you don’t publish this in a journal article, in some obscure journal article that three people will ever read, someone else will and they’ll take credit for the discovery.” And I say, “Okay, I could do that and I plan on doing that. But that might be 10 years from now. In the meantime, there are people out there who are yearning for this information.”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: “Shouldn’t we share it for them? What is the purpose of publishing in the journal article - to convince the five people who will read these obscure articles? Or is it to get the information to the people who need the information?” And I’ve made the decision, “You know what? I’m going to share this with the people and in due time, if it is Yehovah’s plan, I will share it in this other format…”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: “…and through these other procedures where you write it up in a very dry manner, and people blind read it and they give you comments.” It’s a process that takes years. And I think this type of thing is worthy of being shared in that format, but I also want people to read it and be aware of this information, and in this case hear it and watch it. And so I’m sharing what I have right now, and it’s not perfect, it’s not polished. There’s more to be done here, guys. But this is what’s available right now, and I think it’s more important to get it out now than wait… I mean, we have the man who’s dying, who says, “I want to hear what I can before I die.”

Keith: Amen, amen.

Nehemia: Literally, sometimes.

Keith: It’s a blessing.

Nehemia: All right. Matthew 2:16, we’re not done with this. No, I think we are done with this verse. So we now have two instances where there’s a correction in accordance with the Greek in some of the Hebrew Matthew manuscripts, and there’s a single manuscript that I found. By the way, as I discovered these manuscripts, Keith, Howard called them “A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H.” He got through H, that’s eight manuscripts, and then he had this base text, which is the British Library manuscript. I actually call that manuscript “Z”. I started assigning letters. Okay, he had “H, I, J, K, L, M.” This manuscript, the one that has the addition above the line, you can call it random or you could call it a God-incidence, I call it “Manuscript Q”. I just noticed that. I’m looking up my notes…

Keith: [laughing] What are you talking about?

Nehemia: …and it says “Manuscript Q” added above the line.

Keith: Listen, folks. Let me just tell you something. I come from a background where I’ve been in a seminary, and there is a star of the show when you talk about the Synoptic Gospels – meaning the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Nehemia: Well, Matthew, Mark and Luke, when you compare them and you look at them together, that’s called the Synoptic Gospels.

Keith: So basically, the star of the show is called “Q”. And he, out of just coincidence or a God-incidence calls this amazing manuscript – he won’t tell us where it’s from – it’s “Q”.

Nehemia: Soon to be revealed. Okay, now let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Matthew 2:17-18 talks about what’s called the “slaughter of the innocents”.

Keith: Sorry, you can’t do that yet.

Nehemia: I can’t jump ahead?

Keith: No.

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: And here’s why. Because in 16 when it says – and this is really interesting, at least for me it was interesting, because it refers back to this issue when it refers here about “in the days of Herod”. So when it gets to this issue and he’s saying he’s going to kill all the male children who were in Bethlehem and its borders, one of the things that I did provide - and people can still get this, this is something I want you to add to your tool chest - I did a video, Nehemia, just a really, really simple but very powerful video about Herod.

And again, the reason why I think it’s really important is because if you understand anything about Herod, and you get to this verse, in 16, now. I’m still at 16 when he says, “And he sent his princes…” according to Hebrew Matthew, “to kill all the male children,” and you understanding something about Herod, this doesn’t shock you. You understand? If you understand something about who this person was and his history and what he did, that we know of 100 percent for sure, when I read this now, it doesn’t shock me. Now, think about that. I mean, that’s who he is. I mean, he’s that kind of person.

Nehemia: Right.

Keith: Slaying people is part of his DNA, if I can say that.

Nehemia: But there’s an irony that he’s called “Herod the Great”, when he is considered among the most evil rulers of Israel, certainly of the… let’s call them “Jewish rulers”, even though he’s an Idumean, an Edomite. Yet he’s definitely considered among the worst rulers. Like, he’s up there with Ahab. [laughing]

Keith: Oh, boy.

Nehemia: That tells you something.

Keith: Okay. So anyway, context on here.

Nehemia: So what’s the video that you did? What was it called?

Keith: So basically the video… And really, I did some searching because I know a lot of people… And part of the reason we’re doing videos is that there are a lot of people who read, and we love the people that read, but there are a lot of people, Nehemia, that are beginning, because of this age, and I’m not sure if it’s because of everything with YouTube and whatever, but video is huge.

And so what I tried to do is find a video that would be as close historically and accurate as possible, but also engaging. And I found a nice video. It’s available at bfainternational.com, right at Hebrew Gospel Pearls that they can watch, that will give them background on Herod, so that when you’re reading and you first hear Herod’s name, and hear it again, it really, really, really gives you context. And that’s important - language, history and context on who this person is. That’s what it is.

Nehemia: And just to give context of how evil Herod was, he murdered his own son because he was afraid his son would take over as king. And Augustus Caesar famously said, “It is better to be Herod’s pig than Herod’s son.” And why did he say that? Because as a Jew or at least sort of a Jew, Herod wouldn’t slaughter pigs to eat, and he did slaughter his son.

Keith: And his wife.

Nehemia: And his wife. I mean, he committed so many atrocities.

Keith: It’s terrible.

Nehemia: He really was hated by the Jews. Hated and feared. He ordered his men that on the day of his death there would be a massive massacre because he knew people would celebrate the day he died. And he wanted people from henceforth for years to come to mourn the day he died, so he ordered his soldiers to massacre the Jews on the day of his death, and they refused the order and didn’t carry it out. But what an evil person. Think about this. I mean, what an evil thing to do! [laughing]

Keith: And the point is, Nehemia, like I said in verse 16, when I read verse 16 now, to be honest with you, I’ve read about Herod, I’ve been in Israel, I’ve gone to Herodian and saw these sorts of things. But getting a chance to kind of add some more information, just visually, it helped me, and I think it’ll help you.

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: That’s available.

Nehemia: All right, so this is a video shared at bfainternational.com. Beautiful. Can we read verses 17 and 18 now?

Keith: 100 percent.

Nehemia: Actually, let’s stay in verse 16 and talk about the slaughter of the innocents, right? So verse 17 and 18 basically tell us that the slaughter of the innocents is the fulfilment of something in the Book of Jeremiah, but the slaughter of the innocents itself, it’s a really interesting chapter in history because I’ve been reading a lot of Christian authors on this. There are some Christian authors, Keith, who have no doubt, who believe with 100 percent of their being, in the virgin birth, but when it comes to the slaughter of the innocents they say, “That’s a made-up story.” [laughing]

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: I mean, that blows my mind - that the supernatural event, they have no problem believing. But this event that was like, yeah, par for the course for Herod, that’s what we expect, they deny that. And why do they deny it? So the argument goes as follows, and this, I think, is the predominant view of historians, including many Christian historians, even Evangelical historians – not all, but of many.

So the idea is that Josephus, who’s the Jewish historian who wrote “The Antiquities of the Jews” and another book called “The Jewish War”, and he tells the history of Herod in painstaking detail. He mentions all kinds of massacres, this massacre and that other massacre. And he mentions nothing in Josephus about the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem.

So these historians come along and they say, “Wait a minute. This must be a made-up story, because if it really happened, Josephus would mention it.” Not all historians agree with this. The counter-argument goes as follows; they say, “Come on. How many people were in Bethlehem to begin with? Let’s call it 2,000, that’s very generous, right? Let’s call it 1,000, 2,000. It’s a village. How many children were there under the age of 2, male children, out of 2,000? I don’t know, what the number is, 20? 30? 50? So Herod killed between 20 and 50 people. That’s a day ending in Y for Herod.” In other words, their argument is, “Yeah, Josephus didn’t mention that, because that’s such a common occurrence for Herod to have committed an atrocity like that. It’s important in the history of the New Testament, but in the history of Herod that’s par for the course. He had a bad meal, and so he slaughtered that many people.”

Keith: And isn’t that the point, Nehemia? Again, if you understand about Herod, you understand that what you just said isn’t really outside of the possibility.

Nehemia: Oh, no. It’s definitely to be expected! If you had told me that King Josiah ordered the slaughter of the children in Bethlehem, I’d be like, “What? That didn’t sound like Josiah.” If you would have told me, “John Hyrcanus ordered the slaughter of the children of Bethlehem I’d be like, “Really? That’s a little implausible.” Herod? The guy killed his own son and wife! Like, what are you talking about? I mean, it’s a day ending in Y for Herod, or as we say in Hebrew, “kol Sheni veKhamishi”, “every Monday and Thursday”.

So slaughter of the innocents, whether you accept the view that it is historical, not historical, I just find it strange that there are historians, Christian Evangelical historians, who are willing to believe in the virgin birth but doubt the slaughter of the innocents. Like one’s supernatural and a miracle, if you believe in it, and the other is just like normal history, for Herod especially.

Now, whether you believe it’s historical or not, there is no question whatsoever that this story, and especially the way it’s written and described, echoes an event in the life of Moses, specifically the slaughter of the children in Exodus chapter 1. So if we can, I want to jump to Exodus chapter 1 verses 9 to 10. Now again, the historians who believe this happened will say, “Yeah, this is a miracle, and God caused the actions of the children to echo the actions of the fathers,” “ma’aseh avot siman lebanim”, that principle that we’ve talked about, and those who don’t believe it’s historical will say, “Yeah, it’s made up, based on the Moses story.”

I, the commentator, can’t decide on that. I tend to think this did happen. I mean, I don’t see any reason to doubt it. But Exodus 1:9-10, “Pharaoh said to his people, ‘Behold, the Children of Israel are mighty and more powerful than us.’” Boy, that guy had an inferiority complex. “Come, let us act wisely with him…” meaning with Israel, “lest he multiply, and it will happen that there is a war and he will be added upon our enemies and he will fight against us and go up from the land.”

So what is the reason given for the slaughter of the Israelite children? Because Pharaoh was worried that the Israelites can’t be trusted. There’ll be a war, and during this time of the war the Israelites will turn against the Egyptians or their escape and become free. So he orders the two midwives to slaughter the male children, and the two midwives refuse.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Now, the parallel here is Herod wants to get the magi to help him out, and the magi refuse. So then, Herod turns to his own soldiers. Verse 22, “And Pharaoh ordered all of his people…” now he’s not dealing with the Hebrew midwives anymore, he’s going to his own men, his own people. “Every boy that is born will be cast into the Nile,” or “into the river, and every girl you will save alive,” meaning of the Israelites, of the Hebrew children. So he goes and orders a slaughter of the Hebrew children, why? Because he’s worried they’re going to attack or they’ll escape. Why the males? Because the females weren’t soldiers, right? They could control the females, they thought. They couldn’t control the males, so let’s slaughter the males. That’s the reason given in Exodus.

So far, there’s some parallel to the Herod story, but not all that much. Are you with me?

Keith: Yes, 100 percent.

Nehemia: It’s when you jump to the Jewish legends that we’re later told about the Moses story… And look, I call them “legends.” Maybe this happened and it just wasn’t written in the Tanakh and somebody remembered it and passed it down orally, or maybe it’s a story that was just developed over time, I don’t know. But this was well-known in the 1st century, that’s the important point here. In the 1st century, when Jews heard the story of Moses they knew what the Biblical account said, and they also knew the legends told around the Biblical account.

Keith: You have the legends.

Nehemia: In fact, go to most Orthodox Jews today and ask them, “Which part of this is in the text and which part is from the Rabbinical or other legends?” And they generally won’t know the difference. They just know this is what happened with Moses. I’m going to read you from the Targum of Pseudo Jonathan. It’s called “Pseudo Jonathan” because it’s attributed to Jonathan, who was a Jewish author sometime around… the contemporary of Rabbi Akiva, so late 1st, early 2nd century. This preserves traditions that were around in the 1st century.

The translation of Exodus 1:15. First, let’s read Exodus 1:15. “The King of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives…” this is NRSV, “one of whom was named Shiphra and the other Puah.” And then verse 16, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it boy kill him, but if it is a girl, she shall live.” So what the Targum does - the Targum is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew but it’s really more than that. Especially, the Targum of Jonathan doesn’t just translate it, sometimes it’s called a “paraphrase”, but it’s more than a paraphrase in this case. It adds a whole story that’s not in the text.

In other words, “Pharaoh said to the midwives…” And here, what Jonathan does in the Targum is he gives the reason Pharaoh said this to midwives. Now, Exodus itself gave a reason. Jonathan gives a different reason. “Pharaoh said that while sleeping, he was in his dream,” Jonathan translates into Aramaic. “And behold all the land of Egypt was on this one scale of a balance. And a young lamb was on the other scale of the balance, and the scale of the balance of the lamb was tipping down.” In other words, there’s a balance being held, Egypt was on one side, the lamb is on the other side. And the lamb weighs more, tips the balance down.

Now, this is interesting because in the Egyptian way of thinking, when a person died he went to the afterlife and his soul was weighed on a balance, right? So this is a very Egyptian idea. This is Pharaoh’s dream according to Jonathan, the Targum of Jonathan. “Immediately, he sent and called all the magicians of Egypt and told them his dream. Immediately, Jannes and Jambres, the head of the magicians, opened their mouth and said to Pharaoh, ‘A son is about to be born among the congregation of Israel, by whose hand all of the land of Egypt is about to be destroyed.’ Therefore, Pharaoh, King of Egypt, took counsel and ordered the Jewish midwives…” etc.

So it’s called Pseudo Jonathan, as I mentioned, because it’s attributed to Jonathan. We don’t know who actually wrote it. Jonathan wrote a Targum on the Prophets, and this was mislabeled as being translated by Jonathan. In any event, it does preserve traditions from the 1st century, and here we have the story that was around in the 1st century, that Pharaoh had a dream that the savior of Israel would be born and that savior is represented by a lamb. And the lamb is on a balance and the lamb tips the scales against Pharaoh and against all of Egypt. That little lamb weighs more than all of Egypt, spiritually, in the dream, and therefore, “Okay. Let’s wipe out all the boys. We don’t know which boy is the savior.” The assumption was it was a boy. “We don’t know which boy is the savior, let’s kill all the boys.”

Now, this is not the reason Exodus gives, but this is the reason that many Jews believed in the 1st century, and frankly, most Orthodox Jews today, they’ll tell you, why did Pharaoh order the slaughter of the boys? Because there was a dream. There was a vision. The magicians told him, “The savior of Israel has been born. We’ve looked upon the stars.” Okay, are you with me so far?

Keith: 100 percent. So, before you go any further, if you’re reading this and you’re hearing about this in the 1st century, whenever it was written, 70 AD, 80 AD, and you’re reading in this whole section, immediately you see this, if coming from that perspective.

Nehemia: I was explaining this to T-Bone the other day. And T-Bone had one of his brilliant insights, which he does. [laughing]

Keith: We love T-Bone.

Nehemia: The guy’s brilliant. So he says, “Okay, in the Targum, the sheep is the Israelites, no question about it. Why are the Israelites represented by a sheep in Pharaoh’s vision? Because, if you remember back in Genesis, the Israelites were known as shepherds.”

Keith: That’s right.

Nehemia: “And shepherds eat sheep. And the Egyptians worshipped sheep as one of their gods. And so we’re told that to the Egyptians a shepherd is an abomination because they slaughter the Egyptian gods. And that’s why the Passover sacrifice was a sheep - to show the Egyptians, ‘We can even kill your god. You’re powerless against us.’”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: And we’re told the Egyptians wouldn’t even eat at the same table as a Hebrew, because these Hebrews were shepherds. Now, we know about this from Egyptian history - that there were a people called the “Hyksos”, the shepherd kings, who were despised and hated by the Egyptians. So this is actually confirmed in Egyptian sources. T-Bone says, in his brilliance, “Okay, to Jonathan the sheep is Israel. If Matthew knew this story, I think it seems very plausible, let’s put it that way, that Matthew knew this version of the account. Who is the sheep in Matthew? Yeshua.”

Keith: Yeshua.

Nehemia: So Pharaoh had a dream. Yeshua or the Messiah or whoever it is is in a balance against Egypt. Let’s kill all the boys to prevent this lamb from coming and being a savior. And then when he retells the story of Yeshua, he uses that same paradigm. It’s not to say it didn’t happen, but the pieces of information he gives you are definitely patterned after the story of Moses as it was known in the 1st century to the Jewish multitudes.

Let me give you a different version of it. This appears in Yalkut Shimoni, which is a relatively late collection of traditions. It’s fascinating, it’s hard to believe that this was not known to Matthew. It says, “In the 130th year of the Israelites going down to Egypt…” now remember, in the Rabbinical way of thinking, the Israelites were in Egypt for 400 years, but that includes Egypt and Canaan, because God had said to Abraham, “Your descendants will be strangers in a strange land for 400 years,” meaning from the moment that Isaac was born, even though he wasn’t in Egypt, he was in somebody else’s land before he had inherited it and taken possession of the land of Canaan.

So the 130th year of the Israelites coming down to Egypt, in the mind of the Rabbis, is the year that Moses is born, right?

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: “Pharaoh dreamed, and behold, he was sitting on his throne. And he lifted up his eyes and he saw a certain old man standing in front of him, and in his hand was a scales, the scales of merchants,” meaning like a balance. “And the old man took the scales and he hung them before Pharaoh,” meaning he lifted them up, hanging them. “And he took all the elders of Egypt and its officers and its great ones and he put them in one side of the balance. And afterwards, he took a young milch lamb,” meaning a young baby sheep that’s still milking at its mother’s teat, “and he put it in the other balance. And the balance of the lamb overcame all of them, and Pharaoh was stunned at this terrible vision. Why is it that the lamb overcame everybody else?” It didn’t make sense to him; this lamb is all of Egypt.

“And Pharaoh woke up and behold, it was a dream. And he woke up early in the morning and he called all of his servants and he told them the dream. And the people had a very great fear, and one of the eunuchs of the king answered, ‘This is none other than great evil which will grow out of Egypt in the latter days.’” That’s interesting, he says, “in the latter days”, “for a child will be born from Israel and he will destroy all the land of Egypt. If it is good to the king, let the word go forth from the presence of the king and let it be written in the laws of the king that every male of the Hebrews that is born will be killed in order that this evil will be prevented from the land of Egypt. And the king did so.”

Now, the parallel to the story of the slaughter of the innocents is uncanny. Now, Herod didn’t have a dream, but he had magicians come to him, magi, and we’ve heard about Jannes and Jambres, they’re mentioned by name, who are the chiefs of the magicians. They’re telling the king, “You’ve got to kill all the boys.”

There’s another tradition that appears in the Talmud, and it’s very interesting. It’s based on Numbers 20 verses 7 to 13, where it talks about the waters of contention. This is where Moses struck the rock. Now, the Talmud in the discussion there is talking about astrology and magic, and the Rabbis have a very interesting view. They say, “You know, astrologers - it’s not all made up. Astrologers and magicians see things that are true. They just don’t have all the truth.” And then they bring the example of the astrologers who told Pharaoh that the savior would be born to Israel. And the astrologers saw that… Here, I’ll read what it says. So the phrase in Numbers 20 is, “Those are the waters of contention,” and it’s kind of a strange phrase. What do you mean, “Those are the waters of contention”? It’s telling the reader in the Book of Numbers, “The waters of contention that you know about, this is what happened: Moses struck the rock instead of talking to the rock.”

The Rabbis say, “Why would it say, ‘those are the waters of contention?’ They’re clearly already known.” So it explains in the Talmud, “Those which the astrologers of Pharaoh saw but erred. They saw that the downfall of the savior of Israel would be caused by water, and so they decreed, ‘cast every son who is born into the Nile,’ but they did not understand the downfall - of Moses - would be due to the waters of contention, where Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it.”

So we have here three different versions, three slightly different versions, but three, essentially witnesses of this belief that there were astrologers who foretold a savior would be born in Egypt, and that’s the real reason, not what we’re told in Exodus, but that’s the real reason why it was the males who were ordered to be killed. And look, maybe both are true, I don’t know. There’s no question, this was known - in my mind, there’s no question - this was known to Matthew. It was probably known to Herod, as well. Herod sees these astrologers coming, and he’s like, “Ooh, I know there’s a way of stopping this. I’m going to do what Pharaoh did.” And of course, it didn’t work for Pharaoh and it didn’t work for Herod. [laughing]

Keith: Wow. And then, do we get to move on to the verse?

Nehemia: That’s what I got. Well, okay, I want to talk about Matthew 2:18. Ooh, wow. There’s a lot more to bring here. Can we save this for the Plus episode?

Keith: This is a bit of a controversy, Nehemia, and I want to read something. We are going to transition, and the reason for that is, one, we said we were going to try to do 50 minutes to an hour, we’re just about at that time. But this morning I received an email, Nehemia, and I’d like with your permission, to share it here.

Nehemia: Sure.

Keith: And the reason I want to share this email is that it addresses something that is quite important for us.

Nehemia: Before you share that email, I just want to remind people - what we’re doing in each episode of the Hebrew Gospel Pearls is we’re doing the main episode that goes out as a podcast, it goes out on YouTube. Everybody can listen to it. And then we’re going even in more depth in what we’re calling Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus, and what we’re doing is, we’re alternating because there are two ministries involved. One week it’s going to be on Keith’s website, the Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus, the other week it’ll be on my website, and I’m making it available to what I call my Support Team. Those are people who support my ministry, who want to go in more depth. And for me, this is a way of saying thank you for supporting my ministry.

Keith: And actually, by the way, Nehemia, I know you talked about this at the beginning. You’ve got something that’s really a game changer. We are going to go to the Plus section, but I got this email and my heart was moved, and I need to share this email from someone. What he says is, “Did you ask the Father before making Gospel Pearls?” and then he uses the word “for sale”. He says, “Dear Keith, I’m bringing the truth in the Philippines. Now as a reply from many of my friends, they come sadly to me, telling me that they simply can’t get the information they need as there are two obstacles. Their daily income is less than $4 USD and they don’t have a credit card. It looks like the decision…” and he uses the word, “of selling information is blocking some thousands of Filipinos outside the source of this life-changing reveal.”

So what we did is, we reached out to this man and he actually has a ministry there, and immediately, Karen, the administrator of BFA said, “Listen. Let’s start over again. Let’s give you access to this information,” and so that was taken care of. And then she said, “Listen, we have a whole lot of information for people that takes no credit card. It doesn’t take anything. They register as a free member. Even if you’re not registered as a free member, there’s so much information.”

But Nehemia, the reason that this was a bit of a challenge when I first got it, now it ended up being a blessing, because he came back and he said, “You know what?” He says, “Shalom. Now, after sending a message this morning, I was ashamed. I had two hard words. I ask forgiveness for my behavior. I was just so frustrated after hearing the opinions of complaints from our believer friends there.” And he’s talking about all the studying that’s taking place and all the people. And he basically was saying, “Listen. You know, we’ve got to find a way to get this information to people.”

And immediately, Karen sends this message, and please bear with me, you all, because this was important. She says, “I understand your situation and your frustration. We would be very happy to give you a complimentary Premium Content membership. Please go to…” and she explains him how to do this. Now, Nehemia, we’ve only had a few people… say, “A few.”

Nehemia: A few.

Keith: Only a few people who have complained about this Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus, and every person that has complained, we’ve done the same thing, which is, “Listen, let’s find some common ground, what it is that we’re trying to do.” Nehemia, you brought up just a few minutes ago in this conversation about what you’ve paid for manuscripts, the travel, all of the issues that have taken place, and I wish that everything that we did was free. [laughing] But it’s not. And the truth of the matter is, that what we’re really trying to do – and I love the way you say it – is to say thank you to those of you that help us to provide the information to our friends in the Philippines.

I had another phone call from a man in Mexico. He hears about this, he’s excited. We’re providing the information. People around the world are learning about this, and I want to say to those that have responded and become Support Team members and Premium Content Library members - you are helping us get this information around the world. So there are challenges…

Nehemia: Sure.

Keith: … this is something that’s new and it’s different, but it’s working. So I want to say thank you to everybody for that. And of course, as we go to the Plus section, you’re going to go to bfainternational.com. You’ll become a Premium member. You’ll have access to Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus, plus a whole bunch more. We are raising the bar in terms of what you get as a Premium member. But I want to say, Nehemia, the challenge was, when this first came, I got a little nervous because I know we have people around the word who literally can’t afford $9.99. But guess what? We’ve been able to get them that information, So we’re going to continue doing this until we stop. And basically, the process is simple. We’re providing a whole bunch of information free, you don’t have to do anything. But for those of you that are Premium Content members at bfainternational, you get access to everything including Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus. Anything you’d like to say, sir?

Nehemia: Yeah, so just to speak for my ministry, Makor Hebrew Foundation, that when people contact us and say, “Hey, I want to get access to the Support Team Studies but I can’t afford anything,” what we’d say is, “Okay, would you pray for the ministry?” And usually, the response is, “Oh, I pray for your ministry every day.” “Okay, if you’re supporting us through prayer and that’s all you can afford to do, then we’re not going to deny you the access to the information.”

Keith: And again, I think that’s the beauty of this, Nehemia. This is life-changing information, and we’re not trying to keep it from you. We are trying to say thank you to those of you that have responded. And I hope that every single person here… Because you’re about to share some information I haven’t heard, folks. I’ll be honest with you. I’m going to the Plus section myself [laughing] and I’m going to be sitting and waiting to hear this, Nehemia. I mean, are you ready to share this information?

Nehemia: I’m really excited. I’m ready.

Keith: Okay, well let’s do it. Can I pray first?

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: Father, thank You so much for the idea, the inspiration. Thank You for those that are wanting the information. Father, thank You that we found a way to do it. Thank You for our supporters who go above and beyond the call of duty to help give people access around the world to the information that’s changing their lives. Thank you so much for what we’ve done so far, and we do give this process to You. We have prayed. We have asked You, and we will continue to do that. Lead us and guide us, whether we turn to the left or to the right. May we hear the voice behind us saying, “This is the way of walking in it,” and we will respond.

Nehemia: Amen. Yehovah, please be with all those who want the information and guide them to this information, to whatever information it is that they need.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Yehovah, give us the wisdom to continue to put out these teachings and speak only truth that glorifies and honors Your name. Amen.

Keith: 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.

We hope the above transcript has proven to be a helpful resource in your study. While much effort has been taken to provide you with this transcript, it should be noted that the text has not been reviewed by the speakers and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you would like to support our efforts to transcribe the teachings on NehemiasWall.com, please visit our support page. All donations are tax-deductible (501c3) and help us empower people around the world with the Hebrew sources of their faith!

Makor Hebrew Foundation is a 501c3 tax-deductible not for profit organization.

Subscribe to "Nehemia's Wall" on your favorite podcasts app!
iTunes | Android | Spotify | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn

Share this Teaching on Social Media

Related Posts:
Hebrew Gospel Pearls PLUS #5
Hebrew Gospel Pearls #2 - Matthew 1:18-25
Hebrew Gospel Pearls
Torah and Prophet Pearls
Hebrew Voices Episodes
Support Team Studies
Nehemia's Yehovah Research

  • Oscar says:

    The study on Mat.2:23 is groundbreaking! Thank you both for the incredible hard work in bringing this to light, and being honest and transparent enough to follow the elusive thread of truth wherever it may lead.
    I do have a question on Rachel’s tomb. After meeting with Samuel in the region of Zuph, Saul is instructed to go by Rachel’s tomb which is at Zelzah. That town is currently Beit Jala and in fact is near Bethlehem Ephratha. Not at Ramah. The borders of Benjamin were notoriously flexible and at one point went pretty far down south near the current Tomb. That does not necessarily mean the current building is in fact Rachel’s tomb, but there’s three passages saying she’s buried in the area, including 1 Sam. 10. Perhaps Rachel’s voice was heard at Ramah (the city) because of the exiles AND at Bethlehem, where she’s buried because of the innocents too.

  • Shelley Greening says:

    Keith, that vid about Herod was really amazing. Thanks for sharing it and mentioning it again. During my visit to Israel, my conclusion was that Herod was an AMAZING, brillant builder, but should not have been a king! What a horrendous ruler! (What a psychopath!) If only he had been only a builder.

    But the vid was great. Thanks.

  • Shelley Greening says:

    Nehemia, I’m only at minute 23, but I want to honor your passion and the choice you just described – to get the information out to those of us that really want to know – and not to save it for “the scholarly journal that only 5 people will read”. Yes! Thank you!!! And I do pray that YHVH will also honor that and that someone else will not get the glory and acclaim for your amazing discoveries. (Even if YHVH does not choose to answer that prayer affirmatively, you still have honor for your choice to share the truths that you find.) I am ever so grateful.

  • Charles Hein says:

    Thank You for a very stimulating study. I haven”t thought about this stuff for a while but its bringing things about this back to my mind. I read Howard’s book many years back and I was a little disappointed about finding a Hebrew Matthew that included the nativity and virgin birth stories. I was hoping to find a connection between this lost gospel and the Ebionites spoken about by the early church fathers. I had remembered that this early sect didn’t have a belief in the virgin birth story, so this made me wonder if the Hebrew Matthew mentioned by Papius might have come from this early sect. Obviously this Hebrew Matthew does have a virgin birth story so it probably didn’t come from them, unless somebody added it to the beginning, maybe. When one compares stories from each of the synoptics together, I’ve found it interesting that many times the version from Luke seems the shorter and therefore maybe the earlier version. This always struck me as strange thinking Luke must have been borrowing from earlier sources, I always thought of his gospel being downstream from Matthew and Mark but it seems at least in some stories this doesn’t appear to be right. Anyways, thx for the studies, I’ll keep tuning in, maybe more pearls will be on the way. Peace Out charli33lm3r threesforees

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for all your hard work, your dedication, and your love for all things of Yehovah. You moved me to tears twice in the plus version for this episode.

  • hanotzrim says:

    Dear Nehemia (and Keith!),

    That was absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for your hard work.

    I am a Torah-observant Christian and I think you are used very much used by God to remove barriers between Judaism and Christianity (and the same counts for Keith). I appreciate your openness to what is called “christological applications.”

    Yes, history seems to repeat itself with variations, and no one can exclude that Jeremiah also prophetically refers to the return of IDF soldiers; I think he does, and in any case, the Jewish people and Israel will be completely restored: the best is still to come for you (the Gentiles have more reason to worry).


  • Alan Corrie says:

    Matthew 2:16-18: fact or fiction ?? OR, a 3rd possibility: the word “slew” (KJV) = aneilen (Gk), & can be translated “slew” OR “violently removed i.e. taken hostage … for adoption (c.f. Acts 7:21)” …. c.f. Jeremiah 31:15-17; Genesis 42:36. A C

  • daniel says:

    Thanks a bunch, and I’m giving an A++++ for HGP Plus #5! You really went an extra couple miles on that one – even by your standards. So much to digest, and love the examples you show. How COOL is it that your enigmatic copy of Matthew just happened to come up as ‘Q’?!?! Yes, a ‘God-incident’.

    • daniel says:

      For edification, search the net for “Q source” or “New Testament manuscript Quelle” for tons of info on a hypothetical text for which some, or all, synoptic gospels may have been the original source – at least that’s the theory.

  • Nehemiah Shapoo for the great work you are doing!! I am totally blown away by this one, and will surely listen to it a few times to get the whole picture of it and will do Some digging in this myself….I also am reading the book of you 2nd nepheuw 5 times removed….. quit amazing stuff.
    thankyou Nehemiah….keith and your wives for giving you time to do all this and share it with us…feel so blessed!!
    and because you are such a Blessing to us and HIM, YeHoVaH has blessed you with your hearts desire…..how awesome. He also is greatful for all your research and hard work and those that help you with all this!!

    thank you again and again!!


  • Sarah says:

    Thank y’all for another revealing study.

  • Aron says:

    I thought the big surprise from Nehemia about Matt. 2;23 would be, “It is not there.” That would have made it easy. However, it appears from the teaching that we can’t just dismiss verse 23 as not being what Matthew wrote. So, we have to figure out what did Matthew mean and how he understood it.

    Nehemia made an interesting comment about the difference between saying, in prophet so-and-so vs. in the prophets. “Through the prophets”, as in Matthew 2:23 allows for how one understand more than one prophet on a topic, without citing a precise, Bible-verse proof-text. Thus, Matthew–by way of the Spirit of Truth who won’t lie or contradict–simply conveyed the summary of at least these verses –maybe more–about the Messiah being called a Netzer [not a Nazarene, though in a town by that name]. How so? Particular to the netzer are tzemach-like features, indicated textually as BRANCH: King- Jer. 23:5; Servant – Zech. 3:8; Son of Man – Zech 6:12; Son of God – Isa. 4:2,4; and The Judge – Jer. 33:15. Extra commentary of these tzemach features of Messiah being called a Netzer can be found in the introduction of Michael Rood’s, The Chronological Gospels.

    I conclude that Matthew, knowing these verses, would have us understand a general prophetic statement about Yeshua rather than “chapter and verse.” It seems to me that translating the Hebrew as “and shall be called a Netzer” is better. Why? Some offspring of King David inhabited Natzeret; Joseph and Mary were both of the Tribe of Judah thru King David, and thus, Yeshua, the netzer, as only Messiah could accomplish this 5-fold tzemach/BRANCH reality.

  • JW Brakebill says:

    It seems a shame, but when I watched the Pearls Plus at BFA, there doesn’t seem to be a comment section. First, I want to thank the two of you for all your hard work, and all this great information.

    This comment has to do with #5 Pearls Plus.

    Two things. I have seen websites that “claimed” there was a second Bethlehem, besides the one south of Jerusalem. This 2nd Bethlehem is “alleged” to have been northwest of Nazareth, west of the Sea of Galilee. Online maps place 2nd Bethlehem between lands of Naphtali (to the north) and Zebulun (to the south)

    Now in Gen 30:3-4, Rachel gave Bilhah to Jacob so that her handmaid might bare children to her, Rachel. Rachel would have considered Bilhah’s children as her own. Bilhah;s firstborn was Dan. Her second was Napthali. So IF a second Bethlehem did exist in Samaria, near Nazareth, in the regions of Napthali, then IF the slaying of the innocents occurred in the 2nd Bethlehem could not Rachel been weeping for her children? Now you have another “possibility.” LOL

    So my questions are, did such a second Bethlehem really exist? And since Yeshua lived in Nazareth, is it “possible” that “some” prophecies or verses are speaking of the Bethlehem south, while others could be referring to the alleged northern one in Samaria? I do not have access to the info Nehemia has, so I leave it to him to seek the truth.

    The second thing was that Nehemia spoke of Yeshua existing before the creation of earth. Per Proverbs 8, was it not Wisdom, or was it Yeshua, or they one and the same? That existed before the earth and acts of old?

    I would like to suggest the possibility of something else. In Gen 1, on the first day, God created light. (Yeshua? Hêylêl/Lucifer, Isa 14:12, of course, being referenced by “darkness.”)

    But it seems important that light was on the first day, but it isn’t until the 4th day that God created the sun and moon that gives light to the whole earth. So what is the light of Gen 1? The “general” concept/creation of radiant light? I submit the “possibility” that this “light” of Gen 1 may be Yeshua. Why? John 1:4-5, 7, 9; 3:19; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46; Acts 26:18; Rev 21:23, etc…

    I wonder what Nehemia’s and Keith’s thoughts are on this?

    • hanotzrim says:

      Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose, Cyril of Alexandria, John of Damascus, as well as Arius and Athanasius believed that the “wisdom” of Proverbs 8:22 is the LOGOS of John 1:1.

      That would agree with Mic 5:2, Col 1:15, Rev 3:14 as well as with Rashi, Radak, Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Hayon, and Targum Yonatan and other sources, e.g.:

      Pesikta Rabbati (Piska 36):

      “What light is it that the congregation of Israel looks for? It is the light of the Messiah of which it is said, And God saw the light that it was good.”

      … or Jasher 23:70:

      “And Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, a ram was caught in the thicket by his horns; that was the ram which the Lord God had created in the earth in the day that he made earth and heaven.”

  • JW Brakebill says:


    After searching for the Kingdom and truth for many years, almost a lifetime, now a disabled senior, I am fascinated at the depths of knowledge your ministries and pearls reveal.

    I did have a question about this episode though.

    Gen 15:13 prophesies 400 years of affliction, Ex 12:40-41 says Israel in Egypt 430 years.

    Nehemia stated that in rabbinical thought Moses was born in the 130th year. 130th year of or from, what? Of affliction? Of being in Egypt?

    Since Moses died at 120 years of age, Deu 34:7, they left Egypt when he was about 80, as he was fourscore (80) when he spoke with Pharaoh Ex 7:7, so 130 + 80 = 210.

    So if Moses was born in 130th year, would not Israel have left Egypt in or around the 210th year? The math isn’t adding up so I don’t understand. I don’t doubt the 400 years of affliction are accurate. I don’t doubt 430 years a possibility because they likely were not afflicted while Joseph was still alive.

    Where the challenge arises is the rabbinical belief of Moses’ birth in130 the year. So I ask, 130th year from what?

    BTW, THANK YOU for these pearls, and these video programs. In my senior years I have diabetes and macular edema that causes blurred vision. Reading is extremely difficult. I don’t read books anymore. My eyes have trouble focusing. On my laptop I can often increase print to 22 font, and even then, too much reading makes focusing even harder. Videos are MUCH easier. Thank you

  • Jose Cruz Marquez Aguilar says:

    Wow!! Wow!! This was an amazing study!! And the PLUS episode just blow my mind!! Thank you so much!! Yehovah bless you both))

    Do you have any plans about translating this material to Spanish? (And Russian)… I would love to share this with my family (Spanish speakers)

  • LG says:

    Wow, I absolutely loved the textual critical discussion! It is really ground breaking Nehemia, when you talked about the manuscript that clearly shows that the text was “corrected” to look more like the Greek text. I think your examples are important because it really refutes the objections made by your critics, who say that the differences come from a variety of different sources (which may partially be true) and not the Greek. Honestly though your critics hardly make any good objections to you and often misrepresent or lie about your studies.
    Question, how come your only releasing this HGP episodes once every two weeks? Why not release them weekly?
    Anyway keep up the good work.

  • Susan Dixon says:

    WoW–Six hours for 1 word! Nehemia, Thank You So Much for all the hours that you spend doing this important work. I also thank your wife for her support as you labor in this blessed endeavor. I am so thankful that YHVH finally answered all of our prayers for your special Proverbs woman–It sure was a long wait though.; )

    I also want to say Thank You for giving me the opportunity to support your ministry through mostly prayer and a widows mite donation–I am truly honored. I will support you, your family, and this ministry as long as I have the breath of life. Great discoveries are about to be revealed, Nehemia, and I have always felt, years ago, when I first heard you speak that you were chosen for a very special ‘in that time’ purpose. I can hardly wait to see what YHVH reveals to you through your humble and continual pursuit of truth.

    Thank you for your compassionate heart, Nehemia, you are so right when you say that there are people out there who need to hear these words now. We cannot wait for a publication. There are so many of us who have ‘inherited lies’. We need truth for how else can we know the One True G_d!

  • carricklewis@yahoo’com says:

    I so look forward to the episode I love the time, effort and energy which you as brother scarifice is Great and may continue to bless your efforts as you serve HIM.