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Bible Commentary Adam Clarke

What Hebrew Word are You Referring To?

(PDF Format)

When ever we enter into a discussion on what Yahweh has written, we must begin with the above statement. Yahweh's Word was not written by English prophets, neither was it written by Greek prophets but rather it was written by Hebrew prophets. Many doctrines of the Christian Church can not be validated by any Hebrew words. For example, when someone is discussing Purgatory or Hell, we must ask the question, "What Hebrew word are you referring to?" Asking this question will end the discussion because there is no Hebrew word for Purgatory or Hell, these are man-made doctrines. Another question that can be asked, "What gender is the Hebrew word and what state is it in?" For example, in Genesis 1:2, the Hebrew gender of ruah (the word they translate spirit) is feminine and it is in the construct state and not the absolute state. Many people teach this verse as unveiling, the third God of the Trinity, 'God the Spirit,' which it can not be. Many of the man-made Foundational Doctrines of the Christian Church can not withstand these simple procedures. It is sad to say, that these major doctrines crumble as a House of Cards, when held to the standard of the Hebrew language. Our foundation must be on the Hebrew Words of Yahweh and not on our English, so-called, Bible translations.

There are, reportedly, from 10,000 to 44,000 Christian denominations in the world. These different groups, supposedly, have as their founding document, the same Bible; the same Word of Yahweh. We must ask ourselves, 'How can this be?' Yahweh gave us one of the reasons when he spoke to Isaiah saying, "...Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed" (Is. 6:9-10). Our Lord Yahoshua quoted this same verse to the children of Israel as well as did Paul. We have been instructed that one of the reasons is that it is an issue of the heart, which we cannot fix. Another reason, which I will address, is that there are people who have hearts which have not been hardened but they have a communication problem, which can be fixed. These are the misguided people who do seek to please Yahweh and not men, such as was Saul of Tarsus. He said he was innocent, "...because, without knowledge, I acted, in unbelief" (1 Ti. 1:13). Many Church doctrines are not based upon Hebrew words and their correct usage, which is the very foundation of the Word of Yahweh. The majority of every discussion concerning the Word of Yahweh should be founded upon Hebrew words and their correct usages in the Old Testament. By doing so, the majority of all Christian disputes would be eliminated.

Greek words in the New Testament can be linked back to their correct Hebrew usage. For example, the Greek word, hades, is a Greek god and a Greek place but this word, in the New Testament, is used to represent, sheol, which is the Hebrew place; kurios (lord) is used to represent Yahweh etc. etc.

If Yahweh does not, primarily, say it in Hebrew and, secondarily, in Greek, why are we discussing it; why are we arguing over it? Why are we using terms that do not exist in the Word of Yahweh? Why are we divided over a doctrine that never issued forth from the mouth of Yahweh? Anchoring all English words and terms to Hebrew words and terms will set us free from the many, many doctrines of men that have come down through the centuries.

When a person says the word, 'Hell,' they are referring to a place where everlasting torture is inflicted upon a person, who will never die. If you ask them what Hebrew word are you referring to, when you say, Hell, they can only say, Sheol, which is used 65 times in the Old Testament. Sheol's first usage is Genesis 37:34-35, which states, "And Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins,—and mourned over his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to console him, but he refused to be consoled, and said—Surely I will go down unto my son [Joseph], mourning, to Sheol..." This is the first usage of the Hebrew word, 'Sheol.' The first usage of a word is very significant when it comes to defining its meaning. By studying Sheol's 65 usages, you will determine that Yahweh's usage of Sheol does not agree with the English  word, Hell.

Another example would be the word, 'soul,' about which we have been taught of it's immortality.  We should ask the person, 'What Hebrew words are you referring to when you say, soul?  The only Hebrew word that can be used for soul would be nephesh. Nephesh first usage is in Genesis 1:20, which states, "And Elohim said—Let the waters swarm with an abundance of living soul, and, birds, shall fly over the earth, over the face of the expanse of the heavens." By studying the 753 usages of nephesh, you will determine that Yahweh's meaning of nephesh does not agree with the Churches teachings. Nephesh is not immortal and people do not have one but rather people are called living nepheshes, as also are animals.  There are also dead souls (nephesh), but not translated as such in English Bible translations because this would conradict what the Church teaches.

Now let us examine the English word, 'spirit.' We must ask the person, 'What Hebrew word are you referring to when you say, 'spirit.' The only Hebrew word they can be used is ruah. By studying ruah, you will learn that it is, in the majority of all cases, feminine (she) in gender, as it is in Genesis 1:2, and that it is not a proper noun (name) but rather a common noun. We are familiar with its first usage, which is in Genesis 1:2, but we are not aware of its second usage, which is in Genesis 3:8, which states, "Then heard they the sound of Yahweh Elohim, walking to and fro in the garden, at the ruah of the day..." We are also not familiar with it's usage in Genesis 8:1, which states, "Then Elohim remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And Elohim made a ruah to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided." By studying the word, ruah, in it's 378 usages, you will determine that Yahweh's meaning of ruah does agree with the English word, breath, but not with the Churches meaning of 'God the Spirit,' or of man being a spirit. Yahweh's attributes can be feminine, such as love (‘ahabah), hand (yad) and ear (ozen) but Yahweh and the nouns associated with him, such as Elohim, El, Eloah, Father and Rock are always masculine.

Construct and Absolute State
"Hebrew has no word for the English word, 'of,' instead hebrew uses a grammatical construction. That construction is the construct chain. All hebrew nouns are in one of two states: absolute, in which the noun is not bound to another form, and construct, in which the noun is bound to another following form. Nouns are called absolute because they can stand alone; they are not bound to a following noun, which is similar to an English noun." For example, in Genesis 1:2, the two nouns we will discuss are ruah (spirit) and Elohim (God). Ruah (spirit) is in the construct state, while Elohim (God) is in the absolute state. Elohim can stand alone but ruah can not! Ruah would be in the absolute state, if Genesis 1:2 read, "...but the ruah was brooding on the face of the waters but this is not what is written. The breath (ruah) of God (Job 4:9) or the hand of God (1 Sam. 5:11) or the face of God (Gen. 33:10) can be read as, God's breath, God's hand and God's face.; breath, hand and face are all in the construct state, while God is in the absolute state. God can stand alone but breath, hand and face can not stand alone. If Genesis 1:1 read, In the beginning, Hand created the heavens and the earth,  we would ask, 'Whose hand.'

Many pastors, to validate their argument concerning the existence of the Trinity, will state that Elohim, one of the Hebrew words that is translated, God, is plural, meaning the word actually means, gods, confirming that elohim is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Elohim is plural but also is the Hebrew word, panim, which translators translate as face. Panim is used over 2,000 times in the Old Testament and is always plural but is never translated as being plural (faces). Translators do not translate elohim as gods because the verb in Genesis 1:1 (created) is singular and not plural. An example of a plural pronoun with a singular verb would be, 'Men (plural) is (singular) coming to your house,' which would necessitate changing the pronoun from plural, men, to singular, man; 'A man is coming to your house.'  Joseph Rotherham, a Hebrew scholar, writes, "It should be carefully observed that, although, elohim, is plural in form, yet when, as here, it is construed with a verb in the singular, it is naturally singular in sense; especially since the "plural of quality" or "excellence" abounds in Hebrew in cases where the reference is undeniably to something which must be understood in the singular number." Genesis 1:1 states, "In the beginning, Elohim [God] bara [created] the heavens and the earth." Elohim is plural but bara is singular.  An example where elohim can be translated as gods (plural) is in Genesis 35:2 because the verb is also plural: "And Jacob said unto his house, and unto all who were with him,—Put away [sur (plural)] the gods [elohim (plural)] of the alien which are in your midst, and purify yourselves, and change your garments."

Doctrines of Men
Theologians call certain Greek converts the, 'Church Fathers.' The majority of these men were converted polytheists who could not read the Hebrew scriptures. The, 'Church Fathers,' according to Yahweh, are not these self-appointed Greeks but rather Yahweh's appointed prophets and Apostles, who were all Hebrews. The Greek Church Fathers have come up with words, terms and concepts which have no Hebrew equivalent, meaning Moses and all of the Hebrew prophets knew nothing of these doctrines; doctrines such as the doctrine of the Trinity, Incarnation, God-man, etc. etc. Yahweh, the Creator of language, according to the Greek Church Fathers, did not express himself fully in His text, so they added to Yahweh's Word certain words, terms and concepts, thereby, in their minds, completing Yahweh's Word? In our discussions of the things of Yahweh, we should always ask, 'What Hebrew word are you referring to when you say Trinity, Incarnation and God-man? Their answer will always be, 'There are no such words;'   then we can reply, 'Exactly!' If these words are not in Yahweh's vocabulary, then neither should they be in ours! Yahweh has given us leaders and tools to learn his truths. Novices, such as his twelve Apostles, were his instruments who dissected the false doctrines of the Pharisees, Scribes and Lawyers.


Tools for Study
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible is absolutely necessary when reading the scriptures. Online Bible ( offers the Rotherham Bible along with the NKJV with the Strong's Concordance and Online Bible Hebrew and Greek lexicon. By clicking on spirit in Genesis 1:2, in this program, the following information will appear; 07307 רוח
ruwach roo’- akh from 07306; n f; {See TWOT on 2131 @@ "2131a" }; n equals noun and f equals feminine, while TWOT represents the Theoloical Word Study of the Old Testament, which is very helpful. This program will not give a word by word study, as does Bible Works 10 Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research. This program is expensive but will give you the state, the gender and whether it is singluar or plural for each word. Hebrew for the Rest of Us by Lee M. Fields, is an inexpensive book for novices that will also guide you into Hebrew study.

(When quoting scriptures, from the Rotherham Emphasized Bible New Testament, I will substitute the Hebrew words
Yahoshua (yeh-ho-shoo’- ah) for Jesus, Yahweh and Elohim for God and the LORD and ruah for pneuma (spirit).)

(For footnotes, read the PDF version.)





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