When Translations Become a Lie

“‘How can you say, “We are wise,
    for we have the law of the Lord,”
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
    has handled it falsely?

Jeremiah 8:8 (NIV)

Lying – Is Jeremiah indicating that the scribes have lied – that they have corrupted the law by writing into it lies? It would appear so if we read the NIV version of this verse. The NIV suggests that the scribes have lied with their pen and handled the law falsely. This is quite serious! How can we possibly trust that the Torah is true if the scribes have been seeding inaccuracies into the text?

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The Mikvah of Israel

O Hope of Israel! O LORD!
All who forsake You shall be put to shame,
Those in the land who turn from Youe
Shall be doomedf men,
For they have forsaken the LORD,
The Fount of living waters.

Jeremiah 17:13

Hope – There is something fantastic happening here with the language. Jeremiah writes, Oh YHVH, You are the hope of Israel, the fountain of living waters. Hidden behind the word “hope” is the relationship that pairs it to the fountain of living waters. The word “hope” here is actually the Hebrew word Mikvah ( מִקְוֵ֤ה ).

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A Prayer for Little Children

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:13 (KJV)

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: – Although Yeshua gave profound insight and offered a depth of knowledge, He enforced a simplicity in worship. Just take a look at the Lord’s Prayer.

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Full of Nothing

I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

Ruth 1:21 (NASB)

Full – This response from Naomi when compared to chapter’s beginning opens up a deeper understanding of how she came into this state – a state of hopelessness. She went out full during a time of famine. How strange. If Naomi and her husband were full, then why would they leave?

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Day of Atonement Procedure

And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.

Leviticus 16:34 (KJV)

Everlasting statute – Not many of us understand the gravity of this most solemn day for Israel. The effort and preparation for this day exceeded all other days, especially for the High Priest. Let us review the service in whole as written down in the Mishnah Yoma.

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Spirit of Elijah

And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Luke 1:17 (KJV)

Spirit and power of Elias – What is the “spirit of Elijah” and what could he represent? This same spirit was something Elisha sought out and asked a double portion of it from Elijah. Elisha evidently saw the power and desired to serve the LORD with it. But what did it really represent? And how is John associated with it? Furthermore, how is it preparing the way for the Lord?

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Be Disheartened

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

Be still – I’ve heard this verse quoted many times as if God was instructing us to just remain calm. Just quiet yourself and understand God. As if a call to stop the hustle and bustle of your life, and to just be still for a moment. Unfortunately, this understanding comes from selecting a verse out of context and glazing over the English translation to make it fit for us.

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Selfish Ambition

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13 (KJV)

Lay down his life – Really think about this verse. It has taken on a whole new meaning for me lately. Perhaps after my explanation, it will for you too. What does it truly mean to lay down your life for another? If it is the greatest display of love, should we not understand it completely? And not just understand it, but to actually do it. In a society where martyrs are not frequent, how do you lay down your life for someone else?

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Firstborn and Only Begotten

And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

Exodus 4:22 (KJV)

Firstborn – As a follower of Yeshua, it is easy to forget history when you believe the history of the faith began with the advent of Jesus in the first century. When all we read is the New Testament, the history prior to it becomes irrelevant. If I believe that Yeshua completely absolved everything written in the Old Testament to create a new religion called Christianity, then I have lost perspective.

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A Hebrew Homonym

11 The word of the LORD came to me: What do you see, Jeremiah? I replied: I see a branch of an almond tree.
12 The LORD said to me: You have seen right, For I am watchful to bring My word to pass.

Jeremiah 1:11-12 (JPS)

Almond tree / I am watchful – We lose so much when we read the text in a translated language. Below, the two Hebrew words look identical, but are expressed with very different meanings. In one case, the word שקד is an almond tree, but the second occurrence of שקד means to “watch.” What is going on?

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