Hebrew and Greek Biblical Homonyms
Unabridged Dictionary – Homonyms: are words that are both spelled and pronounced the same, but have different meanings.
In the English language we have many words which have more than one meaning. The meanings are sometimes totally unrelated — how can one word mean two or more different things? For instance, how can lead be a verb meaning to go first and also the name of a heavy metal? How can bear be a noun for a type of animal and also a verb meaning carry?
The answer lies in the fact that the English language has been influenced by many other languages over its long history. Words which now look the same might have come from entirely different sources. Some words might have started from the same source but gradually acquired different shades of meaning. As centuries go by, and different words are coined or adopted from other languages, the way they are pronounced might shift and change in emphasis.
Non Biblical Homonyms
(One Word Two Applications)
ball: (A round object) or (a dance)
bank: (The side of a river) or (a place for money)
bat: (A flying mammal) or (a wooden rod)
lie (untruth) or (lie down)
tear (in the eye) or (rip)
fair (county fair) or (reasonable)
Down: (Unhappy- What happened to you? You look down) or (The opposite of ‘up’)
Drive: (Urge/desire) or (A ride in a car)
Express: (train – I was just thinking that we should take the express train) or (Show thoughts using words)
Fast: (Not eating) or (Quick)
Figure: (Outward appearance -Your instructor has a great figure) or (Numbers)
Bright: (Intelligent) or (Full of light)
(One Word Three Applications)
1. A wooden bat or stick used to hit a ball in some sporting games.
2. One of the suits in a pack of playing cards comprising hearts, diamonds, spades, clubs.
3. A group of people who meet together. Also the place, the room, where they meet.
1. noun: a spread made of fruit and sugar.
2. verb: to squeeze together into a tight or small space.
3. verb: in radio, to transmit signals designed to block other signals.
(One Word Four Applications)
1. noun: a table or other structure over which purchases are made in a shop. From 13th century Old French comptouer; related to count above.
2. noun: something or someone who counts. Related to count, above.
3. verb: to oppose something. The word came from Norman French contre, meaning “against”, in the 15th century.
4. adverb: in the opposite direction. The same origin as the verb above.
In order for us to read the Bible in English, it had to be translated. Someone had to read it in its original language and determine how to express it in English. This process however is more complex than it sounds, and it contributes to this problem.
First, scholars differ on how translation should be done.
Second, the English language changes over time, leading to updates of previous versions or entirely new ones.
The key skills of a translator is the ability to understand the source language and the culture of the country where the text originated, then using a good library of dictionaries and reference materials, to render that material clearly and accurately into the target language. However, much of the Greek and Hebrew writing can be translated and read differently dependent on the publisher’s individual belief and preference of content. That is why there are so many translated variations and versions of the Holy Bible in print today.
Different versions reflect different theories of translation (See: The Translation History Of The Bible). Below are a few word examples we can use to demonstrate to show how one incorrectly selected word choice can change the whole meaning of the scripture of contradict another passage of scripture. Even if the incorrect word choice was selected it could nonetheless be translated correctly.
Bear: (animal) (endure) (birth) (carry) (tell) (yeld)
(Genesis 4:13) And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear H5375 (endure).
(Genesis 16:11) And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear H3205 (birth) a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
(Exodus 18:22) And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear H5375 (carry) the burden with thee.
(Exodus 20:16) Thou shalt not bear H6030 (tell) false witness (lies) against thy neighbour.
(Hosea 9:16) Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear H6213 (yeld) no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.
(1Samuel 17:34) And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear H1677 (animal), and took a lamb out of the flock:
Another clear example is the word translated “God” in Isaiah 9:6 is also translated “mighty” in Psalm 82:1, referring to the saints. The Trinitarian bias of most translators can be clearly seen by comparing Isaiah 9:6 (el = “God”) with Psalm 82:1 (el = “mighty”) both are referenced as H410 (Strongs Concordance). If calling the Messiah “el” (the original Hebrew) made him God, then the saints would be God also. Isaiah is speaking of God’s Messiah and calling him a mighty ruler, which of course he will be.
The English translations of the Hebrew word ”El” (H410) are in italics:
“It is in the power (H410) of my hand.” (Genesis. 31:29)
“there shall be no might (H410) in thine hand.” (Deuteronomy 28:32)
“neither is it in our power (H410)” (Nehemiah 5:5)
“like the great (H410) mountains.” (Psalm 36:6)
“in the power (H410) of thine hand to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27)
“pray unto a god (H410) [mighty one] that cannot save.”(Isaiah 45:20)
“who among the sons of the mighty (H410)” (Psalm 89:6)
“God standeth in the congregation of the mighty (H410) ” [the saints]. (Psalm 82:1)
“Who is like unto thee O LORD H3068 [JEHOVAH] among the Gods (H410) ” [mighty or ruling ones]. (Exodus 15:11)
“Give unto the LORD H3068 [JEHOVAH] O ye mighty (H410)” (Psalm 29:1)
“The mighty (H410) God (H430)[ruler] even the LORD H3068 [JEHOVAH]. (Psalm 50:1.)