ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
REPORTING JESUS REPLY TO THE SADDUCEES
additional passages confirm Jesus' response to the question concerning
brothers marrying their
deceased brother's wives:
some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they
asked Him, saying:
"Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man's brother dies, and leaves
his wife behind, and leaves no
children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for
there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no
the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And
the third likewise.
the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died
"Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she
be? For all seven had her as wife."
answered and said to them, "Are you not therefore mistaken, because you
do not know the
Scriptures nor the power of God?
when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in
marriage, but are like angels
in heaven. (NKJ)
some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to
Him and asked Him,
saying: "Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man's brother dies,
having a wife, and he dies without
children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for
there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without
the second took her as wife, and he died childless.
the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no
children, and died.
of all the woman died also.
"Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all
seven had her as wife."
Jesus answered and said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are
given in marriage.
those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection
from the dead, neither
marry nor are given in marriage;
can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of
God, being sons of the
PREFACE AND INTRODUCTION TO
THE HOLY BIBLE
FROM THE ANCIENT EASTERN TEXT
GEORGE M. LAMSA'S TRANSLATION
FROM THE ARAMAIC OF THE PHESHITTA
The following is a
verbatim quotation of the preface and introduction to Lamsa's
translation of the Bible from
the Peshitta (Aramaic text) with emphasis added by the author of this
document. It highlights a number of issues
of critical importance to any Christian seeking to better understand
what the Word of God truly says versus what
modern English translations would have us believe.
The favorable reception accorded
the Lamsa translation of the Gospels, later of the New Testament and of
has prompted us to publish a complete translation of The Holy Bible
from the Peshitta, the authorized Bible of the Church
of the East. This translation of the Old and New Testaments into
English is based on Peshitta manuscripts which have
comprised the accepted Bible of all of those Christians who have used
Syriac as their language of prayer and worship for
many centuries. It is appropriate that as we have
translations based on the Greek Septuagint of the Old Testament
and on the Latin Bible of Jerome, so also should there be available to
the modern reader that form of the text
which was translated anciently into a branch of the Aramaic language
which has been used by Christians from
In the long history of the
Aramaic language, there are three periods of special interest to us.
From the sixth to the fourth
century before Christ, it was a language of empire extending from the
borders of Persia to those of Europe, and down the
Nile through the length of Egypt. It was in those days spoken and
written by the Jewish people at least equally with Hebrew;
and so we have parts of Ezra and Daniel, and one verse in Jeremiah (10:
11), that were composed in Aramaic and preserved in that ancient form
of the language in the midst of the Hebrew Old Testament.
In the first
century, Jesus and his earliest followers certainly spoke Aramaic for
the most part, although they also
knew Hebrew. Therefore the Gospel message was first preached in the
Aramaic of the Jews of Palestine. Modern
scholarship tells us that the originals of the Four Gospels and of
other parts of the New Testament were written
in Greek; this is disputed by the Church of the East and by some noted
Western scholars. Regardless of which
view one may accept, Aramaic speech is an underlying factor and it is
unquestionably true that documents written
in Aramaic were drawn on by writers of the New Testament, the basic
inspired form of the Christian message.
Aramaic was the language of the
Church that spread east, almost from the beginning of Christianity,
from Antioch and
Jerusalem, beyond the confines of the Roman Empire. This differed from
the language of Palestine in choice of words and
grammatical forms rather more extensively than does American English
from British English and in written form these differences became
regular and standardized. The Jews and Christians used the literary
dialect of Aramaic that we call Syriac
almost at the same time to propagate their translations of the sacred
books brought from Palestine and the West, reaching
into Syria and Mesopotamia and the nearby mountains, quite early into
India, and into China in the course of time. Modern
scholarship believes that as happened in other parts of the Church, the
earliest copies of the sacred books in Syriac were
revised again and again to bring them closer to the standard of the
Hebrew and Greek texts from which they were drawn;
this view, too, is not accepted by the Church of the East. Under
any conditions by
the fifth century A.D. the
Peshitta version in its present form held the field by universal
The fixed stand of the Church of the East with respect to some
of the points mentioned above can best be understood by
reference to the following letter, which we are authorized to quote,
from the Patriarch and Head of that Church:
Patriarchate of the East, Modesto, California, April 5, 1957
"With reference to your letter concerning Lamsa's translation
of the Aramaic Bible, and the originality of the Peshitta text,
as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of
the East we wish to state, that the
the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles
themselves in the
Aramaic original, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ himself,
and that the Peshitta
is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the
Biblical times without any
change or revision."
Mar Eshai Shimun
by Grace, Catholicos Patriarch
of the East
From the Mediterranean east into India the
Peshitta is still the Bible of preference among Christians,
nearly all who use it speak Arabic, or one of the tongues of South
India. West of the Euphrates, spoken Aramaic as a
mothertongue survives today only in two mountain villages northwest of
Damascus, differing as much from the speech of
Jesus' day as French from its parent Latin. East of the Euphrates, in
the Kurdish mountains, and near Lake Urmia, perhaps
a hundred thousand people (Christian, Jew and Muslim) speak another
form of it, strangely mixed with borrowed words
from the various languages of their polyglot neighbors, but still
basically akin to the Aramaic (Syriac) of olden times.
George M. Lamsa, B.A., F.R.S.A., the translator of this work
is uniquely fitted for the task to which he has devoted the
major part of his life. He is an Assyrian and a native, of ancient
Biblical lands, where he lived until World War 1. Until that
time, isolated from the rest of Christendom, his people retained
Biblical customs and Semitic culture which had perished
everywhere else. This background, together with his knowledge of the
Aramaic (Syriac) language, has enabled him to
recover much of the meaning that has been lost in other translations of
Manuscripts used in making this translation were the Codex
Ambrosianus for the Old Testament and the so-called
Mortimer-McCawley manuscript for the New Testament; the former is in
the Ambrosian Library at Milan, Italy, and has been
identified as fifth century A.D.; the latter was used for our previous
translation of the New Testament, of which this edition
is a revision, and has been variously identified as sixth or seventh
century A.D. Comparisons have been had with Peshitta
manuscripts in the Morgan Library, New York, N. Y., with manuscripts in
the Freer Collection, Washington, D. C., with the
Urumiah edition, and with a manuscript of the Peshitta Old Testament in
the British Museum, the oldest dated Biblical
manuscript in existence. Our translator states that comparisons show no
differences in text between these various
manuscripts, and that he has filled in the few missing portions of
Chronicles from other authentic Peshitta sources, as noted
in his Introduction.
We hope that this translation will be of aid to Bible readers
and students in obtaining a more thorough and complete
understanding of the Scriptures.
North of the Garden of Eden in the basin of the river Tigris,
in the mountain fastnesses of what is known today as
Kurdistan, there lived an ancient people, the descendants of the
Assyrians, the founders of the great Assyrian empire and
culture in Bible days, the originators of the alphabet and many
sciences which contributed so generously to the Semitic
culture from which sprang our Bible. These people, the Assyrians,
played an important part in the history of the Near East,
of the Bible, and of religion in general.
When Nineveh was destroyed in 612 B.C., many of the princes
and noblemen of this once vast empire fled northward into
inaccessible mountains where they remained secluded and cut off until
the dawn of the twentieth century. Nahum says:
"Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in
the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains,
and no man gathereth them." Nah. 3:18.
Some descendants of the Assyrians and some of the descendants
of the ten tribes who were taken captive by the Assyrian
kings in 721 B.C., and settled in Assyria, Babylon, Persia and other
places east of the river Euphrates, were among the
first converts to Christianity.
When Jesus sent seventy of his disciples to preach the gospel,
he instructed them not to go in the way of the Gentiles or
into any city of the Samaritans but to go to the lost sheep of the
house of Israel, meaning the ten tribes who were lost from
the house of Israel. Some of the descendants of these Hebrew tribes are
still living in Iraq, Iran, and Turkey, and most of
them still converse in Aramaic. Jesus' command was carried out. The
gospel was preached to the Jews first. "Now those
who had been dispersed by the persecution which occurred on account of
Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and even
to the land of Cyprus and to Antioch, preaching the word to none but to
the Jews only." Acts 11: 19.
The Assyrians remained dormant during the Persian, Greek,
Roman and Arab conquests. Being isolated and surrounded
by their enemies, they remained secluded throughout the centuries, thus
preserving the Aramaic language, which was the
language of the Near East, and perpetuating the ancient Biblical
customs and manners which were common to all races
and peoples in this part of the ancient world. Not until the Turkish
reign did these isolated Assyrian tribes recognize any
government or pay any taxes. During the centuries of Arab and Turkish
reigns, the Assyrians retained their cultural
independence, later recognizing the sympathetic Turkish rule which
permitted the continuation of their institutions and their
religion. Under magnanimous Turks they were ruled by their patriarchs
and chiefs, paying a nominal tax to the Turkish
The Assyrian church, or as it is known, the ancient Apostolic
and Catholic Church of the East, was one of the strongest
Christian churches in the world and was noted for its missions in the
Middle East, India, and China. Its missionaries carried
the Christian gospel as far as China and Mongolia, Indonesia, Japan and
other parts of the world. Not until the 14th century
was this church rivaled by any other church in the world. It was the
most powerful branch of Christendom in the Near East,
Palestine, Arabia, Lebanon, Iran, India and elsewhere. All the
literature of this church was written in literary Aramaic, the
lingua franca of that time. This is corroborated by Dr. Arnold J.
Toynbee in his A Study of History wherein he writes: " . .
. Darius the Great's account of his own acts on the rock of Behistan,
overhanging the Empire's great north-east road, was
transcribed in triplicate in three different adaptations of the
cuneiform script conveying the three imperial capitals: Elamite
for Susa, Medo-Persian for Ecbatana, and Akkadian for Babylon. But the
winning language within this universal state was
none of the three thus officially honoured; it was Aramaic, with its
handier alphabetic script. The sequel showed that
commerce and culture may be more important than politics in making a
language's fortune; for the speakers of Aramaic
were politically of no account in the Achaemenian Empire . . ."
The Persians used the Aramaic language because this tongue was
the language of the two Semitic empires, the empire
of Assyria and the empire of Babylon. Aramaic was so firmly established
as the lingua franca that no government could
dispense with its use as a vehicle of expression in a far-flung empire,
especially in the western provinces. Moreover,
without schools and other modern facilities, Aramaic could not be
replaced by the speech of conquering nations.
Conquerors were not interested in imposing their languages and cultures
on subjugated peoples. What they wanted was
taxes, spoils, and other levies.
The transition from Aramaic' into Arabic, a sister tongue,
took place after the conquest of the Near East by the Moslem
armies in the 7th century, A.D. Nevertheless, Aramaic lingered for many
centuries and still is spoken in Lebanon, Syria,
Iraq, and northwestern Iran, as well as among the Christian Arab tribes
in northern Arabia. Its alphabet was borrowed by
the Hebrews, Arabs, Iranians, and Mongols.
Dr. Philip K. Hitti, noted historian and Professor of Semitic
languages at Princeton University, in his book The History of
the Arabs, uses the terms Aramaic and Syriac interchangeably and states
that Aramaic is still a living language. He says,
"In country places and on their farms these dhimmis clung to their
ancient cultural patterns and preserved their native
languages: Aramaic and Syriac in Syria and Al-'Iraq, Iranian in Persia
and Coptic in Egypt." And again, "In Al-'Iraq and Syria
the transition from one Semitic tongue, the Aramaic, to another, the
Arabic, was of course easier. In the out-of-the-way
places, however, such as the Lebanons with their preponderant Christian
population, the native Syriac put up a desperate
fight and has lingered until modern times. Indeed Syriac is still
spoken in Ma'lula and two other villages in Anti-Lebanon.
With its disappearance, Aramaic has left in the colloquial Arabic
unmistakable traces noticeable in vocabulary, accent and
The late Dr. W. A. Wigram. in The Assyrians and
Their Neighbours wrote: "One
thing is certain, that the
Assyrians boast with justice that they alone of all Christian nations
still keep as their spoken
language what is acknowledged to be the language of Palestine in the
first century . . . "
Quoting Dr. Toynbee again from A Study of History: As for the
Aramaic alphabet, it achieved far wider conquests. In 1599
A.D., it was adopted for the conveyance of the Manchu language on the
eve of the Manchu conquest of China. The higher
religions sped it on its way by taking it into their service. In its
'Square Hebrew' variant it became the vehicle of the Jewish
Scriptures and liturgy; in an Arabic adaptation it became the alphabet
of Islam . . . "
As a miracle of miracles, Aramaic and most of
the ancient Biblical customs which were common to Semitic people
have survived in northern Iraq until today. Aramaic is still spoken in
Iraq and in northwestern Iran by remnants
of the Assyrian people and the Jews of the exile, and the literary
Aramaic remains the same today as it was of
yore. Some of the Aramaic words which are
still retained in all Bible versions are still used in
the Aramaic language spoken today: for example, Raca, Ethpatakh, Rabbuh
As we have said, the survival of this small remnant of this
segment of the ancient Semitic culture was due to the isolation,
tenacity, and warlike character of the Assyrian people who were living
isolated, now under the Parthian Empire, now under
the Persian Empire, now under the Arabian Empire and now under the
Turkish Empire. And because of this isolation, these
ancient Christians had hardly any contact with Christians in the West.
Only one of their bishops and a deacon participated
in the Nicene Council in 325 A.D.
After the conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity in
318 A.D., Christians in the Persian Empire who hitherto had
been tolerated and looked upon as the enemies of Rome, the persecutor
of Christianity, now were looked upon as the
friends of the Christian emperor, Constantine, and the enemies of the
Persian government. Persecution of these Christians
did not begin until the 4th century A.D., and lasted until the Arab
conquest of Persia, 632 A.D. This
is why this
ancient Church was unable to establish contacts with Western
The Scriptures in the Church of the East, from
the inception of Christianity to the present day, are in Aramaic and
have never been tampered with or revised, as attested by the present
Patriarch of the Church of the East. The
Biblical manuscripts were carefully and zealously handed down from one
generation to another and kept in the
massive stone walls of the ancient churches and in caves. They were
written on parchment and many of them
survive to the present day. When these texts were copied by expert
scribes, they were carefully examined for
accuracy before they were dedicated and permitted to be read in
churches. Even one missing letter would
render the text void. Easterners still adhere to God's commandment not
to add to or omit a
word from the Scriptures. The
Holy Scripture condemns any addition or subtraction or modification of
Word of God.
"You shall not add to the commandment which I
command you, neither shall you take from it, but you must keep
the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." Deut. 4:2.
"Everything that I command you, that you must be
careful to do; you shall not add nor take from it." Deut. 12:32.
"Do not add to his words; lest he reprove you,
and you be found a liar." Prove 30:6.
"And if any man shall take away from the words
of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his portion
from the tree of life and from the holy city and from the things which
are written in this book." Rev. 22:19.
It is also true of
the Jews and Moslems that they would not dare to alter a word of the
or Koran. Easterners are afraid that they may incur the curse if they
make a change in the
Word of God.
Some of these ancient manuscripts go back to the 5th century
A.D. The oldest dated Biblical manuscript in the world is
that of the four Books of Moses, 464 A.D., which now lies in the
British Museum. Another one is the Codex Ambrosianus.
Some of it goes back to the 7th century, some of it to the 5th century,
and some of it might be earlier. This Codex is not
the work of one man. Apparently some portions were written before the
vowel system was invented and that would put it
prior to the 5th century. The Pentateuch of the British Museum must
have been written before the vowel system was
invented. Aramaic documents of the 5th century and later use the vowel
system, some of them fully and some in part. It
is interesting to know that this vowel system was adopted by the Jews
and was begun about the 5th century, A.D. In some
portions of the above texts, the old Aramaic original consonantal
spelling without apparatus of vowel points is well
preserved. This is also true of some of the New Testament texts in the
Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City.
Unfortunately many ancient and valuable Aramaic texts were
lost during World War I. But printed copies of them, carefully
made by American missionaries under the help and guidance of competent
native scholars, are available. Moreover, a
number of ancient New Testament texts, some of them going back to the
5th century A.D. are in various libraries. The New
Testament texts in the Pierpont Morgan Library are among the oldest in
The translator of this work has access to the existing texts;
he has spent many years comparing them in the course of
translating the Bible.
enough, all the Peshitta texts in Aramaic agree. There is one thing of
Eastern scribes can boast: they copied their holy books diligently,
faithfully, and meticulously.
Sir Frederick Kenyon, Curator of the British Museum, in his book
Textual Criticism of the New
Testament, speaks highly of the accuracy of copying and of the
antiquity of Peshitta MSS.
versions translated from Semitic languages into Greek and Latin
were subject to constant
revisions. Learned men who copied them introduced changes, trying to
and ambiguities which were due to the work of the first translators.
Present translators and Bible
revisers do the same when translating the Bible, treaties, and
documents from one language to another. The American
Constitution, written in English, will always remain the same when new
copies are made, but translations into other
languages will be subject to revision. Therefore, a copy of the United
States Constitution published ten years ago is far
more valuable than a translation made two hundred years ago.
Translations are always subject to revisions and disputes
over exact meaning because words and terms of speech in one language
cannot be translated easily into another without
loss. This is one reason why we have so many translations and revisions
of the King James version.
As said before, Aramaic was the language of Semitic culture,
the language of the Hebrew patriarchs and, in the older days,
the lingua franca of the Fertile Crescent. The term "Hebrew" is derived
from the Aramaic word Abar or Habar which means
"to cross over." This name was given to the Hebrew people simply
because Abraham and the people who were with him
crossed the river Euphrates and went to Palestine. Therefore, they were
known by those who lived east of the river
Euphrates as Hebrews, that is, "the people across the river." All
branches of the great Semitic people had a common
speech. How could the people of Nineveh have understood Jonah, a Hebrew
prophet, had the Biblical Hebrew tongue been
different from Aramaic? There were some differences similar to the
differences we have in English spoken in Tennessee
and that spoken in New York.
This small pastoral Hebrew tribe through which God chose to
reveal himself to mankind, for several generations continued
to keep its paternal and racial relations with the people who lived in
Padan-Aram (Mesopotamia), and preserved customs
and manners which they brought with them from Padan-Aram, and the
language which their fathers spoke. Jacob changed
the name of Luz to Beth-el (Aramaic-the house of God). Abraham
instructed his servant not to let his son, Isaac, marry
a Palestinian maid but to go to Padan-Aram to his own kindred from
whence to bring a maid to his son. Years later, Jacob,
the grandson of Abraham, went to Padan-Aram and married his uncle's two
daughters and their handmaids and lived in
Haran about twenty years. Eleven of his sons were born in Padan-Aram.
The first generation of the children of Jacob went
to Egypt. Their sojourn in Palestine was so brief that there was no
possibility of linguistic change. That is why they spoke
the language which they had learned in Padan-Aram. While in Egypt,
living by themselves, they continued to use names
of Aramaic derivation such as Manasseh, Ephraim, Bar-Nun, Miriam, etc.
After the captivity, Aramaic became the vernacular of the
Jewish people and is still used by them in their worship. Both of
the Jewish Talmuds, namely, the Babylonian and Palestinian, were
written in Aramaic. The later findings, especially of
Jewish-Aramaic papyri which were found in Egypt in 1900, have produced
many passages in Biblical Aramaic. The
discovery of the Commentary on the Book of Habakkuk in the caves of
Qumran in Jordan proves that Aramaic has been
in constant use from early times to the present day.
It is evident that during the exile and post-exile the Hebrew
writers used Aramaic. Some of the portions of their works were
put into Hebrew. Daniel and Ezra were born during the captivity. Hebrew
was no longer spoken and the official language
of writing in Babylon was southern Aramaic and the Jewish community had
already parted with their Hebrew. (Footnote
The two languages were so close that Hebrew could not be retained in
Babylon) Thus, the captivity produced the transition
from Hebrew, a sister language, into Aramaic.
Biblical Hebrew and
Aramaic were very closely related, like American English and English
spoken in England. Whether the Hebrew prophets wrote in Hebrew or
Aramaic would make
little difference. The differences would be
like those between several Arabic dialects which are spoken in Arabia.
though the vernacular speech differs because of local color and idioms,
the norm of the written language remains the same.
This is true today with written Arabic when compared with spoken
Arabic. And such was the case with Attic Greek when
compared with other Greek dialects. The grammar, verbs, nouns and other
parts of speech are practically the same in the
basic ancient Biblical Hebrew language and Aramaic. The
structure of a sentence, in point of grammar and
syntax of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, is the same. But this is not the
case when translating
from Hebrew or Aramaic into a totally alien tongue such as Greek,
Latin, or English. Moreover,
the alphabet in Hebrew and Aramaic is exactly the same and all letters
are pronounced alike.
The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. II, tells us:
"In Palestinian Aramaic the dialect of Galilee was different
from that of Judea, and as a result of the religious separation
of the Jews and the Samaritans, a special Samaritan dialect was
evolved, but its literature cannot be considered Jewish.
To the eastern Aramaic, whose most distinctive point of difference is
"n" in place of "y" as the prefix for the third person
masculine of the imperfect tense of the verb, belong the idioms of the
Babylonian Talmud, which most closely agree with
the language of the Mandaean writings."
The strongest points in ascertaining the originality of a text
are the style of writing, the idioms, and the internal evidence.
Words which make sense and are easily understood in one language, when
translated literally into another tongue, may
lose their meaning. One can offer many instances where scores of
Aramaic words, some with several meanings and others
with close resemblance to other words, were confused and thus
This is why in Jeremiah 4: 10, we read in the King James:
" . . . Ah, LORD God! surely thou hast greatly deceived this
people . . ."
The Aramaic reads:
" . . . Ah, LORD God! I have greatly deceived this people. .
." The translator's confusion is due to the position of a dot, for
the position of a dot frequently determines the meaning of a word.
In Isaiah 43:28, the King James version reads:
"Therefore, I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary. . ."
The Aramaic reads:
". . . Your princes have profaned my sanctuary. . ." This
error was caused by misunderstanding of a passive plural verb.
The same error occurs in John 12:40, which in the Eastern Text reads:
' . . Their eyes have become blind. . . " instead of ". . . He
hath blinded their eyes. . . "
In Isaiah 14:12, the Aramaic word ailel, to howl, is confused
by the Hebrew word helel, light. The reference here is to the
king of Babylon and not to Lucifer.
In Psalm 22:29, King James version, we read:
"All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship. . .
and none can keep alive his own soul."
The Aramaic text reads:
"All those who are hungry (for truth) shall eat and worship .
. . my soul is alive to him." The error in this instance is due to
the confusion of the Aramaic words which have some resemblance. Some of
these words when written by hand resemble
one another. A list of words, their meanings and how they were confused
one with the other will be found in this
THE ARAMAIC PESHITTA TEXT
The term Peshitta means straight, simple, sincere and true,
that is, the original.
This name was given to this ancient and authoritative text to
distinguish it from other Bible revisions and translations which
were introduced into some of the Churches of the East (Monophysites)
after the division at Ephesus and Chalcedon in 431
and 451 A.D., respectively. This ancient Peshitta is still the only
authoritative text of the Old and New Testament of all
Eastern Christians in the Near East and India, the Church of the East,
the Roman Catholic Church in the East, the
Monophysites, and Indian Christians. This is because this text was in
use for 400 years before the Christian Church was
divided into several sects.
The Peshitta Old Testament contains what is known as the Books
of the Apocrypha, which have been handed down in
the Peshitta manuscripts together with the Books of the Law and the
Books of the Prophets, and since these Apocryphal'
books are included in the text they are looked upon as a sacred
literature, even though they are not as commonly used
as the others. Moreover this ancient New Testament text omits the story
of the woman taken in adultery, 2 Peter, 2 and
3 John, Jude, and Revelation. (But these books are included in later
Aramaic texts.) The Peshitta canon was set before
the discovery of these books.
Amid persecutions, the ancient Church of the East, through
God's help and protection, was able to keep these sacred
writings of the Old and New Testaments in the Biblical lands in Persia
and India just as the Roman Catholic Church preserved them in the West.
Christianity also owes a debt to the Jewish people who preserved the
Word of God amid persecution and suffering.
Therefore, Peshitta should not be confused with
the 5th century Bible revisions in Aramaic and new versions
which were made from Greek. None of these new revisions
and versions made by the Monophysite bishops in the 5th
century has ever been accepted by the Church of the East. Moreover,
these bishops who left their church and joined the
Greek church and produced these versions for theological reasons so
that their doctrine might agree with the doctrine of
the Byzantine Church, which was the powerful imperial sect, were
expelled by the Patriarch of the East and their works
were condemned. However, in some provinces, owing to the pressure
exerted by the Byzantine emperors, these new
revisions were introduced. But when the territory was occupied by the
Persian government, they were destroyed.
Had the Peshitta
been made by order of one of the rival churches, the others would have
rejected it. But since all Christians, even the Moslems in the Middle
East accept and revere the
Peshitta text, it proves beyond a doubt that it was in use many
centuries before the division
of the Church.
The originality of the Peshitta text is strongly supported by
early evidence. Aphraates quoted it. St. Ephraim wrote a
commentary on it and the doctrine of Addi placed it at the apostolic
According to the Peshitta text, the Semitic names of people
and towns and localities, in both the New and Old Testaments,
agree. The names which end with "s" are retained for the western
reader. In the Peshitta text, Barnabas is Barnba, Abbas
is Abba, Peter is Kepa. Then again, some of the names of localities are
different but older than those in other texts. For
example, Rakim is used instead of Kadesh, Mathnin instead of Bashan,
Amorah for Gomorah; the error in this instance
is due to close similarity between gamel and ain. A town near the city
of Gomorah is called Amoriah. No doubt, the pre-exile
Hebrew texts used these older names.
The late Mar-Yacob (Jacob) Eugene Manna, Chaldean Roman
Catholic Metropolitan of Armenia, a distinguished Aramaic
scholar whose writings are in Aramaic, says that the text which is
called Peshitta is without dispute even earlier than the
writings which came down from the works of Bar-Dasan, who was living in
the latter part of the second century. He also
states that the Aramaic speech in Mesopotamia was richer and purer than
the Aramaic speech of other regions. It was the
richness and the beauty of this language which was used as the lingua
franca by the three great empires in the Near East
and Middle East which enriched the English language. The
Greek and Latin translators made literal
of the Scriptures, keeping the Semitic rhythm and sentence structure.
Indeed, the translation of the Scriptures into the English
language facilitated the work of later English writers. The style of
Shakespeare, Milton, and Browning could not have been what it is
without the beauty of the King James translation which
was inherited from Semitic languages. This is true also of all
languages into which the Bible has been translated.
The Septuagint is based on early Hebrew manuscripts and not on
the later ones known as the Massoretic, which were
made in the 6th to the 9th centuries. In
other words, there are many similarities between the Septuagint
and the Peshitta text but the former contains inevitable
mistranslations which were due to
difficulties in transmitting Hebrew or Aramaic thought and mannerisms
of speech into a totally
alien tongue like Greek. But as has been said, such was not the case
between Biblical Aramaic
and Biblical Hebrew which are of the same origin. Josephus used Aramaic
and Hebrew words
indiscriminately. Thus, the term "translating" from Hebrew into Aramaic
or vice versa is
incorrect. It would be like one stating as
having translated the United States Constitution from the Pennsylvania
language into the English language or from lower German to higher
German. Even before the first captivity, 721 B.C.,
Jewish kings, scribes, and learned men understood Aramaic. 2 Kings
The Israelites never wrote their sacred
literature in any language but Aramaic and Hebrew, which are sister
languages. The Septuagint was made in the 3rd century, B.C., for the
Alexandrian Jews. This version was never
officially read by the Jews in Palestine who spoke Aramaic and read
Hebrew. Instead, the Jewish authorities
condemned the work and declared a period of mourning because of the
defects in the version.
Evidently Jesus and his disciples used a text which came from an older
Hebrew original. This is apparent because
Jesus' quotations from the Old Testament agree with the Peshitta text
but do not agree with the Greek text. For
example, in John 12:40, the Peshitta Old Testament and New Testament
agree. This is not all. Jesus
disciples, not only could not converse in Greek but they never heard it
We believe that the Scriptures were conceived and inspired by
the Holy Spirit and written by Hebrew prophets who spoke
and wrote, as the Holy Spirit moved them, to the people in their days,
using idioms, similes, parables and metaphors in
order to convey their messages. Moreover, these men of God sacrificed
their lives that the Word of God might live. The
Jewish race treasured these sacred writings as a priceless possession.
Writing was prevalent from the earliest days. The Israelites
made more extensive use of the instrument of writing than
neighboring nations such as the Ammonites, Moabites, and other kindred
people round about them. Moses wrote the Ten
Commandments; Joshua wrote on an altar which he built west of Jordan.
The Israelites were admonished to fasten the
commandments to their foreheads and necks and to write them on their
doorsteps. Everything was written at the time it
was revealed. God said to Moses,
"Now therefore write this song for them, and teach it to the
children of Israel; and put it into their mouths; this song will be
a witness for me against the children of Israel." Deut. 31:19.
"And the LORD answered me and said, Write the vision, and make
it plain upon tablets, that he who reads it may
understand it clearly." Hab. 2:2. Thus, the Old Testament Scriptures
were written very early.
This is also true of the Gospels. They were
written a few years after the resurrection and some of the portions
were written by Matthew while Jesus was preaching. They
were not handed down orally and then
written after the Pauline Epistles, as some western scholars say;
they were written many years
before those Epistles. Other contemporary Jewish
literature was produced at the same time the Gospels were in
circulation. The Gospels, as well as the Epistles, were written in
Aramaic, the language of the Jewish people, both in
Palestine and in the Greco-Roman Empire.
Greek was never the language of Palestine.
Josephus' book on the Jewish Wars was written in Aramaic.
Josephus states that even though a number
of Jews had tried to learn the language of the
Greeks, hardly any of them succeeded.
Josephus wrote (42 A.D.): "I have also taken a
great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and
understand the elements of the Greek language; although I have so
accustomed myself to speak our own tongue,
that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness. For our nation
does not encourage those that learn the
language of many nations. On this account, as there have been many who
have done their endeavors, with great
patience, to obtain this Greek learning, there
have yet hardly been two or three that have succeeded
herein, who were immediately
rewarded for their pains." Antiquities XX, XI 2.
teaching of Greek was forbidden by Jewish rabbis.
It was said that it was better for a man
to give his child meat of swine than to teach him the language of the
When the King James translation was made, western scholars had
no access to the East as we have today. In the 16th
century, A.D., the Turkish empire had extended its borders as far as
Vienna. One European country after another was
falling under the impact of the valiant Turkish army. Europe was almost
conquered. This is not all. The reformations and
controversies in the Western Church had destroyed Christian unity.
Moreover, the Scriptures in Aramaic were unknown
in Europe. The only recourse scholars had was to Latin
and to a few portions of Greek manuscripts. This is clearly
seen from the works of Erasmus. Besides, the knowledge of Greek was
almost lost at this time and Christians
were just emerging from the Dark Ages.
Many people have asked why the King James' translators did not
use the Peshitta text from Aramaic or the Scriptures used
in the East. The answer is: there were no contacts between East and
West until after the conquest of India by Great Britain
and the rise of the imperial power of Britain in the Near East, Middle
East, and the Far East. It
is a miracle that the
King James' translators were able to produce such a remarkable
translation from sources
available in this dark period of European history.
Even fifty years ago, the knowledge of Western scholars
relative to the Eastern Scriptures in Aramaic and the Christian Church
in the East was conjectural. Moreover, these
scholars knew very little of the Eastern customs and manners in which
the Biblical literature was nurtured. Thank God,
today new discoveries have been made; new facts have come to light; new
democratic institutions and governments have
been established in the East. What in the 16th and 17th centuries was
viewed at a long distance now can be seen face
to face. Today, not only scholars, ministers, and Bible teachers walk
on Palestinian soil but also thousands of men and
women visit Biblical lands every year.
For centuries translations from Semitic languages have been
subject to revision. They are, even now, subject to revision.
This is why there are so many Bible versions varying each from the
other. Let us just take one instance which I consider
very important. In the King James version, we read in Numbers 25:4:
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the
people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun,
that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel."
The Aramaic reads:
"And the LORD said to Moses, Take all the chiefs of the people
and expose them before the LORD in the daylight that the
fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from the children of
Some noted Greek scholars in recent translations have changed
the word hang to execute, but this is not what the original
writer said. God could not have told Moses to behead or execute all
Israelites. The Lord was angry at the princes of Israel
because of the sin of Baal-peor. They had been lax in enforcing the law
and also guilty in joining the sensual Baal worship.
And in I Corinthians 7:36 and 38, King James, we read:
"But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward
his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and needs so
require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry." "So
then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he
that giveth her not in marriage doeth better."
The Aramaic reads:
"If any man thinks that he is shamed by the behavior of his
virgin daughter because she has passed the marriage age and
he has not given her in marriage and that he should give her, let him
do what he will and he does not sin. Let her be
married." "So then he who gives his virgin daughter in marriage does
well; and he who does not give his virgin daughter
in marriage does even better." Some of the scholars use "betrothed"
instead of "virgin daughter." The American Standard Version of 1901
correctly used the term "virgin daughter." Certainly the King James'
translators would have known the
difference between "virgin daughter" and "betrothed." Paul, in this
instance, is referring to a virgin's vow. Num. 30:16.
between various versions have been the cause of contentions and
divisions among sincere men and women who are earnestly seeking to
understand the Word
of God. At times, they do not know what to believe and what not to
believe. They cannot understand
why the Scripture in one place says, "Love your father and mother" and
in another place admonishes, "Hate your
father and mother." Moreover, they are bewildered when told
that Jesus on the cross cried out, "My God, my God, why
hast thou forsaken me?" The King James says in John 16:32, "Behold, the
hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall
be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I
am not alone, because the Father is with me."
Then again, the Old Testament in many instances states that God does
not forsake the righteous nor those who trust in
him. Jesus was the son of God and entrusted his spirit to God. Jesus
could not have contradicted himself.
The Peshitta text reads "My God, my God, for this I was
After all the Bible is an Eastern Book, written primarily for
the Israelites, and then for the Gentile world.
When we come to the
New Testament, the new Covenant, we must not
forget that Christianity grew out of Judaism. The Christian gospel was
another of God's messages, first to the Jewish people and then to the
Gentile world. For several centuries, the Christian movement was
and guided by the Jews. All of the apostles and the evangelists were
Jewish. These facts are strongly supported by the
gospels and history.
The Pauline Epistles were letters written by Paul to small
Christian congregations in Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome. These
early Christians were mostly Jews of the dispersion, men and women of
Hebrew origin who had been looking for the
coming of the promised Messiah whose coming was predicted by the Hebrew
prophets who had hailed him as a deliverer.
At the outset, the Romans were the masters of the world and
the Greeks were not looking for a deliverer to rise up from
among a people whom they hated and had crushed. Paul, on his journeys,
always spoke in the Jewish synagogues. His
first converts were Hebrews. Then came Arameans, the kindred of the
Hebrews, as in the case of Timothy and Titus. Their
fathers were Aramean and their mothers were Jewish.
Jesus and his disciples spoke the Galilean dialect of Aramaic,
the language which the early Galileans had brought from
the other side of the river Euphrates. 2 Kings 17:22-25. Mark tells us
in his Gospel, 14:70 that Peter was exposed by his
Galilean Aramaic speech.
Paul, in all of his
Epistles, emphasizes Hebrew law, Jewish ordinances and temple rituals.
refers to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as "our fathers." In his letters
and teaching he appeals
to the Jewish people to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah. Paul's
mission was first to his
own people. When they refused to listen to him, he shook his 'garment
and went out among
the Gentiles. Acts 18:6. Paul preached the Christian gospel written in
Aramaic. His Epistles
were written years later when Christianity had spread into Syria and
parts of the Near East and
India. In other words, the Pauline Epistles were letters addressed to
the Christian churches
already established. Moreover, Paul, in nearly all of his Epistles,
speaks of the Hebrew fathers,
subjugation in Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, eating manna, and wandering
in the desert. This
proves beyond a doubt that these letters were written to members of the
Hebrew race and not
to the Gentile world who knew nothing of Hebrew history and divine
promises made to them.
The Greeks had not been persecuted in Egypt nor did they cross the Red
Sea, nor did they eat
manna in the desert.
Paul was educated in Jewish law in Jerusalem. He
was a member of the Jewish Council. His native language was
western Aramaic but he acquired his education through Hebrew and
Chaldean or Palestinian Aramaic, the
language spoken in Judea. He defended himself when on trial in his own
tongue and not in Greek. Acts 22:2. Paul
was converted, healed, and baptized in Damascus in Syria. Acts 9:17,18.
The Epistles were translated into Greek
for the use of converts who spoke Greek. Later they were
translated into Latin and other tongues. I believe that this
translation of the Bible based on the Eastern text of the Scriptures,
written in a Semitic tongue which for many centuries
was the lingua franca of the Near East and Palestine, will throw
considerable light on many obscure passages and that
it will elucidate many other passages which have lost their meaning
because of mistranslations.
Many church authorities in the Near East, India, and other
parts of Asia have been looking for a long time for a translation
of their venerable Aramaic text of the Scriptures into the English
language. Many of them, despite their religious
differences, have prayed for the translation and publication of this
work so that thousands of educated men and women
whose second language is English might read the Word of God translated
from their own ancient text rather than made
from secondary sources. This is also true of thousands of educated
Moslems who revere Peshitta and look upon it as the
authentic text of the Scriptures.
All the English speaking people in Asia will welcome a
translation based on what they believe to be the pure original
sources which have been carefully kept all these centuries without the
slightest modification or revision. I firmly believe that
this work will strengthen the faith in Jesus Christ of many Christians
in the Near East and Far East and enhance missionary
efforts in spreading the Word of God to millions of people in Asia.
These were the facts which motivated me
when I undertook this task, to which I have devoted my life.
Since World War 1, when the Aramaic speaking people were
brought to the attention of the Western world and some of
their ancient books brought to America, more facts from the ancient
past have come to light. The National Geographic
Magazine, as well as British and American newspapers have touched on
the question of the Aramaic speaking people.
The National Geographic Magazine in an article on Syria and Lebanon,
December, 1946, speaks of Assyrian nurses, newly
trained in Christian healing, who could have understood The Sermon on
the Mount as it left Jesus' lips nearly two thousand
years ago. The article also mentions The Four Gospels According to the
Eastern Version, translated by George M. Lamsa,
an Assyrian, from Aramaic into English, and states that Aramaic is the
still living language which Jesus spoke.
The translator wishes to express his sincerest and deepest
gratitude to Dr. Walter D Ferguson of Temple University for
editorial work, for his sincere interest in this translation, for his
rich knowledge and understanding of the Biblical
background, and also for his inspiration and enthusiasm. I am also
indebted to many others for consultation, among them
my countrymen, Archdeacon Saul Neesan and the Rev. Isaac Rehana; also
to a number of Jewish scholars.
The translator is also grateful to the men and women of many
denominations whose generous interest and financial help
enabled me to complete this work. God only can reward them for their
generous part in this work.
I wish also to state that I firmly believe in the Bible as the
inspired Word of God. I believe in the miracles and wonders which
God wrought in the past and which are still demonstrated today. May the
Holy Word of God give us faith, wisdom, and
understanding to grasp the inner meaning of God's Holy Word and to make
us partakers in His Kingdom. May the blessings
of God rest upon the readers and students of this translation. May
God's richest blessings be upon this country without
whose freedom and democratic institutions, this translation could not
have been made.
"Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm
GEORGE M. LAMSA
TO THE INTERPRETATION OF THE WORD "ANER"
DESCRIBE A MAN OR HUSBAND
The word "aner" is
used in the Greek to describe a man or husband. Following are some
of this word in support of the discussion in section 57, page 167.
defines 435 aner (an-ayr');
primary word [compare 444]; a man (properly as an individual male):
KJV-- fellow, husband, man, sir.
^435^ denotes, in general, "a man, an adult male" (in contrast to
anthropos, which generically
denotes "a human being, male or female"); it is used of man in various
relations, the context
deciding the meaning; it signifies "a husband," e. g., <Matt.
1:16,19; Mark 10:12; Luke 2:36; 16:18;
John 4:16,17,18; Rom. 7:23>. See MAN. (from Vine's Expository
Dictionary of Biblical Words,
Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
DEFINES MAN (SEE ALSO MEN)
aner ^435^ is never used of the female sex; it stands (a) in
distinction from a woman, <Acts 8:12;
1 Tim. 2:12>; as a husband, <Matt. 1:16; John 4:16; Rom.
7:2; Titus 1:6>; (b) as distinct from a boy
or infant, <1 Cor. 13:11>; metaphorically in <Eph.
4:13>; (c) in conjunction with an adjective or
noun, e. g., <Luke 5:8>, lit., "a man, a sinner";
<24:19>, lit., "a man, a prophet"; often in terms of
address, e. g., <Acts 1:16; 13:15, 26; 15:7,13>, lit.,
"men, brethren"; with gentilic or local names
(virtually a title of honor), e. g., <Acts 2:14; 22:3>,
lit., "Judean men," "a Judean man"; <3:12; 5:35>,
lit., "Israelite men"; <17:22>, "Athenian men";
<19:35>, lit., "Ephesian men"; in <Acts
14:15> it is
used in addressing a company of "men," without any descriptive term. In
this verse, however, the
distinction between aner and anthropos (2nd part) is noticeable; the
use of the latter comes under
No. 1 (e); (d) in general, "a man, a male person" (used like the
pronoun tis, No. 3), "a man" (i. e.,
a certain "man"), e. g., <Luke 8:41>; in the plural,
<Acts 6:11>. (Vine's, op cit)
aner ^435^ denotes "a man," in relation to his sex or age; in
<Acts 17:5> (plural) it is rendered
"fellows," as more appropriate to the accompanying description of them.
See HUSBAND, MAN,
SIR. (Vine's op cit)
DEFINES SIR (-S)
aner ^435^, "a man," is translated "sirs" in <Acts 7:26; 14:15;
19:25; 27:10,21,25>. See MAN.
Note: In <John 21:5> the KJV marg.
has "sirs" for paidia, "children." (Vine's op cit)
There can be no
doubt that the word "aner" does not, in itself, determine the marital
state of a man. In fact, as
with the words "gune" and "ishshah" described elsewhere, the same
conclusion must be reached. That is that
it was relatively uncommon for a man to be unmarried and, accordingly,
there was no word, other than perhaps
eunuch, necessary to describe such a state.
SCRIPTURES RELATING TO "PUT AWAY"
The word divorce is
widely used in the church to describe a condition which the Bible
refers to as "put away".
this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears,
with weeping, and with crying out,
insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it
with good will at your hand.
14 Yet ye
say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the
wife of thy youth, against
whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the
wife of thy covenant.
15 And did
not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore
one? That he might seek a
godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal
treacherously against the wife of his youth.
16 For the
LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting
away: for one covereth violence with his
garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit,
that ye deal not treacherously. (KJV)
The word translated
"putting away" in Malachi 2:16 and translated "divorce" in most other
Strong's number 7971 "shalach":
defines shalach under the term "SEND":
shalach ^7971^, "to send, stretch forth, get rid
of." This verb occurs in the Northwest Semitic
languages (Hebrew, Phoenician, and Aramaic). It occurs in all periods
of Hebrew and in the Bible
about 850 times. Biblical Aramaic uses this word 14 times.
Basically this verb means "to send," in the sense
of (1) to initiate and to see that such movement
occurs or (2) to successfully conclude such an action. In <Gen.
32:18> the second emphasis is in
view-- these animals are "a present sent unto my lord Esau." In
<Gen. 38:20> the first idea is in
view: When "Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend..., he found
her not"; it never reached its
goal. In <1 Sam. 15:20> Saul told Samuel about the "way
which the lord sent" him; here, too, the
emphasis is on the initiation of the action.
The most frequent use of shalach suggests the
sending of someone or something as a messenger
to a particular place: "...he shall send his angel before thee, and
thou shalt take a wife unto my son
from thence" <Gen. 24:7>; God's angel (messenger) will be
sent to Nahor to prepare things for the
successful accomplishment of the servant's task. One may also "send a
word" by the hand of a
messenger (fool); one may send a message <Prov. 26:6>,
send a letter <2 Sam. 11:14>, and send
instructions <Gen. 20:2>.
Shalach can refer to shooting arrows by sending
them to hit a particular target: "And he sent out
arrows, and scattered them..." <2 Sam. 22:15>. In
<Exod. 9:14> God "sends" His plague into the
midst of the Egyptians; He "sends" them forth and turns them loose
among them. Other special
meanings of this verb include letting something go freely or without
control: "Thou givest thy mouth
to evil..." <Ps. 50:19>.
Quite often this verb means "to stretch out." God
was concerned lest after the Fall Adam "put forth
his hand, and take also of the tree of life" <Gen. 3:22>.
One may stretch forth a staff <1 Sam.
14:27> or a sickle <Joel 3:13>.
For the most part the intensive stems merely
intensify the meanings already set forth, but the
meaning "to send away" is especially frequent: "...Abner was no longer
with David in Hebron, for
David had sent him away..." <2 Sam. 3:22>, NIV. That is,
David "let him go" <v. 24>, NIV. God sent
man out of the garden of Eden; He made man leave <Gen.
3:23>-- the first occurrence of the verb.
Noah sent forth a raven <Gen. 8:7>. Shalach can also mean
to give someone a send off, or "to
send" someone on his way in a friendly manner: "...and Abraham went
with them to bring them on
the way [send them off]" <Gen. 18:16>. In <Deut.
22:19> the word is used of divorcing a wife, or
sending her away.
This verb can signify "to get rid of" something:
"They bow themselves, they bring forth their young
ones, they cast out their [labor pains]" <Job 39:3>. It
can also be used of setting a bondservant
free: "And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let
him go away empty" <Deut.
15:13>. In a less technical sense shalach can mean to release
someone held by force. The angel
with whom Jacob wrestled said: "Let me go, for the day breaketh"
<Gen. 32:26>. Yet another
nuance is "to hand someone over," as in <Ps. 81:12>: "So
I gave them up unto their own hearts'
lust...." Shalach can also mean to set something afire, as in "set the
city on fire" <Judg. 1:8>.
In the passive sense the verb has some additional
special meanings; in <Prov. 29:15> it means
"to be left to oneself": "...but a child left to himself [who gets his
own way] bringeth his mother to
Mishlach means "outstretching; undertaking." This
noun occurs 7 times. The word refers to an
"undertaking" in <Deut. 28:8>: "The Lord shall command
the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses,
and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless
thee...." The phrase "that thou
settest" embodies the meaning of mishach here (cf. <Deut.
Other nouns are related to shalah. Shilluchim
occurs 3 times and means "presents" in the sense
of something sent out to or with someone <1 Kings 9:16>.
Mishloach is found 3 times and refers
to "the act of sending" <Esth. 9:19,22> or "the place
hands reach when stretched forth" <Isa.
11:14>, RSV. Shelach means "something sent forth as a missile,"
and it can refer to a sword or a
weapon. Shelach occurs 8 times <2 Chr. 32:5; Job 33:18; Neh.
4:17>. The proper noun shiloah
appears in <Isa. 8:6> and refers to a channel through
which water is sent forth.
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical
Words, Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
A concordance search
in the New King James translation identifies 28 verses with the word
"divorce" or a
derivative of that word wherease the same search in the King James
Version reveals only 11 verses with the
word "divorce" or a derivative thereof. The remaining 17 verses contain
the words "put away" or derivatives
thereof. In some verses where "divorce" or it's derivatives occurs the
word "put away" or it's derivatives also
Clearly there is a
critical play on words involved in discussing divorce in scripture
versus other forms of marital
separation or "putting away". It seems quite clear that there are a
range of criteria in terms of which divorce is
acceptable and a wide range of criteria in terms of which what is
called divorce today is NOT divorce but is
"putting away" which leads to adultery.
Following are all
instances in the NKJ where the word "divorce" or it's derivatives
occurs but with the King
James Version text substituted. The word/s in the NKJ
corresponding to "divorce" and it's derivatives are
shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they
take a woman put away from her
husband: for he is holy unto his God. (KJV)
widow, or a divorced woman, or profane,
or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin
of his own people to wife. (KJV)
13 But if
the priest's daughter be a widow, or divorced,
and have no child, and is returned unto her father's
house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father's meat: but there
shall no stranger eat thereof. (KJV)
every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced,
wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand
against her. (KJV)
they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them
unto the father of the damsel,
because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and
she shall be his wife; he may not put
her away all his days. (KJV)
the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty
shekels of silver, and she shall be his
wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her
away all his days. (KJV)
1 When a
man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she
find no favour in his eyes,
because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a
bill of divorcement, and give it in
her hand, and send her out of his house. (KJV)
3 And if
the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement,
and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth
her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to
be his wife; (KJV)
former husband, which sent her away, may
not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for
that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land
to sin, which the LORD thy God
giveth thee for an inheritance. (KJV)
saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement,
whom I have put away? or which of
my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities
have ye sold yourselves, and for your
transgressions is your mother put away. (KJV)
say, If a man put away his wife, and she
go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto
her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast
played the harlot with many lovers; yet
return again to me, saith the LORD. (KJV)
8 And I
saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed
adultery I had put her away, and
given her a bill of divorce; yet her
treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot
shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put
away: but they shall take maidens of the
seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before. (KJV)
16 For the
LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting
away: for one covereth violence with his
garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit,
that ye deal not treacherously. (KJV)
31 It hath
been said, Whosoever shall put away his
wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: (KJV)
32 But I
say unto you, That whosoever shall put away
his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her
to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced
committeth adultery. (KJV)
Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it
lawful for a man to put away his
wife for every cause? (KJV)
7 They say
unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement,
and to put her away? (KJV)
8 He saith
unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to
put away your wives: but
from the beginning it was not so. (KJV)
9 And I
say unto you, Whosoever shall put away
his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another,
committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth
commit adultery. (KJV)
2 And the
Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put
away his wife? tempting him. (KJV)
4 And they
said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement,
and to put her away. (KJV)
11 And he
saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away
his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against
12 And if
a woman shall put away her husband, and
be married to another, she committeth adultery. (KJV)
Whosoever putteth away his wife, and
marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her
that is put away from her husband
committeth adultery. (KJV)
11 But and
if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her
husband: and let not the husband
put away his wife. (KJV)
12 But to
the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that
believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell
with him, let him not put her away. (KJV)
13 And the
woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to
dwell with her, let her not
leave him. (KJV)
SCRIPTURES CONTAINING THE GREEK WORD "PORNEIA"
containing the Greek word "Porneia", Strong's number 4202. Note that
this word encompasses
both sexual immorality AND spiritual fornication.
32 "But I say to you
that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality
causes her to
commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits
19 "For out of the
heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts,
9 "And I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries
adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."
21 "For from within,
out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries,
fornications, murders, (NKJ)
41 "You do the deeds
of your father." Then they said to Him, "We were not born of
fornication; we have one
Father-- God." (NKJ)
20 "but that we
write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual
immorality, from things
strangled, and from blood. (NKJ)
29 that you abstain
from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and
from sexual immorality.
If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell. (NKJ)
25 "But concerning
the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should
observe no such
thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to
idols, from blood, from things strangled,
and from sexual immorality." (NKJ)
1 Cor 5:1
1 It is actually
reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual
immorality as is not even
named among the Gentiles-- that a man has his father's wife! (NKJ)
1 Cor 5:1
1 It is actually
reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual
immorality as is not even
named among the Gentiles-- that a man has his father's wife! (NKJ)
1 Cor 6:13
13 Foods for the
stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and
them. Now the body is
not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
1 Cor 6:18
18 Flee sexual
immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who
immorality sins against his own body. (NKJ)
1 Cor 7:2
because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let
each woman have her
own husband. (NKJ)
2 Cor 12:21
21 lest, when I come
again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who
before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and
lewdness which they have practiced. (NKJ)
19 Now the works of
the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
3 But fornication
and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among
you, as is fitting for
5 Therefore put to
death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness,
passion, evil desire,
and covetousness, which is idolatry. (NKJ)
3 For this is the
will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual
21 "And I gave her
time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. (NKJ)
21 And they did not
repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality
or their thefts. (NKJ)
8 And another angel
followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city,
because she has made all
nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." (NKJ)
2 "with whom the
kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the
earth were made drunk
with the wine of her fornication." (NKJ)
4 The woman was
arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious
stones and pearls, having
in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her
3 "For all the
nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the
kings of the earth have
committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have
become rich through the abundance of her
2 "For true and
righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who
corrupted the earth
with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His
servants shed by her." (NKJ)
PERSECUTION OF THE JEWS:
SCRIPTURES RELATING TO ADULTERY,
HARLOTRY AND RELATED SINS
ON "THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE"