“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” ––Acts 17:11 KJV
Upon the completion of reading this article, you will be approx. 45 minutes into this series, so I will keep you in suspense no longer. I know that this is the moment you have been waiting for! So, I am going to give a little insight into Hillel’s saying… “In the place where there are no men, be a man” Here we go!
In connection with the ongoing series entitled; “Where There Are No Men, Be A Man”… We are investigating 12 Hebrew Words for man, in order to assess just what type of man GOD may have in mind, who is qualified to respond to this mandate.
Rabbi Hillel, the 1st Century prophet who lived 110 BC – 10AD, is credited with the saying. I in turn accredit his words to GOD, for no other reason than he was a prophet of GOD, with insight into it’s ultimate meaning, which can only come from GOD Himself.
When I was first introduced to Hillel’s saying, it was taught to me in connection with Exodus 2:11-14; When Moses defended the Hebrew slave who was being attacked by an Egyptian overseer. Ultimately, in order to protect the slave, Moses had no choice but to kill him in order to protect his own life. As a result Moses fled from Egypt, knowing that Pharoah would soon hear of his actions. So, the teaching says, that when Moses looked around to see if there was anyone who would stand up for the slave, and against the abuses he was suffering, there was no man. There was only him, and Moses rose up to save the Hebrew slave.
The scripture reads, 11 “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. 13And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? 14And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.“
In the Bible Study lessons I attended in my youth, the typical teaching that came from the passage above was that, “Moses went out to look upon the burdens of his people and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and he looked around to see if any one was watching. Since no one was watching, he took advantage of the moment and killed the Egyptian to save the Hebrew slave.” A literal interpretation to be sure, but there is more going on here than that, and this might not be totally accurate. Below, we will key into some very important wording, to determine if we have all the facts.
- verse 11: Moses saw an Egyptian “smiting an ‘ish’ (320), one of his brethren”
- verse 11: smiting is nakah(5221), and ‘ish’ only shows up in the Hebrew; meaning that it is untranslated in most English translations of the Bible, including the King James Version. If you refer to an Interlinear Bible, you will find that the word ‘ish’ is completely ignored and was not carried over into a majority of the English translations. For us English speaking Bible Students, ‘ish’ is invisible. The KJV reads, “smiting a Hebrew”, yet, ‘ish’ is a very important part of this teaching too, and we need to put it back into the forefront.
- verse 11: a translation that would be more inclusive of these details would be, “Moses saw an Egyptian smiting an ‘ish’, an ‘ivri’, (a Hebrew).” NOTE: Hebrew is the word, ivri, which is pronounced, ‘ee-vree’. If you recall, we learned that the word, ‘ivri’ means, “from the other side.” Ref: Where There Is No Man, Part 2
- verse 12: “and he looked this way and that way”, –he looked ‘koh va koh’
- verse 12: “and when he saw there was no man”. —He saw there was no ‘ish’
- verse 12: “…he slew (nakah, 5221) the Egyptian”.
- verse 13: “Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?” the word for smitest is ‘nakah’ (5221) translated; attack, slay, kill. Fellow is ‘rea’, pronounced ray-ah (7453), i.e., a friend, neighbor, companion…
- verse 14: …“intendest thou to kill (2026) me, as thou killedst (2026) the Egyptian?” 2026 is ‘harag’; to kill, slay
There are 4 key points I would like for you to grasp right now. We will double back for the rest of the information later. For now, the 1st 3 are of primary importance in this part of our study, so we will take a look at them first.
- Moses did not, look around to see if anyone was watching because he was concerned about someone seeing him in the act of committing murder. This is not an example of a severe character flaw that we are witnessing here. Moses is a tzaddik, a righteous one. There is an injustice occuring in front of him, and he cannot just stand by and let it happen. He has been raised as a Prince of Egypt, a leader. Leaders stand up for the defenseless.
- Since we already know that there are 12 Hebrew words for ‘man’, we understand that scripture is drawing our attention to the fact that, he saw no ‘ish’, which makes this issue significant to note. There are 11 other possibilities for word choices here, so “seeing no ish” is important and we must pay attention to this detail. When we take the information that we have in hand thus far, what does that tell us about the characteristics that an ‘ish’ must possess? Who is an, ‘ish’?
- In addition, Moses is connecting the concept of being an ‘ish’, with being an ivri, a Hebrew. What else can we glean about the quality of an ‘ish’ from this statement?
- There are 2 different words in this portion of scripture that both have the interpretation of “to kill”; harag and nakah. We need to take a look at these words in the same way in which we are looking at the word ‘man’. What distinction is being made between these two Hebrew words? What pertinent information is the concordance lacking here? Are there patterns that are revealed in the use of the Hebrew words themselves that will provide another source of information, detail or revelation?
Hillel, is speaking scripture to us in his ‘saying’. He is pointing those that he is teaching, back to the word of GOD, that has been rehearsed in their ear’s yearly. When the children of Israel in the 1st Century hear these words, their minds go to the portion of scripture that points to Moses’ confrontation with the Egyptian. As for our Christian minds, where do they go?, Are there any dots for us to connect? I sincerely doubt if we are reflecting back on the Book of Exodus, Chapter 2; the portion of scripture known as shemot, “and these are the names…” (shemot is pronounced as one syllable, i.e., shhh’mote). Shemot (Ex. 1:1 through 6:1), is the portion of the Hebrew Scriptures that deals with the children of Israel remembering who they are in GOD and crying out to the GOD of Heaven for deliverance. They had been stripped of practically everything that made them Hebrews. There was one virture, that qualified them for destiny… they had kept their Hebrew names, i.e., they kept their identities that connected them to their people and their GOD.
In our childhood bible studies, these words of scripture were not rehearsed in our ears, so we miss the connection that Hillel is making, i.e., We don’t hear the Hebrew Scripture being echoed back to us.
In fact, we aren’t even aware that there are any connections to be made, so we don’t even know were missing them. This is one of the primary reasons that my advocacy for Christians learning torah is so vocal. How many peices to the puzzle were missing from your knowledge banks regarding this portion of scripture? Has any additional light been shed on this torah portion? Did you hear the torah being spoken in Hillel’s saying?
If not, why not? Is there anything else that has gone unrecognized in these 4 passages of scripture, that we should know about?
I am deliberately focusing on these point for 2 reasons.
1. As we read the New Testament, we are reading right over critical language that we should recognize from the Hebrew Scriptures.
2. If we heard the language cues, we would automatically have greater understanding and insight into the context and mindset from which Christ and the disciples were speaking. We would know, that Christ is speaking torah the entire time and that He never broke the torah, nor did He come to destroy the torah. This matters.
All of the information provided above has bearing on our study of, ‘man’. All of the little dots that we have connected will shed more light on Hillel’s invocation, the Hebrew Scriptures as a whole and all of the relevant information we have missed, due to our lack of torah study.
By the way, that photo on the caption is the word, ‘adam’ in Hebrew. Reading from right to left, we have the letters, aleph (A) – dalet (D) – mem (M). adam is connected to this teaching about ‘man’. We are still in pursuit of the meaning of the word, ‘man’, as found in the saying of Hillel. Have we found it?
Think about the information that you have learned so far. What dots have you connected in the scriptures? What insights have been revealed? In our next series associated with adam, we are going to take an indepth look at the 3 letters that spell, ‘adam’ and see what they can tell us of the character and nature of adam and who, adam is referring to, and/or what the word ‘adam’ really means. Is it a name only or is it a reference to mankind, or both? Should both designations apply, is that all that this Hebrew word, chosen by GOD and applied to his highest form of creation, can tell us about GOD and ourselves? Let’s find out!
Review this material extensively and be prepared for the next teaching in this series. Stay tuned!
Teaching related to the topic of Adam:
- Quick Links to Review Previous Teachings: Where There Is No Man...
- Part 1 – 11 minutes Intro: Researching the 12 ways in Hebrew to say Man
- Part 2 – 15 minutes 12 ways in Hebrew to say Man, (continued…)
- Part 3 – 6 minutes Investigate the Hebrew words; adam & zakar
- Part 4 – 6 minutes Investigation of the Hebrew words; ish & nephesh
- ++Vocabulary: Our elevated understanding of Gods terminology.
- Adam ~ human being, the crowning achievement of God; mankind, man.
- Zakar ~ male, man, belonging to and in covenant with the GOD of Heaven.
- ish ~ (Make note of the patterns you see in how GOD uses this word in scripture).
- nephesh ~ (Make note of the patters you see in how GOD uses this word in scripture)
- gul-go-leth ~ every man counted in the omer of manna, or for the 1/2 shekel of the sanctuary. The counting of heads for the poll.
- ba’al ~ rulers, elders, lords who shall not defile themselves with the dead, other than immediate family.
Note to Students: Over the years my re-quoting of this saying has shortened to, “Where there is no man, be a man.” I apologize for any incoveneience this may have caused any of you. The actual full quote is as stated above in each teaching connected with this series. “In a place where there are no men, be a man.”
Thank You for your forgiveness for my typo’s and adpatation of the saying.
God Bless You,
- COPYRIGHT 2019, Rev. S. Madison, torahisteaching.blog