June 21st, 2013
Well I said I would do it, and I have! I’ve now uploaded at least one Dead Sea Scroll manuscript transcription of all the Tanakh books that were found in the Qumranic caves (all bar Esther, which the Dead Sea Scrolls community didn’t accept as Scripture).
Still a ways to go (especially for large manuscripts), but we’re definitely getting there!
Find links to all the recently uploaded Manuscripts below, but don’t forget to visit the TWTY Downloads page for the rest of them, plus downloads of all the stuff available on TWTY 🙂
2Q1 Exodusc (1QExodc) | 4Q15 Exodusd (4QExodd) | 4Q16 Exoduse (4QExode) | 4Q18 Exodusg (4QExodg) | 4Q19 Exodush (4QExodh) | 4Q21 Exodusk (1QExodk) | 7Q Septuagint Exodus (7QLXXExod)
2Q5 paleoLeviticus (2QpaleoLev) | 4Q17 Exodus-Leviticusf (4QExod-Levf) | 4Q26 Leviticusd (4QLevd) | 4Q26a Leviticuse (4QLeve) | 4Q26b Leviticusg (4QLevg) | 6Q2 paleoLeviticus (6QpaleoLev) | 4Q119 Septuagint Leviticusa (4QLXXLeva) | 4Q120 Septuagint Leviticusb (4QLXXLevb)
1Q3 paleoLeviticus-Numbers (1QpaleoLEv-Num) | 2Q6 Numbersa (2QNuma) | 2Q7 Numbersb (2QNumb) | 2Q8 Numbersc (2QNumc) | 2Q9 Numbersd (2QNumd) | Wadi Murabba’at Numbers (MurNum) | Nahal Hever Numbersa | Nahal Hever Numbersb | 4Q121 Septuagint Numbersb (4QLXXNumb)
4Q122 Septuagint Deuteronomy (4QLXXDeut)
4Q98f Psalmsw (4QPsalmsw) | 4Q98g Psalmsx (4QPsalmsx) | 5Q5 Psalms (5QPsalms) | 8Q2 Psalms (8QPsalms)
4Q71 Jeremiahb (4QJerb) | 4Q72a Jeremiahd (4QJerd) | 4Q72b Jeremiahe (4QJere)
1Q9 Ezekiel (1QEzek) | 3Q1 Ezekiel (3QEzek) | 4Q75 Ezekielc (4QEzekc) | 11Q4 Ezekiel (11QEzek)
Edit: For the above, please refer to the Downloads Page.
April 23rd, 2011
Passover, Unleavened bread, Firstfruits, and Weeks
One of the stickiest subjects regarding the Festivals/Feasts of Yahuweh (Passover/Pesach, Unleavened Bread/Matstsah, Firstfruits/Re’shiyth, Weeks/Pentecost/Shabuwa’, Trumpets/Taruw`ah, Reconciliations/Kippuryim, Tabernacles/Sukkah) is when exactly to date them, with regards to both the Hebrew calendar, and our Gregorian calendar.
As with all things it’s probably best to let Yahuweh tell us how this all pans out, so as to make an informed decision.
When it comes to Passover/Pesach, the dating is quite easy. Yahuweh tell us in Leviticus 23:4‑5: These are the appointed feasts of Yahweh, the Set-Apart (qodesh) Assemblies (migra’ (although as this is in its plural form, this is pronounced mirqra’ay)), which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth [day] of the month at twilight, is Yahweh’s Passover.
Pretty simple, is it not? In the first month (called Aviv in the Hebrew calendar), on the fourteenth day of the month, we are to celebrate Yahweh’s Passover (notice the fact that Yahweh says this is His Passover, not “man’s” or “the Jew’s”, whom people seem to think that Passover was only for – it isn’t, by the way). The main point of contention with regards to Passover is when exactly to eat it. The Hebrew word translated as “twilight” above is ‘ereb/ערב which means “evening, sunset, night”. The problem is that according to Yahweh, days end and start at sunset/evening, compared to our common timing of days which is from midnight to midnight.
So the question is: which sunset are we to eat the Passover? Do we eat it at the starting sunset, that is, the beginning of the day, or do we eat it at the finishing sunset, the end of the day?
The problem, I think, with presuming that we’re to eat it at the finishing sunset, is the fact that the finishing sunset is also the starting sunset of the fifteenth day of the month of Aviv. Therefore, as far as I’m concerned, if Yahweh had wanted us to have the Passover meal on the finishing sunset of the fourteenth/starting sunset of the fifteenth, is that Yahweh would’ve said “you are to eat it at the start of the fifteenth day of the first month”, not “on the fourteenth of the month at twilight/sunset”. So from what I can see, is the fact that we’re to eat the Passover meal sometime during the day of the fourteenth of Aviv, and not as a dinner on the fifteenth of Aviv.
Another reason to also trust that the Passover meal is to be consumed during the day of the fourteenth is the fact that the Hebrew definite article ha/ה precedes the Hebrew ‘ereb/ערב, literally giving the translation “the evening/sunset”, which would give the translation for Leviticus 23:5 as In the first month, on the fourteenth of the month, at the evening, is Yahweh’s Passover.
What also shouldn’t be overlooked is the fact that ‘ereb/ערב is in its dual form (ערבים/’erbayim), literally giving “evenings” or “sunsets”. And the word translated as at is actually the Hebrew beyn/בין which means “between”.
So, the full translation of Leviticus 23:5 is as follows: In the first month, on the fourteenth of the month, between the evenings/sunsets, is Yahweh’s Passover.
As a result, Leviticus 23 makes it quite clear that Passover is between the two “evenings”, and doesn’t overflow into the fifteenth, which would be the first day of unleavened bread.
Exodus 12, where Passover is first mentioned by name, also gives the words beyn ha ‘erbayim in Exodus 12:6, where Yahuweh states …and all of you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Yisra’el shall kill him between (beyn) the (ha) evenings (‘erbayim).
Then, regarding when we’re to eat it, Yahuweh says in Exodus 12:8: And they shall eat the flesh during this very night (literally “the night, this”), roasted on a fire; they shall eat him with unleavened bread over bitter herbs.
With this in mind, there is only one “night” between “the evenings”, and that is the night of the fourteenth of the month of Aviv.
Accordingly, I’m confident in the fact that the Lamb was to be eaten on the fourteenth of the month of Aviv, and not anytime on the fifteenth. Whilst people might make the argument that killing a roasting a lamb would take quite a while, I agree with you: it would, which would mean that the Passover Lamb should actually be eaten sometime around midnight, when the night would be at its darkest.
I also think that this means that no one would actually be sleeping on Passover night, and everyone should actually be awake and ready, as Yahuweh tell us in Exodus 12:11.
Unleavened bread is a lot easier to date and decide what things are to be done on it. In Leviticus 23:6-8, Yahuweh says: And on the fifteenth day of this very month is the Festival of Unleavened bread to Yahweh; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day all of you shall have a Set-Apart Assembly; none of you shall do any labourious occupation. But all of you shall approach to draw near to Yahweh for seven days. On the seventh day is a Set-Apart Assembly; none of you shall do any labourious occupation.
This is brilliantly straight forward and explanatory. Knowing when and how to celebrate the festival of Unleavened Bread: From the fifteenth day of the first month, for seven days, is the festival of Unleavened bread. The first and last days are Set-Apart Assemblies, on which none of us are to do any “labourious occupation” (basically, what you’re employed to do). And for each of the seven days of Unleavened Bread week, we are to “approach to draw near to Yahweh”. We couldn’t’ve asked for a better thing to do. There really is no contention regarding the Festival of Unleavened bread.
Firstfruits, contrary to Unleavened bread, has quite a lot of contention about when it’s to be celebrated. A common interpretation is that the feast of Firstfruits is to happen on the sixteenth of Aviv, the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread. This therefore coincides with a pattern of one – two – three, each and every year.
However, what does Yahuweh say about the dating? Leviticus 23:10-11: Speak to the sons of Yisra’el, and say to them, ‘When all of you come into the land that I give to all of you, and reap its harvest, then all of you shall bring the sheaf of the Firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, so that all of you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
Previously, on the feast of Passover and festival of Unleavened bread, Yahuweh has specifically stated the date that they were to happen on. For Passover, Yahuweh specifically states that it is to happen on the fourteenth; for Unleavened bread, Yahuweh specifically states that it is to start on the fifteenth. Yet here, for Firstfruits, Yahuweh does not specifically state a date when the feast of Firstfruits is to commence. This is rather odd, is it not, for Yahuweh to specifically state a date when two feasts/festivals are to fall on, yet for this he doesn’t state a specific day of the month when it is to occur?
So either we have a corrupt Hebrew original, Yahuweh is inconsistent, or, more probably, Firstfruits does not always happen on the sixteenth of Aviv. If it was to always happen on the sixteenth of Aviv, Yahuweh would’ve said so. This therefore means that the Feast of Firstfruits fluctuates the day that it is on each and every year.
However, Yahuweh doesn’t leave us in the dark as to when Firstfruits is to occur. As Yahuweh has stated above in Leviticus 23:11: On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it (this being the sheaf of the Firstfruits).
Now, those who say that Firstfruits is always on the sixteenth of Aviv like to argue that when Yahuweh refers to “the Sabbath” in Leviticus 23:11, He is referring to what they call the “High Sabbath” of Unleavened bread, that being, the first day of Unleavened bread. This therefore means that it goes Passover (14th); Unleavened bread/High Sabbath of Unleavened bread (15th); Firstfruits/after High Sabbath of Unleavened bread (16th).
That seems logical, doesn’t it?
Well, it would be, if it wasn’t for the fact that Yahuweh never, ever refers to the first day (or last day for that matter) of Unleavened bread as a “High” Sabbath. Yahuweh doesn’t actually even refer to it as a Sabbath, never mind a “High” one. The clause “High Sabbath” doesn’t actually appear anywhere in Scripture. This therefore means that the clause “High Sabbath” is completely made up by men, and as Yahuweh tells us numerous times, men aren’t to be trusted.
All Yahuweh says regarding the first and last days of Unleavened bread is that we’re to not do any “labourious work”. Yahuweh never calls these days “Sabbaths”. The only time Yahuweh has referred to the Sabbath in Leviticus 23 is all the way back in Leviticus 23:3, where Yahuweh has stated: Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a Set-Apart Assembly. None of you shall do any work. It is a Sabbath to Yahweh in all of your dwellings.
So, when Yahuweh states in Leviticus 23:11 that Firstfruits is to occur on “the day after the Sabbath”, what day do you think He’s referring to as “the Sabbath”? The only logical, rational, and Scriptural conclusion is that He’s referring to the Seventh day Sabbath, and not this imagined “High Sabbath” of Unleavened bread.
If Yahuweh had wanted Firstfruits to occur on the sixteenth of Aviv each and every year, He would’ve stated so as He did with Passover and Unleavened bread. But seeing as though Passover and Unleavened bread won’t fall on the same day each year, this means that the date of Firstfruits would fluctuate as well.
Due to the fact that the festival of Unleavened bread is always a week long, this means that a Seventh day Sabbath will always fall in the midst of the week. And then, as Yahuweh has stated, we are to celebrate the feast of Firstfruits on “the day after the Sabbath”, which would always be a Saturday sunset to Sunday sunset.
Now I know this will probably offend a few people, but it is quite clear: Firstfruits will always fall on a “Sunday”. This isn’t an argument for a “Sunday Sabbath” as Christians would like us to believe, but only the fact that on one Sunday a year, we’re to have a special feast, as ordained by Yahuweh Himself.
The final feast for this part we’re going to look at is the feast of weeks (more commonly known as “Pentecost”, based on the Greek πεντηκοστη/pentekoste meaning “fifty”).
Yahuweh tells us to count it this way in Leviticus 23:15-16: All of you shall number seven full Sabbaths, from the day after the seventh Sabbath, from the day that all of you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days, to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall bring a new offering to Yahweh.
Now, most English translations like to translate the first mention of “Sabbaths” above as “weeks”, despite the fact that Hebrew has a word that means “week” – shabuwa’/שבוע. If Yahuweh had wanted to say “weeks” here, I’m absolutely certain He would’ve used the Hebrew word that meant “weeks”, and not use the plural form of the Hebrew shabbat/שבת instead.
This gives further credence to the feast of Firstfruits being on the day after the Sabbath, as Yahuweh has reiterated that the sheaf of the Firstfruits offering was waved on the day after the Sabbath, and hasn’t specified the sixteenth day of the month of Aviv.
The dating of Weeks/Pentecost is therefore quite straight forward. Starting from the day that the feast of Firstfruits was on (a Sunday – day one), we are to count “seven full Sabbaths” until the day after the “seventh Sabbath”, when we are to bring a “new offering” to Yahuweh. This would mean that the first Sabbath would be the seventh of the fifty days, the second Sabbath would be the fourteenth of the fifty days, all the way up to the seventh Sabbath which would be the forty-ninth day that we’re to count, and then on the fiftieth day, the day after the seventh Sabbath, is the Feast of Weeks.
Consequently, this means that not only does the feast of Firstfruits fall on a Sunday, but that the feast of Weeks shall also fall on a Sunday (more specifically, Saturday sunset to Sunday sunset), as it is again on “the day after the Sabbath”.
So there you go. Yahuweh has specifically told us the dates that Passover and Unleavened bread are to be on (fourteenth and fifteenth of Aviv respectably), and the days (not dates) that Firstfruits and Weeks are to be on (the day after the Sabbath during the festival of Unleavened bread, and the day after the Seventh Sabbath respectably).
Passover and Unleavened bread are always on the same dates in the Hebrew calendar each and every year, but Firstfruits and Weeks, whilst being on the same day of the week, are on different dates each year in the Hebrew calendar.
(Please also refer to the Blog Acts 20:7: Did they really meet on a Sunday? for a slightly different discussion on the dating of certain feasts and festivals mentioned here)
January 8th, 2011
(To discuss this blog post, please go here)
Acts 20:7a (ESV): On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread…
There has been a lot of debate over the years regarding this verse (as well as Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, and John 20:1), as most English Bible translations would have us think that “The first day of the week” or “Sunday” is mentioned at least 5 times in the New Testament/Renewed Covenant. But are they correct?
Most Christians would take this at face value and say “Yes, of course it refers to Sunday, as Sunday is the new Sabbath day,” however most Messianics would say that “No, this is actually a corrupted translation of the Greek, and it actually refers to a Sabbath day, not to a Sunday.”
Let’s first deal with the Christian interpretation of this verse.
Whilst it could be true (we haven’t decided just yet) that this is referring to a Sunday, I’m afraid I must ask one question: where does it say that they had changed the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday? Whilst they may have “gathered together to break bread” on the “first day of the week”, meeting together on a Sabbath day wasn’t actually part of the 10 Commandments. All it says is “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it set-apart. Six days you shall labour, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahuweh your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days Yahuweh made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yahuweh blessed the Sabbath day and made it set-apart.” (Exodus 20:8-11) There is no instruction here to “gather together” on the Sabbath day – just that one is to cease from their public business (“work”) on the Sabbath day, keeping it set-apart (“special”) compared to the other days during the week. So, even if they did gather together on a Sunday (in this one, solitary place in the NT/RC), it is hardly changing the day we’re supposed to rest on.
Leviticus 23:3 does refer to the Sabbath day as a “qodesh miqra’” which is translated as a “set-apart convocation” or “special called together assembly”, but then are we to think that each and every time people are “gathered together” in the New Testament or in the Tanakh that they were engaging in a Sabbath day on a different day of the week? No, because people can gather together whenever they want. And this here in Acts 20 is probably one of these times. We’ll find out as we continue on.
Even if the translation of Acts 20:7 may be correct (again, we’ve not even looked at the Greek yet), the interpretation of the verse is far off track, with far too much eisegesis (“reading one’s own opinion into the text”) compared to exegesis (“getting one’s opinion out of the text”) going on.
So, even though the Christian interpretation of the verse is far out there, are the Messianics correct in stating that it refers to “the Sabbath”, preferably the first Sabbath day during the 7 weeks leading up to Pentecost, and not to a Sunday?
Unfortunately, they’re not correct either. Mainly because the word they would like to translate as “Sabbath”, is actually in its genitive, plural, form – σαββατων – and so is the definite article (“the”) before it – των. Therefore, the word, if we were to transliterate it into a plural form to coincide with the plurality of the Greek, we would have to transliterate it as “Sabbaths” not just “Sabbath.” If the definite article before it, and the Greek transliteration of Shabbat, were to be in their singular form, we would actually see του σαββατου, not των σαββατων.
So, not only is the Christian interpretation wrong, the Messianics translation is also wrong as well.
Even though the Christian interpretation is wrong, and the Messianics translation wrong too, is perhaps the Christian translation correct, and the Messianics interpretation correct?
Well actually, the answer is “yes” and “no”, to both questions. The Christian translation is almost correct, and the Messianic interpretation is also almost correct, but neither is complete.
Let’s have a look at the Greek:
τη μια των σαββατων (Acts 20:7, Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1)
Here it is translated, with the Greek words in brackets:
On the (τη) one (μια) of the (των) Sabbaths (σαββατων)
Ignoring the definite articles (don’t really need to look at them to be honest), we should concentrate on exactly what μια and σαββατων are referring to.
Firstly is μια. μια is the adjective, dative, singular, feminine form of the Greek number εις, meaning “one”. It does however have numerous other meanings: first, chief, main, singular, only, merely, alone, someone, anyone, certain person, unique, unitary, unanimous, one of two or many, once for all, and same.
As you can see, there are many choices to choose when translating just this one verse in the NT/RC.
So, I really can’t find fault with the translation of “first” by the Christians who created the ESV “translation”. That is a satisfactory choice as a translation of μια.
Nevertheless, where on earth did they get the word “day” from? It’s not there in the Greek, so why have the ESV “translators” put it in?
I could blame it on “Christian tradition” and their attempt to turn this into some sort of justification for their interpretation above, but then that wouldn’t be correct.
There are actually quite a few clues we can look at in the NT/RC regarding this, none more apparent than in Matthew 26:17a.
The usual translation is as follows: Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread….
But the Greek is as follows: Now, (δε) on the (τη) first (πρωτη) of (των) Unleavened (αζυμων).
As you can see, the word “day” is missing from the Greek text, and so is the word “bread”. However, how is one to make sense of this verse, if the word “day” is not included? “Now, on the first of Unleavened” really isn’t very good English. The word “day” has to be included for us English speakers, but for the Greeks, one doesn’t have to be as explicit as we English speakers do. Everything has to be spelled out for us in order to make sense out of our sentences. “On the first of Unleavened” could only mean to the Greek reader, the starting day of the festival of Unleavened Bread (αζυμων being the Greek word used to designate the festival of Unleavened Bread).
This coincides with τη μια των σαββατων, because not only is πρωτη in Matthew 26:17a the adjective, dative, singular, feminine form of the Greek πρωτος, a word not dissimilar in meaning to the Greek εις/one (εις being a numeral, πρωτος an adjective), coinciding with μια being the adjective, dative, singular, feminine form of the Greek εις, but the fact that αζυμων is the genitive, plural, neuter form of the Greek αξυμος, coinciding with σαββατων which is the genitive, plural, neuter form of the Greek σαββατον. The only difference between Acts 20:7 and Matthew 26:17 is what’s used to indicate the word “first”, and what’s being talked about. This means that “day” can be implied when it is to make sense in English.
If we look at the parallel passage to Matthew 26:17 in Mark 14:12, we see the following: And (και) on the (τη) first (πρωτη) day (ημερα) of (των) Unleavened (αζυμων).
As you can see, this is nigh-on identical with Matthew 26:17, but Mark has used the conjunction και instead of δε (a very common difference between Matthew and Mark on parallel passages and stories – there’s a reason they’re called “The Synoptics”, along with Luke), and has also included the Greek ημερα, meaning day. Both have omitted the word “bread”. Mark is being more explicit than Matthew, but the meaning of both verses is the same: On the first day of Unleavened Bread. Just because one has omitted the extra noun (ημερα/day), it doesn’t mean they’re talking of a different event.
So, whilst “day” isn’t contained in Acts 20:7, the word can be implied or meant, even if the author doesn’t explicitly use it. However Luke is writing in Greek and not English, so expecting English word usage and grammar to be incumbent in the Greek is quite silly. Greek is not English, and English is not Greek – whilst we may have many loanwords from Greek in the English language, they hardly follow the Greek spelling of the word, and we certainly don’t follow their syntax and grammar.
There’s a reason why those who only look at the root of words from a Greek-English Interlinear shouldn’t attempt to translate Greek – you’re not going to get even a remotely accurate translation of the meaning across. There’s a lot more to translation than people realise.
Now, there is therefore a discussion on what is meant by the plural form of σαββατων/Sabbaths here in Acts 20:7, as well as in Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1 and John 20:1. Not surprisingly, we should look to the Torah to find our answer.
After the Sabbath during the festival of Unleavened Bread, what does Yahuweh tell the Yisra’elites? Leviticus 23:15-16: You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to Yahuweh.
In the Hebrew, what word is used for “weeks”? That’s right – שבת/shabbath. And in what form? Again plural. The usage of the Greek σαββατων, sabbath in its plural form, is a Hebraism meaning “weeks”, σαββατων being a transliteration, rather than a translation of the Hebrew שבת (to translate שבת into Greek would be ημερα της καταπαυσεως – a day of rest).
Further proof of this is the fact that the Greek phrase that we’ve been discussing – τη μια των σαββατων – only ever appears between the feasts of Unleavened bread, and of Pentecost, after the seventh-day Sabbath. It appears in Matthew 28:1, the day after the Sabbath in the week of Unleavened Bread, which is also true for Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, and John 20:1. And in Acts, it appears between the feast of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6 (the word translated as “after” should actually be translated “together with”)) and Pentecost (Acts 20:16).
There can therefore only be one conclusion as to what the meaning of τη μια των σαββατων is – the first day/day one of weeks (or even “Sabbaths”), “weeks” being a Hebraic reference to Pentecost. Therefore, “One of Weeks” can only refer to the first day of the 50 days that lead up to the feast of Pentecost. And as Yahuweh tells us in Leviticus 23:15-16, the “first day leading up to Pentecost” is the “day after the Sabbath” from “the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering” – the feast of Firstfruits, which always, according to Scripture, falls on the day after the weekly Sabbath day.
So they’re both wrong, and they’re both about 1/3rd right – The only logical translation is “the One/First of Weeks/Sabbaths”, which is a reference to the feast of Firstfruits, as it is the “first day of Sabbaths/Weeks,” which just happens to fall the day after the seventh-day Sabbath – a Sunday.
The followers in Acts 20:7 weren’t gathering together because it was a Sunday, or because they had changed the Sabbath day to another day – they were gathering because they were following Scriptures command to gather in an assembly on the Feast of Firstfruits, which just happens to always fall on a Sunday.
(To discuss this blog post, please go here)