Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gender Discord and Psalm 12:6-7

Thou Shalt Keep Them (TSKT)---that's what the authors named our book on the perfect preservation of scripture. And those words come from Psalm 12:7. Psalm 12:6-7 alone do not buttress the biblical doctrine of preservation; however, we believe that they teach it. We believe that these verses nicely complement the many other places that teach the perfect preservation of scripture as Christians through history have believed. Here's the psalm:

1 Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth;

for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbor:

with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips,

and the tongue that speaketh proud things:
4 who have said, With our tongue will we prevail;

our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,

now will I arise, saith the LORD;
I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.
6 The words of the LORD are pure words:

as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD,

thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
8 The wicked walk on every side,

when the vilest men are exalted.

What Do People Say

Others have contended that the "them" of v. 7 ("preserve them") refers to the poor and needy of v. 5. Among other men, I believe "them" refers to "words" in v. 6. It makes sense that "them" is "words" based upon proximity. "Words" is closer to "them" than the "poor" and "needy" are.

So why do the others say that "them" refers to "poor" and "needy" even though those words are further away from "them"? The first reason, they say, is context. Both sides say the context supports their position, so let's take that one off the table. Let's keep it to the grammatical point, that is, the gender of "them." The "poor and needy" side says "them" must refer to the "poor and needy" because of the agreement in gender. They have said that it settles the case. Done. Finished. No more debate needed. Why? The Hebrew word translated "words" is feminine in gender and the pronoun "them" is masculine. "Them," therefore, cannot refer to "words." On the other hand, "poor" and "needy" are masculine, so they would say this is obvious.

Doug Kutilek

This is what Doug Kutilek, big time critical text advocate, has said:

When we turn to the Hebrew text of Psalm 12, the ambiguity of the English disappears. Hebrew, like many non-English languages, has a feature that English lacks -- that of grammatical gender. In English, object words are classified according to natural gender: men, boys, and the male offspring of animals are classified as masculine and masculine pronouns he, him, etc., are used of them; women, girls, and the female offspring of animals, plus sometimes countries, boats, and until recently, hurricanes, are considered feminine, and feminine pronouns she, her, etc., are used of them. Just about everything else from forks, knives, and spoons to roofing nails and sheet rock is classified as neuter.

In English, we have only natural gender; many, if not most, other languages have, in addition to natural gender, grammatical gender. Some languages have two grammatical genders -- masculine and feminine (e.g., the Semitic languages); others add a third -- neuter (this is the situation in Greek, Latin, German, and others). Things naturally masculine and things naturally feminine are so treated, but very many things are grammatically treated as masculine, feminine, or neuter without any connection to natural gender at all. For example, the German word for spoon is masculine; for fork, feminine; and for knife, neuter.

In languages that have grammatical gender, it is usual and customary for pronouns to agree with their antecedents in gender and number. Hebrew here is like the rest. And also like the rest, there are occasional exceptions to the principle of agreement in the Hebrew Bible (see Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, 135), but the Book of Psalms is exceptionally regular on the matter of gender agreement.

In the Hebrew of Psalm 12, the pronouns translated them in verse 7 are both masculine -- the first them being plural in number, the second being singular (him, literally), particularizing every individual in the group (with slightly different vowel points in Hebrew, the second pronoun could be understood as the first person plural common, viz., us). So, the antecedent noun can be expected to be masculine in gender and plural in number.

The word rendered words twice in verse 6 is a feminine plural noun in both cases; the words poor and needy in verse 5 are both masculine and plural in Hebrew. While the English translation is ambiguous and allows two different antecedents, the Hebrew is clear and plain -- the antecedent of them is the poor and needy ones of verse 5, not the words of verse 6. Gender agreement of pronoun and antecedent demonstrates this.

Kutilek talks like he is totally sure that gender discord between "words" and "them" really does settle the question.

Adam at OTSB

Then we have Adam at his Old Testament Studies Blog write:

Now, Psalm 12 is a complicated text, and to quote it glibly like this shows how sloppy Brandenburg is being in his exegesis to try to prove his point. There are real questions about whether the “them” in the phrase “you shall keep them, O Lord” refers to the words. In the first place, the genders don’t match up. The “words” of verse 6 are feminine [hr'm.ai], while the suffix “them” on “keep” in verse 6 is masculine [~rEm.v.Ti].
Adam assumes that we should conclude that "them" does not refer to "words" because the "genders don't match up"---no other explanation offered to his readers---this issue is settled because of the gender discord. Case closed.

And What About Gender?

Alright, so what about the gender discord? Seems to make sense. But no. Biblical writers tend to employ masculine pronouns for their antecedent feminine usage of the noun "words" and its synonyms. Throughout the Old Testament there are examples of feminine "words" (or its synonyms) with masculine pronouns. This is something unmentioned by either Kutilek or Adam. If they did not know, then they were ignorant and needed to know. If they did know, then they misrepresented the whole issue to their readers in disingenuous fashion.

We see this kind of usage in Psalm 119:111, 129, 152, and 167. In every one of those verses, we have a masculine pronoun referring to a feminine noun that is a synonym of God's Words. The masculine pronoun serves a purpose of communicating stability and strength to the nature of its antecedent, extending these qualities of the Patriarchal God. It is purposeful gender discord. This does really put a smack-down on Kutilek's "the Book of Psalms is exceptionally regular on the matter of gender agreement." Exceptionally regular....hmmmm. Perhaps we could just look at one of the Psalms that refers to God's Words a lot of times to see if this is the case. Oh wow, not exceptionally regular.

Now I brought up this very point to Adam in his comment section. And, of course, he thanked me for that information, hopeful to rightly represent God's Word, right? Wrong. He said my point was "totally irrelevant." Is that how you would read such an answer to the point in his post? That it was "totally irrelevant"? I hope not. Of course, it is relevant. This is sheer pride on the part of this young man, intellectual and spiritual pride. I've written Doug Kutilek about this same point. Did he change his article? No. He just ignored it. I've found this typical of Doug Kutilek. In addition to his "totally irrelevant" comment, Adam wrote this in his comment section:

Of course, let us take a look at the pattern of all of these:

Psalm 119:111
A. I have inherited Your testimonies [Fem.] forever,
B. For they [Masc.] are the joy of my heart.

Psalm 119:129
A. Your testimonies [Fem.] are wonderful;
B. Therefore my soul observes them [Masc.].

Psalm 119:152
A. Of old I have known from Your testimonies [Fem.]
B. That You have founded them [Masc.] forever.

Psalm 119:167
A. My soul keeps Your testimonies [Fem.],
B. And I love them [Masc] exceedingly.

Now, the problem is that the syntax of these passages is not parallel to the syntax of Psalm 12. Notice how, in all of these texts, you have colon A with one gender, and colon B with another gender, all in one strophe. This is an example of what is called “gender parallelism,” where masculine and feminine are put in parallel with each other in two adjacent colons. Now, compare these with what you have in Psalm 12:

Psalm 12:5-7
5A. “Because of the devastation of the afflicted [Masc], because of the groaning of the needy [Masc],
5B. Now I will arise,” says the LORD;
5C. “I will set him [Masc] in the safety for which he longs.”
6A. The words [Fem.] of the LORD are pure words [Fem.];
6B. As silver tried in a furnace
6C. on the earth, refined seven times.
7A. You, O LORD, will keep them [Masc.];
7b. You will preserve him [Masc] from this generation forever.

That is not exactly parallel to the texts to which you pointed in Psalm 119. Structurally we have two colons between the “words” and the masculine suffixes [6B and 6C], and we have consistent uses of two feminine or two masculine nouns in the colons that are adjacent. We also have masculine plural nouns in 5A and a masculine singular noun in 5C, which is exactly parallel to what we have in 7A [masculine plural] and 7B [Masculine singular].

Also, I never used the gender disharmony as the “basis” for anything. I do realize that there is such a thing as gender disharmony in Hebrew. However, none of the passages to which you pointed are syntactically relevant, as all the passages you have cited are examples of a common usage of gender disharmony [gender parallelism], which is totally irrelevant to Psalm 12. Part of my my argument is that the gender disharmony in Psalm 12 makes “words” as the antecedent to the masculine suffixes far less likely.

Aha, oh yes, ahem, we've got to look at the, um, pattern of the few examples I gave Adam to chew on. Adam is saying that, oh yes, of course, gender discord, yes, that happens, yes, he knew that, of course. But that's not what he said. All he said was that the genders didn't match up. He said nothing about a particular pattern in which the genders may be discordant. Nothing. If he knew that in the first place, and then said that gender discord was making a certain grammatical point, then he was misleading his audience. No admission of that, however. If he knew it, then he was misleading his readers. If he didn't know it, then he should admit it. The latter seems like a better choice.

But he comes back in his comment to say that the syntax is not parallel and he cites "gender parallelism," so according to him this case in Psalm 12:6-7, the point of gender disharmony rule is not occurring. The implication is that gender disharmony between the pronoun and its antecedent "words" only works with the syntax found in my Psalm 119 examples, but not with Psalm 12. So if that's true, then every example should be the same syntax as we see in the Psalm 119 examples, his so-called "gender parallelism." But it isn't.

Joshua 1:7 doesn't have the same syntax as the Psalm 119 examples.

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law [feminine], which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it [masculine] to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

Psalm 78:5 doesn't have the same syntax as the Psalm 119 examples.

For he established a testimony [feminine] in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them [masculine] known to their children.

Leviticus 26:3 doesn't have the same syntax as the Psalm 119 examples.

If ye walk in my statutes [feminine], and keep my commandments [feminine], and do them [masculine].

1 Kings 6:12 doesn't have the same syntax as the Psalm 119 examples.

Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes [feminine], and execute my judgments [feminine], and keep all my commandments [feminine] to walk in them [masculine].

There are more examples than these, but these above blow Adam's whole syntactical parallel argument to bits. His "gender parallelism" point is nothing more than gobbly-gook.

You should notice that Adam and Doug disagree on the second masculine pronoun in v. 7. Doug says it should be understood as a plural, "particularizing every member within a group." That's obviously how the KJV translators took it, when they translated it "them." It's what I believe too, except referring to "words" in the previous verse. Kutilek also says "the antecedent noun can be expected to be masculine in gender and plural in number." And that's because he has been either clueless or rebellious about the existence of this gender discord rule. On the other hand, Adam attempts to refer that second pronoun in v. 7 back to the supplied "him" of v. 5. He makes a pronoun refer back to an understood pronoun, and uses his colon argument in order to accomplish that. But if we really do have some pattern there, like he says, then where is the 7c? According to him, there is a 5abc and 6abc in order to make it work, but there is only a 7ab---no c. He is seeing things that aren't there.

So What's Happening in Psalm 12 with Gender Discord

It would be better to see the structure of the psalm as asymmetric, like this.

A. Psalm 12:1
B. Psalm 12:2-4
C. Psalm 12:5
B. Psalm 12:6-7
A. Psalm 12:8

Psalm 12:2-4 speak of the words of the ungodly and Psalm 12:6-7 speak of the Words of God. Both Psalm 12:1 and 12:8 recognize the need of divine help. Psalm 12:5 is the promise of God. And here's a big tip on this asymmetric structure. V. 1 and v. 8 end with the same exact word in the Hebrew text, the Hebrew word for "man," adam.

Kutilek and Adam make the psalm about the poor and needy. The poem is marked by an incredibly strong emphasis on speech—three uses each of "speak" and "lips," four of "say," and two of "tongue." There is also one “groans.” The poet is focused on words. Vv. 2-3 and vv. 6-7 parallel in the structure. The most obvious contrast is between the words of the evildoers and the words of God with the implication that the veracity of words is primarily dependent on the speaker.

Adam later comes back to use structure to make a point of gender harmony. He's reading into the text. He should just go ahead and look at the nouns that are closest in proximity. "Words" fits with "them." If you hear hoofbeats, don't think zebras, think horses. Don't try to force the text into what you want it to say.

Psalm 12 is a perfect example of gender discord in play. The contrast between man's vacillating, untrustworthy words with the pure, preserved Words of God takes advantage of the masculine pronouns to make that point. The One Who speaks those Words overpowers and outlives the ones who speak the others.


Psalm 12 is talking about words. The gender discord, used purposefully, indicates the trustworthiness, stability, permanence, and strength of God's Words versus those of evil men. There is a bit of irony here as it relates to the trust in one representation of Psalm 12 over another. You'll have to judge what and/or who to trust.


Order Thou Shalt Keep Them below.


Joshua said...


I just wanted to say that I learned something in the comments section on Adam's blog. I've read many debates online now, and reading your posts showed me the reason most of them should never have started.

What I learned was the importance of establishing whether concessions can be made when valid criticisms are laid. I've jumped in and wasted hours trying to reason with someone who cannot concede the smallest point. Sometimes I think I've been that guy who doesn't want to let anything slip. This has shown me how that can be avoided.

The second was the importance of determining if the debate will be framed in God-ordained grounds of imploring the elder/pastor and seeking to learn or a young man rebuking/mocking/nitpicking someone above. That was also something that gave me cause for consideration in my tone and attitude when responding to other folks older than me online. No amount of confidence in the correctness of my ideas will excuse disrespect.

I know that wasn't your intention when you wrote that, but it has been a blessing so thank you.

As long as this doesn't detract from your family and ministry, I'd like to encourage you to please keep going with this blog. I've learned much, and it has shored up my faith in God's word, the local church and the very nature of truth itself.

God bless,


Anonymous said...


Although I will still confess that I know the KJB to be true by faith, I am amazed and very thankful for the education in details that witness to my faith that you provide in many excellent articles. I am finding that same kind of information in Lanblion's writings as well, and I would not have known of him if it were not for your site.

Please keep doing this kind of work. It is so edifying.

As for the modernists, after reading more about the textual conclusions these men have incorporated in 1 Timothy 3:16 for support of leaving out "God" and in John 10, I no longer have any doubts that they are doing these things intentionally. I can understand that some Christians may be inclined to agree with their false processes, but after being confronted by articles such as yours, they appear to have no leading by the Holy Ghost when they remain unconvinced. Certainly this is my opinion, but I suspect we will all agree with it in the end. What drives these men? Pride.

Joe V.

Lamblion said...

I don't have time to read the whole article right now, but I did read Kutilek's absurd statement.

Kutilek wrote:
"Hebrew, like many non-English languages, has a feature that English lacks -- that of grammatical gender...about everything else from forks, knives, and spoons to roofing nails and sheet rock is classified as neuter.

In the first place, Hebrew has no neuter gender. There is only masculine and feminine.

In the second place, both "fork" and "knife" are masuline in Hebrew, whereas "spoon" and "nail" is feminine.

None of the above are neuter because, as I said, Hebrew has no neuter gender.

Draw your own conclusion.

Lamblion said...

Oh, okay, I read the rest of Kutilek's statement. He does acknowledge that Hebrew only has masculine and feminine. I was in a hurry and didn't read the whole statment.

In any case, Kent's assessment is correct with regard to mixing of gender and referents in the Hebrew Bible.

There is honest disagreement on Psalm 12:6-7, and my opinion is that there is a double meaning here.

Which is to say that God has promised to preserve BOTH his people and his Word.

Many verses of Scripture have doulbe meanings, such as "Out of Egype have I called my son." Matthew 2:15, Hosea 11:1

Either way, preservation is not dependant on this one passage.

Thomas Ross said...

Kutilek makes real whoppers--see my article "Kutilek's Incredible Errors" at http://sites.google.com/site/thross7. He says that Pastor Brandenburg wrote the book "God’s Word in Our Hands: The Bible
Preserved For Us," although it is an anti-KJV book Pastor Brandenburg had absolutely nothing to do with, and he didn't change his statements after I contacted him about it.

Lamblion said...


And of course, that crowd constantly appeals to the Greek "experts", like Daniel B. Wallace, for example, who can't even pronounce Greek properly, let alone speak it. Here's just ONE example of MANY EXAMPLES and ONE reason of MANY REASONS why native Greeks who are FLUENT in English have ZERO respect for MODERN anglo Greek scholarship.

Daniel B. Wallace, a Greek professor at DTS, and whose book, "Greek Grammar Beyond The Basics", is used in virtually every anglo seminary that teaches Greek today, made this statement on page 321, referring to the string of neuters used in succession in 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 --

"The neuter is used to express the horror of depravity, as if they had been subhuman before conversion." GGBB, p 321.

Native Greeks can only belly laugh at this.

In fact, the reason that Paul, and by extension the Holy Spirit, employed the neuter in this passage is because it only happens to be THE -- not ONE of the -- but THE most common idiom in the Greek language.

But because the Greek "expert" Wallace can't even pronounce Greek properly, let alone speak, he wasn't even aware of THE -- not ONE of the -- but THE most common idiom in the Greek language.

And these are the people who are charging the KJB with error.

Thomas Ross said...

Note that in the Psalm 78:5 example, “law” [torah] is feminine also. This was neither stated nor denied, but someone who didn’t know Hebrew might think the force of your argument was weakened if he didn't know this.

By the way, Pastor Brandenburg, this article is excellent. I intend to link to it on my website.

What Lamblion says is too often not credible. Apart from the fact that he doesn't have the correct page number from Wallace, what Wallace says on that page is fine. His whole point on that page is that constructio ad sensum actually takes place sometimes and is fine Greek grammar. Previous comments where Greek is not even transliterated correctly, refusal to deal with evidence (such as, in the most recent comment sections, refusing to say what pneuma derives from if it is not pneo; ignoring where pneuma is clearly used for "breath," affirming that one must master the Masorah before being able to properly understand the Hebrew OT and thus denying, almost surely without intent to do so, sola scriptura, affirming no Hebrew MSS read with the KJV in Psalm 22:16, etc.) are problematic. Critical text people should be critiqued because of their actual problems, not because of non-extant ones.

I am probably going to get lambasted by Lamblion for saying the above, but I have no desire to argue with him over it. Readers should just be careful to check whatever he says if one wants to go with it.

Lamblion said...

Actually, I do have the correct page number of Wallace as given in the electronic edition of his book. If you'll notice, the page number in his printed edition, first edition, is page 331, which is only 10 pages different from the electronic edition. That's due to the new edition format.

Had you known that there was more than just one edition and that the book exists in both printed and electronic format, you wouldn't have ignorantly asserted that the page number was incorrect, just as you wouldn't have ignorantly stated that Wallace is correct in the grammar, when in fact his grammar is utterly absurd here, and just as you wouldn't ignorantly keep beathing the dead horse of "theopneustos" and defending the modern definition of this word which has been altered by people who can't even pronounce Greek properly, let alone speak it, such as yourself.

Lamblion said...

Oh, with regard to your contention on the Hebrew manuscripts in Psalm 22:17 (22:17 in Hebrew) please tell us which Hebrew manuscript does not have the qamets underneath the kaf and has a holem-vav at the end of the word instead of a hireq-yod?

Go for it. You'll be the only person on the planet who can produce such a manuscript.

Furthermore, the fact that you don't understand either the manuscript issue here or the significance of what is actually going on this passage only further demonstrates that you don't know Hebrew any more than you do Greek.

Lamblion said...

Quick correction -- I meant sureq instead of holem-vav. The difference is a dot over the vav in a holem-vav and dot immediately after the vav in a sureq.

For those who may be curious about this, just ask anyone who can actually speak Hebrew what the straitforward reading of this passage is as it is written stricly in the text.

Lamblion said...

I weary of these exchanges, and also the lag time, especially with someone who continually confuses people by defending modern scholars who can't even pronounce Hebrew or Greek properly, let alone speak it. As Thomas has continually demonstrated. Accordingly, let me just ice this matter of the Hebrew with a salient quotation from John Owen on this passage, and note that I will be transliterating phonetically instead of syllabically, yet, the sureg reading and the hireq-yod reading will be apparent to anyone with even a basic knowledge of Hebrew --

"But that which makes the greatest cry at present is the corruption of Psalm 22:17, where, instead of "ka'aroo", which the LXX. translated "Thruxan", "They digged" or "pierced," - that is, "my hands and feet," - the present Judaical copies, as the Antwerp Bibles also, read "ka'ree", "as a lion," so depraving the prophecy of our Savior's suffering, "They digged (or pierced) my hands and my feet," leaving it no sense at all; "As a lion my hands and my feet." John Owen, Works, Banner Of Truth Trust, Vol XVI, 361.

In other words, as anyone who can actually speak Hebrew knows, the current text reads "As a lion my hands and feet."

First, according to the testimony of Owen and others, there used to be manuscripts extant here which read "They pierced my hands and feet" but those manuscripts have been lost to us so that there is no such manuscript extant today.

That's why the Masora is critical here. In the Isaiah portion of the Masora Magna (the Masora Parva is all that is included in the current BHS, which only gives a smattering of the total of information in the actual Masora Magna and the Masora Finalis), indeed, in the Isaiah portion of the Masora Magna, the text tells us that the word in Psalm 22:17 DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME SENSE as it does in Isaiah 38:13, to wit, "as a lion".

In other words, the word must NOT be translated "as a lion" in Psalm 22:17, which would appear to be the strait forward reading, at least for those of us who can actually speak Hebrew.

Don't be further confused by modern scholarship, for they and those who defend them are ignorant not only of spiritual matters, but of many simple scholarly matters as well. But what can you expect from people who can't even pronounce Hebrew and Greek properly, let alone speak it?

Lamblion said...

Okay, one last thing...

The reason modern "bibles" translate this passage as "they pierced my hands and feet" is not because they were familiar with the Masora.

Rather, they knew that to translate it as it is actually written would lose them millions in sales.

Thus, they simply followed the KJV here, which is what modern "bibles" do in numerous passages that they don't understand.

Lamblion said...

In order to be helpful to those who actually witness Jesus Christ to the lost, I'll add this quick help...

First, anyone who has ever witnessed to a Jew who possesses knowledge of the Scriptures has been confronted with Psalm 22:17, where he asserts that this is NOT a fulfillment of prophecy because the text actually reads "as a lion my hands and feet".

People with no knowledge of the issue have no answer for this when dealing with a Sabra (native Israeli) whose mother tongue is Hebrew.

However, when you point out to him the Masora, which was also written by Jews, just like the Scriptures, you do have an answer. In fact, not only does the Masora say that the word has a diffeent sense than "as a lion" in Psalm 22:17, but it also strongly infers a verbal aspect, which would then be translated as "they pierced" or "they digged" and so on.

In other words, the passage DOES affirm one of the great prophecies of the Lord Jesus when understood in light of the Masora.

You will also discover, by the way, that most of the Jews you witness to have never actually read the Bible itself, except for those passage containing the various recitals. And most of the time those are written on pieces of paper or little booklets like a hymn book which groups all the various verses together into one whole.

Rather than reading the Hebrew OT, the Jews read the Talmud and the Misnah and other Rabbinic literature. They know those works very well, but most of them really know nothing of the OT Scriptures.

Thus, you take them to Isaiah 53. After they run back to their Rabbi and retort that Isaiah 53 is not talking about a person, but about a nation, i.e., Israel, a knowledge of the Hebrew and the Masora further aids in a witness for Jesus Christ.

I have found, though, that instead of debating the Hebrew, I just do this --

"Read Isaiah 53 with an open mind and just ask yourself if this is talking about a person or a nation."

You have thus already marginalized the answer that they'll get from their Rabbi, in addition to making them think for themselves.

I have found Isaiah 53 to be a right Jerusalem blade in such encounters.

d4v34x said...

Not surprisingly, my reading of Adam's response is different than yours. Yes he acknowledged the gender disagreement and classed it as something like a literary device he called gender parallelism (or something like that). I'm not saying he's right or wrong. I just think you guys talked past each other on that point.

Thomas Ross said...

My article on my website on Psalm 22:16 deals with what Lamblion said about MSS. If he wishes to conclude that I, and just about everyone else, has no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew, I am not going to argue with him. He is very wrong in affirming the necessity of the Masorah for understanding the Hebrew OT, though--his is the Catholic opinion on this, opposing the truth of sola Scriptura.

On something far more related to the post, here is Gesenius on gender discord:

Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, sec. 135o:

[§ 135o] Rem. 1. Through a weakening in the distinction of gender, which is noticeable elsewhere (cf. § 110 k, 144 a, 145 p, t, u) and which probably passed from the colloquial language8 into that of literature, masculine suffixes (especially in the plural) are not infrequently used to refer to feminine substantives; thus a noun-suffix in the singular, Ex 11:6, 25:19, Ju 11:34; 9 in the plural, Gn 31:9, 32:16, 41:23, Ex 1:21, 2:17, Nu 27:7 (but the feminine suffix twice immediately after, and so the Samaritan also in verse 7); 36:6 (Samaritan }∞b≈ˆîhen, but also b§{e®ne®hem); Ju 19:24, 21:22, 1 S 6:7, 10b (b§ne®hem); 9:20, Is 3:16, Ez 23:45 ff. (alternating with hen); Am 4:1f. (but afterwards a feminine suffix); Jb 1:14, 39:3 (hΩeb≈le®hem in parallelism with yald≈e®hen); 42:15, Ct 4:2, 6:6, Ru 1:8 ff. (along with feminine suffixes); Dn 1:5, 8:9. Verbal suffixes in the singular, Ex 22:25; in the plural, Ju 16:3, Pr 6:21, Jb 1:15. But Gn 26:15, 18, 33:13, Ex 2:17, 1 S 6:10a are to be explained according to § 60 h. On heœmma® as feminine, see § 32 n. On the use of the masculine in general as the prior gender, see § 122 g.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thomas Ross reads the Hebrew and Greek for his devotions. He knows Hebrew and Greek. I can vouch for him. I can't actually vouch for you. I'm happy about your defense of the traditional text of Scripture. Your arguments will stand on their own, not on your insults toward other people's abilities. I would actually pit Thomas' knowledge of Hebrew and Greek against anybody. I'm that confident in them. And I'm sure he would give credit to the grace of God.

Lamblion said...

Ross is the one who started this exchange by attacking me. I did not start it, he did.

Moreover, I don't really care about opinions, especially when it's shown that they are uninformed.

Ross stated that I had the incorrect page number. I have demonstrated he is factually in error.

Ross stated that there is no manuscript issue in Psalm 22:17. I demonstrated that he is factually in error. Nor can he, or you or anybody eles, produce a manuscript that reads "They pierced..." in Psalm 22:17.

Ross further demonstrated that his Hebrews skills are SORELY lacking due to the FACT that the Hebrew text does NOT read as the KJV or other Bibles have translated it in Psalm 22:17, i.e., "They pierced..."

If he wants to hide his head in the sand and keep asserting that current text states that, he will only continue to demonstrate himself as the laughingstock he is. What's scary is that he is in a teaching position even though he had demonstrated a raptuorous ignorance of both Hebrew and Greek.

The above items on the page number and the text and manuscript in Psalm 22:17 are simple FACTS IN EVIDENCE.

Ross professes the KJV but he sides with modern scholars on every issue relative to Hebrew and Greek.

If you want to hide your head in the sand, have it.

But the FACT is, Ross is DEMONSTRABLY wrong in his assertions, and the next time he should understake to understand at least the basics of an issue before attacking someone on issues about which he is DEMONSTRABLY inaccurate.

Lamblion said...

Oh, by the way, I'll be posting my own paper on the Hebrew and Greek and the KJV relative to modern scholarship and their ignorance of many of these matters, and why the KJV translators were so superior to our modern "experts" who can't even pronounce Hebrew and Greek properly, let alone speak it.

Also, I suggest you both get some real world experience by finding a native Hebrew speaker who is also fluent in English and ask them to translate Psalm 22:17 for you.

In fact, I exhort everyone to do this test.

Anyone who does this test will be able to determine who actually understands Hebrew here, and who clearly does not.

Lamblion said...

Finally, I can only deal with what a person writes in his comments here. Until now, I did not know Ross had written an article on this until he just notified us that he had done so.

I don't know if he just wrote this article or if he had written it prior to this exchange, but either way, I skimmed the article, and while he does demonstrate that he has some knowledge of this issue, he is still factually in error to assert that there is Hebrew manuscript support for "They pierced..." in Psalm 22:17.

There USED to be manuscript support for this verse according to the testimony of others, but there is no known manuscript extant today that does so. Thus, to assert that there is Hebrew manuscript support for this passage is certainly erroneous, and also disingenuous.

That is why the Masora is crucial here. The Masora is also crucial in numerous other places in the Scripture. The Masora gives hard evidence that Psalm 22:17 should be translated as "They pierced...", unlike the phantom manuscripts.

The KJV translators placed a great deal of value in the Masora, and I am pretty sure that they were not Roman Catholic, contrary to Ross' assertion about the Masora being a Roman Catholic favorite.

In fact, that is also demonstrably false.

To use the logic that Ross used in his paper on a Jew or other Hebrew speaker would only further harden that soul to the truth of Jesus Christ. To try to pull manuscripts out of thin air in support of this passage, or to rely on the LXX in the face a Hebrew speaker, or to try to rationalize the wording in Psalm 22:17, without any basis for rationalizing the wording, is not only fatal to the hearer, but actually reeks of superstition.

The Masora takes care of all of those dead-ends, and it does so with authority. The Masora happends to be an integral part of the Hebrew Masoretic Text. That's why it's called the MASORETIC Text, because it contains the MASORA, because it not only contains the vowel markings of the Masoretes, but it likewise contains the vast treasure trove composed of the Masora Magna, Masora Parva, and the Masora Finalis.

Those who ignore these do so to their own ignorance.

And as I said, the Reformers and Puritans and others of that era placed a great value on the Masora, unlike any today.

If the Masora were not important, Ben Chayyim would not have spent virtually his entire adult life working on it, and it his text that the KJV rests on.

Lamblion said...

This will be my last post here.

Ross states that "theopneustos" means "God breathed", whereas native Greeks who are fluent in English state that it does not. Ross asserts that the lexica supports him (even thought it doesn't).

Nevertheless, Ross also states that he is "fully committed" to the definition of "monogenes" as meaning "only begotten" or its equivalent, instead of meaning merely "unique" or "only".

In the first case above, Ross, as we saw, asserts that he is supported by the lexica. Why then, we ask, does he not also adhere to the lexica concerning "monogenes", for here are the top two definitions of "monogenes" in BDAG --

"1. pert. to being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship, ONE AND ONLY, ONLY..." BDAG

"2. pert. to being the only one of its kind or class, UNIQUE(in kind) of someth..." BDAG

We must therefore ask, on what authority does Ross hold to the lexica in the first example but denies the lexica in the other?

I will answer -- his authority is himself. He holds to the lexica in the first example because it suits him to do so. He rejects the lexica in the second example because it also suits him to do so. His opinion is his authority in the matter of Greek definitions.

Here is the case for the jury --

On the one hand, you have Ross and a host of anglo scholars who can't even pronounce Greek properly, let alone speak it, asserting that "theopneustos" means "God breathed".

On the other hand, you have native Greeks who are FLUENT in English, and who have grown up reading the Greek NT IN GREEK, and who have grown up reading the Greek classics IN GREEK, and who actually speak Greek FLUENTLY, as Greek is their mother tongue, and who assert that "theopneustos" does NOT mean "God breathed", but rather, that "theopneustos" means "God SPIRITED" or "God INSPIRED".

Those are the facts. Let the jury retire to the jury room and determine who is right about the matter and who is not, whether anglo scholars who can't speak Greek are correct, or whether native Greeks who are FLUENT in BOTH languages are correct.

Thomas Ross said...

Arguments of the sort that are found here:


explain why monogenes means only-begotten.

Scripture alone is given by inspiration of God--the Masoretic notes are valuable, but they were made by Christ-rejecting, unconverted, blinded Jews. They are not necessary for understanding the Word of God. Furthermore, as I demonstrated in my article on Psalm 22, there is MSS evidence for "pierced" in Psalm 22:16/17. If Lamblion had read my previous comments on his assertions that there was no MSS support for this reading, he would have known this already. Lamblion is wrong because:

1.) Jesus promised that all jots and tittles, Hebrew letters, would be preserved, Mt 5:18, so there is MSS evidence for "pierced." If the true reading were only in the Masoretic notes, the Lord Jesus' statement would have failed--impossible.

2.) Scripture alone is authority, 2 Tim 3:16-17, not Scripture + notes by unregenerate Jews who were as blinded to the truth as modern liberal scholars are.

Thomas Ross said...

Here's a note I wrote a while back in my Trinitarian studies on monogenes. The Greek will be garbled, no doubt, unfortunately.

“Traditionally, the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son was supported by an appeal to the five Johannine texts in which Christ is identified as monogenes (Jn 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; I Jn 4:9). As early as Jerome’s Vulgate, this word was understood in the sense of ‘only begotten’ (unigenitus), and the tradition was continued by the Authorized Version. However . . . [many today] reject this understanding and believe, instead, that the idea behind the word is more along the lines of ‘only’ (RSV) or ‘one and only’ (NIV). One of the main arguments is that the -genes suffix is related to the verb ginomai rather than gennao, thus acquiring the meaning ‘category’ or ‘genus.’
Unfortunately, this argument requires a selective reading of the evidence. It ignores the wealth of lexemes that have the -genes suffix. After searching Thesaurus Linguae Graecae . . . a comprehensive collection of all extant Greek literature up to the 6th century AD, [it is estimated] that there are approximately 120 such words in the Greek vocabulary. Of these, 30% are not listed in Liddell and Scott, but the lexicon’s glosses of 55% contain such words as ‘born’ and ‘produced.’ For example, neogenes is glossed as "newly produced," and theogenes, "born of God." A mere 11% involve meanings related to ‘kind’ (e.g., homogenes means ‘of the same genus’), while the remainder of usages have miscellaneous meanings. The sheer preponderance of the evidence would indicate that monogenes in the Johannine literature could very well mean ‘only begotten.’” (Lee Irons, “The Eternal Generation of the Son,”).
Furthermore, “even if genes comes from genos, the family relationship concept may be maintained. . . . meanings for genos [include] . . . ancestral stock, descendant . . . a relatively small group with common ancestry, family, relatives . . . a relatively large people group, nation, people . . . This family relationship concept can be seen, for example, in Revelation 22:16 where our Lord describes Himself as the “offspring of David.” The word translated “offspring” is genos” (“The translation ‘only-begotten’ referring to the Son of God,” in “What I Would Like To See in A Bible Version for Study Purposes,” Myron J. Houghton, Faith Pulpit, Ankeny, IA: Faith Theological Seminary, July/August 2006)—and could not one derive genna¿w itself from an earlier root from which also came ge÷noß? Those who contend that monogenh/ß simply means “unique” should consider the fact that century after century of Greek patristic writers, who thought, spoke, and wrote in Greek from their youth, unanimously affirmed, based on monogenh/ß, that the Son is “only-begotten” and eternally generated. How many of the modern opponents to eternal generation fluently speak—not to mention think—in Greek? Is their Greek really so much better than that of the delegates to the Council of Nicea and the other ancient Councils, so that they can correct the unanimous ancient affirmation of Trinitarian orthodoxy that the Son is eternally begotten? “[I]t must surprise the student to learn that Athanasius and a hundred Greek bishops, whose mother tongue was Greek, knew less Greek than we do, and in particular did not know that monogenes is derived from ginomai rather than from gennao. Even so, the two verbs are themselves derived from an earlier common stem. At any rate, the genes in monogenes derives immediately from genos. This word as a matter of fact suggests begetting and generation, as much as if it had been derived from gennao. Genos means first of all race, stock, kin. Genei uios means a natural as opposed to an adopted son. Genos also means direct as opposed to collateral descent” (pg. 120, The Trinity, Gordon Clark. 2nd ed. Jefferson, MR: Trinity Foundation, 1990).

Lamblion said...

Well, this could continuously, but I'll just close with this...

Ross can't produce a single Hebrew manuscript to support his assertion, but he still insists that they just MUST exist.

That's because that's what his very pronounced cultic mindset requires, even though, as I said, he can't produce a single manuscript to back up his words.

That, along with my earlier jury test with regard to "theopneustos", is all you need to know.

Thomas Ross said...

My article gives plenty of evidence that Hebrew MSS have the reading "pierced" in Psalm 22:16. I find it very unusual that I can give all that evidence and yet "not produce a single Hebrew manuscript." What am I supposed to do--go to a museum, steal one with the KJV reading, and send it to LambLion? Is there a grand conspiracy among lexica, commentators, textual apparata, etc. to say that Hebrew MSS have the KJV reading when they really don't?

Furthermore, I will happily believe Matthew 5:18 over anything else--if the Lord Jesus says jots and titles have been preserved, there is evidence for the true reading of Matthew 5:18 in Hebrew. In fact, Matthew 5:18 is the ultimate evidence, more certain than 10,000 MSS that are right before my eyes. LambLion may call believing Matthew 5:18 a "very cultic mindset," but I will not have to appear before LambLion on the day of judgment. I would far rather appear before the Son of God believing Matthew 5:18 than come before Him having rejected sola Scriptura by asserting that uninspired Masoretic notes are necessary to understand the 2/3+ of the Word of God that was inspired in Hebrew.

I'm very probably done dealing with LambLion here; he said he was done, so that's good--even if he changes his mind and decides to throw a few more "very cultic mindset" " at me, I'm still almost surely done.

As a postscriptum--LambLion affirms that I cannot speak or pronounce Greek or Hebrew, but in his comment that began: "This will be my last post here" he made at least eight grammatical errors in English. There is some definite irony in this.

Lamblion said...

Yes, well, I leave myself the option to respond if I feel like it. And when I said that was my last post, I was primarily referring to a post that I actually formulated as a statement rather than a quick response.

So I'll try very hard to make this the last. Most people are willing to admit they made a mistake when it is shown to them.

Even though I would never nitpick a person on a comment blog where posts are written hastily and without proof reading or grammar checking and whatnot, you have a knack like the Pharisees of old of straining at gnats and swallowing camels.

You asserted, for example, that I had the wrong page number in Wallace. When your were roundly refuted and shown that your gnat-picking statement was in fact false, instead of admitting you made a mistake you moved on to other assertions, such as your last comment about perceived grammatical errors in my "last" post.

The fact that you single out matters of minutia is only proof of the vacuousness of your arguments.

Had I written for my website I would proof read what I write. I don't do that here because I simply don't care to waste my time. I figure most people are sensible enough and mentally mature enough to go with the flow and recognize that the medium here is not made to be the conduit for a pristine treatise.

The fact that you would further relate these minor comment fluxes to Greek or Hebrew expertise is yet another of your many red herrings, especially when you have not made a single correct statement in this exchange with regard to the meaning of Greek words and Wallace's grammar.

The fact that you think Wallace was correct in his absurd assertion is all that anyone who actually truly knows Greek needs to see.

The same with regard to the Hebrew. And the fact that you disdain the Masora, even though the KJV translators and Puritans and others valued it highly, is just another example of you burying your head in the sand when the evidence doesn't appeal to you.

Don't try to sell your fables to people who want real answers about the text, such as even though the text reads "As a lion" in Psalm 22:17, it does't really mean that because some rare manuscript(s) used to exist that had that reading.

The fact is, even if there were legitimate manuscript support for that reading, that is NOT how the text actually reads. THAT is the issue.

The fact that the text reads that way means that that is how the consensus of scholars say it should read. And no clear thinking individual is going to be persuaded by fables of manuscripts or otherwise.

What a clear-thinking individual will be persuaded by is when he is shown that even though the text reads that way, it cannot be translated as such because of the nuance that was employed by the Masora itself, for any clear-thinking individual knows that the text was preserved and protected by the Masoretes, and that they were masters of the text.

And while that could be much more fully developed, suffice it to say that your assertion that the Masora was composed by Christ-rejecting Jews is yet another of your many, many, many red herrings.

ALL of the Scriptures were written by the Jews, INCLUDING the Masora, and the very text that underlies the KJV was preserved and protected BY THOSE VERY SAME JEWS, the SAME Jews who gave us the Masora AND the text that it is based on.

If you had even an inkling of understanding, you would know that the Hebrew text we possess and which the KJV is based on is composed FROM the vowel pointings and the data in the Masora.

You would further know, as Owen and many others have noted, that the Masoretic vowel points witness AGAINST those very same Jews, thus arguing infallibly for the TRUSTWORTHINESS of them in the first place, and Psalm 22:17 just happens to be beaming example of that, as it is the Masora that PRESERVES and PROTECTS the reading of "They pierced...", a reading that DOES not deploy in the kethib or kere itself.

Thomas Ross said...

When I first took 2nd year Greek years ago, my edition of Wallace had the same page numbers as my electronic Accordance Bible software edition, which had the quotation above on the same page as my students had it in their new editions of Wallace. These sources all agree with my page number, not with the page LambLion says he is quoting from. This makes me wonder about the reference by Lamblion about his page number being correct, but if he affirms it is, there is no point talking about it any further, and if he wants to conclude that “[h]ad [I] known that there was more than just one edition and that the book exists in both printed and electronic format, [I] wouldn't have ignorantly asserted that the page number was incorrect,” he can do so, I suppose. I happily concede him the page number, and will let the reader judge if I am also ignorant that “the book exists in both printed and electronic format,” because of it. If my being “roundly refuted [on the page number of his edition of Wallace!] . . . is . . . proof of the vacuousness of [my] arguments” on everything else, I will let readers decide.
By the way, the English word “inspire” is derived from “in” and spirare, which means “breathe,” just like the word pneuma includes “breath” in its semantic domain (Gen 6:17, 1 Kings 17:17, Job 4:9, LXX, etc.; note the overwhelming other evidence listed in the standard lexica, none of which has been addressed by LambLion) in relation to Theopneustos.

The reader of this series of comments should see if Lamblion has actually proven his positions, clearly explained what pneuma is derived from instead of pneo, carefully exegeted Matthew 5:18 and showed that Christ said that the Hebrew Words of the Bible might disappear from all Hebrew MSS, shown the conspiracy of lexica, commentators, etc. to fabricate MSS evidence for the KJV reading in Psalm 22:16; proven sola scriptura to be in error, etc., as well as proving that I “have a knack like the Pharisees of old,” am “very cultic,” etc.
I wonder if LambLion’s assertion that I “have not made a single correct statement in this exchange with regard to the meaning of Greek words” includes where we agree on the derivation of monogenes. Note also that when I stated “the Masoretic notes are valuable” LambLion was able to prove that I “disdain the Masora . . . just another example of you burying your head in the sand when the evidence doesn't appeal to you.”
Another remarkable statement by LambLion is: “If you had even an inkling of understanding, you would know that the Hebrew text we possess and which the KJV is based on is composed FROM the vowel pointings and the data in the Masora.” Since the vowel points are not in the Masoretic notes, but in the text itself around the consonants, and the Masoretic notes themselves don’t have vowel points, it would appear that everyone who can even look at a Hebrew Bible and see the obvious does not have “even an inkling of understanding.” All historians also are in error (like all lexicographers), and without “even an inkling of understanding,” for they affirm that the Hebrew Words came first, and the Masora magna, etc. afterwards, but LambLion affirms that the Hebrew text is “composed from . . . the Masora.” Remember that this statement is true of me, as I do not have “even an inkling of understanding,” not of LambLion: “[O]n what authority does Ross hold to [his views?] . . . I will answer -- his authority is himself.”
Hopefully the comments above will help readers see if my original assertion that LambLion’s material is too often unreliable is correct or incorrect.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.

Lamblion said...

Ross's last comment is a perfect example of his ignorance of this mastter. He states that the points are part of text.

I can only assume that Ross is as ignorant of the DSS as he is of all of these other matters.

Just try to find VOWEL POINTS in the text of the DSS.

For those who don't know, they're not there.

That's because the Masoretes who gave us the Masora Magna and the Masora Finalis ALSO GAVE US the VOWEL POINTS.

Couple Ross' ignorance about the VOWEL POINTS with the jury test and you have all you need to know.

Thomas Ross said...

Anyone who wishes can check out:

The Debate over the Inspiration of the Hebrew Vowel Points

Evidences for the Inspiration of the Hebrew Vowel Points

at http://sites.google.com/site/thross7

on the vowel points--or read John Owen on them, for that matter.

Thomas Ross said...

By the way, an exhibit on Dead Sea Scrolls are currently at our local museum in Milwaukee, with (some of) the scrolls present. It was a blessing to see them and read from them.

Claymore said...

To be honest, I am greatly confused about this debate. It seems to be little more than a trading of personal attacks. Lamblion's statement that the Masora is required for studying Hebrew is, however, nil. That is almost like saying that one cannot study Greek without knowing Diesman's work on the subject. Of course, my time in Hebrew was mostly spent learning how to translate and doing word-studies. My grand-teacher (that is, the man who taught those who taught me) was fluent in Hebrew and Greek (having read through the Scriptures in those languages at least once in a year and one time preaching in the Koine to a Greek church), but I don't know if he was as familiar with the Masora. To me, it seems such a statement places the writings of men before the Word of God. When we study the Bible, how much light It sheds on the commentaries.

BTW: regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls, anything of the commentary should be disregarded as it was written by modernists.

Thomas Ross said...

Dear Claymore,

I agree that most of the material above was not especially useful. It was certainly my desire to speak in a manner that befits the gospel of Christ--I simply felt that some of the clearly inaccurate assertions of LambLion needed to be responded to. My goal, whether or not I was entirely successful, was to avoid excesses and bizarre insults and deal with facts.

Thomas Ross said...

Here is something I read a few days ago from what is probably the standard Hebrew syntax book used in the USA that speaks exactly to the gender situation in Psalm 12:6-7. I have removed the Hebrew because it would become garbled.

“16.4 Suffixed Personal Pronouns . . . The masculine pronoun is often used for a feminine antecedent . . .

1. . . . “with ornaments jingling on their (masc. for [the feminine antecedent “daughters”]) ankles Isa 3:16

2. . . . “And as for all the wells (fem.)…the Philistines stopped them (masc.) up and filled them (masc.) with earth. Gen 26:15

(pg. 302, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Bruce K. Waltke and M. O’Connor.)

Perhaps those arguing against the antecedent “words” in Psalm 12:6-7 should study Hebrew somewhat more carefully.

KJB1611 said...

The papers on the Hebrew vowels are now more easily accessible at:


than on the site mentioned above.