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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

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The Living Words: Perfect

This article is an xcerpt from Mr. Benner's book The Living Words.


I begin this study with a comparison of two people, Jacob and Job.

And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. Genesis 25:27 (KJV)

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one Job 1:1 (KJV)

From these two verses, we could conclude that Jacob was plain, just an ordinary person, nothing special, but Job, on the other hand, was rather extraordinary as he was "perfect." What you might find interesting is the word "perfect" in Job 1:1 is a translation of the Hebrew word תם tam [H:8535] but so is the word "plain" in Genesis 25:27. So why isn't Jacob considered "perfect" by the translations just as they did with Job? This is another case of translators relying on the Greek Septuagint for their translation rather than the Hebrew text itself. The Greek uses the word amemptos [G:273], meaning "blameless," for Job and the word haplous [G:573], meaning "simple," for Jacob.

The word תם tam [H:8535] can be best defined as "mature in thought and action" and is the parent root of the verb תמם tamam [H:8552] meaning to be whole, finished or completed. From this verb comes the word תמים tamiym [H:8549].

Thou shalt be perfect (tamiym) with the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 18:13 (KJV)

Can one be perfect? From a Greek perspective, no, because everyone has his faults, but in Hebraic thought there is no concept of "perfect." A better translation of the verse above is;

You will be complete (tamiym) with Yahweh your Elohiym



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Related Pages by Jeff A. Benner


TheThe Living Words (Book)
A study of Hebrew words in the Old and New Testament from their original Hebraic perspective.


TheThe Living Words - Introduction (Article)
An introduction to Mr. Benner's book The Living Words expounding on the Ancient Hebrew culture and philosophy.


TheThe Living Words: Fringes (Article)
Excerpt from Mr. Benner's Book "The Living Words" and examining the Hebrew word for fringes.



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