Here I Am!

I know that words matter and had a question about Genesis 22:1 and 22:11. In verse 1, Abraham answers, “Here I am,” and in verse 22 “Here am I.” Any significance to this difference?

Thank you for all that you do and have a great rest of the day.

Matt D.

Dear Matt,

Thank you for throwing us a softball. Over the past few weeks, we have had a number of demanding Ask the Rabbi and Susan questions, and we appreciate being able to relax a bit.

We don’t know if you have children, but one great parenting moment is when a trembling child tells you that there is a lion in his room and you turn on the light so that he can see that the lion is a yellow blanket draped over a clothes hamper. Problem solved.

If you have been following us for any amount of time, you will have noticed that we insist on working only with the original Hebrew language of the Bible. Let us look at the two phrases that aroused your question.

Your English Bible
Genesis 22:1 – Here I am
Genesis 22:11- Here am I

God’s Hebrew Bible
Genesis 22:1 – הנני
Genesis 22:11 – הנני
Even if you don’t read Hebrew, you can see that these words are identical.
(*See where to find these words in our recommended Bible)

The lion is a blanket! There is no difference in the Bible, only in the translator’s choice of phraseology.

A change of language is a huge deal when it occurs in the Hebrew of the Bible. This is why we focus on Hebrew in our Thought Tools, Scrolling through Scripture series, Genesis Journeys Set, and other books and CDs. In the English translation, language is often irrelevant.

Thanks for making us smile,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

In our Recommended Bible:
*Genesis 22:1 – הנני – p. 56, 5th line from the bottom, 4th word from the right.
*Genesis 22:11 – הנני – p. 58, 13th line, 3rd word from the left.

What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Ask the Rabbi & Susan post.
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