Don't mess with Abraham

Don’t Mess with Abraham

In Hebrew Bible by Dr. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

In Gen. 12:3 we read a very famous verse: “And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse.” Things seem to be clear, but a very important nuance is lost in translation.

God promises Abraham that “everyone who curses him” מְקַלֶּלְךָ  (mekalelcha) will be in turn “be cursed” אָאֹר (aor). The strength of this promise, however, is lost in translation. The first word for “curses” – מְקַלֶּלְךָ  (mekalelcha) comes from a root that literally means “to make light of something heavy.”

The second word for “curse,” אָאֹר  (aor) actually comes from a completely different root that means something like “to utterly destroy.” Taking these insights from Hebrew into consideration, the translation could be presented as follows: “I will bless those who bless you, but the one who disrespects you, I will utterly destroy.”

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