The expression “Jehovah jireh”—often accompanied by the translation “The Lord provides”—is important in evangelical Christianity in general and specifically within CIM/OMF. However, the popular interpretation “The Lord provides” is problematic for three reasons. First, the name of God in the OT was never pronounced “Jehovah” in the Jewish community. Second, Yahweh yireh is the name of a place, not of God himself. Third, the interpretation of Yahweh yireh in Genesis 22:14 should be “Yahweh sees” rather than “The Lord provides.” The argumentation for this interpretation of Yahweh yireh is the focus of this article.

Michael Malessa studied theology and Semitic languages. He received his PhD in Hebrew language from Leiden University (The Netherlands). Married since 1998, Michael and Anke have three children. They joined OMF in 2003. Michael is a faculty member of the Biblical Seminary of the Philippines and the Asia Graduate School of Theology Philippines where he teaches biblical languages and Old Testament.

Reflections on the Use of “Jehovah jireh” or Why This Expression should be Removed from Our Vocabulary

Mission Round Table 13:2 (May-Aug 2018): 22-26

Introduction

The expression “Jehovah jireh”—often accompanied by the translation “The Lord provides”—is important not only in evangelical Christianity in general but specifically within CIM/OMF. Alongside “Ebenezer” from 1 Samuel 7:12 and “Jehovah nissi” from Exodus 17:15, the two Hebrew words “Jehovah jireh” from Genesis 22:14 have been popular within CIM/OMF since the early days of the Fellowship and are still used today to express trust in God providing for daily needs.[1]

However, the sentence “Jehovah jireh” with its popular interpretation “The Lord provides” is problematic for three reasons.

First, the name of God in the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible), which was written יהוה or YHWH in transcription, was never pronounced “Jehovah” in the Jewish community. During the Second Temple period, Jews stopped pronouncing the name of God and replaced it with the word adonay—“Lord”—when reading the text. In the written text, however, the divine name YHWH was preserved. When vowel signs were added to the biblical text beginning in the seventh century, the vowels of the replacement word adonay were placed in slightly adjusted form with the letters of YHWH. Christian scholars who rediscovered the Hebrew Bible for Christianity in the late Middle Ages were not fully aware of the Jewish reading conventions of the Hebrew Bible. As a consequence, they pronounced the consonants of the divine name YHWH of the written text together with the vowels of the replacement word adonay. The result was the incorrect form of the name of God—“Jehovah.”[2] The correct form of the name of God is very likely Yahweh.[3] This pronunciation is supported by transcriptions of the name YHWH in Greek in antiquity and internal linguistic evidence in Hebrew.[4]

Second, in Genesis 22:14 Yahweh yireh—as the Hebrew is to be pronounced—is the name of a place, not of God himself. Nevertheless, Yahweh yireh or its incorrect form “Jehovah jireh” are often used as if it were a name of God.

Third, the interpretation of Yahweh yireh in Genesis 22:14 should be “Yahweh sees” (or “The Lord sees” when the ancient tradition of replacing the name of God with “Lord” is followed) rather than “The Lord provides.” The argumentation for this interpretation of Yahweh yireh is the focus of this article. The interpretation of Yahweh yireh in Genesis 22:14 is based on the interpretation of the clause elohim yireh lo hasseh le’olah beni in Genesis 22:8 which is commonly translated “God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” in English translations.[5] Therefore it is necessary to study this clause in Genesis 22:8 first before one can turn to Genesis 22:14 and discuss the meaning of Yahweh yireh in this verse.

The interpretation of the verb ra’ah in Genesis 22:8

As already stated, the interpretation of the place name Yahweh yireh in Genesis 22:14 as “The Lord will provide” in many English Bible translations rests on the interpretation of the clause elohim yireh lo hasseh le’olah beni in Genesis 22:8, in particular on the interpretation of the form yireh which is derived from the verb ra’ah. In most instances this verb means “to see”. Less often, it refers to other forms of mental perception. However, the verb has a different meaning in Genesis 22:8. In fact, there are two competing interpretations of the verb ra’ah in Genesis 22:8. One interpretation translates the verb ra’ah as “to provide”. The other interpretation is that the verb ra’ah should be rendered as “to choose”.

It is obvious that there is a significant difference between the two interpretations. While the English verb “to provide” can be defined as “to make something available to somebody” the English verb “to choose” means “to pick out someone or something from two or more alternatives.”[6] Having two quite distinct possibilities for interpreting the verb ra’ah in Genesis 22:8 and consequently in Genesis 22:14 with the popular place name Yahweh yireh, it is necessary to explore the options and then make a linguistically informed decision.[7]

Bible translations and commentaries

Important modern translations in English translate the verb ra’ah in the clause elohim yireh lo hasseh le’olah beni in Genesis 22:8 as “provide”. The ESV may serve as an example: “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” With this interpretation of the clause the ESV follows the footsteps of the Geneva Bible of 1560 and the KJV. Other English Bible translations that offer the same interpretation of the verb in Genesis 22:8 are the NIV, NRSV, and the NAB. This translation is thus attested over a wide range of translations from different backgrounds over a long period of time.[8]

Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

On the other hand, in most German Bible translations the verb ra’ah is rendered as “to choose”, leading to a translation of the relevant clause in Genesis 22:8 like this: “God will choose for himself the sheep for the burnt offering.” This interpretation is found as early as in the 1545 translation of Martin Luther (and his team).[9] The same interpretation as in Luther’s 1545 translation is found in the German translation of the Pentateuch by the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, published in 1783.[10] Among the important modern German translations with the same interpretation of Genesis 22:8 are the Lutherübersetzung of 2017, the Catholic Einheitsübersetzung of 1980, and the Swiss Zürcher Bibel of 2007.

One can find the same divide when consulting commentaries on Genesis. While commentaries in English like those by Hamilton, Wenham, Waltke, and Arnold interpret the verb ra’ah as “to provide”, commentaries in German like the ones by Keil, Dillmann, Gunkel, Jacob, von Rad, and Westermann render the verb as “to choose”.[11] This interpretation is already found in the commentary of the Jewish scholar Rashi (the acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaqi, 1040–1105).[12]

It is remarkable that there is no discussion between English-language and German-language commentators about the correct interpretation of the verb. With the exception of Arnold who mentions the option “to choose” in a footnote, the alternative is not even mentioned in the commentaries I had access to.[13]

Ancient versions

A similar picture is found in the ancient versions. The Greek Septuagint, from the third century BC, translates the Hebrew text of Genesis 22:8: “God will provide for himself a sheep for [the] burnt offering, child.” Similarly, the clause is rendered in the Latin Vulgate (fifth century AD) “God will provide for himself the sacrificial animal of the burnt offering, my son.”[14]

The Targumim, which are different translations of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic, the vernacular of many Jews in post-biblical times, offer different interpretations. While the official Targum Onqelos translates Genesis 22:8 relatively freely as “Before the Lord the lamb for the burnt offering is revealed, my son,” another Targum—Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, which is known for its expansions of the biblical text—offers a non-expansive translation of the clause in Genesis 22:8: “The Lord will choose for himself the lamb for the burnt offering.”[15]

Hebrew evidence

The overview of how Genesis 22:8 is interpreted in various Bible translations—both modern and ancient—and commentaries, has shown that there are two different traditions of interpreting the verse. The verb ra’ah is either rendered “to provide” or “to choose”. The following section deals first with how the verb is translated in dictionaries of Hebrew. Then, for comparison, relevant passages in the Hebrew Bible are discussed so that the preferred interpretation of the verb ra’ah in Genesis 22:8 can be determined.

In the Hebrew dictionaries by Gesenius, Ben Yehuda, and Koehler and Baumgartner, the meaning of the verb ra’ah in Genesis 22:8 is consistently defined as “to choose, select”.[16] The meaning “to provide” is not mentioned as a possibility for the verb ra’ah.

On the other hand, the meaning “to provide” is found in the dictionary by Brown, Driver, and Briggs (henceforth BDB) as well as in the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew.[17] However, the only biblical references for this meaning that are referred to in these two dictionaries are Genesis 22:8; Genesis 22:14; and Deuteronomy 33:21.[18] It is more or less certain that the verb ra’ah means “to choose” in Deuteronomy 33:21 as can be seen in dictionaries (except BDB), Bible translations, and commentaries. So the only biblical references where the verb ra’ah ostensibly means “to provide” are Genesis 22:8 and 22:14. As the interpretation of the verb in Genesis 22:14 depends on 22:8, this latter reference does not have any independent value for the interpretation of the verb. It is obvious from this overview that the possible support for the meaning “to provide” in the dictionaries rests solely on Genesis 22:8 and is therefore weak.

A decision in this matter can only be reached by studying how the verb ra’ah is used in comparable references in the Hebrew Bible, that is, in references where the verb does not refer to visual (or mental) perception. The following are relevant to our context: Genesis 41:33; Deuteronomy 33:21; 1 Samuel 16:1; 1 Samuel 16:17; 2 Kings 10:3; and Esther 2:9. Another possible reference is Deuteronomy 12:13 where the verb ra’ah in this verse can be interpreted as “to choose”.[19] But the normal meaning “to see” gives a good sense, too.[20]

In all these references the verb ra’ah can either be translated “to choose”—as it is, for example, in the NIV except for 1 Samuel 16:17—or “to look for” which is suitable and possibly even preferable in Genesis 41:33 and 1 Samuel 16:17. (The meaning “to look for” can be seen as an intermediate step of a semantic development from the meaning “to see” to the meaning “to choose”.)

An instructive reference is Exodus 18:21 with the verb hazah. It normally means “to see” like the verb ra’ah. However, in Jethro’s advice to Moses it is used with a different meaning: “But select [tehezeh] capable men from all the people” (NIV). When Moses follows the advice in Exodus 18:25, the verb bahar “to choose” is used instead: “He chose [wayyibhar] capable men from all Israel” (NIV). By this it can be established that “to choose” is one of the meanings of the verb hazah in Hebrew. This buttresses the semantic analysis of the verb ra’ah above.

It can be stated that the meaning “to provide” may be a possible option only for some of the references mentioned above (Gen 41:33; 1 Sam 16:1; 1 Sam 16:17). But translating the verb ra’ah as “to provide” is not required for any of the above mentioned references and is not even preferable over the meaning “to choose”. On the other hand, the meaning “to choose” is suitable in all references mentioned above and is even necessary in Deuteronomy 33:21 and 2 Kings 10:3. It is therefore possible to render the meaning of the verb ra’ah in the biblical Hebrew as other than “to provide”. Using Occam’s Razor, one can conclude that it is better not to include this meaning in the description of the semantics of the verb ra’ah. Or to put it differently, semantic economy suggests dropping the meaning “to provide” for the verb ra’ah.

Yahweh yireh in Genesis 22:14

As stated above, the meaning of the verb ra’ah in Genesis 22:14 is dependent on Genesis 22:8 because the name of the place Yahweh yireh refers back to elohim yireh lo hasseh le’olah in Genesis 22:8. As the verb ra’ah very likely does not mean “to provide” in Genesis 22:8, it is improbable that this sense is in Genesis 22:14a either. Therefore, Yahweh yireh in Genesis 22:14a likely means simply “The Lord sees” rather than “The Lord provides”.[21] This can best be interpreted as an expression of faith in the God who sees a situation and intervenes accordingly (cf. Exod 3:7–8). For Genesis 22:1–9 this means that God saw the danger Isaac was in and intervened in order to save him so that he could fulfill his promise of descendants to Abraham.

The second part of Genesis 22:14 deserves more attention than this article allows.[22] In the clause behar YHWH yera’eh the verb ra’ah is used in the middle-passive stem. The traditional interpretation in English Bibles as “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided” (NIV) rests on the interpretation of the verb ra’ah as meaning “to provide” in Genesis 22:8 and consequently in 22:14a. According to the argumentation above this cannot be supported anymore. Instead, the verb ra’ah in the middle-passive stem usually means “to be seen, to appear” and therefore the clause behar YHWH yera’eh should be rendered as “On the mountain of Yahweh he appears” or—if behar YHWH yera’eh is not taken as a complete clause—“On the mountain where Yahweh appears.”[23]

Summary and concluding remarks

The expression “Jehovah jireh—the Lord provides” is problematic. The name of God is not “Jehovah” but Yahweh. The use of “Jehovah” should therefore be discontinued.[24] Though the form “Jehovah” was cherished by many for a long time, scholarly research has made it obsolete.

For Genesis 22:8 two competing interpretations exist. On one hand, “God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering” is deeply rooted in English language traditions but also found in the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and in most French, Italian, and Spanish Bible translations. On the other hand, the interpretation “God will choose for himself the sheep for the burnt offering” is attested in early Jewish sources and German language traditions. As shown above, the latter interpretation is linguistically preferable. The meaning “to choose” is well established in Hebrew, whereas the asserted meaning “to provide” is not.

This leads to the interpretation of Yahweh yireh in Genesis 22:14 as “Yahweh will see.” Consequently, it is better not to use Yahweh yireh anymore as an expression of faith in God’s provision of daily needs. For this the New Testament offers better and clearer references in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV) and Luke 10:7 “for the worker deserves his wages” (NIV).

[1]         Regarding the use of Scripture by James Hudson Taylor who used the expression “Jehovah jireh” frequently, Chris Wigram states, “In his public ministry, Taylor used the Bible to exhort and to encourage other Christians to take part in the work of the CIM and he was prepared to concede on minor points of theology for the overall good of the work. Texts were sometimes used to justify a particular practice but most of the CIM’s practices were promulgated from experience or for pragmatic reasons. Taylor had no specific theological system that integrated his approach to scripture and he often drew his teaching from isolated verses favouring immediacy of application. The Bible provided a general framework for the operation of the CIM, but at times the application of the Bible to a specific situation lacked attention to the basic hermeneutical rules of interpretation.” Chris Wigram, “The Bible and Mission in Faith Perspective: J. Hudson Taylor and the Early China Inland Mission,” (PhD thesis, Universiteit Utrecht, 2007), 217. (I would like to thank Walter McConnell for this reference.)

[2]         That the form “Jehovah” was incorrect was already known to Hebrew scholars in the early nineteenth century as can be seen in the entry about YHWH in the Hebrew-German dictionary of Gesenius published in 1810‒1812 and its English translation from 1824, even though the correct pronunciation was still disputed and scholars continued using “Jehovah” for some time. Wilhelm Gesenius, Hebräisch-Deutsches Handwörterbuch über die Schriften des Alten Testaments: mit Einschluss der geographischen Namen und chaldäischen Wörter beym Daniel und Esra, Vol. 1 (Leipzig: Vogel, 1810), 371; Wilhelm Gesenius, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament including the Biblical Chaldee, trans. by Josiah W. Gibbs (Andover: Codman, 1824), 216.

[3]         Modern transliteration conventions are followed in this article. It is beyond the scope of this article to explore the historical background of the spelling of “Jehovah” with j and v for the modern y and w for the Hebrew letters Yod and Waw.

[4]         The form Yahweh is the only form that allows an explanation of the short version of the divine name yah and the forms yehó– and –yáhu at the beginning and the end of proper names respectively (e.g., Yehonatan “Jonathan” and Netanyahu “Netaniah”). Both yehó– and –yáhu can be explained on the basis of yahw, a shortened form of Yahweh. Unlike the word “Jehovah” which has no meaning, Yahweh is very likely a verbal form which can be translated “He causes to be” or “He calls into existence”. For more information see Wilhelm Gesenius, Hebräisches und aramäisches Handwörterbuch über das Alte Testament (hg. v. Herbert Donner; 18. Aufl.; Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer [u.a.], 2013), 447.

[5]         The Hebrew word seh means “small livestock beast” and can refer to a sheep or a goat. See Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Vol. 2, Study edition, trans. and ed. under the supervision of M. E. J. Richardson (Leiden: Brill, 2001 [originally published in German 1967–1996]), 1310 (henceforth HALOT). Translating the noun seh as “lamb” is rather imprecise.

[6]         This definition is based on the definition of the verb “to choose,” https://www.oxforddictionaries.com (accessed 28 December 2017).

[7]         Both interpretations make sense in Genesis 22:7–8. When asking, “Where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” Isaac raises his concern about the lack of a sacrificial animal. If Abraham’s answer is translated “God will choose for himself the sheep for the burnt offering” he wants Isaac to think: “God knows there will be rams in the area we are going to. God will choose one as the sacrificial animal.” If it is rendered “God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering” then Isaac is supposed to think: “God knows there will be a ram in that area. God will show us the ram so that we can use it as a sacrificial animal for him.”

[8]         The interpretation of the verb ra’ah as “to see to” in the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation (NJPS) “God will see to the sheep for His burnt offering, my son” is semantically similar to “to provide” in the other English translations that are mentioned. As the same critique applies to this interpretation as to “to provide”, it will not be mentioned separately anymore in the remainder of the article. Except for Luther’s 1534 and 1546 Bible translations, all references to Bible translations are based on BibleWorks, version 10 (Norfolk, VA, 2014).

[9]         Luther’s 1545 translation reads “mein Son / Gott wird jm ersehen ein schaf zum Brandopffer” (“My son, God will choose for himself a sheep for the burnt offering”). Biblia: Das ist: Die gantze Heilige Schrifft / Deutsch / Auffs new zugericht. D. Mart. Luth. Begnadet mit Kurfürstlicher zu Sachsen Freiheit. Gedruckt zu Wittemberg / Durch Hans Lufft MDXLV (Stuttgart: Württembergische Bibelanstalt, 1967). It is interesting that in the first translation of the entire Bible published in 1534, Luther translated Genesis 22:8 differently: “Gott wird mir zeigen / mein son / das schaf zum brandopffer” (“God will show me, my son, the sheep for the burnt offering”). Biblia / das ist / die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch. Mart. Luth. Wittemberg. Begnadet mit Kurfürstlicher zu Sachsen freiheit. Gedruckt durch Hans Lufft MDXXXIIII (Köln: Taschen, 2002). This translation requires a change of the text from lo “for himself” to li “for me” and a different vocalization of the verbal form, i.e., yareh “he will show” instead of yireh “he will see”. The 1545 translation follows the Hebrew text instead of changing it.

[10]       “Avraham sprach: Gott wird sich selbst ausersehen das Lamm zum ganzen Opfer, mein Sohn!” [Moses Medelssohn], Targûm aškenazzî ʿal ḥamiššā ḥûmšê Tôrā / min ha-ḥākām Mōše Desoi, di berihmte iberzeṭtzung oif der toire fun Mendel Zohn (Offenbach: J. Hanau, 1810/11), 32; http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/jd/content/pageview/1762460 (accessed 28 December 2017).

[11]       Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 18‒50, New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 98; Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 16‒50, Word Biblical Commentary (Waco, TX: Word, 1994), 98; Bruce K. Waltke with Cathi J. Fredericks, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 308; Bill T. Arnold, Genesis, New Cambridge Bible Commentary (Cambridge: CUP, 2009), 199 and 206; Carl Friedrich Keil, Genesis und Exodus, Biblischer Kommentar über das Alte Testament, 3., verbess. Aufl. (Leipzig: Dörffling und Franke, 1878), 211; August Dillmann, Die Genesis, Kurzgefasstes exegetisches Handbuch, 5. Aufl. (Leipzig: Hirzel, 1886), 287; Hermann Gunkel, Genesis, Göttinger Handkommentar zum Alten Testament 1.1, 5. Aufl. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1922), 237–238; Benno Jacob, Das Buch Genesis, hg. in Zusammenarbeit mit den Leo Baeck Institut (Stuttgart: Calwer, 2000 [originally Berlin: Schocken, 1934]), 497; Gerhard von Rad, Das erste Buch Mose Genesis, Das Alte Testament Deutsch,  8. Aufl. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1967), 203; Claus Westermann, Genesis, 2. Teilband: Genesis 12‒36, Biblischer Kommentar Altes Testament 1.2 (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1981), 431 and 440.

[12]       The Crown Database Genesis Chapter 1 with Rashi, Mikraot Gedolot Haketer Project – Bar-Ilan University, https://www.mgketer.org/mikra/1/1/1/mg/0 (accessed 29 December 2017).

[13]       Arnold, Genesis, 206. It is remarkable that in the English translations of the commentaries of Keil, Gunkel, von Rad, and Westermann, the German verb sich ersehen (“to choose”) is rendered as “to provide” as if it was the goal of the translators to not follow the German originals and translate them faithfully but instead to make the commentaries conform to the translation tradition of Genesis 22:8 and 22:14 in English; cf. Carl F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 1: The Pentateuch, trans. James Martin (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1869), 250; Hermann Gunkel, Genesis, trans. Mark E. Biddle (Macon, GA: Mercer University, 1997), 235; Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary, trans. John H. Marks (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1961), 232; Claus Westermann, Genesis 12‒36: A Commentary, trans. John J. Scullion (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1985), 352 and 359.

[14]       In Greek, the clause under discussion reads: ho theos opsetai heautō probaton eis holokarpōsin, teknon. In the Latin Vulgate it reads: Deus providebit sibi victimam holocausti fili mi. The Syriac Peshitta renders Genesis 22:8 elaha nehze leh emra la’lata, ber which may be translated “God will provide for himself the sheep for the burnt offering, my son.” So R. Payne Smith, ed., Thesaurus Syriacus, Vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1879), 1233. However, it needs to be noted that the Syriac dictionary by Brockelmann does not mention the meaning “to provide” under the lemma haza, thus making it less likely that the Peshitta supports the interpretation of the Septuagint and the Vulgate. Michael Sokoloff, A Syriac Lexicon: A Translation from the Latin, Correction, Expansion, and Update of C. Brockelmann’s Lexicon Syriacum (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns; Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2009), 438.

[15]       Targum Onqelos: qodam Ywy geli imera la’alata, beri; Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Yyy yibhar leh imera la’alata, beri. The final redaction of Targum Pseudo-Jonathan can be dated to the seventh to eighth century AD. See Philipp S. Alexander, “Targum, Targumim,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 6:322.

[16]       Gesenius, Hebräisches und aramäisches Handwörterbuch, 1203; Eliezer Ben Yehuda, A Complete Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Hebrew (Jerusalem: R. H. Cohen, 1951), 14:6285; HALOT, 1159. The meaning “to choose” is found in all editions of Gesenius’ lexicon in German since the first edition published in 1810‒1812. The Hebrew-Latin dictionary of Zorell mentions both meanings, “to choose” and “to provide” next to each other for ra’ah in Genesis 22:8. Franciscus Zorell, Lexicon hebraicum Veteris Testamenti (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1989 [originally publ. 1940–1954]), 746.

[17]       Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, based on the Lexicon of William [sic] Gesenius, trans. by Edward Robinson (Oxford: Clarendon, 1906), 907; David J. A. Clines, ed., The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 2010), 7:351 (henceforth DCH).

[18]       Genesis 22:14 is mentioned only in DCH but not in BDB, and Deuteronomy 33:21 only in BDB but not in DCH. The other reference that is mentioned in DCH, vol. 7, 351 is 4QpsJuba [4Q225] 2.2,3 which is a retelling of Genesis 22 and therefore not independent evidence. Moreover, the relevant clause elohim yireh lo hasseh le’olah (“God will choose for himself the sheep for the burnt offering”) is not physically preserved in the scroll but restored by the editor. See M. G. J. Abegg, Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts (Bellingham, WA: Logos, 2003). According to BDB, 907, ra’ah, in Genesis 22:14, simply means “to see”.

[19]       Gesenius, Hebräisches und aramäisches Handwörterbuch, 1203; HALOT, 1159.

[20]       In Ben Yehuda, Complete Dictionary, vol. 14, 6285, and DCH, vol. 7, 351, 1 Samuel 14:52 is mentioned as another reference with ra’ah meaning “to choose.” But here the preferable translation of verb ra’ah appears to be “to see”. Second Kings 9:2 is also not relevant in this context because the imperative re’eh is equivalent to the interjection hinneh “see, behold” (cf. 2 Kgs 9:5; 1 Kgs 17:10; Jer 36:12).

[21]       Cf. Keil, Genesis und Exodus, 212; Dillmann, Genesis, 288; Westermann, Genesis 12‒36, 431 and 444 (German) or 353 (English). It seems possible to translate Yahweh yireh in Genesis 22:14a as “Yahweh chooses”. I still find “Yahweh sees” preferable because the meaning “to see” appears to be more supportable in a clause without a direct object as here and it gives a good sense beyond the day of the narrated events as explained in the main text.

[22]       The ancient versions all deviate, which gives evidence to the problems in this part of Genesis 22:14. For more information one needs to consult the commentaries.

[23]       Cf. BDB, 908; HALOT, 1160; Keil, Genesis und Exodus, 212; Dillmann, Genesis, 288; Westermann, Genesis 1236, 431 (German) or 353 (English).

[24]       This, of course, does not pertain to historical sources and references to historical utterances in which “Jehovah jireh” was used.

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