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Hebrew Word of the Day

גִּבּוׄר

Meaning: Hero, mighty

Translit: gi•bor

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Today’s name, gi•bor, hero, is a very important word in the Bible, but unfortunately every single English translation missed it altogether! Every single occurrence of the 40 times gi•bor is mentioned in the Old Testament, and every single case of the five New Testament occurrences, is substituted with the word ‘mighty.’ But ‘mighty’ relates only to strength and size and misses the full meaning of gi•bor, hero. Most dictionary definitions of mighty, such as Merriam-Webster and many other say: ‘possessing great and impressive power or strength, especially on account of size.’ ‘Mighty,’ then, is lacking the most important characteristics of gi•bor, hero, which are courage, self-sacrifice, being a warrior, and moral excellence. Being mighty is the least important attribute of the hero. Take, for example, David and Goliath: David wasn’t mighty; Goliath was, yet nobody ever doubted that David was the hero. So what’s the problem of the English Bible translators who so feverishly avoided the word ‘hero’ for the cost of distorting the full meaning of so many Bible verses?

To be fair towards these otherwise usually faithful translators, the first thing to check is the availability of the word ‘hero’ at the time they translated the Bible. A little etymological research brings up the fact that the word ‘hero’ was coined in English in 1387, whereas the King James version of the Bible was completed in 1611. Hence, the translators have had a sufficient amount of 224 years to learn, practice, and internalize the word ‘hero,’ and yet they avoided it completely. Was there something else that made the word ‘hero’ not palatable for them? Was it, again, an issue of ‘political correctness’ due to the Greek origin of the word? Whatever it was, the cost is the inability of English readers of the Bible to learn the full spectrum of one of the most important words in the Bible. It is sad to say this, but exchanging ‘hero’ as it is in Hebrew into just ‘mighty’ reduces the full magnitude of God:

“Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle”

Psalms 24:8

God isn’t just mighty; He represents moral supremacy over His enemies. The Hebrew text here says that God is a ‘Hero.’ Anyone can be mighty, but only a few who also demonstrate courage, self-sacrifice, being a warrior, and moral excellence are heroes.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called ‘Wonderful counsellor of the mighty God, of the everlasting Father, of the Prince of peace'”

Isaiah 9:6

[here too, you should read HERO, not mighty.] “The Lord your God is in your midst; a mighty one who saves, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will be silent in his love, he will joy over you with singing”

Zephaniah 3:17

Once again, do you truly believe that one can save you just by force???

Today’s name, gi•bor, hero, is a very important word in the Bible, but unfortunately every single English translation missed it altogether! Every single occurrence of the 40 times gi•bor is mentioned in the Old Testament, and every single case of the five New Testament occurrences, is substituted with the word ‘mighty.’ But ‘mighty’ relates only to strength and size and misses the full meaning of gi•bor, hero. Most dictionary definitions of mighty, such as Merriam-Webster and many other say: ‘possessing great and impressive power or strength, especially on account of size.’ ‘Mighty,’ then, is lacking the most important characteristics of gi•bor, hero, which are courage, self-sacrifice, being a warrior, and moral excellence. Being mighty is the least important attribute of the hero. Take, for example, David and Goliath: David wasn’t mighty; Goliath was, yet nobody ever doubted that David was the hero. So what’s the problem of the English Bible translators who so feverishly avoided the word ‘hero’ for the cost of distorting the full meaning of so many Bible verses?

To be fair towards these otherwise usually faithful translators, the first thing to check is the availability of the word ‘hero’ at the time they translated the Bible. A little etymological research brings up the fact that the word ‘hero’ was coined in English in 1387, whereas the King James version of the Bible was completed in 1611. Hence, the translators have had a sufficient amount of 224 years to learn, practice, and internalize the word ‘hero,’ and yet they avoided it completely. Was there something else that made the word ‘hero’ not palatable for them? Was it, again, an issue of ‘political correctness’ due to the Greek origin of the word? Whatever it was, the cost is the inability of English readers of the Bible to learn the full spectrum of one of the most important words in the Bible. It is sad to say this, but exchanging ‘hero’ as it is in Hebrew into just ‘mighty’ reduces the full magnitude of God:

“Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle”

Psalms 24:8

God isn’t just mighty; He represents moral supremacy over His enemies. The Hebrew text here says that God is a ‘Hero.’ Anyone can be mighty, but only a few who also demonstrate courage, self-sacrifice, being a warrior, and moral excellence are heroes.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called ‘Wonderful counsellor of the mighty God, of the everlasting Father, of the Prince of peace'”

Isaiah 9:6

[here too, you should read HERO, not mighty.] “The Lord your God is in your midst; a mighty one who saves, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will be silent in his love, he will joy over you with singing”

Zephaniah 3:17

Once again, do you truly believe that one can save you just by force???