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Monday, February 19 2018

The Mystery Of The Wandering Aramean

"A wandering Aramean was my ancestor, who went down to Egypt and traveled there with very few family members, yet there he became a great, powerful, and populous nation"

It happens very often that a view of an event in Bible history, or prophecy, is formed from and by a particular translation of the Holy Scriptures - if only one translation is ever used. An example is the "wandering Aramean" of Deuteronomy 26:5 - as some translations have rendered it. Examples:

The Holy Scriptures

"Then you shall declare before the LORD your God: "My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous." (New International Version)

"And you shall make response before the LORD your God, 'A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous." (English Standard Version)

"Then you are to affirm and declare in the presence of the LORD your God: 'A wandering Aramean was my ancestor, who went down to Egypt and traveled there with very few family members, yet there he became a great, powerful, and populous nation." (International Standard Version)

Fertile Crescent

Some other versions render the actual words literally in context. Example:

"You must then say in the presence of the LORD your God, 'My ancestor Jacob was a wandering Aramean who went to live as a foreigner in Egypt. His family arrived few in number, but in Egypt they became a large and mighty nation." (New Living Translation)

The "Aramean" is obviously referring to Jacob, who the LORD renamed as "Israel" on his way back to the land of Canaan from Aram - which was, and still is today, known as Syria. It is located on the above map at the top curve of the "Fertile Crescent" - about half-way been Mesopotamia, where Abraham was born (see Biblical Eras: The Messiah's Covenants With The Two Men Of Iraq and Biblical Eras: The Lands Promised To Abraham and Biblical Eras: Abraham, Isaac And Jacob Were Not Israelites Or Jews) and Egypt, where the Israelites grew from a starving family into a rich multitude (see When An Israelite Made Slaves Of The Egyptians and Biblical Eras: 400 Years Of Israel's Prosperity In Egypt).

Other translations correctly use "Syria" instead of Aram, and "Syrian" instead of Aramean. Example:

"And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous" (King James Version)

Some translate Jacob in the context of his later name "Israel" (see Biblical Eras: Jacobites To Israelites and What Did Jacob's Stairway To Heaven Really Look Like?) or even translate the verse with all of the Syrian-born tribal patriarchs - including Judah. Example:

"You will make this formal statement in the presence of the LORD your God: "My ancestors were wandering Arameans. There were only a few of them when they went to Egypt and lived as foreigners. But then they became a great, powerful, and large nation." (God's Word Translation)

The important point to keep in mind is that all of the translations shown above are individually correct, but only with a number of them together can a student of the Word of God get a full understanding of what was actually written.

Fact Finder: (a) How did it happen that Isaac married Rebekah of Aram / Syria? (b) How did it happen that nearly all of the Israelite tribal patriarchs, including Judah the father of the "Jews," were born in Aram / Syria? (c) How did it happen that the Messiah's primary language was Aramaic - the language of Aram / Syria? Why did the Messiah pray to God in Aramaic - a Syrian language?
(a) See The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah
(b) See The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Leah and The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Rachel and The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Bilhah and The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Zilpah
(c) See The Syrian Tongue Of Jesus

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This Day In History, February 19

197: Roman Emperor Septimius Severus defeated rebel commander and usurper Emperor Clodius Albinus at the Battle of Lugdunum, the greatest battle between Roman armies (see The Politics Of Rome, Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire, A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Legions Of Men And Angels).

Septimius Severus

356: Emperor Constantius II issued a decree to favor the Roman newly-created version (perversion) of Christianity in the Roman Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

842: The Medieval Iconoclastic Controversy ended. A Council in Constantinople formally reinstated the veneration of graven images (which they called "icons"). This debate over icons is often considered the last event which led to the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Roman Churches.

1401: William Sawtree, regarded by some as the first English religious martyr, was burned in London.

1408: The English Northumberland Rebellion ended when Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, was defeated by Henry IV at the Battle of Bramham Moor.

1473: Nicholas Copernicus was born in Poland. He is considered by some to be the founder of modern astronomy.

1568: Miles Coverdale died at age 80. He was the translator and publisher of the first complete Bible to be printed in English, in 1535. He was also the editor of the "Great Bible" of 1539.

Miles Coverdale

1674: England and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Westminster to end the Third Anglo-Dutch War. The treaty surrendered the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, after which it was given its present-day name - New York.

New Amsterdam

1797: Pope Pius VI signed the Treaty of Tolentino with Napoleon under which Bologna, Romagna and Ferrara were ceded to France.

1800: Napoleon Bonaparte established himself as first consul in France (see also Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?).

1861: Serfdom was abolished in Russia (see also When Do Liberals Become Conservatives? and Why Are Politicians Called Left Or Right?).

1915: During the First World War (1914-1918; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars), British and French warships began attacks on Ottoman (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) fortifications at the mouth of the Dardenelles, in an abortive expedition to force the straits of Gallipoli.

1918: With the beginning of communism in Russia, a decree abolishing all private ownership of land, water and natural resources was issued by the Soviet Central Executive Committee.

1942: Japanese forces made the first attack on the Australian mainland, bombing Port Darwin (see also Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?).

1942: During the Second World War (which actually began in September 1939 for the rest of the world, but only in December of 1941 for the U.S. with the Japanese attack on the U.S. military base in Hawaii), U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the arrest and camp internment, without charge or legal due process, of many people of Japanese race, even those born in the U.S.

1953: Georgia approved the first "literature censorship board" in the U.S.

1959: The Prime Ministers of Britain, Turkey and Greece signed an agreement in London for the independence of Cyprus.

1976: Iceland severed diplomatic relations with Britain during the "Cod War," a dispute over fishing rights of depleted Atlantic cod stocks.

1976: Executive Order 9066 of 1942 (see listing above), which provided the legal means to incarcerate racial-Japanese U.S. citizens (including those born in the U.S. for generations) to "internment camps" without charge or trial during the Second World War, was rescinded by President Gerald Ford.

1986: The Soviet Union launched its Mir space station. It was the world's first modular space station, assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996.

Mir Space Station


Copyright © Wayne Blank