[b-hebrew] New or Renewed in Jeremiah 31:31?

Gary Hedrick garyh at cjfm.org
Fri Apr 13 02:24:35 EDT 2007

   The verbal form chadash is related to chodesh and can mean "to renew"
(piel), but that connection is quite a stretch linguistically and it's
clearly not the usage here in Jer. 31:31.  Chadashah here is an adjective
and means "new," not merely "renewed."  
   As we have discussed many times on this forum, the translation process is
guided in great measure by contextual considerations.  In Jer. 31, we know
the meaning is something completely new because of the negative ("lo") that
immediately follows v. 31: "not according to the covenant that I made with
their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of
the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to
them, says the LORD" (31:32, NKJV).  
   The context, then, makes it clear that the writer is distinguishing
between the old and new covenants.  The "new covenant" he refers to in 31:31
is NOT ("lo") the Sinai Covenant.  Grammatically, it's difficult to imagine
how he could make it any clearer than it is here in vv. 31-32.
   It's unfortunate that you evidently think this is a Jewish vs. Christian
issue.  The notion of Messiah introducing a new Torah when He comes isn't
one that's foreign to Judaism.  Most Christians say this happened 2,000
years ago; many rabbis say it's something that's yet future.

Gary Hedrick
San Antonio, Texas USA

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Yohanan bin-Dawidh
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 5:50 AM
Cc: B-Hebrew List
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Dying, you will die Gen 2:17

Dear Gary,

There is not forced translation here - the text states that this B'rit
Hadashah is the writing of His Torah within the hearts of B'nai Yisra'el. I
read the Christian arguments about ".....this could be the law of......"
making there to be more than one Torah, but such is not the case. It is
evident that this speaks of the Torah given us through Mosheh bin-Amram from
our Creator. The only difference between this, and the original covenant is
that now it will be inscribed upon our hearts, rather than in a scroll for
us to read.

As to the etimology of the word Hadashah, is it not linked to the word
Hodesh, which is the word the Miq'ra uses constantly to refer to the "new
moon", something which truly is no new, but rather it renews itself every
month? I think this is where the concept of this being a renewed covenant
rather than a new covenant derives.

Yohanan bin-Dawidh

On 4/11/07, Gary Hedrick <garyh at cjfm.org> wrote:
>        This nuance of meaning ("new" vs. "renewed") sounded interesting,
> so
> I looked it up in Jer. 31:31 and it's berit chadashah--"new
> covenant."  The
> Berit HaChadashah (the Heb. NT) has the same wording in Heb. 12:24.  So
> where does "renewed" come from?  The Hebrew word for "renewed" is
> Mechudeshet, not Chadashah.
>        We have learned from experience that very often, a forced
> translation like this is driven by some sort of ideological agenda.  Is
> that
> true here?
> Gary Hedrick
> San Antonio, Texas USA
> -----Original Message-----
> Actually, the Jeremiah passage you cite does not say "new: but it says
> b'rit
> chadashah (renewed covenant). If you want a concise explanation (excerpt
> below) of the eternal covenant go to
> http://www.revelations.org.za/Eternal_Life.htm and it quickly do that,
> Harold. I know your questions/commentary is sincere and so I only hope to
> respond true to my own understanding which is still developing.
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