To beget and to be born
It is remarkable that in both Hebrew and Greek only one word is used for ‘to beget’ and ‘to be born’.
To beget also means to be born in both languages therefore.
In Hebrew this is the verb: Yalad.
- to bring into the world, to bear, to beget
- to have been born, to be born, to descend from
- to be helpful at childbirth
- to bring forth
- to establish someone’s lineage
A few texts as examples:
To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech. (Genesis 4:18)
These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram. (Genesis 35:26)
Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, Basemath bore Reuel, … (Genesis 36:4)
When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth, … (Exodus 1:16 )
The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive. (Exodus 1:19)
… and they called the whole community together on the first day of the second month. The people registered their ancestry by their clans and, (Numbers 1:18)
These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath; … (2 Samuel 21:22)
In Greek the word is: Gennao.
‘Gennao’ is translated as follows according to the OLB and the Greek-Dutch dictionary:
- to be born, to be begotten
- to be the father of, to cause, to wake up
- to give birth, to make, to create
A few texts as examples:
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. (Matthew 1:2)
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Lukas 1:35)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, … (Matthew 2:1 )
He (Herod) asked them (the chief priests and teachers of the law) where the Messiah was to be born. … (Matthew 2:4)
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. (Lukas 1:57)
For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ (Luke 23:29)
In Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. (1 Corinthians 4:15)
A few texts from the New Testament interpreted:
John about ‘becoming a child of God’:
… children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (John 1:13)
Born of a husband’s decision seems to expressed rather too strongly.
A man is only able to beget a child, which is then also born as a result.
In the study ‘Child of God’ we explain why this would have been translated better as: … but begotten of God.
Concerning Judas who was to betray Jesus:
The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born. (Matthew 26:24, Mark 14:21)
It is impossible that, by saying: It would be better if Judas had not been born, Jesus meant that it would have been better if he had been aborted.
This would therefore have been translated better as:
It would be better for him if he had not been begotten.
The Pharisees said to the man born blind who was healed by Jesus:
You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us! (John 9:34)
It seems more logical that the Pharisees suggested that the man born blind was fathered in sin.
Jesus said to Pilate:
You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. (John 18:37)
As it is translated here Jesus actually said the same thing twice.
It would have perhaps been translated better as:
The reason I was begotten and came into the world …
Print this study as a PDF document:
To beget and to be born.