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Appendix 12 - The Memra in the Targums

Appendix 12

The Memra in the Targums

The following is an abridgment of a study by Agnes S.T. Lim and Lee Sen Siow that examines how “Memra” (Aramaic for “Word,” cf. John 1:1) in the Aramaic Targums is used as a metonym for Yahweh in the Hebrew Scriptures. By placing two English translations conveniently side by side—one being a trans­lation of the Aramaic Targums, the other of the Hebrew Scriptures—the study enables the reader to quickly see how often “Memra” is used as a meto­nym for God (Yahweh). The value of the study, for which I express my deep gratitude to the authors, lies in the important fact, un­known to most Christ­ians, that Aramaic was the main language of Jesus, of the people in the land of Israel of his day, and of the early Jewish church.

Whereas the original study covered the whole of the Penta­teuch (the first five books of the Bible), the present abridgment covers only Genesis and Exodus. The research methodology in the original study was, how­ever, applied uni­formly to all five books and led to near identical results for each; hence the results obtained from Genesis and Exodus by this procedure are represent­ative of those obtained from the Penta­teuch as a whole. The original study is exhaustive in that every occur­rence of “Memra” in the Aramaic Pentateuch was examined and taken into account.

The results are shown in the interlinear tables below. The text in the second column is taken from an English translation of the well-known Targ­um Pseudo-Jonathan. The text in the third col­umn is taken from the New Jerusalem Bible.

In these two columns, the words in boldface connect “Memra” in the second column to its Hebrew parallel in the third column. This allows us to see, for example, that in the majority of occurrences, “Memra” refers to “Yahweh” or to a pronoun referring to Yahweh.

The follow­ing explan­atory sym­bols are used in the first column:

●  – Indicates that “memra” is used as a metonym of Yahweh

∆  – Indicates that “memra” points to something other than Yahweh

#  – Indicates an explanatory note

An Example: In the tables below, Exodus 4:15 is marked with three symbols, ●∆∆, which means that Exodus 4:15 in the Aramaic Targums has three occur­rences of the word “Memra”. The first of these occur­rences is denoted by the symbol ●, which means that it is used as a metonym for Yahweh. By con­trast, the second and the third occur­rences of “Memra” in this verse, indicated by a different symbol ∆, refer to someone or something other than Yahweh (in this case, Moses and Aaron, respect­ively).

Conclusion of Study: A quick look through the tables shows that the symbol ● outnum­bers the symbol ∆ by a vast margin, indicat­ing that “Memra” is indeed used in the Aramaic Pentateuch predomi­nantly as a metonym for Yahweh.

For Further Study: The original study by Agnes Lim and Lee Sen Siow which covers the whole Pentateuch can be down­loaded from or (A statisti­cal survey of the study is also avail­able for downloading.) The original study in­cludes a col­umn that displays the Aramaic text of the Targums, but it is not included in the pre­sent abridg­ment due to space limitat­ions and because few people today read Aramaic.



“Memra” in the Book of Genesis from Targum Pseudo-Jonathan


and Notes

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan

(English Translation)

New Jerusalem Bible

Genesis 2:8

And a garden from the Eden of the just was planted by the Word of the Lord God before the creation of the world, and He made there to dwell the man when He had created him.

Yahweh God planted a garden in Eden, which is in the east, and there he put the man he had fashioned.

Genesis 3:8

And they heard the voice of the word of the Lord God walk­ing in the garden in the repose of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from before the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

The man and his wife heard the sound of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:10

And he said, The voice of Thy Word heard I in the garden, and I was afraid, because I am naked; and the command­ment which Thou didst teach me, I have transgressed; therefore I hid myself from shame.

 “I heard the sound of you in the garden,” he replied. “I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

Genesis 3:24

And He drave out the man from thence where He had made to dwell the glory of His Shekina at the first between the two Kerubaia. Before He had created the world, He created the law; He prepared the garden of Eden for the righteous, that they might eat and delight them­selves with the fruit of the tree; because they would have practised in their lives the doctrine of the law in this world, and have main­tained the command­ments: (but) he prepared Gehinnam for the wicked, which is like the sharp, consuming sword of two edges; in the midst of it He hath pre­pared flakes of fire and burning coals for the judgment of the wicked who rebelled in their life against the doctrine of the law. To serve the law is better than (to eat of) the fruit of the tree of life, (the law) which the Word of the Lord pre­pared, that man in keeping it might continue, and walk in the paths of the way of life in the world to come.

He banished the man, and in front of the garden of Eden he posted the great winged creatures and the fiery flashing sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.


Genesis 4:23

And Lemek said to his wives Ada and Zillah, Hear my voice, wives of Lemek, hearken to my words: for I have not killed a man, that I should be slain for him; neither have I destroyed a young man, on whose account my children should perish.

Lamech said to his wives: Adah and Zillah, hear my voice, wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I killed a man for wounding me, a boy for striking me.

Genesis 4:26

And to Sheth also was born a son, and he called his name Enosh. That was the generation in whose days they began to err, and to make themselves idols, and surnamed their idols by the name of the Word of the Lord.

A son was also born to Seth, and he named him Enosh. This man was the first to invoke the name Yahweh.

Genesis 5:2

Male and female He created them, and blessed them in the name of His Word; and He called their name Man in the day they were created.

Male and female he created them. He blessed them and gave them the name Man, when they were created.

Genesis 5:24

And Hanok served in the truth before the Lord; and, behold, he was not with the sojourners of the earth; for he was with­drawn, and he ascended to the firm­ament by the Word before the Lord, and his name was called Metatron the Great Saphra.

Enoch walked with God, then was no more, because God took him.

Genesis 6:3

And the Lord said by His Word, All the generations of the wicked which are to arise shall not be purged after the order of the judgments of the generation of the deluge, which shall be destroyed and exterminated from the midst of the world. Have I not imparted My Holy Spirit to them, (or, placed My Holy Spirit in them,) that they may work good works? And, behold, their works are wicked. Behold, I will give them a pro­long­ment of a hundred and twenty years, that they may work repentance, and not perish.

Yahweh said, “My spirit cannot be indefin­itely responsible for human beings, who are only flesh; let the time allowed each be a hundred and twenty years.”

Genesis 6:6


And it repented the Lord in His Word that He had made man upon the earth; and He passed judgment upon them by His Word.

Yahweh regretted having made human beings on earth and was grieved at heart.

Genesis 6:7

# “by My Word” in the English PJT is not in the Aramaic PJT

And the Lord said, I will abolish by My Word # man, whom I have created upon the face of the earth, from man to cattle, to the reptile, and to the fowl of the heavens; because I have repented in My Word that I have made them.

And Yahweh said, “I shall rid the surface of the earth of the human beings whom I created—human and animal, the creeping things and the birds of heaven—for I regret having made them.”

Genesis 7:16

And they coming entered, male and female, of all flesh unto him, as the Lord had instructed him; and the Word of the Lord covered over the door of the ark upon the face thereof.

and those that went aboard were a male and female of all that was alive, as God had commanded him. Then Yahweh shut him in.

Genesis 8:1

And the Lord in His Word remembered Noah, and all the animals and the cattle which were with him in the ark; and the Lord caused the wind of mercies to pass over the earth, and the waters were dried.

But God had Noah in mind, and all the wild animals and all the cattle that were with him in the ark. God sent a wind across the earth and the waters began to subside.

Genesis 8:21

And the Lord accepted his oblation with favour: and the Lord said in His Word, I will not add again to curse the earth on account of the sin of the children of men; for the imagin­ation of the heart of man is evil from his youth; neither will I add to destroy whatever liveth as I have done.

Yahweh smelt the pleasing smell and said to himself, “Never again will I curse the earth because of human beings, because their heart contrives evil from their infancy. Never again will I strike down every living thing as I have done.

Genesis 9:12

And the Lord said, This is the sign of the covenant which I establish between My Word and between you and every living soul that is with you, unto the generations of the world.

“And this”, God said, “is the sign of the covenant which I now make be­tween myself and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come:

Genesis 9:13

I have set My Bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of the covenant between My Word and the earth.

I now set my bow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Genesis 9:15

And I will remember My covenant which is between My Word and between you and every living soul of all flesh, that there shall not be the waters of a flood to destroy all flesh.

I shall recall the cove­nant between myself and you and every living creature, in a word all living things, and never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all living things.

Genesis 9:16

And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between the Word of the Lord and every living soul of all flesh that is upon the earth.

When the bow is in the clouds I shall see it and call to mind the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth, that is, all living things.”

Genesis 9:17

● ∆

And the Lord said to Noah, This is the sign of the covenant that I have covenanted between My Word and between the word for all flesh that is upon the earth.

“That”, God told Noah, “is the sign of the covenant I have estab­lished between myself and all living things on earth.”

Genesis 11:8

And the Word of the Lord was revealed against the city, and with Him seventy angels, having reference to seventy nations, each having its own language, and thence the writing of its own hand: and He dispersed them from thence upon the face of all the earth into seven­ty languages. And one knew not what his neighbour would say: but one slew the other; and they ceased from building the city.

Yahweh scattered them thence all over the world, and they stopped building the city.

Genesis 12:17

And the Word of the Lord sent great plagues against Pharoh and the men of his house, on account of Sara, Abram’s wife.

But Yahweh inflicted severe plagues on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.

Genesis 15:1

Thereupon was the word of the Lord with Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not; for if these men should gather together in legions and come against thee, My Word will be thy shield: and also if these fall before thee in this world, the reward of thy good works shall be kept, and be prepared before Me in the world to come, great exceedingly.

Some time later, the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram! I am your shield and shall give you a very great reward.

Genesis 15:6

And he believed in the Lord, and had faith in the Word of the Lord, and He reckoned it to him for righteousness, because he parleyed not before him with words.

Abram put his faith in Yahweh and this was reckoned to him as uprightness.

Genesis 16:1

But Sara, the wife of Abram, had not borne to him. But he had a handmaid, a Mizreitha, and her name was Hagar, a daughter of Pharoh, whom he gave to him as a handmaid at the time that he received her, being struck by the word from before the Lord.

Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no child, but she had an Egyptian slave-girl called Hagar.

Genesis 16:13

And she gave thanks before the Lord whose Word spake to her, and thus said, Thou art He who livest and art eternal; who seest, but art not seen! · for she said, For, behold, here is re­vealed the glory of the Shekina of the Lord after a vision.

Hagar gave a name to Yahweh who had spoken to her, “You are El Roi,” by which she meant, “Did I not go on seeing here, after him who sees me?”

Genesis 17:2

And I will set My covenant between My Word and thee, and will multiply thee very greatly.

and I shall grant a cove­nant between myself and you, and make you very numerous.”

Genesis 17:7

And I have established My covenant between My Word and thee, and thy sons after thee in their generations, for an ever­lasting covenant, to be a God to thee and to thy sons after thee.

And I shall maintain my covenant between myself and you, and your descend­ants after you, generation after generation, as a cove­nant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

Genesis 17:10

This is My covenant, that you shall observe between My Word and you, and your sons after you:—Every male of you being circumcised, though he have not a father to circumcise him.

This is my covenant which you must keep between myself and you, and your descend­ants after you: every one of your males must be circumcised.

Genesis 17:11

And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, as a sign of the covenant between My Word and you.

You must circumcise the flesh of your fore­skin, and that will be the sign of the covenant between myself and you.

Genesis 18:5

And I will bring food of bread, that you may strengthen your hearts, and give thanks in the Name of the Word of the Lord, and afterwards pass on. For there­fore at the time of repast are you come, and have turned aside to your servant to take food. And they said, Thou hast spoken well; do according to thy word.

Let me fetch a little bread and you can refresh yourselves before going further, now that you have come in your servant’s direction.” They replied, “Do as you say.”

Genesis 18:17

And the Lord said, with His Word, I cannot hide from Abraham that which I am about to do; and it is right that before I do it, I should make it known to him.

Now Yahweh had wondered, ‘shall I conceal from Abraham what I am going to do,

Genesis 19:24


And the Word of the Lord had caused showers of favour to descend upon Sedom and Amorah, to the intent that they might work repentance, but they did it not: so that they said, Wickedness is not manifest before the Lord. Behold, then, there are now sent down upon them sulphur and fire from before the Word of the Lord from Heaven.

Then Yahweh rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire of his own sending.


Genesis 20:3

And a word came from before the Lord unto Abimelek, in a dream of the night, and said to him, Behold, thou diest, because of the woman whom thou hast carried away, and she a man’s wife.

But God visited Abimelech in a dream one night. “You are to die,” he told him, “because of the woman you have taken, for she is a married woman.”

Genesis 20:6

And the Word of the Lord said to him in a dream, Before Me also it is manifest that in the truthfulness of thy heart thou didst this, and so restrained I thee from sinning before Me; therefore I would not permit thee to come near her.

“Yes, I know,” God replied in the dream, “that you did this with a clear conscience and I myself prevented you from sinning against me. That was why I did not let you touch her.

Genesis 20:18

For the Word of the Lord shutting had shut in displeasure the wombs of all the women of Abimelek’s house on account of Sarah the wife of Abraham.

for Yahweh had made all the women of Abimelech’s household barren on account of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Genesis 21:20

And the Word of the Lord was the helper of the youth, and he grew and dwelt in the wilder­ness, and became a skilful master of the bow.

God was with the boy. He grew up and made his home in the desert, and he became an archer.

Genesis 21:22

And it was at that time that Abimelek and Phikol, chief of his host, spake to Abraham, saying, The Word of the Lord is in thine aid in all whatsoever thou doest.

About then, Abimelech and Phicol, the com­mander of his army, said to Abraham, ‘since God is with you in everything you do,

Genesis 21:23

And now, swear to me here, by the Word of the Lord, that thou wilt not be false with me, nor with my son, nor with the son of my son: according to the kindness which I have done with thee, thou shalt do with me, and with the land in which thou dwellest.

swear to me by God, here and now, that you will not act treacherous­ly towards me or my kith and kin, but be­have with the same faithful love to me and the land of which you are a guest as I have behaved to you.”

Genesis 21:33

And he planted a garden, (lit., “a paradise,”) at the Well of the Seven Lambs, and prepared in the midst of it food and drink for them who passed by and who returned; and he preached to them there, Confess ye, and be­lieve in the Name of the Word of the Lord, the everlasting God.

And Abraham planted a tamarisk at Beersheba and there he invoked the name of Yahweh.

Genesis 22:1

And it was after these things that Izhak and Ishmael contended; and Ishmael said, It is right that I should inherit what is the father’s because I am his first­born son. And Izhak said, It is right that I should inherit what is the father’s, be­cause I am the son of Sarah his wife, and thou art the son of Hagar the hand­maid of my mother. Ishmael answered and said, I am more righteous than thou, because I was circum­cised at thirteen years; and if it had been my will to hinder, they should not have delivered me to be circumcised; but thou wast circumcised a child eight days; if thou hadst had knowledge, perhaps they should not have delivered thee to be circumcised. Izhak responded and said, Behold now, to-day I am thirty and six years old; and if the Holy One, blessed be He, were to require all my members, I would not delay. These words were heard before the Lord of the world, and the Word of the Lord at once tried Abraham, and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Behold me.

It happened some time later that God put Abraham to the test. “Abraham, Abraham!” he called. “Here I am,” he replied.


Genesis 22:16

and said, By My Word have I sworn, saith the Lord, forasmuch as thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thy only begotten,

“I swear by my own self, Yahweh declares, that because you have done this, because you have not refused me your own beloved son,

Genesis 22:18

And all the peoples of the earth shall be blessed through the righteousness of thy son, because thou hast obeyed My word.

All nations on earth will bless themselves by your descend­ants, because you have obeyed my command.”

Genesis 24:1

And Abraham was old with days, and the Word of the Lord had blessed Abraham with every kind of blessing.

By now Abraham was an old man, well on in years, and Yahweh had blessed Abraham in every way.

Genesis 24:3

And swear to me in the name of the Word of the Lord God, whose habitation is in heaven on high, the God whose dominion is over the earth, that thou wilt not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Kenaanites among whom I dwell;

I am going to make you swear by Yahweh, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaan­ites among whom I live

Genesis 26:3

sojourn in the land, and My Word shall be for thy help, and I will bless thee; for to the end to thy sons will I give all these lands, and I will establish the covenant which I have cove­nanted with Abraham thy father.

Remain for the present in that country; I shall be with you and bless you, for I shall give all these countries to you and your descend­ants in fulfilment of the oath I swore to your father Abraham.

Genesis 26:5


on account that Abraham obeyed My word, and kept the keeping of My word, My statutes, My covenants, and My laws.

in return for Abraham’s obedience; for he kept my charge, my command­ments, my statutes and my laws.”

Genesis 26:24

And the Lord appeared to him that night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not; for My Word is for thy help, and I will bless thee, and multiply thy sons for the right­eousness’ sake of Abraham My servant.

Yahweh appeared to him the same night and said: I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I shall bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.

Genesis 26:28

And they answered, Seeing, we have seen, that the Word of the Lord is for thy help, and for thy righteousness’ sake all good hath been to us; but when thou wentest forth from our land the wells dried up, and our trees made no fruit; then we said, We will cause him to return to us. And now let there be an oath established between us, and kindness between us and thee, and we will enter into a covenant with thee,

“It became clear to us that Yahweh was with you,” they replied, “and so we thought, “It is time to have a treaty sworn between us, between us and you.” So let us make a covenant with you:

Genesis 27:28

Therefore the Word of the Lord give thee of the good dews which descend from the heavens, and of the good fountains that spring up, and make the herbage of the earth to grow from be­neath, and plenty of provision and wine.

May God give you dew from heaven, and the richness of the earth, abundance of grain and wine!

Genesis 27:31

And the Word of the Lord had impeded him from taking clean venison; but he had found a certain dog, and killed him, and made food of him, and brought to his father, and said to his father, Arise, my father, and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.

He too made an appetising dish and brought it to his father, “Father, please eat some of your son’s game and then give me your special blessing.”

Genesis 28:7


and that Jakob obeyed the word of his father, and the word of his mother, and was gone to Padan Aram:

and that, in obedience to his father and mother, Jacob had gone to Paddan-Aram,

Genesis 28:15

And, behold, My Word is for thy help, and will keep thee in every place where thou shalt go, and will bring thee (again) to this land; for I will not leave thee until the time when I have per­formed all that I have told thee.

Be sure, I am with you; I shall keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back to this country, for I shall never desert you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Genesis 28:20

And Jakob vowed a vow, saying, If the Word of the Lord will be my Helper, and will keep me from shedding innocent blood, and from strange worship, and from impure converse, in this way that I am going; and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to wear,

Jacob then made this vow, “If God remains with me and keeps me safe on this journey I am making, if he gives me food to eat and clothes to wear,

Genesis 29:12

And Jakob told unto Rahel, that he was come to be with her father to take one of his daugh­ters. And Rahel answered him Thou canst not dwell with him, for he is a man of cunning. And Jakob said to her, I am more cunning and wiser than he; nor can he do me evil, because the Word of the Lord is my Helper. And when she knew that he was the son of Rivekah, she ran and made it known to her father.

He told Rachel he was her father’s kinsman and Rebekah’s son, and she ran to tell her father.


Genesis 29:31

And it was revealed before the Lord that Leah was not loved in the sight of Jakob; and He said in His Word that sons should be given her, and that Rahel should be barren.

When Yahweh saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb, while Rachel remained barren.

Genesis 30:22

And the remembrance of Rahel came before the Lord, and the voice of her prayer was heard before Him; and He said in his Word that He would give her sons.

Then God remembered Rachel; he heard her and opened her womb.

Genesis 31:3

And the Lord said to Jakob, Return to the land of thy fathers, and to thy native place; and My Word shall be for thy help.

Yahweh said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your an­cestors, where you were born, and I shall be with you.”

Genesis 31:5

# “Memra” in the Aram­aic PJT is not trans­lated in the English PJT

And he said to them, I consider the looks of your father, and, behold, they are not peaceful with me as yesterday and as before it; but the God of my father hath been [the word] to my aid.

and he said to them, “I can see that your father’s manner towards me is not as it was in the past, but the God of my father has been with me.

Genesis 31:24

And there came an angel with a word from before the Lord; and he drew the sword against Laban the deceitful in a dream of the night, and said to him, Beware lest thou speak with Jakob from good to evil.

But God appeared to Laban the Aramaean in a dream that night and said to him, “On no account say anything whatever to Jacob.”

Genesis 31:50

If thou shalt afflict my daughters, doing them injury, and if thou take upon my daughters, there is no man to judge us, the Word of the Lord seeing is the witness between me and thee.

If you ill-treat my daughters or marry other women besides my daughters, even though no one be with us, remember: God is witness between us.”

Genesis 35:3

And we will arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make there an altar unto Eloha, who heard my prayer in the day when I was afflicted, and whose Word was my helper in the way that I went.

We must move on and go to Bethel. There I shall make an altar for the God who heard me when I was in distress, and gave me his help on the journey I made.”

Genesis 35:9

And the Lord revealed Himself to Jakob again on his return from Padan of Aram, and the Lord blessed him by the name of His Word, after the death of his mother.

God again appeared to Jacob on his return from Paddan-Aram, and blessed him.

Genesis 39:2

And the Word of the Lord was Joseph’s Helper, and he became a prosperous man in the house of his Mizraite master.

Yahweh was with Joseph, and everything he undertook was successful. He lodged in the house of his Egyptian master,

Genesis 39:3

And his master saw that the Word of the Lord was his Helper, and that the Lord pros­pered in his hand all that he did;

and when his master saw how Yahweh was with him and how Yahweh made every­thing he undertook successful,

Genesis 39:21

And the Word of the Lord was Joseph’s Helper, and extended mercy to him, and gave him favour in the eyes of the captain of the prison.

But Yahweh was with Joseph. He showed him faithful love and made him popular with the chief gaoler.

Genesis 39:23

It was not needful for the captain of the prison to watch Joseph, after the custom of all prisoners, because he saw that there was no fault in his hands; for the Word of the Lord was his Helper, and that which he did the Lord made it to prosper.

The chief gaoler did not bother about anything put in his charge, since Yahweh was with him, and Yahweh made everything he under­took successful.

Genesis 41:1

It was at the end of two years, that the remembrance of Joseph came before the Word of the Lord. And Pharoh dreamed, and, behold, he stood by the river,

Two years later it happened that Pharaoh had a dream: there he was, standing by the Nile,

Genesis 41:40

# “Memra” in the Aram­aic PJT is not trans­lated in the English PJT

Thou shalt be superintendent over my house, and by the decree [of the word] of thy mouth shall all my people be armed only in the throne of the kingdom will I be greater than thou.

You shall be my chancellor, and all my people shall respect your orders; only this throne shall set me above you.”

Genesis 41:44

And Pharoh said to Joseph, I am Pharoh the king, and thou art viceregent, and without thy word a man shall not lift up his hand to gird on arms, or his foot to mount a horse in all the land of Mizraim.

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Although I am Pharaoh, no one is to move hand or foot without your per­mission throughout Egypt.”

Genesis 43:7

And they said, The man demanding demanded (to know) about us, and about our family, saying Is your father yet living? Have you a brother? And we informed him according to the word of these things. Could we know that he would say, Bring your brother down?

They replied, “He kept questioning us about ourselves and our family, asking, “Is your father still alive?” and, “Have you another brother?” That is why we told him. How could we know he was going to say, “Bring your brother down here”?”

Genesis 45:21

And Joseph gave them waggons according to the word of Pharoh, and he furnished them with provision for the way.

Israel’s sons did as they were told. Joseph gave them waggons as Pharaoh had ordered, and he gave them provisions for the journey.

Genesis 46:4


I am He who in My Word will go down with thee into Mizraim; I will regard the affliction of thy children, and My Word shall bring thee up from thence, and cause thy children to come up; but Joseph shall lay his hand upon thine eyes.

I shall go down to Egypt with you and I myself shall bring you back again, and Joseph’s hand will close your eyes.”

Genesis 48:9

And Joseph answered his father, They are my sons which the Word of the Lord gave me according to this writing, accord­ing to which I took Asenath the daughter of Dinah thy daughter to be my wife. And he said, Bring them now near to me, and I will bless them.

“They are my sons, whom God has given me here,” Joseph told his father. “Then bring them to me”, he said, ‘so that I may bless them.”

Genesis 48:21

And Israel said to Joseph, Behold, my end cometh to die. But the Word of the Lord shall be your Helper, and restore you to the land of your fathers;

Then Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am about to die. But God will be with you and take you back to the land of your ancestors.

Genesis 49:25

From the Word of the Lord shall be thy help; and He who is called the All‑Sufficient shall bless thee with the blessings which descend with the dew of heaven from above, and with the good blessing of the fountains of the deep which ascend and clothe the herbage from beneath. The breasts are blessed at which thou wast suckled, and the womb in which thou didst lie,

the God of your father who assists you, El Shaddai who blesses you: blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep lying below, blessings of the breasts and womb,

Genesis 50:20

You indeed imagined against me evil thoughts, that when I did not recline with you to eat it was be­cause I retained enmity against you. But the Word of the Lord thought on me for good; for my father hath caused me to sit at the head, and on account of his honour I received; but now not for the sake of my (own) right­eousness or merit was it given me to work out for you deliver­ance this day for the preservat­ion of much people of the house of Jakob,

The evil you planned to do me has by God’s design been turned to good, to bring about the present result: the survival of a numerous people.


“Memra” in the Book of Exodus from Targum Pseudo-Jonathan


and Notes

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan

(English Translation)

New Jerusalem Bible

Exodus 1:21

And forasmuch as the mid­wives feared before the Lord, they obtained for themselves a good name unto the ages; and the Word of the Lord up-builded for them a royal house, even the house of the high priesthood.

and since the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

Exodus 2:5

And the Word of the Lord sent forth a burning sore and inflammation of the flesh upon the land of Mizraim; and the daughter of Pharoh came down to refresh herself at the river. And her handmaids, walking upon the bank of the river, saw the ark among the reeds, and put forth the arm and took it, and were immed­iately healed of the burning and inflammation.

Now Pharaoh’s daugh­ter went down to bathe in the river, while her maids walked along the riverside. Among the reeds she noticed the basket, and she sent her maid to fetch it.


Exodus 2:23

And it was after many of those days that the king of Mizraim was struck (with disease), and he commanded to kill the first­born of the sons of Israel, that he might bathe himself in their blood. And the sons of Israel groaned with the labour that was hard upon them; and they cried, and their cry ascended to the high heavens of the Lord. And He spake in His Word to deliver them from the travail.

During this long period the king of Egypt died. The Israelites, groaning in their slavery, cried out for help and from the depths of their slavery their cry came up to God.

Exodus 3:8

And I have revealed Myself to thee this day, that by My Word they may be delivered from the hand of the Mizraee, to bring them up out of the unclean land, unto a good land, and large in its bound­aries, a land yielding milk and honey, unto the place where dwell the Kenaanaee, and the Hittaee, and the Amoraee, and the Pherizaee, and the Hivaee, and the Jebusaee.

And I have come down to rescue them from the clutches of the Egypt­ians and bring them up out of that country, to a country rich and broad, to a country flowing with milk and honey, to the home of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.

Exodus 3:12

But He said, Therefore My Word shall be for thy help; and this shall be the sign to thee that I have sent thee: when thou hast, brought the people forth from Mizraim, ye shall worship before the Lord, because ye shall have received the Law upon this mountain.

 “I shall be with you,” God said, “and this is the sign by which you will know that I was the one who sent you. After you have led the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Exodus 3:17

and I have said in My Word, I will bring you up out from the oppression of the Mizraee into the land of the Kenaa­naee, and Hittaee, and Amoraee, and Pherizaee, and Hivaee, and Jebusaee, to the land that yieldeth milk and honey.

and has said: I shall bring you out of the misery of Egypt to the country of the Canaan­ites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Periz­zites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a country flowing with milk and honey.”

Exodus 3:19

But it is manifest before Me that the king of Mizraim will not let you go, (no,) not from fear of Him who is Mighty, until that by My Word he shall have been punished with evil plagues.

I am well aware that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is compelled by a mighty hand;

Exodus 4:12

And now go, and I by My Word will be with the speak­ing of thy mouth, and will teach thee what thou shalt say.

Now go, I shall help you speak and instruct you what to say.”

Exodus 4:15


And thou shalt speak with him, and put the matter in his mouth, and My Word shall be with the word of thy mouth, and with the word of his mouth, and I will instruct you what you are to do.

You will speak to him and tell him what message to give. I shall help you speak, and him too, and instruct you what to do.

Exodus 5:2

And Pharoh said, The name of the Lord is not made known to me, that I should receive His word to release Israel. I have not found written in the Book of the Angels the name of the Lord. Of Him I am not afraid, neither will I release Israel.

“Who is Yahweh,” Pharaoh replied, “for me to obey what he says and let Israel go? I know nothing of Yahweh, and I will not let Israel go.

Exodus 6:8

And I will bring you into the land which I covenanted by My Word to give unto Abraham, to Izhak, and to Jakob; and I will give it to you for an inheritance. I Am the Lord.

Then I shall lead you into the country which I swore I would give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and shall give it to you as your heritage, I, Yahweh.” “

Exodus 7:25

And seven days were com­pleted after the Lord had smitten the river, and the Word of the Lord had afterward healed the river.

After Yahweh struck the River, seven days went by.

Exodus 10:10

And he said to them, So may the Word of the Lord be a help to you: (but) how can I release (both) you and your children? The evil offence is in the look of your faces: (you think to go onward) in the way that you would walk, till the time that you shall have come to the house of the place of your habitation.

Pharaoh said, ‘so I must let you go with your wives and children! May Yahweh preserve you! Plainly, you are up to no good!

Exodus 10:29

Mosheh said, Thou hast spoken fairly. While I was dwelling in Midian, it was told me in a word from before the Lord, that the men who had sought to kill me had fallen from their means, and were reckoned with the dead. At the end there will be no mercy upon thee; but I will pray, and the plague shall be restrained from thee. And now I will see thy face no more.

Moses then said, “You yourself have said it. I shall never see your face again.”

Exodus 12:23

For the Glory of the Lord will be manifested in striking the Mizraee, and He will see the blood upon the lintel and upon the two posts, and the Word of the Lord will spread His protection over the door, and the destroying angel will not be permitted to enter your houses to smite.

Then, when Yahweh goes through Egypt to strike it, and sees the blood on the lintel and on both door-posts, he will pass over the door and not allow the Destroyer to enter your homes and strike.

Exodus 12:27

you shall say, It is the sacrifice of mercy before the Lord, who had mercy in His Word upon the houses of the sons of Israel in Mizraim, when He des­troyed the Mizraee, and spared our houses. And when the house of Israel heard this word from the mouth of Mosheh, they bowed and worshipped.

you will tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice in honour of Yahweh who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, and struck Egypt but spared our houses.” “ And the people bowed in worship.

Exodus 12:29

And it was in the dividing, of the night of the fifteenth, that the Word of the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Miz­raim, from the firstborn son of Pharoh, who would have sat upon the throne of his kingdom, unto the firstborn sons of the kings who were captives in the dung­eon as hostages under Pharoh’s hand; and who, for having rejoiced at the servitude of Israel, were punished as (the Mizraee): and all the firstborn of the cattle that did the work of the Mizraee died also.

And at midnight Yahweh struck down all the first-born in Egypt from the first-born of Pharaoh, heir to his throne, to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon, and the first-born of all the livestock.

Exodus 13:5

And it shall be, when the Lord your God shall have brought you into the land of the Kenaanaee, and Hittaee, and Amoraee, and Hivaee, and Jebusaee, which He sware by His Word unto Abraham to give thee, a land producing milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.

and when Yahweh has brought you into the country of the Canaan­ites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, flowing with milk and honey, which he swore to your ancestors that he would give you, then you must observe this rite in the same month.

Exodus 13:8

And thou shalt instruct thy son on that day, saying, This precept is on account of what the Word of the Lord did for me in miracles and won­ders, in bringing me forth from Mizraim.

And on that day you will explain to your son, “This is because of what Yahweh did for me when I came out of Egypt.”

Exodus 13:15

And when the Word of the Lord had hardened the heart of Pharoh (that he would) not deliver us, he killed all the firstborn in the land of Miz­raim, from the firstborn of man to the firstborn of cattle; therefore do I sacrifice before the Lord every male that openeth the womb, and every firstborn of my sons I redeem with silver.

When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, Yahweh killed all the first-born in Egypt, of man and beast alike. This is why I sacrifice every male first issuing from the womb to Yahweh and redeem every first-born of my sons.”

Exodus 13:17


AND it was when Pharoh had released the people, that the Lord did not conduct, them by the way of the land of the Phelishtaee though that was the near one; for the Lord said, Lest the people be affrighted in seeing their brethren who were killed in war, two hun­dred thousand men of strength of the tribe of Ephraim, who took shields, and lances, and weapons of war, and went down to Gath to carry off the flocks of the Phelishtaee; and because they transgressed against the statute of the Word of the Lord, and went forth from Mizraim three years before the (appointed) end of their servit­ude, they were delivered into the hand of the Phelishtaee, who slew them. These are the dry bones which the Word of the Lord restored to life by the ministry (hand) of Yechezekel the prophet, in the vale of Dura; but which, if they (now) saw them, they would be afraid, and return into Mizraim.

When Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not let them take the road to the Philistines’ territory, although that was the shortest, “in case”, God thought, “the prospect of fighting makes the people change their minds and turn back to Egypt.”

Exodus 14:25

and He brake (or, made rough) the wheels of Pharoh’s car­riages, so that they drave them with hardship, and that they went on and left them behind. And the Mizraee said one to another, Let us flee from the people of the house of Israel; for this is the Word of the Lord who fought for them in Mizraim.

He so clogged their chariot wheels that they drove on only with difficulty, which made the Egyptians say, “Let us flee from Israel, for Yahweh is fighting on their side against the Egyptians!”

Exodus 14:31

And Israel saw the power of the mighty hand by which the Lord had wrought the miracles in Mizraim; and the people feared before the Lord, and believed in the Name of the Word of the Lord, and in the prophecies of Mosheh His servant.

When Israel saw the mighty deed that Yahweh had performed against the Egyptians, the people revered Yahweh and put their faith in Yahweh and in Moses, his servant.

Exodus 15:1

Behold: then sang, Mosheh and the sons of Israel this song of praise before the Lord and saying they said: Thanks­giving and praise we bring before the Lord Most High, who is glorified above the glorious, and exalted above the exalted; who punisheth by His Word whomsoever glorifieth himself before Him. Therefore when Pharoh the wicked bare himself proudly before the Lord, and, being uplifted in his heart, followed after the people of the sons of Israel, their horses and their chariots He threw and buried in the sea of Suph.

It was then that Moses and the Israelites sang this song in Yahweh’s honour: I shall sing to Yahweh, for he has covered himself in glory, horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.

Exodus 15:2

The Lord is Mighty, and greatly to be feared over all the world. He spake in His Word, and became to me a God of salvation.

From their mothers’ breasts even the children have given signs with their fingers to their fathers, and said This is our God, who nourished us with honey from the rock, and with oil from the stone of clay, at the time when our mothers went forth upon the face of the field to give us birth, and leave us there; and He sent an angel who washed us and en­wrapped us; and now will we praise Him: He is the God of our fathers, and we will exalt Him.

Yah is my strength and my song, to him I owe my deliverance. He is my God and I shall praise him, my father’s God and I shall extol him.

Exodus 15:8

For by the Word from before Thee the waters became heaps; they stood, as if bound like skins that confine flowing water, and the depths were congealed in the flood of the great sea.

A blast from your nostrils and the waters piled high; the waves stood firm as a dyke; the bed of the sea became firm ground.

Exodus 15:25

And he prayed before the Lord, and the Lord showed him the bitter tree of Ardiphne; and he wrote upon it the great and glorious Name, and cast it into the midst of the waters, and the waters were rendered sweet. And there did the Word of the Lord ap­point to him the ordinance of the Sabbath, and the statute of honouring father and mother, the judgments concerning wounds and bruises, and the punishments wherewith offenders are punished; and there he tried (them) with the tenth trial,

Moses appealed to Yahweh for help, and Yahweh showed him a piece of wood. When Moses threw it into the water, the water became sweet. There he laid down a statute and law for them and there he put them to the test. Then he said,

Exodus 16:3

And the sons of Israel said to them, Would that we had died by the Word of the Lord in the land of Mizraim, when we sat by the cisterns of meat, and ate bread and had enough! Why hast thou brought us out into this wilderness to kill all this congregation with hunger?

and said to them, “Why did we not die at Yahweh’s hand in Egypt, where we used to sit round the flesh pots and could eat to our heart’s content! As it is, you have led us into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death!”

Exodus 16:8

And Mosheh said, By this you shall know, when the Lord prepareth you at evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to satisfy, that your complainings wherewith you complain against Him are heard before the Lord. And we, what are we accounted? Your complaints are not against us, but against the Word of the Lord.

Moses then said, “This evening Yahweh will give you meat to eat, and tomor­row morning bread to your heart’s content, for Yahweh has heard your com­plaints about him. What do we count for? Your complaints are not against us, but against Yahweh.”

Exodus 17:1

And all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed from the desert of Sin by their journeyings according to the word of the Lord, and they encamped in Rephidim, a place where their hands were idle in the commandments of the law, and the fountains were dry, and there was no water for the people to drink.

The whole community of Israelites left the desert of Sin, travelling by stages as Yahweh ordered. They pitched camp at Rephidim where there was no water for the people to drink.

Exodus 17:13

And Jehoshua shattered Amalek, and cut off the heads, of the strong men of his people, by the mouth of the Word of the Lord, with the slaughter of the sword.

and Joshua defeated Amalek, putting their people to the sword.

Exodus 17:15

And Mosheh builded an altar, and called the name of it, The Word of the Lord is my banner; for the sign which He hath wrought (in this) place was on my behalf.

Moses then built an altar and named it Yahweh-Nissi

Exodus 17:16


And he said, Because the Word of the Lord hath sworn by the throne of His glory, that He by His Word will fight against those of the house of Amalek, and destroy them unto three generations; from the generation of this world, from the generation of the Meshiha, and from the generation of the world to come.

meaning, “Lay hold of Yahweh’s banner! Yahweh will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”

Exodus 18:19

Now hearken to me and I will advise thee; and may the Word of the Lord be thy helper! When thou art with the people who seek instruction from before the Lord, thou shouldst take their affair before the Lord,

Now listen to the advice I am going to give you, and God be with you! Your task is to repre­sent the people to God, to lay their cases before God,

Exodus 19:5

And now, if you will truly hearken to My Word and keep My covenant, you shall be more beloved before Me than all the peoples on the face of the earth.

So now, if you are really prepared to obey me and keep my covenant, you, out of all peoples, shall be my personal possession, for the whole world is mine.

Exodus 20:7

My people of the house of Israel, Let no one of you swear by the name of the Word of the Lord your God in vain; for in the day of the great judgment the Lord will not hold guiltless any one who sweareth by His name in vain.

“You shall not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, for Yahweh will not leave unpun­ished anyone who misuses his name.

Exodus 21:22

# “Memra” in the Aramaic PJT is translated as “sentence” in the English PJT

If men when striving strike a woman with child, and cause her to miscarry, but not to lose her life, the fine on account of the infant which the husband of the woman shall lay upon him, he shall pay according to the sentence of the judges.

“If people, when brawling, hurt a pregnant woman and she suffers a miscarriage but no further harm is done, the person responsible will pay compensation as fixed by the woman’s master, paying as much as the judges decide.

Exodus 23:21

∆ ∆

Be circumspect before Him, and obey His word, and be not rebellious against His words; for He will not forgive your sins, because His word is in My Name.

Revere him and obey what he says. Do not defy him: he will not forgive any wrong-doing on your part, for my name is in him.

Exodus 23:22

For if thou wilt indeed hearken to His word, and do all that I speak by Him, I will be the enemy of thy enemy, and will trouble them who trouble thee.

If, however, you obey what he says and do whatever I order, I shall be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.

Exodus 25:22

And I will appoint My Word with thee there, and will speak with thee from above the mercy‑seat, between the two kerubaia that are over the ark of the testament, concerning all that I may command thee for the sons of Israel.

There I shall come to meet you; from above the mercy-seat, from between the two winged creatures which are on the ark of the Testim­ony, I shall give you all my orders for the Israelites.

Exodus 26:28

And the middle bar in the midst of the boards passing from end to end shall be from the tree which Abraham planted in Beara of Sheba: for when Israel had crossed the sea, the angels cut down the tree and cast it into the sea, and it floated on the face of the waters. And an angel proclaimed, and said, This is the tree which Abraham planted in Beara of Sheba, and prayed there in the name of the Word of the Lord. And the sons of Israel shall take and make thereof the middle bar, seventy cubits in length, and with it shall wondrous things be done: for when they have reared up the tabernacle, it shall go round it like a serpent among the boards of the tabernacle and when they take it down, it shall become straight as a rod.

The middle bar must join the frames from one end to the other, halfway up.

Exodus 29:42

a perpetual holocaust for your generations at the door of the tabernacle of ordinance before the Lord; where I will appoint My Word to (meet) thee there, to speak with thee there.

a perpetual burnt offering for all your generations to come, at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before Yahweh, where I shall meet you and speak to you.

Exodus 29:43

And there I will appoint My Word (to meet) with the sons of Israel, and I will be sancti­fied in their rulers for My glory.

“There I shall meet the Israelites in the place consecrated by my glory.

Exodus 30:6

And thou shalt place it before the veil which is over the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is upon the tes­timony, where I will appoint My Word to be with thee.

“You will put it in front of the curtain by the ark of Testimony, in front of the mercy-seat which is on the Testimony, where I shall meet you.

Exodus 30:36

And beat, and make it small, and of it some shalt thou put before the testimony in the tabernacle of ordinance, where I will appoint My Word to be with thee. Most sacred shall it be to you.

You will grind some of this up very fine and put it in front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where I shall meet you. You will regard it as especially holy.

Exodus 31:13

Also, speak thou with the sons of Israel, saying, Ye shall keep the day of My Sabbaths indeed; for it is a sign between My Word and you, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctify you.

‘speak to the Israelites and say, “You will keep my Sabbaths properly, for this is a sign be­tween myself and you for all your gen­erations to come, so that you will know that it is I, Yah­weh, who sanctify you.

Exodus 31:17

between My Word and the sons of Israel it is a sign for ever. For in six days the Lord created and perfected the heavens and the earth; and in the seventh day He rested and refreshed.

Between myself and the Israelites, this is a sign for ever, for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he rested and drew breath.”

Exodus 32:13

Remember Abraham, and Izhak, and Israel, Thy servants, to whom Thou didst swear in Thy Word and didst say to them, I will multiply your children as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have told you will I give to your sons, and they shall inherit for ever.

Remember your ser­vants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom you swore by your very self and made this promise: “I shall make your offspring as numer­ous as the stars of heaven, and this whole country of which I have spoken, I shall give to your descend­ants, and it will be their heritage for ever.” “

Exodus 32:35

And the Word of the Lord plagued the people, because they had bowed themselves to the calf that Aharon had made.

And Yahweh punished the people for having made the calf, the one Aaron had made.

Exodus 33:9

And it came to pass when Mosheh had gone into the tabernacle, the column of the glorious Cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle; and the Word of the Lord spake with Mosheh.

And whenever Moses went into the Tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and station itself at the entrance to the Tent, while Yahweh spoke with Moses.

Exodus 33:12

And Mosheh said before the Lord, Lo, what hast Thou said to me, Take this people up? but Thou hast not made me to know whom Thou wilt send with me. By Thy Word Thou hast said, I have ordained thee with a goodly name, and thou hast found favour before Me.

Moses said to Yahweh, “Look, you say to me, “Make the people move on,” but you have not told me whom you are going to send with me, although you have said, “I know you by name and you enjoy my favour.”

Exodus 33:19

but He said, Behold, I will make all the measure of My good­ness pass before thee, and I will give utterance in the good name of the Word of the Lord before thee; and I will have compassion upon whom I see it right to have compassion, and will be merciful to whom I see it right to have mercy.

Yahweh said, “I shall make all my goodness pass before you, and before you I shall pronounce the name Yahweh; and I am gracious to those to whom I am gracious and I take pity on those on whom I take pity.

Exodus 33:22

And it shall be that when the glory of My Shekinah passeth before thee, I will put thee in a cavern of the rock, and will overshadow thee with My Word until the time that I have passed by.

and when my glory passes by, I shall put you in a cleft of the rock and shield you with my hand until I have gone past.

Exodus 34:5

And the Lord revealed Him­self in the cloud of the glory of His Shekinah, and Mosheh stood with Him there; and Mosheh called on the Name of the Word of the Lord.

And Yahweh descended in a cloud and stood with him there and pronounced the name Yahweh.

Exodus 34:27

# “Memra” in the Aramaic PJT is translated as “express­ion” in the English PJT

And the Lord said to Mosheh, Write thou these words; for upon the expression of these words have I stricken My covenant with thee and with the people of Israel.

Yahweh then said to Moses, “Put these words in writing, for they are the terms of the covenant which I have made with you and with Israel.”

Exodus 36:33

And he made the middle bar to mortise in the midst of the boards from end to end, of the tree which our father Abraham planted in Beara of Sheba, praying there in the Name of the Word of the Lord, the everlasting, God.

He made the middle bar, to join the frames from one end to the other, halfway up.

Exodus 38:21

These are the sums, weights, and numbers of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, which were counted by the word of the mouth of Mosheh. But the service of the Levites was by the hand of Ithamar bar Aharon the priest.

These are the accounts for the Dwelling—the Dwell­ing of the Testimony—drawn up by order of Moses, the work of Levites, produced by Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest.



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