The Angel Who Has Delivered Me from All Harm

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Dr. Horst Krüger, Jerusalem Perspective's representative in Germany, has suggested to me that Genesis 48:16 may be part of the background to a phrase found in the Lord's Prayer. I believe that Dr. Krüger has made an important discovery.

Dr. Horst Krüger, Jerusalem Perspective’s representative in Germany, has suggested to me that Genesis 48:16 may be part of the background to a phrase found in the Lord’s Prayer. I believe that Dr. Krüger has made an important discovery.

Just before he died, the patriarch Israel blessed his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, in the following words:

May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm—may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly upon the earth. (Gen. 48:15-16; NIV)

The phrase that caught Horst’s attention was “the Angel who has delivered me from all harm.” The “Angel,” of course, is God himself, since “Angel” stands in parallel to “God” in the two preceding lines. The Masoretic text reads: הַגֹּאֵל אֹתִי מִכָּל־רָע (hago’el oti mikol ra; who has redeemed me from every evil).

The phrase “who has redeemed [or, delivered] me from all evil” is strikingly similar to the phrase “deliver us from evil” that appears in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:13).[1]

If Genesis 48:16 does indeed constitute the background to Jesus’ “Deliver us from evil,” it would support Dr. Randall Buth’s contention that Jesus’ words should be translated “Deliver us from evil,” not “Deliver us from the Evil One,” as the New International Version, New Revised Standard Version, Jerusalem Bible, New Century Bible and Good News Bible have rendered them.[2]

  • [1] The Greek verb ῥύεσθαι (ryesthai, to redeem, deliver), which was employed by the Septuagint (the second-century B.C. Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) to translate go’el (Gen. 48:16) is the same verb that was employed by Matthew. The Greek adjective used to translate ra (evil) in Genesis 48:16 was κακός (kakos, bad, evil), while the adjective translated “evil” in Matthew 6:13 is πονηρός (poneros, bad, evil); however, both Greek words were frequently used by the Septuagint’s translators to render the Hebrew ra. In the Septuagint, the word poneros is the translation of ra 231 times, and the translation of רָעָה (ra’ah, evil, wickedness, misfortunte), a variant of ra, 15 times; the word kakos is the translation of ra 31 times, and the translation of ra’ah 197 times.
  • [2] Randall Buth, “Deliver Us from Evil,” Jerusalem Perspective 55 (Apr.-Jun. 1998), 29-31.

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  • David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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