Do Not Speak the Names of Other Gods?

Ancient Hebrew Research Center

We study a Hebrew book-written by Hebrews; we serve a Hebrew Lord-who had Hebrew disciples; we desire to follow the first century church-which was first predominately Hebrew; and through Christ, we are grafted into a Hebrew family! It makes sense to study the Hebrew culture. Studying Scripture from our Western/ American/ Greek view is like looking for gold in a dark mine with a dim pen light–you can see enough to stumble around but you need more light to see clearly. A good grasp of the ancient Hebraic customs and terminology would allow you to reexamine Scripture in this powerful flood light, exposing intricate details and treasures. Take a look at the two examples below from the Ancient Hebrew Research Center founded and run by Jeff A. Benner. Examine each with a light shed from Hebraic understanding.

Using the Names of Other Gods

A good example of the importance of understanding ancient Hebrew is shown in this question and answer in the Ancient Hebrew Newsletter: Q: According to Exodus 23:13 we are not to speak the names of other gods. How do we observe this when the names of the days of the week are names of other gods? A: While many are not aware of this, each day of the week is named for a god: Sun’s day, Moon’s day, Teu’s day, Woden’s day, Thor’s day, Frea’s day, Saturn’s day. It would appear from Exodus 23:13, that we should not use these names of the week, as we would be “speaking” the names of other gods. The problem with taking Exodus 23:13 very literally, is that this would mean that YHWH is in violation of his own command as he often speaks the names of foreign gods. However, when we look at this verse from a Hebraic perspective it does not say “do not speak” or “ do not mention” their names, it actually says “do not remember” their names. In Hebrew thought “remembering” is not just a mental exercise, but an action of response. In addition, the word for “name” is “shem” which more literally means “character.” Therefore, this verse is not saying “do not speak the names of other gods,” but instead,” do not respond to the character of the other gods.”

Hebrew View of Love

Christ said all the law can be wrapped up in two commands: Loving God and loving others. So what is the Hebrew view of love? Jeff A. Bennerexplains:

In our modern Western culture, love is an abstract thought of emotion, how one feels toward another, but the Hebrew word אהב ahav [H:157] goes much deeper than simple emotion. The parent root of this word is הב hav. While this root is not found in the Biblical text, a couple of other derivatives are. The word הבהב havhav [H:1890], a noun meaning “gift” and יהב yahav [H:3051], a verb meaning “to provide,” help to supply the fuller Hebraic understanding of אהב ahav [H:157].

We do not choose our parents or siblings, but they are instead given to us as a gift from above, a privileged gift. Even in the Ancient Hebrew culture, one’s wife was chosen for him. It is our responsibility to provide and protect those privileged gifts. As a verb, the Hebrew word אהב ahav [H:157] means “to provide and protect what is given as a privileged gift.” We are to love God, neighbors, and family, not in an emotional sense, but in the sense of our actions.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Andi says:

    Shalom – we really enjoyed this video and was blessed by the understanding of it! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Ryan King says:

    I believe you have a faulty retranslation of Exodus 23:13. Remember always: we are not to add to or take away from His perfect instructions (Deuteronomy 4:2), but should instead receive them in a childlike and obedient manner (Matthew 18:2-4).

    The second part of the verse says, “nor let them be heard on your lips.” I see no ambiguity about the word “lips” (Hebrew PeH, Strongs H6310). Could the word refer to anything other than the physical part of your mouth, through which sound vibrations pass? YHWH was merciful to provide us with such a clear repetition of the command, underlining the literality of the first part.

    Plus, in the article you suggest YHWH would be in violation of His own command. He is permitted (as if the Almighty needs permission for anything) to give us instructions that do not apply to Him. For example, YHWShAh said, “Do not judge” (Matthew 7:1), yet He sits on the Great White Throne of Judgement. Be very cautious about applying mortal man’s logic to such pursuits, as it often leads our hearts astray.

    I do believe this command prohibits the use of false god’s names, whether directly, or embedded in day/month names, or in other etymologies (such as “fate”, “happy”, “mercury”, “martial”, etc.). I realize this is a weighty change. My own lips have not been nearly as pure as I want them to be, and I am forever grateful for His mercy and blood shed for me… but we should not trample this grace by denying His instructions. In truth, His yoke is easy — once we accept it, the guidance is for our own benefit.

    Be forever blessed, be filled with truth and light. I look forward to our glorious meeting in the hereafter, where we will praise and serve YHWH together with all clarity and wisdom.

    • Stephan the Israelite says:

      I agree with you. We are not to speak the names of other gods; so says YAH (YHWH) the ALMIGHTY GOD of the ISRAELITES.

      The man/woman who wrote this article may deceive others into breaking HIS command.

  3. Mike Wassilyn Sr. says:


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