Imagine a 12-year old opening the Bible and trying to read the book of Isaiah… in the Shakespearian English of 400 years ago. How long would his interest last? About one verse, perhaps.
Imagine that the same child is an Israeli reading the original Masoretic text of the Bible, written in ancient Hebrew 4,000 years old! Not only the words have changed, but the grammar and the usage… you can only imagine. Studying the Bible becomes a very serious business, and is relegated to the classroom where Bible reading is compulsory and about as popular as algebra and geography.
God has promised that his Word will not return void. We know that when people read the word of God, he works through it to change their lives, their way of thinking and their very souls. In reading God’s word the child learns lessons that will stay with him for life – about God himself, his dealings with mankind, and what he expects from us! The Israeli child has the wonderful privilege of living in the land of the Bible. Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee are taken for granted as part of his natural milieu. But how sad that most of the time he knows very little about what happened in these places thousands of years ago, and the significance of those happenings.
It is the goal of HaGefen Publishing to put the Bible into the hands of the children – in modern, limited vocabulary Hebrew and with illustrations that intrigue, fire the imagination and bring the text to life.
For the first time ever, the ancient Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible is being translated into modern Hebrew for youth!
Of course, nothing can replace the original Hebrew of the Bible. It is beautiful, poetic, literature at its best. This is a Bible for youth, but is meant to complement the Bible itself, not replace it. We trust that first the children will read the easy Hebrew, and then be inspired to seek the truths they read in their original. But first they must be encouraged to read!
This is a faithful modern-Hebrew translation of the Bible, not a paraphrase or a Bible Storybook. Each word and phrase is carefully weighed, adhering carefully to the highest literary standards possible, keeping in mind the appropriate level of language, grammar and readability.
It is a slow, painstaking process. After the initial work of translation a minute, word for word, phrase to phrase editing process takes place. Every editorial remark is then carefully evaluated, with reference to the best of scholarship’s findings. The third draft is then submitted to control groups: children of the intended age, evangelical experts in the scriptures, teachers and parents, theologians and biblical scholars. Comments received are evaluated and many adopted.
The quality illustrations are not mere decorations.. They clarify and inform while attracting attention to the text itself, and are as true as possible to the reality of biblical times.
The style conveys a sense of reality rather than the fantasy-fiction atmosphere of so many modern illustrations. The gouache colours are sharp and emphatic and the illustrations true to the topography of Israel, its ancient flora and fauna and its material and religious cultures. Information is gathered from archeological research in Israel, and the illustrations are scrutinized by experts before being approved.
The entire Bible is illustrated, from Habakkuk and Job, Zephaniah and Jude, I and II Timothy, the Song of Songs, Daniel and Leviticus. Even the genealogical lists have been depicted in a way that both delights and brings to life the family relationships of the ancient people.