Thursday, March 17, 2022

The Hebrew noun כל (kol) is a common word for "all, everything." It may be related to the Hebrew verb כלל (kālal), meaning "to complete, to make perfect." We see כל (kol) in Genesis 2:1: "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all (כל) their multitude." However, as כל (kol) often conveys a general sense of "totality," translations will vary depending on what is described. Some common translations of כל (kol) are "whole," as in Genesis 9:19: "These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole (כל) earth was peopled." It can mean "any," as in Genesis 3:1: "Now the serpent was more crafty than any (כל) other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God say, "You shall not eat from any (כל) tree in the garden"?'" Another way כל (kol) is translated is by using variations of the word "every" like "everything," in Genesis 1:28: "God saw everything (כל) that he had made, and indeed, it was very good," or "everywhere," as in Genesis 13:10: "Lot looked about him, and saw that the plain of the Jordan was well watered everywhere (כל) like the garden of the LORD." The noun כל (kol) will often be used multiple times in close succession requiring the translator to draw on different meanings to reflect the meaning of the text accurately. An example of this can be seen in Exodus 1:22: "Then Pharaoh commanded all (כל) his people, 'Every (כל) boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every (כל) girl live'."