Deception in Hebrew
The noun in Hebrew for  "lie, falsehood,deception" is שֶׁקֶר (sheqer). The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament states that this word is, "Used of words or activities which are false in the sense that they are groundless, without basis in fact or reality."

The verbal form, שָׁקַר (shaqar) is often used in relationship to breaking God's covenant.

Noteworthy Usages in the Old Testament
  • First use: oddly, from the mouth of a pagan to Abraham asking Abraham to swear kindness to him, "Now therefore, swear to me by God that you will not deal falsely (shaqar) with me..." (Ex. 20:3)
  • In the Decalogue, "You shall not bear false (sheqer) witness" 
  • Both Jeremiah and Isaiah consider false prophets and their utterances to be "sheqer." 
  • Again ,both Jeremiah and Isaiah consider idols to be "sheqer."
  • Last use in the Old Testament: Malachi 3:5: In a sobering warning the LORD says, "And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers (sheqer)..."

Mnemonics to Remember "Deception, Falsehood" in Hebrew
To remember שֶׁקֶר, find a "sound-alike" English word for the Hebrew. For myself, I use the substitute English word "checker."  After finding your substitute or "sound-alike" English word, associate the meaning (deception) to the sound-alike (e.g. "checker") in your imagination.

For myself, I associate the game pieces of checkers moving themselves against me in a game deceiving me.

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn more Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

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