Recently, we brought to a close the Jewish year with a solemn celebration of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). I was at our local synagogue for this event. Actually, the meeting took place in our village community center not far from our home (as there was just not enough space at the synagogue).

Over and over, throughout the Day of Atonement services, the worshiping community broke out into a familiar song in Hebrew, reciting the very words YHVH pronounced as He shielded Moses from the power of his own presence (Exodus 34:6-7). One of the truly intriguing things that God declared about himself is hidden beneath the English translation. God said that He was אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם (prounced: erech apaim).

If you can’t read Hebrew, don’t feel bad (although God knows you owe it to yourself to start learning some Hebrew already). Not many in attendance knew the meaning of this Ancient Hebrew phrase. You see, the phrase arech apaim means, “[He] has a long nose.” What in the world could that possibly mean in reference to God? The answer is actually very simple.

When a person gets angry his nose is visibly enlarged as he/she expresses his/her indignation. The fact that God has a very long nose (nose is even plural here) is a beautiful ancient Hebrew expression signifying that God is very slow to anger. I am so happy that most of our English translations get it right:

“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger (אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם), and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.” (Ex. 34:6-7, NASB)

May God’s very long nose be felt by us during the next cycle of His immense mercy and grace! And may our noses also get longer and longer as we get to know Him in an even more intimate way!

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

108 COMMENTS

  1. This is a very good lesson. I wish could afford to pay for this and these lessons, but on what little I get in social security I can’t. This was great.

        • I do and majority of us at Israel Bible Center do to :-). (Just small correction if you mean to spell Jesus in Hebrew it is not YAshua (although it sounds correct), but Yeshua or Yehoshua. Blessings!

          • I’m not sure if I agree with that because YAHWEH said of YAHSHUA “Be on the guard before Him, and listen to His voice. Do not be rebellious against Him, for He will not forgive your transgressions; for MY NAME IS IN HIM. Exodus 23:21
            We know that the Father’s personal name is YAH, not Yeh, hence YAHSHUA.
            Another example, we say HalleluYAH we don’t say HalleluYeh.
            Just saying……..

          • You are confusing things 🙂 YAH is indeed a short version of YHVH, but Yeshua (in Hebrew means HE will save). I invite you to take Hebrew studies with us, if you are serious about reading Hebrew words.

          • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including Leviticus and The New Testament and The Revelation in a Jewish Context II : Discovery. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

          • Yeshua is aramaic and that is the messiahs correct name. As far as God having a long nose what a load of misinformation perpetrated by someone who should know better. Apayim comes from the root for breathing hard. Erekh comes from the root to be long or prolong and should in fact be translated as being slow. Thus we have ‘being slow of ones breathing hard’ nothing whatsoever to do with God’s nose.

          • Thank you Mikhael for your comment. I’m sorry but I don’t think you’ve provided a fair assessment of “appayim” or of “erekh”. Appayim is a noun and not a verb, and it appears dozens of times in the Bible. I’d recommend doing a word study on those appearances and seeing if your translation fits the context.

      • Thanks for this wonderful insight as to “G-d’s long nose.” I do study Hebrew and am always grateful for your insights into the language– you are the master and most of the rest of us are only students. I have bought some of your books– excellent resources!!

      • I understand that your ministry has to be supported be contributions. But as reading this I couldn’t help but thinking Yeshua didn’t ever charge for his teachings. When there are so many deeply wanting to learn more there should be a way to freely teach Gods word.

        • Hi Janice. Actually, IBC is not a ministry, is not supported by financial contributions and is not affiliated with any religious organization. IBC is an educational institution that offers in-depth, academic video courses pertaining to original languages, history, culture and context of the Bible. As such, tuition applies for students only who have access to our video courses. But for our guests, we provide these insights articles completely for free. I hope you enjoy these free insight articles.

        • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Story of Our Hebrew Fathers: Abraham and Isaac or Leviticus and The New Testament. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

    • You might say that when that time comes, our Creator’s nose is a little bent out of shape!
      Jewish, Muslins and Christians need to pull as ONE people because of all three faiths are Father Abraham’s children’s.
      Shalom Alecheim!

      • The redemption will include all people of every tongue, tribe and nation all worshiping the King, the Jewish Messiah Yeshua!

      • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including Leviticus and The New Testament and The Jewish Apostle Paul I: His World. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

    • I to would like to take these courses but social security only reaches so far I do understand your feelings and I will pray for a way to be provided for you to take these classes and more

    • I’m touched and only resources will deny me from joining such school cox everything i see here well detailed

  2. Like this article; will post to various sites & friends. Also, I like this streamlined format of the web page/site.

    Continued blessings of best wishes & success to Israel Bible Center.
    Jane Mazzola

    • I believe the kjv adds patience. which is also long suffering. which makes it a
      better translation not verbal of what it feels when facing problems However slow to anger is an absolutely a trait to follow and slow to speak meaning think before you open your mouth Happy sabbath

  3. Hello Sir,

    I just want to state that you have eradicated the Cross with this reference to an Old Testament scripture about God being slow to anger!
    God used to be angry but since the Cross He is no more so because of Jesus Christ. The price was paid hence there is no issue of sin or the sin nature for all who have made Jesus Lord.
    I believe that the prophetic chapter of Isaiah 54 speaks volumes about God’s position.
    Now if people are refusing to see or acknowledge God’s goodness through His Son – for them the issue of God’s wrath is an impending event.
    For the Jews who yet stay blinded they will unfortunately go through the 7 years of tribulation and yes all Israel will be saved then but at what cost?!
    Now For messianic Jews to still believe God is angry that is sad!
    In God’s unconditional love and grace – Jesus Christ.

    • Shally, I am sorry that you chronologizing Christ too late in History :-). Remember that Christ was slain from BEFORE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD (Rev. 13:8). Which means that Moses and God episod was connected God was not ANGRY GOD before – you seemed to be missing the point – it is the same God was ALWAYS SLOW TO ANGER ABOUNDING WITH LOVING KINDNESS, GRACE AND MERCY!

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Stories of Jewish Christ: First Century Diversity or The Jewish Apostle Paul I: His World. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

      • Dr Eli, I believe you are truly right on this point saying God has always been merciful and full of grace. And I think that this is demonstrated in Exodus when it talks about the Ark of the Covenant, saying that God told Moses to meet with Him at the place of the mercy seat and there God would discuss and explain everything about His Laws (His Torah). To me, this makes the point that everything about God’s Laws (His Instructions) is filtered through the concepts of Mercy and Grace. ALSO, thanks for this explanation about God’s long nose –

        • Afterall, it is the Mercy Seat that sits over the contents of the Ark … and those contents contain the Broken Tablets, and it contains the “lechem” given to Moses and which God’s people could not recognize (and did not understand) and this is the reason they called it (the lechem) “ma” (meaning “what is it” … we don’t know what it is) … and still even today most of God’s people do not know or understand this significant point: I see signs at churches all the time announcing “Fresh Manna” (fresh ma that is not understood)

      • Dr. Eli, The phrase “Christ was slain from BEFORE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD (Rev. 13:8)” Do you interpret this to mean that 1. Since Christ was going to be slain at the right time in history and it was a done deal before the creation of the world, that it is being stated as if it already happened or 2. Do you interpret this to mean that since God is outside of time and sees past, present and future all at once, that it was continually happening or already happened in God’s eyes? Thank you so much. Blessings.

        • In Rabbinic tradition, of the things that existed before the creation of the world, Messiah is one. So it seems that either of your suggestions is plausible. Messiah’s job was known to God before the Creation, and of course God’s timeless perspective should be construed as “completed” past tense.

        • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Leviticus and The New Testament or The Jewish Apostle Paul I: His World. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

      • Not sure I understand Christ being slain before the foundation of the World…are you saying before Earth was formed or for the entire World to see?! I am trying to follow all of this. thank you for all your sharing. Saundra

        • Hi Saundra. By “slain before the foundation of the World”, I mean this: God knows the future, and He Knew that man would fall and need a redeemer before the first day of creation. He planned on it, the Messiah’s life, ministry, death and resurrection, before the first people were even created.

        • Possibly Saundra’s confusion lies in the fact that time is a finite dimension that we are in, along with space– and time and space are very closely connected. Ask Einstein if you don’t believe me. Eternity, by contrast, is outside of time. We don’t understand it yet, but we will.

      • It would seem to me that God’s “slow to anger” in the Old Testament is mirrored in the New Testament as God’s “patience.”

      • Todah for your opening up The Word. It is imperative that people go to the source of the Hebrew language..time and context. And not rely on own understanding. Love the teachings. Shalom

  4. I, for one, am very thankful for HIS ‘slow to anger’, forgiveness, loving-kindness, mercy, grace, etc. HE is TRULY a very, MERCIFUL GOD. HE surrendered HIS SON for us…surely we can surrender all ourselves to HIM as a ‘very small’ thank you for ALL HE has done and given us. THANK YOU JESUS. I wish my exclamation point worked right now.

    • Interesting comments! A video I seen where Ron wyatt found the ark of the covenant! I would like to encourage anyone who hasn’t seen this video, to watch it! Ron Wyatt is a christian archaeologist! Tell me what you think! THE LORD Bless you all!

      • The Ark of the Covenant is in Heaven where Jesus sat down on the mercy seat having shed His precious blood. Read all of Hebrews.

  5. It has always been my dream to learn to read and write in Hebrew. However, my husband and I are both disabled (in the eyes of the world). He is on Social Security and I am on Teacher’s disability. Please life us up, as we seek a sponsor.

  6. Good day,
    This is not a comment but a question. Please enlighten me about the following: The significance of dead bones which is placed in a box (coffin) and can be (re)moved from place to place.
    I have read about the deep feelings, affections and affiliation in (dry)bones, (Gen29:14; jdg 9:2; Job 2:5, 30:30 and Ps 22:17)

    Much appreciated
    Lourens

  7. I just want to ask a question Dr Eli.

    Genesis 25:22 where she went to inquire and from which god? I am talking about Rebekah.

  8. Regarding God’s “nose”: We must also remember that we are still sinners, so we still commit sin ( and therefore anger God). While still on earth we need God’s redeeming love and patience with us. Yes, we receive His grace every time we repent, and until such time, we must be grateful that God has a ” long nose “.

  9. Comment: Thanks a lot for the answer you gave to Shally. We must not take Gods mercy for granted. The death and resurrection of Christ is not a license to continue in sin. The New Covenant contains more than 800 commandments. why should God border to give us these commandments if we are free from all obligations just because of the cross. Thanks for the long nose of God insight.

  10. Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah who died on the cross for the sins of the world and brought salvation to all who believe? And believe he was resurrected on the third day and sits on the right hand of God in heaven and in the Holy Spirit, the Trinity??

    • I love it when people check out my Christian orthodoxy :-). I encourage you to read my articles that you can find in the magazine section of this site (on Christ Jesus, on Trinity, etc). Once you read them you will know why I am avoiding answering the question as stated :-). Blessings and much peace in the One who gives us strength, Eli

  11. Well, how interesting can the Hebrew word for nose be? It might interest you to know that the word for nose – ‘aph (עף) – is the same word for anger and wrath. The anger of YHVH is ‘aph YHVH. The flaring of the nostrils is a demonstrative sign of disgust and indignation. Remember that in Hebrew the names of nouns are found in their expressive verbal roots.

  12. To be hung on this scripture and believe that God is still angry with mankind is to ignore and / or disregard the sacrifice of God’s Beloved Son.

    If God is still angry with mankind then it simply means Christ died in vain – that The promise that our sins and iniquities He will remember NO MORE is a lie.

    Sir, yes those who disregard the sacrifice are still under God’s wrath – not because God desires it but because one is choosing self-righteousness over Christ’s Righteousness!

    Blessings in Christ Jesus
    Sincerely
    $hally

    • Hi Shally, my point in the article was not that God is (still) angry, but that God is slow to anger. He is patient, and isn’t that wonderful?

    • Shally, your Christian theology is very compartmentalized. For instance, Yeshua/Jesus deliberately gathered the materials, fashioned a scourge, and in a less than “peace and love only” manner which you seem to view Him as exclusively possessing, He cleared the Temple grounds of a whole crowd of buyers, sellers, and money changers. He drove the livestock out gates in the center of the walls. That is no easy thing! Yeshua/God had a temper, He got angry. But Christianity isolates this story and ignores it in making their theology of a kinder, gentler NT God. Same Bible, same Jewish people, same God.

  13. I have been following your teachings. But for now I don’t find word “slow to anger” in NKJV Strong’s Bible. Can you please explain.

    • NKJV as well as several others prefer “longsuffering” instead of “slow to anger.” They mean the same thing.

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Exodus and The New Testament or The Revelation in a Jewish Context II : Discovery. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

      • Well said. I’ve always preferred Long Suffering as being more expressive of what we go through while Slow to anger is a softer word yet what we actually need to resist saying hurtful words and alienating a person away from Christ Treat others as we want to be treated

    • Spoken Hebrew has used vowels from the very beginning. 🙂 Written Hebrew, however, began to use vowel letters during the first temple period; the Babylonian vowel pointing system was invented in the 6th century; and the Tiberian (Masoretic) system was invented in the 7th century.

      • What do you make of the colophon claim by the author of the Cairo codex that the accents and vowels were provided by the prophets themselves?

        I am aware of the dispute over date and authorship of the Cairo codex. If the colophon is untrue, what is to be trusted?

        • The vowel-pointed Cairo Prophets codex likely dates to the 11th century AD. In fact, vowel pointing never appears in manuscripts before the early medieval period, but there definitely was an oral tradition for how to read the text. It probably means to say that this manuscript has captured that tradition of reading the text which originates with the prophets themselves. It likely wasn’t, but that doesn’t cast general doubt on the vowel pointing tradition. It just requires the reader to be vigilant. If you prefer, we can read the non-vowel-pointed texts (DSS) or we can compare ancient translations (Greek, Aramaic, Latin) for clarity.

          • “If you prefer, we can read the non-vowel-pointed texts (DSS) or we can compare ancient translations (Greek, Aramaic, Latin) for clarity.”
            ??? I didn’t mean to ask/imply that. I was just curious about your assessment of the/ claim made by [Moses ben Asher?] in the CCP’s colophon.

          • You made both of these statements:
            “Written Hebrew, however, began to use vowel letters during the first temple period”
            and
            “In fact, vowel pointing never appears in manuscripts before the early medieval period”,
            but they seem to be in opposition. Is the second statement limited to only TaNaKh manuscripts?

          • The first statement is evidenced by archaeological inscriptions and applies to consonant letters that represent vowel sounds (heh, vav, yod and aleph). The second statement is referring to a system of dots and symbols in Biblical (Tanakh) manuscripts to record all vowel values in that text.

      • And the Masoretic system was not finished until c. 1000 AD. The Tiberian vowel system used by most Jews today is only one of the Masoretic systems; there are others, but not as well known. See “In the Beginning” by Joel M. Hoffman, a history of the Hebrew language.

  14. Could you please tell me where I can get Jewish Christian bible in English.I go to a Baptist church of course we read the King James bible.I think Im missing something.

    • A lot of translations have emerged to meet this demand. One popular version that maybe you would be interested in is the Complete Jewish Bible. But remember that any translation will always be missing something.

  15. What I find strange is that out of the very many commentary’s that I have access to online and the ones at home, None, not one of them says a thing in the Hebrew about God saying His nose is long.

    • Yep, and there are some other Biblical idioms that don’t get much coverage in commentaries. For example Matthew 9:36 has Yeshua “moved with compassion”, but the Greek means “to have the bowels yearn.” I guess commentators don’t generally see the need to provide these kinds of insights.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Stories of Jewish Christ: First Century Diversity and The Revelation in a Jewish Context II : Discovery. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

  16. I taught Biblical Hebrew in Seminary. Erech Appayim is wonderful expression. Appayim is a dual ending in Hebrew, which really means two nostrils, hence the nose (we don’t have two noses!). What a wonderful way of describing in realistic terms having patience or being slow to anger.

  17. Greetings in Jesus name since im in SA how can I benifit from these causes that are offered ,Bless you all really interesting topics for teaching

  18. I loved this article. I sure am glad God has a “long nose.”
    The Word being taught from a Jewish perspective is very refreshing. In all my years as a born again Christian I can honestly say that I’ve learnt the most following messianic teachers.
    Shalom Dr Eli

  19. Shalom Dr Eli Thank you for the teaching. I am praying so earnestly that I can take your online courses. I love our amazing God who came to us as Yeshua, and left His Holy Spirit with us. I am not financially able to take the Hebrew which I desire

    • You might consider going in with a friend or two to help share the cost of taking courses, but until you can join as a student, I am glad that you are enjoying these free articles. May God bless you Jessie!

  20. Having studied Biblical Hebrew, I have often been amazed by the ancient origin of phrases we take for granted. I, too, am among those retirees on limited income but love to read your insights. Blessings on you and yours!

  21. If learning Hebrew was that important you’d at least think that you would transliterate arech correctly. Seriously, knowing the background is important but knowing the meaning is more important.

    • Who said the correct transliteration of ארך is “arech”? Aleph doesn’t make an ah sound; it is a glottal stop, and any vowel can accompany it. The Masoretic tradition has “erech” (because of the two segols). However, the initial vowel historically was qamats, a long “ah”, as can be seen in Exo.25:10, but without suffixes, the word is “erech”. I totally agree that the meaning is crucial. But you need the background to get a fuller meaning, right?

  22. I thank the lord Jesus for you Dr. Eli , I advise all who are Truly serious about the knowledge of the word of God to Join the Israel Bible Center as they equips you with the tools you need to know of Scripture .

    • Blessings: b’ra-KHOT (ברכות), blessing: b’ra-KHAH (ברכה), blessed: ba-RUKH (ברוך).

  23. Thank you for you for your illumination of ‘‘tis text. I wish that i could read the Jewish language. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to lay out what it means to have a long nose. I will trying to be like God in term of his

  24. … yes, for sure, in YHWH is no deceit or ‘shadow of turning’ … He is perfect in tender mercies & is no ‘pinocchio’ … indeed, thus we should become exemplar’s of the same … cease from all participation in illusory thought & speech, in any ‘lie factories’ of dogma, tale-bearing, swearing falsely, & ‘cheating at the scales’ (deceitfulness of riches; & in business)

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