I noticed that some translations chose to teach to translate the words of Bereshit 15:1 אנכי מגן לך שכרך הרבה מאד as something like: I am thy shield and thy (exceeding) great reward OR, your very great reward.

While others translate it as: your reward shall be very great (http://www.haaretz.com - Portion of the Week / A Driven Man)

G-d does indeed 'gives Himself' to Avram as his G-d (Bereshit 17:7-8).

Any commentaries that support these translations? And is this a correct way, or possible way to translate it or understand it? Did HaShem indeed mean to say He would be a great reward?

  • 1
    What exactly are you asking? You know there are such translations. Are you asking whether any commentaries understand it like that?
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 17, 2017 at 14:47
  • @mevaqesh Yes, and if these are indeed correct translations or interpretation?
    – Levi
    Sep 17, 2017 at 15:39
  • 2
    Of course, the source of that first translation (NIV) cannot be trusted. Sep 17, 2017 at 17:25
  • 1
    Hi Levi, using Christian translations of the Tanach to understand a Jewish concept is generally not advised. Jews and Christians have different translation schemes. I don't want to sound confrontational, but you should try and quote Jewish translations when posting on Mi Yodeya. Here are two great Jewish translations of the Tanach: 1, 2
    – ezra
    Sep 17, 2017 at 17:25
  • @ezra I know that these are non-Jewish, just went looking for translations which translated it this way. A more literal word-by-word translation of the verse would be something like: I [am] a shield to you, your reward, [the] very great. So I noticed people translated this differently and wanted to know if that would be a possible translation disregards their backgrounds.
    – Levi
    Sep 18, 2017 at 5:31

2 Answers 2


The passuk does not have an "and" in it, so it literally means "your reward is very much". הרבה comes from the word רב, which means a great number, not great in a way that could apply to Hashem, who is one.

But see Ch. 2 of Derech Hashem by Ramchal, where he explains that the ultimate reward is closeness to G-d.


I assume the chassidish translation, along the lines of what you are proposing, would be

Anochi - perceiving Hashem at the level of anochi (which was subsequently demonstrated at Har Sinai)

Magen lach - is your reward (and also possibly simultaneously, your shield. Because since the benei yisrael were now destined to receive the Torah at Sinai, they became an integral part of Hashem's plan for the world, and therefore their survival was ensured.)

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