The early scholars, known as the ‘Church Fathers’, agree that the book of Matthew was first written in Hebrew:
Papias (ca. 130 after Yeshua): “Matthew composed his work in the Hebrew dialect, and each translated as best they could.”
Irenaeus (ca.170 after Yeshua): “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect.”
Origen (ca. 200 after Yeshua): “The first [Gospel] is written according to Matthew, the same that was once a tax collector, but afterwards an emissary of Yeshua the Messiah, who having published it for his believers, wrote it in Hebrew.”
The words that Yeshua said in Hebrew were perfectly understood by his listeners. But once they were written they became unclear and vague because the vowels were not recorded along with the consonants in the Even Bojan Hebrew Matthew.
The Greek text of Matthew 7:11 records the following words of Yeshua to his disciples
Matthew 7:9-11 [KJV - King James Version]
9 ...what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
According to this translation, Yeshua called his disciples <evil> or bad people.
Certainly this sounds shocking. How is it that Yeshua identifies his disciples as evil or bad? The context in which he is teaching is about the spiritual exercise of prayer.
What good does it do to the disciples to be called evil or bad by their Master?
In another instance Yeshua says to those that slandered him
Matthew 12:33-34 [KJV]
33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
It is understandable the Yeshua calls his detractors evil or bad. But, why would he use the same term ‘evil’ to describe his followers? Could it be that there is an error in the translation from the Hebrew to the Greek?
The problem is the absence of vowel points in the text of the Even Bojan Hebrew Matthew.
In Hebrew ‘evil’ can be said in two ways:
Reshaim – רְשָ֗עִם
Raim – רָעׅים
The word רעים (spelled resh, ayin, yud, mem), written without vowels as it appears in the Hebrew Matthew (Even Bojan) can be read as
Raim – רָעׅים (evil or bad)
or it can also be read
Rehim – רֵעִים (companion, fellow-man, close relative, family)
It all depends on the vowel points.
Therefore, the text can be read in the following way which makes more sense in accordance to the context
If you, because of family ties, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
The meaning of Yeshua’s teaching changes drastically. According to this understanding, Yeshua did not call his disciple ‘evil’. Calling them evil did not make sense, considering the context.
What he said was perfectly understood by his listeners but the meaning changed when his words were written.
Source: Avdiel Ben-Oved; translated by Nazarene Notes