What is “the matrix” in the King James Bible?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The Authorized Version features the word on five occasions:

  • Exodus 13:12: “That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S.”
  • Exodus 13:15: “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.”
  • Exodus 34:19: “All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.”
  • Numbers 3:12: “And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;….”
  • Numbers 18:15: “Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.”

Using context clues in the above verses, we can at least discern “matrix” is connected to someone or something being born. More specifically, the Hebrew word is “rehem,” translated “womb” some 21 times (Genesis 20:18; Genesis 29:31; Genesis 30:22; Exodus 13:2; Numbers 8:16; Numbers 12:12; 1 Samuel 1:5-6; Job 3:11; Job 10:18; Job 24:20; Job 31:15 [x2]; Job 38:8; Psalm 22:10; Psalm 58:3; Psalm 110:3; Jeremiah 1:5; Jeremiah 20:17-18; Hosea 9:14).

“Matrix” is used in a medical sense even today to refer to “something (as a surrounding or pervading substance or element) within which something else originates or takes form or develops.” The womb or uterus is the place in the mother’s body where the offspring grows prior to birth, and “matrix” is an apt description. In fact, the word is derived from the Latin, and originally denoted female animals used for breeding in ancient Rome.

Also see:
» What does “Born of water and of the Spirit” mean?
» What does the Bible say about motherhood?
» What is the real Immaculate Conception?

» What does the Bible mean, “Jesus Christ came by water and blood?”