There are four layers of meaning to the Scriptures known as PaRDeS.

There are four layers, however, no layer can contradict another. If our interpretation of a deeper spiritual teaching in the Scriptures contradicts the simple meaning of a verse, then we are in error
Tal. Shabbat 63a, Yebamoth 11b-a verse cannot be removed from its simple meaning

The word PaRDeS (Peshat, Remez, D’rash, Sod) is an acronym for the 4 levels of Biblical interpretation. The Hebrew word means an orchard or garden. The etymology of this word traces back to the Garden of Eden, Paradise, an enclosure fenced off. Studying the Scriptures is linked to the Garden of Eden.

c.1175, “Garden of Eden,” from O.Fr. paradis, from L.L. paradisus, from Gk. paradeisos “park, paradise, Garden of Eden,” from an Iranian source, cf. Avestan pairidaeza “enclosure, park” (Mod. Pers. and Arabic firdaus “garden, paradise”), compound of pairi- “around” + diz “to make, form (a wall).” The first element is cognate with Gk. peri- “around, about” the second is from PIE base *dheigh- “to form, build” The Gk. word, originally used for an orchard or hunting park in Persia, was used in Septuagint to mean “Garden of Eden,” and in New Testament translations of Luke xxiii.43 to mean “heaven” (a sense attested in Eng. from c.1205). Meaning “place like or compared to Paradise” is from c.1300.

The Encyclopedia Mikrait lists pardes as one of the Persian words that entered into Biblical Hebrew. It appears three times in the Tanach: Shir HaShirim 4:13, Kohelet 2:5, and Nechemiah 2:8. In these cases it has the general meaning of “orchard”, compared to the specific sense in Greek of fenced off areas belonging to the king.

The book History of Paradise: THE GARDEN OF EDEN IN MYTH AND TRADITION writes that:

“Then the Septuagint used paradeisos to translate both pardes and the more classic Hebrew word for garden, gan.”

paradeisos H1588 gan
paradeisos H5731 eden
paradeisos H6508 pardes

So if Xenophon lived from 431 – 355 BCE, the word had certainly entered Greek rather strongly, since it was used in the Greek translation of the Bible only a few centuries later, and not only for the similar sounding “pardes”.

Steinberg’s entry for pardes mentions that it was used to translate the word אשל (Bereshit 21:33) into Aramaic in the Targum Yerushalmi, as described in Sotah 10a. The meaning there is “an orchard with many types of fruits.” Steinsaltz there writes that the word developed from specifically a pomegranate orchard (see Ibn Ezra on Kohelet 2:5, where he says that a gan has many types of trees, and a pardes has only one type), to an orchard of many types of trees (Vayikra Rabba 13), and finally an orchard where people would go to relax and play in. This last sense would seem to be the esoteric one that Klein mentioned above, as in the famous Talmudic statement “Four entered pardes” (Chagiga 14b.)

Pardes is used 3x in the Scriptures
BDB Definition:
1) park, preserve, enclosed garden, forest

Son 4:13 Your plants(shelach) are an orchard (pardes) of pomegranates with excellent fruits, with henna and spikenard;

Neh 2:8 also a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest (Forest of Lebanon), so that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the temple which is for the house, and for the city wall, and for the house into which I shall enter. And the king granted it to me, according to the good hand of my God on me.

Ecc 2:5 I made gardens and parks for myself; and I planted trees in them of every fruit;

1) Peshat- Literal (remove all clothes)
Job 19:9 He has stripped me of my honor, and He has taken the crown from my head.

Job 22:6 For you have taken a pledge from your brother for nothing, and you have stripped the naked of their clothing.

2) Remez- One Scripture tied to another, hint (lift something to a higher, profound level)

Job 15:12 Why does your heart carry you away? And why do your eyes flash (wink),

The idea of comparing things with lifting something up is seen in the Hebrew word selah. Selah means to compare and is from the root word ‘sal’ meaning to lift (as in a basket over the head) Remez is comparing earthly things to heavenly things or lifting a Scripture up to a deeper spiritual meaning.

Lam 4:2 The precious sons of Zion, comparable (סלא ‘selah’) to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!

Remez – Hebrew Language Detective:
Remez is a mysterious word. Tracing back it’s etymology, it can mean to wink or fail/weak, be raised up, or to be bundled. All of these meanings can apply to the 2nd level of interpretation. It is the level that is winked at or to be read between the lines. It is the level that is raised up, comparing the earthly to the heavenly/spiritual. It is also bundled. Comparing one text with another to get the deeper meaning.

Remez only appears in post-Biblical Hebrew. However, many feel that a metathesized form of the word appears in the Tanach. The problem is it only found once, in Job 15:12

This is in the section where Eliphaz is criticizing Iyov’s attitude toward God. The classic commentaries (Rashi, Ibn Ezra) as well as Klein in his dictionary say that the root רזם ‘rezam’ here means wink, and is a form of רמז ‘remez.’ They would therefore translate the verse as:

“How your heart has carried you away, and what do your eyes wink / hint at.”

Shadal’s suggestion of ירומון – “how you have raised your eyes” or “why are your eyes lifted up” does make sense in the context. “Raised eyes” – עינים רמות – enayim ramot, is a common biblical image for pride (see Mishlei 6:17, 21:4, Tehillim 18:28, 101:5). Eliphaz is criticizing Iyov for excessive pride. He asks him, “Were you the first man born … Have you sole possession of wisdom … What do you know that we do not know?” So certainly it would make sense that he was accusing Job of pride – perhaps more so than winking or failing eyes.

The Septuagint translates ירזמון as ephnegkan – επηνεγκαν, which means “carry, lift up.”

Job 15:12 What has your heart dared? Or what have your eyes aimed at,
the theory that רזם might mean “weak” based on an Arabic root. But רזם in Arabic can also refer to a “bundle or package”. Maybe “carrying (a bundle)” was the meaning of רזם that the Septuagint was trying to convey?

Stahl writes that the word ruzmeh (or rizmah) went from the general meaning of “bundle” to the specific meaning of “bundle of paper”. From here we get the English word “ream (of paper)”:
from O.Fr. reyme, from Sp. resma, from Arabic rizmah “bundle” (of paper), from rasama “collect into a bundle.” The Moors brought manufacture of cotton paper to Spain. Early variant rym (1470s) suggests a Du. influence (cf. Du. riem), probably during the time of Spanish Hapsburg control of Holland.

The American Heritage Dictionary has a similar entry for the Semitic root rzm:
Arabic root, to bundle. ream, from Arabic rizma, bundle, from razama, to bundle.

3) Derash- Derived interpretations through exegesis (search, seek)

Job 5:8 Truly, I would seek to God, and to God I would put my plea,

Deu 4:29 And if you seek (baqash) YHWH your God from there, then you shall find Him, if you seek (derash) Him with your whole heart, and with all your soul,


2Ch 13:22 And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his words, are written in the inquiry (midrash) of the prophet Iddo.

Ezr 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of YHWH, and to do it, and to teach statutes and judgments in Israel.

The term Midrash itself derives from the root drsh (דרש) which in the Bible means mainly “to search,” “to seek,” “to examine,” and “to investigate” (cf. Lev. 10:16; Deut. 13:15; Isa. 55:6; et al.). This meaning is also found in rabbinic Hebrew (cf. BM 2:7: “until thou examine [tidrosh] thy brother if he be a cheat or not”). The noun “Midrash” occurs only twice in the Bible (II Chron. 13:22 and 24:27); it is translated in the Septuagint by βίβλοs, γράφη i.e., “book” or “writing,” and it seems probable that it means “an account,” “the result of inquiry (examination, study, or search) of the events of the times,” i.e., what is today called “history” (the word history is also derived from the Greek root ίστορὲω which has a similar meaning). In Jewish literature of the Second Temple period the word Midrash was first employed in the sense of education and learning generally (Ecclus. 51:23), “Turn unto me, ye unlearned, and lodge in my house of Midrash,” which the author’s grandson translated into Greek, “house of instruction or of study”; compare the similar development of the Latin studium which originated in the verb studeo which means “to become enthusiastic,” “to make an effort,” “to be diligent,” etc. and only in a secondary sense, in the post-Augustan era, in the sense of learning (with diligence and the noun studium passed through the same stages of meaning; cf. Ger. studium; Fr. étude, etc.).

Klein actually provides an etymology:

JAram.-Syr. דרש, Mand. דרש (= he examines; he instructed, taught). Arabic darasa (= he learned, studied), Ethiopian darasa (= he expounded, interpreted) are Aramaic loan words. The original meaning of this base probably is ‘to tread, trample, rub’, hence ultimately identical with base דרס.

Stahl, in his Arabic dictionary, connects דרש to both דרס and also to דוש, which means “to tread, thresh” (possibly based on Gesenius here). He writes (my translation):

Studying requires repetition, as does the threshing of grain

He points us to the word “studio” for similar development. From the Online Etymology Dictionary for the word “study”:

c.1125, from O.Fr. estudier “to study” (Fr. étude), from M.L. studiare, from L. studium “study, application,” originally “eagerness,” from studere “to be diligent” (“to be pressing forward”), from PIE *(s)teu- “to push, stick, knock, beat”

Gesenius supports Klein, by saying that the original meaning was “to tread a place, i.e. to go or come to it, to frequent” and from there “to seek, to search for”.

4) Sod- Deeper spiritual meaning (hidden…as in seed planted in a field, or friends conversing in a tent)

Job 29:4 As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret (Sod) of God was upon my tabernacle; The meaning of sod indicates intimacy of two friends conversing in a tent

Job 29:4 as I was in the days of my harvest, when the intimacy with God was on my tent;

Psa 25:14 The secret of YHWH is with those who fear Him; and He will make them know His covenant.

Amo 3:7 For the Lord YHWH will do (asah) nothing (dabar) unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

Example of f Abraham

Gen 18:1 And YHWH appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre. And he was sitting at the door of the tent in the heat of the day.

Gen 18:5 And I will bring a bite of bread and will sustain Your heart. Then You may pass on, for this is why You have passed over to Your servant. And they said, Do so, as you have said.

Gen 18:17 And YHWH said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I am doing?

Gen 18:18 And Abraham shall become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Gen 18:19 For I have known him, so that whatever he may command his sons and his house after him, even they may keep the way of YHWH, to do righteousness and justice; to the intent that YHWH may bring on Abraham that which He has spoken of him.

Joh 15:14 You are My friends (alluph) if you do whatever I command you.

Jas 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, “And Abraham believed God, and it was counted for righteousness to him;” and he was called, Friend of God. Gen. 15:6; Isa. 41:8

Isa 41:8 But you Israel are My servant, Jacob whom I have elected; the seed of My friend Abraham;

2Ch 20:7 Are You not our God? You have driven out the inhabitants of this land from before Your people Israel, and have given it to the seed of Abraham, Your friend, forever;

The word sod does not necessarily mean something hidden or secret. It properly means something on which one reclines. A foundation or field is made level in order to set up structures like a tent or to plant crops.
‘Sod’ derives from a root verb ‘yasad’ (Strong’s No. 3245) which means ‘a setting down, to found or establish’ and ‘to support oneself whilst leaning or reclining’.

Speaking to a friend face to face while reclining

Joh 13:23 But there was one of His disciples reclining at the bosom of Jesus, whom Jesus loved.

Joh 13:24 Then Simon Peter nods to him to ask whom it might be of whom He spoke.

Joh 13:25 And leaning on the breast of Jesus, he said to Him, Lord, who is it?

Deu 34:10 And never since has a prophet like Moses arisen in Israel, whom YHWH knew face to face,

Translated as assembly of friends
Jer 6:11 And I am full of the fury of YHWH; I am weary with holding in. Pour it out on the child in the street and on the circle (kjv assembly) of the young men together. For even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the elder with fullness of days.

Psa 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the congregation of the saints, and to be adored by all around Him.

Psa 111:1 Praise YHWH! I will thank YHWH with all my heart; in the council of the upright, and of the assembly.

Eze 13:9 And My hand shall be against the prophets who see vanity, and who divine a lie. They shall not be in the assembly of My people, and they shall not be written in the writing of the house of Israel, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord YHWH. Job 19:19 All the men of my counsel (KJV inward friends) detest me; even this one I loved has turned against me.

Psa 55:14 We sweetened counsel together; we marched into the house of God with the throng.

Jer 23:18 For who has stood in the counsel of YHWH, and has seen and heard His Word? Who has listened to His Word and heard?

Jer 23:22 But if they had stood in My counsel and had caused My people to hear My Words, then they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

Witness/Testimony connection with the word Sod. The word for witness is ‘sehad.’

Testimony: A record that lays a foundation of truth about an event.

Psa 111:1 Praise YHWH! I will thank YHWH with all my heart; in the council (sod KJV assembly) of the upright, and of the assembly (edah).

Witness: The pictograph ayin is a picture of the eye, the dalet is a picture of the door. Combined these mean “see the door”. As coming to a tent a tent of meeting and entering in. A place, time or event that is repeated again and again.

Witness: An event or persons testimony recounting another event or person.

Company: A group with a common testimony. II. Witness: [freq. 175] |kjv: congregation, company, assembly, multitude, people, swarm, testimony, witness| {str: 5712, 5713}

Sod is paralleled with Wisdom
Job 15:8 Have you heard the secret counsel of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself?

Wisdom is the companion of the Almighty
1Co 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1Co 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

By the Throne of God
Wis 9:4 give me the wisdom that sits by thy throne, and do not reject me from among thy servants.

Pro 8:23 I was set up from everlasting, from that which was before the earth.

Pro 8:24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no springs heavy with water.

Pro 8:25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth;

Pro 8:26 before He had made the earth and the fields, or the highest part of the dust of the world.

Pro 8:27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there; when He set a circle on the face of the deep,

Pro 8:28 when He formed the clouds above, when He made the strong fountains of the deep,

Pro 8:29 when He gave to the sea its limit, that the waters should not pass beyond His command; when He decreed the foundations of the earth,

Pro 8:30 then I was at His side, like a master workman; and I was His delights day by day, rejoicing before Him at every time;

Pro 8:31 rejoicing in the world, His earth; and my delight was with the sons of men.

Friendship and Wisdom
Wis 7:14 For she (wisdom) is a treasure unto men that never faileth: which they that use become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts that come from learning.

Wis 7:27 And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself, she maketh all things new: and in all ages entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God, and prophets.

Wis 7:28 For God loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom.

PaRDeS has an equivalent in Christian interpretation, some even believing that the Rabbis got their concept of PaRDeS from Christian Bible commentators.

The four levels of Christian interpretation are:

Typology or Analogy

These levels of understanding were remembered by a rhyme:

Litera gesta docet,
Quid credas allegoria,
Moralis quid agas,
Quo tendas anagogia.

The letter shows us what God and our ancestors did;
The allegory shows us where our faith his hid;
The moral meaning gives us the rule of daily life;
The anagogy shows us where we end our strife.

Littera            Allegoria        Moralis            Anagogia
Pashat            Remez            D’rash            Sod

Uses in Scripture

Littera, Pashat
Revelation ἀποκάλυψις ‘apokalupsis’ – used of something hidden or secret made manifest:
(Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 14:6, 26; 2 Corinthians 12:1, 7; Ephesians 1:17; 3:3-4; Revelation 1:1)

Plainly παῤῥησία ‘parrhēsia’  – open, clear, frank, bold
(John 7:26; 10:24; 11:14; 16:25, 29; 18:20; Acts 2:29; 2 Corinthians 3:12; Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 2:15)

Open φανερός ‘phaneros’  – Manifest, evident
(Matthew 6:4; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25)

Allegoria, Remez

Allegories ἀλληγορέω ‘allēgoreo’ – figures
(Galatians 4:24)

Types τύπος ‘tupos’ – something used to represent something else, figures, forms, examples, pattern, remembrances.  Types encompass both the allegoria and moralis levels of understanding.
(Acts 7:43-44; Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11; Hebrews 8:5; 2 Peter 1:12; Jude 1:5)

Antitypes ἀντίτυπον ‘antitupon’  – something which resembles another thing, figures formed after a pattern, counterparts
(Hebrews 9:24; 1 Peter 3:21)

Examples ὑπόδειγμα ‘hupodeigma’ – sign, representation, figure, thing to be imitated
Examples, like types also encompass the middle two levels of understanding
(John 13:15; Hebrews 4:11; 8:5; 9:23; James 5:10; 2 Peter 2:6

Shadows σκία ‘skia’  – an image cast by an object representing the form of that object, sketch, outline
(Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5; 10:1)

Moralis, D’rash
Parables παραβολή ‘parabolē’ – comparison, likeness, similitude
Parables also encompass the Anagogia/Sod meaning of the text
(Matthew 13:33-34; Mark 4:2-13, 30; Luke 8:11; Hebrews 9:9; 11:19)

Metaphor παροιμία ‘paroimia’ – dark saying, symbolic language, figurative language, allegory, similies
(John 16:25, 29)

Anagogia, Sod
Secret κρυπτός ‘kruptos’ – concealed, hidden

(Matthew 6:4; 10:26; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 12:2; John 7:4, 18:20; Romans 2:16, 29; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 14:25)

Mysteries μυστήριον ‘mustērion’ – hidden
(Matthew 13:10-17; 1 Corinthians 2:7, 10)

Deep things βάθος ‘bathos’
(Mark 4:5, 14; Romans 11:33; Ephesians 3:18)

part 2 Tabernacle Pardes connection