Hebrew Word Pictures
by Nehemiah Gordon
I have been asked to prove that Hebrew word-pictures are utter nonsense, that the pictures represent sounds and not ideas. I could point you to ANY grammar of the Hebrew language and it will confirm this. However, I would be happy to prove it. Take even the simplest example and you can see the word-pictures don’t work. Aleph-Bet [AV-father] = bull of the house > strong one of the house > father. Makes sense, right? The only problem is switch around the letters and you get Bet-Aleph [BA] = arrive, enter. Is that the bull entering the house? LOL!
The biggest problem with the word-pictures is they are entirely arbitrary. You can make them say whatever you want them to say. The most ludicrous word-picture I have ever heard is that if you read Yod-He-Vav-He backwards, you get “Behold the nail, behold the hand”. Now why in the world would you read it backwards?! On top of that, Vav actually means “hook”, but “hook” does not fit the theology of those creating word-pictures, so messianics imbue it with the meaning “nail”. This is a major flaw of the word-pictures.
To make word-pictures work messianics imbue each letter with numerous meanings. Originally, the Hebrew letters were pictures that represented sounds, not ideas. The Hebrew letters were pictures of one simple thing. However, look at any modern list of word-pictures and you will find all kinds of meanings attached to each letter that have no basis in reality.
I created a word-picture myself of the name Yeshua using these lists published by some of the top teachers in the Hebrew Roots movement: Yod – hand; Shin – tooth, destruction; bet – house, became man; ayin – eye, judgment. This is utterly absurd because where do you get Shin meaning “destruction” or Ayin meaning “judgment”? Where in the entire Hebrew language do you get Bet meaning “Became man”? However, I don’t need to prove my case, I can just neatly copy the meanings from the lists published by other people who are “experts” in word-pictures. Based on these brilliant teachers we can safely say that Yeshua means: “The hand of destruction that became man to bring judgment.” If we really want to get into the Sod level of interpretation, we can point out that Shin is the first letter in “Satan” and conclude that Yeshua really is: “The hand of Satan that became man to bring judgment.” Is this totally offensive not to mention utterly ridiculous? That’s what “behold the nail, behold the hand” sounds like to Jews! In fact, if you want to guarantee that a Jew will either laugh at you or be offended, tell him Yod-He-Vav-He is really a cipher for Jesus because if you read it BACKWARDS it means, “Behold the nail, behold the hand.” Now prove to me that Yeshua does not mean “The hand of destruction that became man to bring judgment”.
Good luck! Ridiculous use of Hebrew grammar here.