The King James Version translates Genesis 29:17 as follows: “Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.” The New International Version has, “Leah had weak eyes,” while the New American Bible reads, “Leah had lovely eyes.” What did the Hebrew original mean to say?
Dr. Horst Krüger, Jerusalem Perspective’s representative in Germany, has suggested to me that Genesis 48:16 may be part of the background to a phrase found in the Lord’s Prayer. I believe that Dr. Krüger has made an important discovery.
Christmas brings many carols and cards containing the words from Luke 2:14, “Goodwill to men” and “Peace to men of goodwill.” The angels praised God with words that in English may sound like a politician wishing us to “Have a nice day.” Most of us sense that these words reflect something deeper, but why did the angels use such seemingly innocuous words?
Jesus’ Hebrew name is composed of three syllables: ye·SHU·a‘. In this lesson we will learn the two sounds of the final syllable of Jesus’ name. The fifth sound in Jesus’ Hebrew name יֵשׁוּע is “a” as in the word “father.” Like the tseRE and the shuRUK, this sound is a vowel. The symbol used to represent this sound is called paTAḤ. It is indicated by a horizontal line below the letter with which it is sounded. Here it appears below the last letter of ישועַ (yeSHUa‘).
In this lesson we will learn the two sounds of the second syllable of Jesus’ Hebrew name. The first sound of the second syllable of יֵשׁוּעַ (ye·SHU·a‘) is the “sh” sound. This is represented by ש (shin), the twenty-first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Written with three points or teeth, it got its name from the Hebrew word for “tooth” because of the pictograph upon which it was based.
Many of Jesus’ words were spoken against a profoundly Hebraic background. We believe that a knowledge of Hebrew is central to understanding much of what Jesus said, and what was written about him in the Gospels. This is the second of a series of articles about the Hebrew language. Hopefully, these “nuggets” will encourage you to explore the riches Hebrew study can offer to those who want to understand the Bible more fully. The second sound in Jesus’ Hebrew name, יֵשׁוּעַ (ye·SHU·a‘), is a vowel. Hebrew vowels are represented by signs that are placed under, or sometimes, to the left of consonants (letters). A vowel is pronounced after the consonant that carries its sign.