Hebrew Names

Monday it rained hard all day. I like rainy days. They make me feel warm and cozy inside. Tuesday morning we had think fog. I love foggy mornings. Fog wraps the world in mystery. The fog disappeared during the late morning, and we had a beautiful day with sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s.

Because of the rain, JJ and I didn’t unload/unstack the firewood from our van, Aunt Dolly Llama, until Tuesday afternoon. When the wood was stacked, we drove to the grain elevator for a 32-pound bag of cat food. The grain elevator is a block away from our house. When we got home, I did my chores, fixed JJ some supper, sewed his new Order of the Arrow patch on his Boy Scout uniform (I accidentally put it on the wrong pocket and had to rip it out and resew it on the correct pocket). Then dropped him off for Boy Scouts. Rather than their regular meeting, JJ’s Boy Scout troop did road clean-up. In Michigan, people, families, or groups “adopt” sections of highways, which they keep cleaned of trash. JJ’s troop has adopted a section of road, and a few times a year they pick up trash from their section.

I worked on writing a post for this blog last night, but was too tired and didn’t get very far.

While JJ was gone, I talked to a friend on the phone. She lives across the country. We met in a prayer group on Facebook a few months ago during a time when we were both struggling with discouragement. We started praying together via phone each week, and she has become dear to me.

Monday night I practiced Hebrew with my other friend via Google+. I also met her on the Internet. We were part of the same forum, and then became Facebook friends. Until a couple weeks ago, I had never heard her voice. Sometimes I marvel at the gift of the Internet, which lets me meet and become friends with people of similar interests from whom I would never have had a chance to meet otherwise.

My friend and I are going to try to practice together at least once or twice a week. It’s helpful to have someone to practice Hebrew with. It’s fun using video-chat, although I always think, “Ugh. I look AWFUL! Why am I VIDEO-chatting again?” But in reality it almost feels as if we are in the same room studying together, even though we are hundreds of miles and many hours apart.

I also love studying Hebrew with my son. My dedication to learning the language increased when he began studying it too. We use Hebrew words in daily conversation when we remember them! We don’t remember all that many yet, but more words are creeping into our language as we increase our vocabulary.

Whenever we learn Biblical names of people and places, I have us learn the meaning of the names as well because names have meaning and knowing the meaning adds another dimension to the story. So, for example, we learn that Isaac (Yitzchak) means “he laughs.” Jeremiah (Yirmeyahu) means “God will lift up.” Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) means “foundation of peace.” Bethlehem (Beit-Lechem) means “House of Bread.” Satan means “Accuser” in Hebrew. I never read or hear “Satan” now without also remembering that he is the “Accuser.”

Jesus’ name in Hebrew is “Yeshua” which means “salvation.” This brings to light the word play in Matthew 1:21. Our English Bibles say:

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

A person might wonder what connection the name “Jesus” has with saving his people from their sins. But in Hebrew we see the connection between Jesus and salvation:

She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Yeshua [Salvation], for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.

Another interesting verse is Isaiah 12:2-3. In our English Bibles, we read:

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For the Lord Jehovah is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation. Therefore with joy you will draw water from the springs of salvation.

This is an accurate translation of the verse. However, remember that “salvation” is “Yeshua” in Hebrew, which is also Jesus’ name. We can read this verse like this:

Behold, God is my Yeshua. I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD, the LORD, is my strength and song; and he has become my Yeshua.” Therefore with joy you shall draw water out of the wells of Yeshua.

This brings to life something that happened in John 7 during the Feast of Sukkot, or Tabernacles ( which is coming up in a few weeks).  John 7:37-38 says:

On the last day, the great day of the feast, Yeshua (Jesus) stood and cried out, saying, “If any man thirsts, let him come to Me, and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

During the Feast of Sukkot, the Jewish people took part in a water drawing ceremony on the last day of the feast. They would go down to the Pool of Siloam, draw water and bring it to the Temple Mount. Then they would pour out the water and recite Isaiah 12, “and with joy you shall draw water out of the wells (springs) of salvation.” Remember, in Hebrew, the word salvation and Yeshua (Jesus, in Hebrew), are the same.

The crowd understood the connection between the ceremony, the Scripture, and the timing of Jesus’ declaration, and it caused quite a stir. The people knew Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah they were waiting for:

Many of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, “This is truly the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some said, “What, does the Messiah come out of the Galil? Hasn’t the Scripture said that the Messiah comes of the seed of David, and from Beit-Lechem [Bethlehem], the village where David was?” So there arose a division in the multitude because of him. Some of them would have arrested him, but no one laid hands on him. 45 The officers therefore came to the chief Kohanim [priests] and Perushim [Pharisees], and they said to them, “Why didn’t you bring him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this man!” (Hebrew Names Version of the Bible)

Learning Hebrew brings the Bible to life for me, bringing out depths of meaning that I never before saw. The Bible is becoming more and more beautiful and awesome.

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