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By Jeff A. Benner
Do the first letters of each of the words on the sign of Yeshua's (Jesus') cross spell out יהוה (YHWH) when it was written in Hebrew? Answer
Why is the name of Jesus written as יש״ו (yeshu) in some books and documents? Answer
In the Greek text of Matthew 16:18 there is a word pun with the Greek words “petros,” meaning “Peter,” and “petra,” meaning “rock.” From this can we conclude that this book was originally written in Greek and not Hebrew? Answer
Was Hebrew a common language in Israel in the first century CE? Answer
Do the first letters of each of the words on the sign of Yeshua's (Jesus') cross spell out יהוה (YHWH) when it was written in Hebrew?
All four Gospels recount what was written on the sign that is placed on the cross of Yeshua, but there are differences in that wording.
זה ישוע מלך יהודים
zeh yeshua melekh yehudiym
Acronym: זימי (ZYMY)
Acronym: מי (MY)
זה מלך יהודים
zeh melekh yehudiym
Acronym: זמי (ZMY)
ישוע הנצרי מלך יהודים
yeshua hanatsriy melekh yehuiym
Acronym: יהמי (YHMY)
The closest that any of these come to the name יהוה (YHWH) is John 19:19, but if we add the word “and” between the two phrases (which is not found in any of the Gospels) and “the” before יהודים (yehudiym/Jews, which Biblical Hebrew would rarely do, but does on occasion), we now have; ישוע הנצרי ומלך היהודים (yeshua hanatsriy umelekh hayehudiym) and the acronym isיהוה (YHWH).
Why is the name of Jesus written a יש״ו (yeshu) in some books and documents?
The name Jesus is represented by יש״ו (pronounced yeshu) in some non-Biblical texts, but this isn't actually his name, it is an acronym. Identified as such by the ״ before the last letter, that is used by Jews for Jesus’ name. . This acronym stands for ימח שמו וזכרו (y’mahh sh’mo v’zichro) and means “may his name and memory be obliterated.”
In the Greek text of Matthew 16:18 there is a word pun with the Greek words “petros,” meaning “Peter,” and “petra,” meaning “rock.” From this can we conclude that this book was originally written in Greek and not Hebrew?
The Hebrew authors love to add word puns in their writings and the Tenach/Old Testament is filled with them. So, does the use of a word pun in the Greek book of Matthew indicate that this was originally written by Hebrew authors with the Greek language? Not necessarily for several reasons. First, If the text was originally written in Hebrew and translated into Greek later the translator may have simply added the word pun, especially if the Hebrew already had a word pun. Secondly, if we examine the Hebrew book of Matthew as preserved by Shem Tov Ibn Shaprut (14th Century CE), we find a different word pun.
Was Hebrew a common language in Israel in the first century CE?
One of the best arguments for proving that Hebrew was a commonly used language in Israel during the first century CE (AD) is through the evidence discovered in the archeological record. Letters from Shimon Ben Kosba (Simon Bar Kockba, red box) have been discovered in the dead sea region and were written during the second Jewish revolt of 130-135 CE. These letters are written in Hebrew, not Aramaic or Greek. What is also interesting about these letters is that they use contractions, which can only come from a spoken language. We consistently use contractions such as "I'm" for "I am" or "wouldn't" for "would not". One of these contractions is the word tashmayim, the contracted form of et hashamayim (the heavens, yellow box).