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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Names


By Jeff A. Benner

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (ASV, Isaiah 7:14)

In the Masoretic Hebrew text the name Immanuel, found in Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8, is written as two words: עמנו אל (im-ma-nu el). This is very strange as all Hebrew names, even if they include more than one Hebrew word, are written as one word. As an example, the name Ishamel is two Hebrew words, ישמע (yishma) meaning "he listens" and אל (el) meaning "mighty one" or "God." As a name this is written in the Masoretic Hebrew text as ישמעאל (yishma’el – the mighty one listens). However, in the Dead Sea Scrolls the name Immanuel is written as one word-עמנואל (im-ma-nu-el).

עמנו is the Hebrew word עם (iym, Strong's #5973, note that the ם is the form of the letter מ (mem) when it appears at the end of a word), meaning "with," and the suffix נו (nu) meaning "us." The word אל (el, Strong's #410) is the Hebrew word meaning "mighty one" or "God." All put together, the name עמנואל means "with us is the mighty one."

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