Jots & Tittles: A Closer Look at a Little Bit of Hebrew

‘No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.’ Genesis 17:5 NIV

The Jewish people of today are named after ‘Judah’, the fourth son of Jacob. Jacob was the grandson of Abraham. From Judah, we derive the word ‘Judea’, and that was the name for the territory around Jerusalem in the time of Jesus.

Judah’s father Jacob was given another name by God, just like his grandfather Abraham. Jacob’s new divinely appointed name was ‘Israel’. And it’s from that special naming that we derive the present name for the land of Israel.

In the time of Jesus, the world was divided into Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles. In fact, because Jesus was brought up in Galilee, and not in Judea, He was considered to have grown up in the Gentile world. That’s the reason some people of the time thought He couldn’t be the Messiah, forgetting that there’d been a long-ago prophecy: ‘There will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.’ (Isaiah 9:1 NLT)

Some translations say ‘Galilee of the nations’ because the word for Gentiles is exactly the same word as that used for nations.

Outside the United Nations building in New York is another prophecy of Isaiah about the nations. Inscribed on a wall in a park is his vision of a future day of peace:

They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. Isaiah 2:4 NLT

This verse actually starts with these words: ‘The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes.’

It’s a great reminder to us that the Lord is the one who is the bringer of peace between nations—not politicians or diplomats, not treaties or sanctions, not alliances or embargoes.

Jesus is our Peace. ‘He Himself is our peace.’ Ephesians 2:14 NIV

 

About the author

Anne Hamilton

MORE GREAT READS FROM

Jots & Tittles: A Closer Look at a Little Bit of Hebrew

‘No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.’ Genesis 17:5 NIV The Jewish people of today are named after ‘Judah’, the fourth son of Jacob. Jacob was the grandson of Abraham. From Judah, we derive the word ‘Judea’, and that was…

Jots & Tittles: A Closer Look at a Little Bit of Hebrew

Eben meaning stone There aren’t many prophecies about Jesus that get repeated by both Peter and Paul in their letters. One of them is the mysterious verse: ‘Therefore this is what the Lord God says: “Look! I am laying a foundation stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation: Whoever…

Jots & Tittles: A Closer Look at a Little Bit of Hebrew

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:6 NIV Maybe you know the old, old saying: Sticks and stones may break my bones but…

Jots and Tittles: Bethlehem

Bethlehem: a little town with a name that has a triple meaning The angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of Heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’ When the angels had returned to Heaven, the shepherds said…

Jots and Tittles: Shalom

If ever you go to Israel, this ancient word will definitely be the most useful by far to know. It’s an all-purpose greeting, used for ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’—even though it doesn’t mean either of those. It’s also useful as a response. Someone says, ‘Shalom’ to you and the correct reply is ‘Shalom,’ or if you…

Genesis 1 Points to Bethlehem

The Bible is full of hidden surprises. Right in the very first verse, God left a clue that Jesus would one day be born in Bethlehem. Yep, those famous opening words, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,’ tell us more than you’d ever think. To find out how they do this,…

Recent Articles

Has Quarantine Stolen Your Purpose?

I had big plans for my high school years. I was going to lead Bible studies and disciple younger girls and volunteer and get involved in local ministry. I was determined to use those years of flexibility and energy well for God’s glory. I was going to do hard things. Well, God had other plans….

Jots & Tittles: A Closer Look at a Little Bit of Hebrew

‘No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.’ Genesis 17:5 NIV The Jewish people of today are named after ‘Judah’, the fourth son of Jacob. Jacob was the grandson of Abraham. From Judah, we derive the word ‘Judea’, and that was…

The Unstoppable Bethany Hamilton

If a shark bit off your arm, would you be happy to jump back in the ocean every morning? That’s exactly what Bethany Hamilton did. At just 13, after a horrific shark attack, she chose to confront her fear to pursue her passion. If you’ve seen the movie, Soul Surfer, which tells her story, you’ll…

Christ’s Royal Blood Can Wash Away Fear

Is it just us, or does March 2020 feel like it happened millions of years ago? If you can think back that far, you’ll remember that, for a little while, the world was in a state of limbo, as we tried to work out what we would have to sacrifice to beat COVID-19. When new…

Donate to vision

Over 80% of our income is from the freewill gifts of wonderful people just like you.
So thank you for helping. Your generous support is 'Connecting Faith to Life'.