Not only did Yeshua read and speak Hebrew, so did his followers and disciples! Two very well known, but not accurately understood words in the Gospel of Matthew prove it – jot and tittle. For some reason jot and tittle stick in the minds of Christian Bible readers. But when you ask them what jot or tittle mean, you get a lot of conflicting and some really weird answers. Today, you are going to get the facts about what Yeshua originally said and how they ended up in English translations of the Bible as jot and tittle.
Let’s begin by reading Matthew 5:18 from the King James translation:
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
If you have not read the article “From Yeshua to Jesus” in Yeshua’s Kingdom Handbook please take a moment to read it online by clicking here before you continue. In it you will see how we began with the name “Jesus” and traced it through Latin and Greek back to his real Hebrew name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ (Yeshua). We will use the same method to trace the words “jot” and “tittle” back to the Hebrew words Yeshua spoke as he taught a very important lesson to his disciples.
Our first step is to discover the Greek words the King James translators translated jot and tittle.
● The Greek word translated jot is ἰῶτα (iota).
● The Greek word translated tittle is κεραία (keraia).
The word ἰῶτα (iōta) is the name for the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet.
The Greek word κεραία (keraia) is defined as a horn, anything like a horn, a small dot in writing.
When we trace the Greek word κεραία (keraia) back to Hebrew we discover that it is the Hebrew word transliterated qotz, which means “thorn.”
At the time of Yeshua there was a popular phrase that is translated “not a yod or a thorn of a yod”. For the Hebrew speaking audience it meant something like this – “not the smallest letter or even the smallest part of the smallest letter.” Yeshua used that idea to make an important point.
Some people had accused him of “destroying” the words of the Hebrew Scriptures. His response was this – I will not destroy one yod or even one qotz of a yod of the Hebrew Scriptures.” Now we know that not only did Yeshua read and speak Hebrew, so did his followers and disciples – otherwise they couldn’t have understand what he taught! We will discuss how Yeshua used these words in their full context to make some very important points in a future study soon.
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