The good Shepherd

There is no savior besides Me – Hosea 13:4

The minor prophet Zephaniah describes the Hebrew language as pure. The Hebrew rendering for pure, barar, means to clarify, brighten, purify. The ancient Hebrew pictograph language, the one used by Moses to pen the Torah, does exactly that. It draws a picture to clarify what the God of Israel is communicating to man, expressions sometimes missed in English Bible translations. Consider the word “savior” in the verse above. In our Greco-Roman, western culture the word is an abstract thought: redeem, defend, preserve. Pictograms represent an action, giving words a deeper and richer understanding. Here’s how the Hebrew word for “savior,” pasha, looks in pictographic script (Hebrew is read right to left):

Combined, the letters SHIN (teeth) and AYIN (eye) can be interpreted “the destoyer watches.” According to Jeff Benner’s Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible, a shepherd watches over the flock and surrounding area, always on the lookout for danger. When a predator attacks the shepherd destroys the enemy. The first letter, YAD, means arm or hand. Collectively, the pictograms describe the role of our Good Shepherd, Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah: “With a strong arm the Destroyer watches.” Yeshua guards His flock, whom He loves, day and night. The LORD declares in John 10:28, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”


Written by Jeff King

Jeff is a retired newspaper journalist in the United States and follower of Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth

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