Throughout the Tanach-our Old Testament-there are many fascinating acrostics and other textual peculiarities that will fascinate the diligent scholar. In the New Testament there also appears to be a Hebrew acrostic that generally goes unnoticed.
Meaning of the word Acrostic: A composition in verse , in which the first, and sometimes last, letters of the line read in order form a name, a sentence, or title.
When Jesus was crucified, Pilate wrote the sign that was nailed to the cross. The particular wording he chose displeased the Jewish leadership and they asked him to change it. He refused. There are some interesting aspects to this incident that are not apparent in our English translations.
" And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, 'Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews.' This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, 'Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.' Pilate answered. 'What I have written I have written.'"
Pilate refused to revise the epitaph he had composed. This may have more significance than is apparent in our English translations. The Hebrew epitaph is shown below (remember Hebrew is read from right to left):
Yeshua HaNazarei v Melech HaYehudim: Jesus the Nazarei and King of the Jews.
What we don't notice in the English translation is that the acrostic made up of the first letter of each word spells out Yahweh (YHWH)!
|"The precise meaning," writes Herbert F. Stevenson, "of the name is obscure. In the Hebrew, It was originally composed of four consonants YHWH - known to theologians as 'the tetragrammaton' - to which the vowels of Adonai were afterwards added (except when the name is joined to Adonai: then the vowels of Elohim are used). The Jews came to regard this name as too sacred to pronounce, however, and in the public reading of Scriptures they substituted Adonai for it - Jehovah was indeed to them 'the incommunicable name.'"|
If Pilate had rewritten it in the manner they had requested him to, it would not have spelled out the Name of God. Did Pilate realize this? Was it deliberate? Did he do it just to upset the Jewish leadership, which he realized delivered Him up for Envy? (Matthew 27:18). Or was he beginning to suspect that there was more going on here than he previously realized?
When they requested a special guard for the tomb, he also responded with a enigmatic remark, "Make it as sure as you can." (Matthew 27:63-66). What did he mean by that/ Did he begin to suspect that Jesus really was who said He was? Was Pilate really surprised when Jesus was resurrected after three days? One wonders.
There are many other examples of acrotics in the Biblical text. For example, in the book of Esther the name of God does not appear in the text outright. However, it is found hidden as an acrostic in numerous places throughout the text of Esther. This should not be a surprise because the name Esther means "something hidden!"
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