Last Days Discussion
After the mockery trial and being taken back and forth with Pontius Pilate and he had him beaten and lashed with the whip of cattails. He went to His death on the cross. He died at approximately 3:00 in the afternoon 6 hours after He was put on the cross. The Word of God tells us he then descended into hell to give those in hell the opportunity to believe in Him II Peters 3:18-22.
Here i want to share an exert from Dr. Chaim Bentorah and his assistant Laura; on the last Words of Jesus before he died:WORD STUDY –
ELI ELI LAMA SABACHTHANI
by Chaim & Laura
Matthew 27:46: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying ‘Eli, Eli Lama Sabachthani?’ that is My God My God, why has thou forsaken me?”
This passage has been debated for 2,000 years and everyone seems to have their own explanation as to what Jesus means when he said Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani or My God My God why hast thou forsaken me.
It is curious that Matthew transliterated this into the Greek as a Hebrew “Eli” and Mark transliterated this as Aramaic “Eloi.” Lama is Hebrew, Lema is Aramaic and is shown as that in both Gospels in the Greek, but translators will render it as lama (Hebrew) for whatever reason. Secondly, why did they transliterate it at all, why not just write out in Greek my God my Go why hast thou forsaken me? As for the word Sabachthani well, no one really knew what that meant as there was really no such word in the Aramaic, Greek or Hebrew.
Something even more curious is that the passage suggests that Jesus is quoting Psalms 22:1 yet in Hebrew that phrase is eli, eli lama ‘azabethni not sabachthani. It sounds similar but it is not the same at all.
Perhaps one explanation is that given by the Eastern Church and that is that the scribes who wrote this out in Greek really did not understand what this phrase really meant, so they merely transliterated it into the Greek rather than translated it and then put in a short commentary or their own opinion and indicated this by the words that is to say… In other words they were not sure they had correctly quoted Jesus so they assumed he was speaking Psalms 22:1 and put in a little commentary to offer their opinion as to what he really said.
Indeed Jesus could have been misquoted from scribes or witnesses at the crucifixion if they were from Judea, for the Judeans spoke a Southern dialect of Aramaic but Jesus and his disciples were from the Northern part of Israel, Galilee, where they spoke a Northern dialect of Aramaic. So Jesus would have spoken with a Northern accent and sometimes what he said might not be clear to the people speaking a Southern dialect. This is probably why some thought he was calling for Elijah.
I have always had a problem with Jesus crying out to God asking why God was forsaking Him. I mean if Jesus was God, then just who was he calling out to, Himself? Just where do you draw the line between the trinity and polytheism?
As I have said many times, I am not a theologian so I cannot really address the issue of the trinity. Nor am I schooled in dogma (opinions about God) or doctrine (teachings about God) to offer the various church’s position on the explanation of this passage. I am just a teacher of ancient languages and all I can do is offer some insights in the language that Jesus spoke and let you apply your own theology, dogma and doctrine.
As I have said, Jesus spoke a Northern dialect of Aramaic. My studies have been in the middle dialect of Aramaic, more commonly known as the Jewish Babylonian Aramaic or Talmudic Aramaic. This is closely related to the Eastern Aramaic like the Mandaic and the Eastern Syriac of the Assyrian Church. I undertook this study so I could read the Talmud in the original Aramaic as well as being able to read the Peshitta or the Aramaic Bible. However, recently I have been studying a relatively new discovery. It was felt that the Northern dialect of Aramaic or the Old Galilean dialect was a dead language, however, linguist have found a tribe in Northern Iraq that still speaks this dialect and scholars from Oxford have descended upon these people to learn some of the finer points of this dialect.
For one thing we have learned that the Old Galilean dialect is less formal than the Southern dialect spoken in Judea. The Old Galilean is filled with a lot of colloquialism and idioms. This is perhaps why Nichodemus misunderstood Jesus when He said you must be born again. Nichodemus spoke a Southern dialect and took Jesus literally that He was speaking of a physical birth, yet speaking a Northern dialect Jesus was speaking in a more figurative language.
This now brings us to the word Eli. In the Southern dialect this would mean my God. However, in the Northern dialect the word el would be used for more than just the word god, it was sometimes used in a descriptive sense. A god is someone or something that has control over you. People are, for instance, controlled by their hearts desires. Thus Jesus could have been saying, “my heart.” In the Semitic languages when a word is repeated twice it is done to show emphasis. Hence in the Old Galilean when Jesus said Eli Eli he could have been saying “listen to my heart.” The word lama generally is used as an interrogative in both Hebrew and Aramaic, but this is not necessarily set in stone. Instead of “why” you could render it as “this is why.” It has been discovered, after two thousand years, that the word Sabachthani does exist and it is found in the Old Galilean. Jesus was not misunderstood and the scribes were correct in quoting it, they were just not familiar enough with the Northern dialect to translate it. This would not be unusual for that day as linguists was not really a science to be studied in that day. In the Old Galilean lama Sabachthani means, this is why I have been kept or this is my destiny. In other words Jesus was not speaking to God but to the people who were mourning his death, those who could understand his dialect and in His last breath what He could have been saying is, “Listen to my heart, this is my destiny.” Jesus was telling those who were in sorrow over his death, “This is why I came to earth in the first place, this is my purpose, to die for you.”
This being Easter Sunday, my study partner insisted I present a study for Easter. Let me offer this Easter message to you from the lips of Jesus in his adopted native language of the Old Galilean Aramaic, Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani which is to say, “Listen to my heart, this is my destiny This is why I came to earth in human form and that is to die to give you eternal life.”
Questions and Discussions