Brother Bill Cloud has made things Hebrew the focus of his studies for several years. He speaks Hebrew and understands the history and traditions of the Jewish people. A chance remark I heard made by Brother Cloud opened a fascinating study to me. He stated that Hebrew words frequently have a “body” and a hidden “interior.”
The first and last letters of the word form the “body,” and the remaining inside letters give us a picture of the hidden inside meaning of a name or word. Using my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, I began looking at Hebrew names and words and found a little treasure chest contained within these words.
Here are some examples:
Jeshua (Strong’s 3444) is the Hebrew form of the name Jesus. The first and last letters, or “body,” of this name are jot and hay. Together they form Yah, the sacred name of God (Strong’s 3050). The inside letters form the word shava (Strong’s 7768), which means “to be free.” The body gives us the name of God, and the hidden interior makes us free.
Messiah (Strong’s 4899) is a title of Jesus. It means an anointed or consecrated person. The body of this word forms meach (Strong’s 4220, from 4229) which means “to smooth, as with oil,” such as in an anointing. The hidden interior word is shay (Strong’s 7862), and means “a gift.” Thus the Anointed One, Jesus, is a gift. And what a gift!!
The title pharaoh (Strong’s 6547) gives us an interesting picture. The body of the word forms peh (Strong’s 6310) which means “mouth, or blowing.” The interior letters form the word ra (Strong’s 7451), which is defined as “bad or evil.” Pharaoh is a mouth blowing bad or evil.
Egypt (Strong’s 4714) does no better. The body of the word has no meaning, but is composed of the letters mem and mem. The rabbinic definition of this letter is “concealed and revealed.” The interior letters form tsoriy (Strong’s 6875) which means “to crack or leak.” It was concealed and then revealed that Egypt is cracked and leaky and therefore of no value.
The name Nimrod (Strong’s 5248 alternate), the first king in the Bible and the first king of what became Babylon, also has negative connotations. The exterior letters, the body, form the word ned (Strong’s 5067) which is a mound or a heap. The interior letters form mar (Strong’s 4751), which means “bitter.” Nimrod is a bitter heap.
Likewise Babylon (Strong’s 894) is also negative. The exterior letters form the word bal (Strong’s 1077) which means “failure.” The single inside letter, beit, does not form a word, but is defined by the rabbis as meaning “house.” Babylon is the house of failure.
To close on a more positive note, the early name of Jerusalem, Salem (Strong’s 8004) means “peace,” and is used in Israel today as a benediction. The outside letters form the word shem (Strong’s 8034) which means by implication “honor, authority or character.” The interior letter, lamed, is defined by the rabbis as meaning “teaching or learning.” This city is the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8). It is and will be a place of honor, authority and character, and it is from Jerusalem that we learn about the wonderful grace and love of our Heavenly Father.
To see the rabbinic definitions of the Hebrew letters go to
Isn’t the Lord’s Word filled with amazing surprises? Praise His name, always.