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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Modern Hebrew Words


By Jeff A. Benner

Cross The Modern Hebrew word for a “cross” is צלב (tselev) and does not appear in the Tenakh (Old Testament), but it is used in Modern Hebrew translations of the New Testament for the “cross” of the crucifixion.

A tselev is often used as a “mark,” as in “X marks the spot.” In Biblical Hebrew there are two words meaning “mark.” One is the Hebrew word אות (ot, Strong’s #226) and the other is the Hebrew word תו (tav, Strong’s #8420). This latter word is also the name of the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet, which is the ת (tav). In the Ancient Hebrew script the letter tav is written as , a picture of a “mark.” Interestingly, both Hebrew word meaning “mark” have the letter tav in them.

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