So… King of the Jews, huh…?

I was going through my old photos a few weeks ago, and found a couple that I took a little over 3 years ago.

King of the Jews

I was visiting a relative in the US. She and her husband are Christian, and this belonged to one of them. So, what caught my eye? It might be hard to see in the pic above, so… let’s zoom in.

King of the Jews2

Those are Hebrew letters. If you know the New Testament you know what words were nailed to the cross (or stake, or whatever the Christians say Jesus was nailed to):

And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Matthew 27:37, NKJV)

And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Luke 23:38, NKJV)

Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. (John 19:19, NKJV)

Why was it written there? When someone was crucified, “[i]t was usual to put shame upon malefactors, by a writing to notify the crime for which they suffered.” ( Luke’s account says it was written in Greek and Latin, as well as Hebrew, but I think we can forgive the deviation from the biblical account as artistic license.

But the fact that the Hebrew text is upside down in this picture… that’s pretty hilarious. Yup. Upside down! When flipped, it becomes:

King of the Jews3

I recognise some of the words. I see ישוע (Yeshua), the way Messianic Jews tend to refer to Jesus. I see what looks like נצרת (Natseret), the Hebrew word for Nazareth. I do also see…

Is that מלכ…? Hmm… I think they might have been trying to write מלך (melech, king); it’s got the letter kaf (כ), but that should be kaf sofit (ך), the form it takes at the end of the word… Hmm… And I think I see what could be an attempt to write יהודים (yehudim, Jews)…

But then, it just looks like that bottom line is מלכאדהודם, which is gibberish, as far as I know. And I could not find out what that word after Yeshua is; looks like דכר, which I could not find in the Morfix dictionary.

Come to think of it, for all I know, this could have been written in Aramaic…? No idea.

One thing’s for sure: Anyone who sees this book and knows Hebrew might end up snickering when they see this inverted inscription. I wonder where the picture came from.

Guys, when you’re using a language that you don’t know how to read in your art, please, please save yourself future embarrassment and check with someone who can read it.

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