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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachtha; Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani

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ē´loi , ē̇ -lō´ı̄ , la´ma , sa -bakh -tha´ni , or (Ἐλωί , ελωί , λαμὰ σαβαχθανεί , Elōı́ , elōı́ , lamá sabachthaneı́ ): The forms of the first word as translated vary in the two narratives, being in Mark as first above and in Mt as in second reading. With some perversions of form probably from Psalm 22:1 ( אלי אלי למה עזבתּני , 'ēlı̄ 'ēlı̄ lāmāh ‛ăzabhtānı̄ ). A statement uttered by Jesus on the cross just before his death, translated, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46 ; Mark 15:34 ).

There is an interesting but difficult problem in connection with the interpretation of this passage. There seems to be a mixture of Aramaic and Hebrew. The first two words, whether in Hebrew or Aramaic, have sufficient similarity to each other and each sufficient similarity to the name itself to warrant the jeer that Jesus was calling upon Elias, or the sincere supposition of those who might not fully understand the language, that he was actually calling on Elias. The forms lema and lama used in Matthew and Mark respectively (Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek ) represent the various possible forms, the first the Aramaic, and the second the Hebrew. The various readings and translations of the latter word, sabachthani , only add confusion to an effort at ultimate explanation of the real statement. Certainly the influence of the Aramaic played a geat part in the translation and transmission of the original. The spirit revealed by Jesus in this utterance seems to be very much like that displayed in the Garden when He cried out to have the cup removed from Him.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachtha; Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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