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Sunday, March 24, 2024

His was a crushing, body piercing, hole boring death.

Jesus Carrying his Cross by Daud Akhriev

At Calvary Jesus was treading the winepress alone; and of the people there were none with Him. (Is. 63:3) His disciples had abandoned him.

The treading of the winepress speaks of divine judgment (Is. 63:2; Lam. 1:15; Rev. 14:19Rev.14:20).

The Virgin Mary stood weeping before her beaten and wounded son who she knew to be God's son. A sword pierced her mother's heart. (Lk. 2:34-35)

The closer we are to our Savior, the more we will feel the sorrow of His passion.

Winepresses are found throughout the Ancient Near East and Egypt. They were especially common on the hills within Abraham's territory which extended between Hebron and Beersheba. 

The winepress consisted of two vats or troughs (Heb. yekebh, Gr. hypolenion). The higher vat is where the grapes were trodden upon, and the second, lower vat received the juice from the bruised grapes. 

Jesus' suffering is described in Isaiah 53:5 - But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

The oldest Hebrew copy of the Psalms from the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to the century before Christ reads the verb in this verse as ka’aru. This is a Messianic passage:

 ...a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.

The Hebrew ka'aru indicates a deep wound. It suggests boring a hole. The term relates to the leather workers (tahash) who bore holes in their materials. They are called karmaara, a word related to the Hindi lohakara, meaning copper smith. As a child in India, I remember the sound of the copper smiths who pounded their wares.

There is a linguistic connection to the biblical word ka-aru. The word appears to be of Nilotic origin. Among the Luo of the Upper Nile ka-Aru means "the place of the one who pierces."

In Isaiah 1:6 the King James Version has the word "bruises" using chabbarah. Chabbarah is linguistically related to the Luo chaddho, meaning to cut out, to pluck out, or to bruise the skin. A wound of this type is called chaddhoreh in Luo.

The linguistic connections should not surprise us because Jesus' early Hebrew ancestors spoke Akkadian, the oldest known Semitic language. Many Sanskrit words emerged from Ancient Akkadian. The Indian scholar, Malati J. Shendge, concluded that the language of the Harappans of the Indus Valley was Akkadian.

Ajay Pratap Singh has written, "Comparisons of Akkadian and Sanskrit words yielded at least 400 words in both languages with comparable phonetic and semantic similarities. Thus, Sanskrit has, in fact, descended from Akkadian."

The Bible also makes it clear that Jesus' early Hebrew ancestors moved into many parts of the ancient world from the Nile Valley (Gen. 10). He is a descendant of the early kingdom builders such as Nimrod, one of "the mighty men of old" described in Genesis 6. The Hebrew kingdom builders maintained commerce on the major water systems of the ancient world. They migrated out of the Nile Valley in different directions, and they were served by the prestigious caste of Hebrew ruler-priests.

Together the biblical references describe Jesus' execution as a crushing, body piercing, hole boring death.

Let us never forget what our Savior Jesus Christ did for us. May we bow our heads and bend our knees before his holy Cross.

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