Note on the origin of the alphabet

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Note on the origin of the alphabet



One reason for the rejection of the ancient Israelite authorship of the Sinaitic inscriptions is a purely psychological one: viz. the apparent maturity of the script in which they are written, which looks as though it has a history behind it, and might be thought to have developed out of a more primitive precursor. Such thoughts come readily to minds immersed since infancy, as most modern minds have been, in the unprovable tenets of the evolutionary theory. Scripts simply must have evolved, as humans “undoubtedly” did from apes, and all animal life from one primeval cell. Hence it was inevitable that a few pictorial, and decidedly primitive, scratchings discovered in Serabit el-Khadim, dated to the New Kingdom period, and conveniently located in the Sinai about the time of Moses, were seized on as the “undoubted” progenitors of the modern alphabet. When University-trained students hear the word “Sinaitic script” these days they automatically presume it is the Serabit el-Khadim “proto-Sinaitic” script that is being referred to, not what they have been taught to regard (if they have heard such mentioned at all) as the “much more recent Nabataean graffiti”. So the prolifically abundant and historically conclusive alphabetic evidence for the Exodus, which stares the Sinaitic traveler in the face as he traces the route of the ancient wandering Israelites through the wilderness, has been relegated to the dustbin of history, and an obscure, and perhaps imaginary, set of proto-alphabetic scratchings promoted in its place within academia as the Holy Grail of the quest for the origin of the alphabet. No-one has been able to make much sense, however, of the “proto-Sinaitic” script. Is the word Baalat decipherable? Or not? Does that sign sequence spell an early form of the divine name Yahweh? That is as far as more prudent scholars have chosen to go along the proto-Sinaitic path. But on that meager basis tables are drawn up for the popular enthusiast in which the “undoubted” evolution of the alphabet is traced from the proto-Sainaitic, and sometimes from earlier Egyptian hieroglyphics or Mesopotamian cuneiform, via Ugaritic. And, of course, the implication is, if this proto-Sinaitic script has anything at all to do with Moses and the Exodus, which will ever remain as doubtful and obscure as the reading of the script itself, then neither were anything as the Bible describes them. That suits the anti-fundamentalist academician down to the ground.

From Sale, Bower et al., An Universal History From the Earliest Account of Time, London 1748, Vol. XX. Bk. IV The History of the Turks, Tartars and Moguls.p. 19, footnote H, cont. fr. p. 18, in Chap. XXX Sect. 1. (My emphasis added).

“….With regard to picture-writing, hieroglyphic and symbolical characters, it cannot well be denied, that they must have been previous to letters. Reason itself most clearly points out this obvious truth, and reason is herein supported by the whole stream of antiquity. Now as all letters owe their origin to one primigenial alphabet, peculiar at first to one particular people; it must be allowed, that one nation only used letters a considerable time after the invention of picture-writing, of hieroglyphic and symbolical characters, from whom they were gradually communicated to many others. But, notwithstanding this, some nations, situated in countries extremely remote from the region where letters first appeared, never made use of alphabetic characters; among whom may be ranked the Americans {meaning native inhabitants of America}, and the Chinese, who were ignorant of that manner of writing when the Europeans first came among them. As, therefore, all nations seem to have understood either picture-writing, or hieroglyphic and symbolical characters, or both, but some could never attain to the knowledge of letters, it seems to follow, that the invention of letters was much more difficult than that of picture-writing and hieroglyphics. Farther, as all alphabets sprung originally from one, only one people could have any just pretence to the discovery of alphabetic characters. Nor do we find, that the nations most remote from that people were ever capable of making such a discovery, though acute and penetrating enough in other matters; which amounts to a sort of preemption, that all the other nations, who had the use of letters communicated to them, were of themselves incapable of discovering them. So that all mankind, except one particular people, must have been void of a capacity adequate to such an invention. But how improbable is this, especially as no one nation can be pitched upon so transcendently superior in genius to the rest of mankind? It is therefore highly probable, that this was not a human invention, but proceeded originally from the source of all goodness, knowledge, and perfection; which, indeed has been already proved by other argument almost to demonstration. Which notion if we admit, from what has been advanced, it will farther follow, that God Himself communicated the use of letters to mankind, or more properly to his own people, after the dispersion. For, had this been done before the time of that most memorable event, both the Americans and the Chinese would probably have had an alphabet from the remotest antiquity; it being almost impossible for any nation, especially one tolerably civilized, to have ever totally and irrecoverably lost so divine and useful an invention (i).

“(i) Warburton’s divine legat. of Mos. b. iv. sect. 4. p. 80, 81, &c. See also the pref. to Johnson’s discourses, p. 4 —53. Lond. 1728.”

The belief that the alphabet of Moses was the first alphabet of all predates Cosmas Indicopleustes by several centuries. The Greeks had a tradition, if only an anti-Semitic one, that the name of the first letter alpha, which meant “ox” in Phoenician, and “white stripe” in Greek, was so named after the “white stripes” of leprosy which were supposed to have afflicted the Israelites at the Exodus:

Nicarchus (from an anonymous lexical entry published by Bekker, Anecdota Graeca, Berlin, 1814, tome I. p. 381): “Alpha: it was given this name by the Phoenicians, and means “the head of an ox”. Also it was given this name by Jews, and means Moses the Lawgiver, on account of having “white stripes” [Gk. alphoi] on the body. But this is the raving of Nicarchus of Ammonium in Concerning the Jews.” The same tradition is repeated by Ptolemaeus Chennus, son of Hephaestion of Alexandria (Photius, Library No. 190, dated by Suidas to the time of Trajan and Hadrian) in a fragment of Book V of six books Concerning the New History for Extended Knowledge (Fr. Bk. V, p. 151 B, Bekker): “For in his ravings this mythographer says alpha was named after Moses, the Hebrew Lawgiver, on account of having “white stripes” [alphoi] on the body”. It is repeated in a fragment of Helladius, and Philo, presumably Judaeus, is there cited as a witness to it (Helladius’ Chrestomathy comprising four books, analyzed by Photius, No. 279, fragment of the introduction [Bk. I], p. 529 B, Bekker): “For he also in his ravings states that alpha was named after Moses, because the body was marked with “white stripes” [alphoi], and he cites Philo as corroborating the lie”.

The tradition is an Alexandrian one of the Hellenistic era. It is related to the libel current in the same era that the original nucleus of the Judaean people, smitten with a plague of leprosy, was expelled from Egypt by Pharaoh in the days of Moses, as the gods of Egypt required the king to purge his land of the plague. The same story classed the principal participants in the resulting Exodus, including Moses, as Egyptian priests. Thus the theory also current amongst the Greeks that “Egyptians” invented the alphabet, that the Phoenicians learned it from them, and the Greeks from the Phoenicians, most likely belongs to this same strain of anti-Semitic propaganda, emphasizing the “Egyptian” rather than the “Jewish” role in the invention, but pointing to Moses as the source from which the alphabet was derived. In Hellenistic chronography Moses predated Cadmus, the inventor of Phoenician alphabetic characters, and the introducer of them into Greece, hence Moses, according to this Alexandrian tradition, must have been the first to use an alphabetic script. That was true of non-Jewish as well as Jewish chronography, since even Manetho, the most respected of Egyptian chronographers, and one who was not sympathetic at all to Jewish tradition, dated Moses several generations before Aegyptus and Danaus, who did not precede Cadmus in any Greek chronographical scheme. Cosmas was merely repeating the tradition in a Christian form, when he traced the Cadmean letters of Greece via Phoenicia from the Sinaitic “Hebrew” alphabet revealed by God to Moses. In the Armenian “Chronological History” of Mkhithar of Airivank (13th century AD) trans. Brosset, St. Petersburg, 1869, p. 40, the children of Israel are said to have sung the Song of the Sea in a “new tongue”, this according to “Apelinus”; Brosset notes (ibid. n. 1) that the Armenian historian Vardan made the same assertion, and further that Moses invented an alphabet of 22 letters, citing “Apolim”. Similarly in the Armenian version of the Syriac Chronicle of Michael Syrus (The Chronicle of Michael the Great Patriarch of the Syrians trans. from the Armenian by R. Bedrosian, 2013 p. [24]): “[24] Apolomos the Hebrew philosopher says that it was Moses who created letters for the Hebrews. And from this it appears that the Hebrew language is younger than that of the Syrians. Apolimos, the Hebrew philosopher says that first Moses, by the grace of God, created an alphabet for the new language which [the Israelites] had received, and that 50 days later God gave Moses the tablets [containing the Ten Commandments] written in those letters. Moses first wrote the book of Exodus [the events of which] he had seen and was familiar with. Then he asked God: ‘How can I write fully of [the events of] Your creation which I did not witness?’ To accomplish this, God, in a manner unknowable and intangible, for 40 days showed [Moses] the world and made [its past] known to him. And He ordered that it be made in seven months, arranged in the shape of the Tabernacle, after the seven days of creation.” The reference to writing created by Moses “by the grace of God” 50 days before the granting of the Law has an obvious connection with the first occurrence of the word “write” in Exodus 17. 14: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” Here Moses is commanded by God to “write in a book” before the giving of the Law on Sinai. “Apelinus” and “Apolimos” are probably deformations of the name Apollonius (Molon). He wrote an influential anti-Semitic book in the early first century BC, in which he referred, amongst other things, to the Exodus, and to which Josephus wrote a rebuttal. This might likewise be the source of the alpha libel.



The original Hebrew alphabet

It was believed amongst the Jews that the original script in which the Hebrew Law was written was Ashurit or Ashuri, “erect”, also known as “square”, Hebrew, similar to the current Hebrew script and to that commonly used in the Second Temple period. Some thought the Law was given in Raatz, or “jagged” script, like that used by the Phoenicians. To the extent they believe any such thing as the Law was “given” at all, this is the theory favored by rationalists today, because they only accept a pre-Exilic date for the “jagged” Canaanite script known to have been employed by Israelites in the Monarchy period, e.g. the Siloam inscription, the Tel Dan stela etc. A third Rabbinic position was that Raatz itself was only an altered form of the original Ashurit in which the Law was given, and Ezra after the Exile turned the Raatz in which he received the Law into the form of Ashurit current in the New Temple period. Cosmas and the unidentified pilgrim confirm the last opinion. The Sinaitic inscriptions are written in a form of Ashurit, very close, but not identical to, the square script used amongst the Jews in the New Temple period. In other words, the Law was given in the Sinaitic Ashurit, the script of the inscriptions; this was then adopted and adapted into the Raatz or “jagged” form by Canaanites (Phoenicians), after the Hebrews entered Canaan, and, because of the prestige of the Phoenicians, the backslidden Israelites of the Monarchy period began to use this same corrupted type; finally Ezra reformed the script by turning Raatz into the Second Temple form of Ashurit.

There was a polemical reason for the rejection of Ashurit as the original Hebrew script on the part of those who at the time of the Reformation denied the plenary inspiration and perpetual preservation of the Scriptures: if the Scriptures had been altered in any way since they were composed, there could be no assurance that the text had been preserved in its original purity. Protestants who magnified the role of the Bible favored the position that the Ashurit in which the Hebrew Scriptures had traditionally been handed down, was the original script in which God had given it. This is the true opinion. Roman Catholics and Rationalists, on the contrary, favored the theory that the script had changed from the original Raatz to the later Ashurit. This is the position of secular scholars today. The arguments have been summarized as follows:



A General Historico-Critical Introduction to the Old Testament (Eng. trans.), Hävernick, p. 253f.:

“To harmonize the mention of two kinds of writing in the Talmud, several Rabbins assume … that two sorts of writing, a sacred {viz. Ashurit} and a profane {viz. Raatz}, existed simultaneously …. To this view many Christian scholars have assented (as Postellius, Fuller, &c.), as in this way they thought they could best, at least efficiently, vindicate the antiquity of the square character on historical grounds. This hypothesis was most fully constructed and raised to respect by the younger Buxtorf in his Treatise de Litterarum Hebraic. genuina antiquitate, and with him most of the literati of the 17th century agreed. Nevertheless, already in the 15th century this opinion had found opponents. R. Jos. Albo in his Sepher Ikkarim, 3, 16, asserts a change adopted by Ezra with his old-Hebrew writing {viz. Raatz}, and since in this way the security of the Textus receptus was rendered very doubtful, this view was embraced by not only the most of the Catholic scholars, but also chiefly by Buxtorf’s opponent, L. Capellus, (diatribe de veris et antiq. lit. Ebr., Amstelod. 1645), whom many followed, because here to the historical controversy a critical, and to this again a dogmatical significance was ascribed. A middle course has been adopted by more recent scholars, as {the Rationalist} Gesenius, Gesch. s. 156, ff., by whom the story of Ezra is regarded as having a basis in truth, in so far as the square writing came to the Hebrews at that time, and from Babylon, was used by them, and yet in the time of the Maccabees the older Hebrew writing was not quite superseded.”



Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin ff. 21b-22a:

“Mar Zutra {a Babylonian teacher of the fourth century} says, and others report it in the name of Mar Uqba {of the same date}: “The law was in the first instance given to Israel in Ivri {Hebrew} characters and in the holy language; in the time of Ezra the law was given a second time in Ashurit characters, and in the Aramaic language. Israel chose then the Ashurit characters, with the holy language, and left to the Idiotes {“hidyotot” = Gk. idiotai, “uninstructed individuals”} the Ivrit writing with the Aramaic language.” Who are the Idiotes? R. Hisda {a Babylonian doctor of the fourth century} says: the Kuthim {= the Samaritans}. What is the Ivri writing? The Libunah {lit. = “brick”} characters.”

“R. Yose {who lived in the third century} says, “Ezra was worthy that the law should have been given through him, if Moses had not done it before. In fact, in the case of both the expression alah ‘to ascend’ is employed. It is said: ‘And Moses went up {alah} unto God,’ and it is said, ‘This Ezra went up {alah} from Babylon.’ As the going up of Moses was for the sake of the law, so it was in the case of Ezra. Indeed it is said of Moses, ‘And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments.’ And it is equally said of Ezra, ‘For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.’ Although the law was not given through Ezra, the writing was changed by him, as it is written, ‘The writing of the letter was written in Aramit {Aramaic} and with Aramit characters’”…

“Why is the writing called Ashurit? Because it came up with them from Ashur {Assyria}. Rabbi [Judah] {the compiler of the Mishnah, who lived 180 AD} said: “In the first instance the law was given to Israel in this set of characters. After they had sinned, the characters were changed into Roatz {= Raatz}, and when they repented the original characters were given back to them …. Why is it called Ashurit? Because it is an “erect” character {a-sh-r signifying erect}.” R. Eleazar, son of Prata, said in the name of R. Eleazar of Modein {who lived at the beginning of the second century}, the present writing has not been changed at all …”



Talmud Yerushalmi Megillah 10, Perek 1, Halachah 1, Gemara 9:

“… There are those who say, the Ashuri (character set) is also to be used as a script. As for Ashuri, it has a script, but it has no spoken language. As for Hebrew, it has a spoken language, but it has no script. They chose to employ Ashuri as the script and Hebrew as the spoken language. Now what was the reason it was termed Ashuri? That was because it was “erect” (meushar) in its written form, said Rabbi Levi. Rabbi Yose held it was due to the fact that it was brought back from exile by them “from Assyria” (me-Ashur): Ezra was favored to have the Torah given to him, but Moses’ generation preceded him, in this respect, that the Torah was not given to him personally; a script and a spoken language was given to him, (Ezra ch. 4:) “and the script of the letter was Aramaic script, and the interpretation was in Aramaic”, (Daniel ch. 5:) “and they could not read the script”, whence it is learned that it was given on that day. Rabbi Natan says, the Torah was given in Raatz, and that is in harmony with the tradition of Rabbi Yose. Rabbi [Judah the Holy] says, the Torah was given in Ashurit, and when they fell into sin, it was changed by them into Raatz, and when they reformed in the days of Ezra, it was changed by them into Ashurit, (Zechariah ch. 9:) “also what I tell you today I will give you a duplicate of it”, (Deuteronomy ch. 17:) “and he shall write for himself a duplicate of this Torah on a scroll”, a script which was made to be duplicated. Shimon ben Elazar reported the tradition, speaking in the name of Rabbi Elazar {= Eleazar} son of Prata, which he told in the name of Rabbi Lazar {= Eleazar} of Modein: the Torah was given in Ashuri, and what argument did “vavs (nails) of the pillars” (Exodus ch. 27) substantiate? The vavs of the Torah were like [Megillah 10, Perek 2, Halachah 1, Gemara 9] (those fixed into) pillars. Rabbi Levi said, according to him who says the Torah was given in Raatz, the ayin is providentially provided evidence; according to him who says the Torah was given in Ashuri, the samekh is providentially provided evidence: Rabbi Yirmeyah, in the name of Rabbi Hiyyah bar Ba, and Rabbi Simon Tarihon, say, for the Torah of the people of the first generation, it was not the case that neither their he, nor their mem was closed; here is a counter argument, the samekh was closed.”



In the following charts of the characters of the alphabet, compare in the first column VII, that is square Hebrew or Ashurit of the first century AD from Jerusalem, with columns VIII, IX and X, that is Palmyrene, Palmyrene being almost identical to Sinaitic or “Nabataean”, as can be seen from the second chart infra. The closeness of form is even more marked if in the second chart, column V (Sinaitic), the author’s rather poor selection of Sinaitic signs is replaced with the more common Sinaitic forms as found in the font in this study, and as listed conveniently in the third chart infra of the Hebrew alphabet and the stars at the time of the Exodus. Note also the similarity and relationship of the Ashurit and Palmyrene in the first chart with the Raatz (Phoenician) style letters in columns I and II, and of the same Ashurit with Kufic, the early Arabic script, in the second chart column VI. The author of the first two charts, Isaac Taylor (The Alphabet, London 1883, vol. I, pp. 250 and 326), assumed the development of the alphabet ran from the earliest Phoenician through Palmyrene, Ashurit and Sinaitic “Nabataean” to Kufic and later Arabic. The true development was from Sinaitic Ashurit, given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, in a degeneration to Raatz (Phoenician), and then in a reformation to Second Temple Ashurit, on the one hand, and also, on the other hand, from Sinaitic Ashurit to later Nabataean and Palmyrene, and from Nabataean to Kufic.

It is likely that the sudden appearance of the Hebrew alphabet in the Near East, which represented such an obvious and amazing advance on the earlier hieroglyphic and cuneiform methods, led to attempts amongst the more “advanced” nations around Israel to emulate the achievement. The so-called “proto-Sinaitic” signs, if they are indeed alphabetic, may represent one such attempt on the part of the Egyptian mining community which was first exposed to the divinely-revealed alphabet of the Hebrews in Sinai. Hence also in that script the similarity to certain Egyptian hieroglyphic figures. When the Israelites entered Canaan, the Canaanites likewise may first have attempted to produce an alphabet of their own in imitation of the Hebrew, based on cuneiform, as the proto-Sinaitic was based on hieroglyphic, resulting in the cuneiform alphabet found at Ras Shamra (Ugarit). The superiority of the Hebrew alphabet was eventually, in that case, asserted, as the Canaanites (Phoenicians) at the end of the second millennium adopted the Hebrew alphabet in toto, only changing its form a little to a more jagged one, in order to write more easily on stone. The modern Roman alphabet was borrowed from the Greek, and the Greeks borrowed their letters from the Phoenicians. Hence there is a direct and genealogical connection between the letters used to write this page, which you are reading now, and the original Sinaitic Hebrew alphabet revealed by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.









The Hebrew Alphabet and the stars at the time of the Exodus, Nisan 14, 1446 BC:

Sinait.

Heb.

Seasons
Planets
Sun Moon

Zodiac

]

א

MODERATE


b

ב

Sun


g

ג

Venus


d

ד

Mercury


h

ה


Aries

w

ו


Taurus

z

ז


Gemini

x

ח


Cancer

j

ט


Leo

y

י


Virgo

k

כ

Moon


l

ל


Libra

m

מ

COLD


n

נ


Scorpio

s

ס


Sagittarius

[

ע


Capricorn

p

פ

Saturn


c

צ


Aquarius

q

ק


Pisces

r

ר

Jupiter


v

ש

HOT


t

ת

Mars



In the table to the left, the seasons, Sun, Moon, five visible planets, and Zodiac signs, correspond to the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet as in Sefer Ha-Yetzirah (see infra). Sun, Moon and planets occupy the same space, viz. of a single letter, as a Zodiac sign, therefore accuracy in their positioning is to within one average Zodiac sign’s span (2h RA). The Moderate Season marker is the Spring Equinox, the Cold Season marker is the Winter Solstice, the Hot Season marker is the Summer Solstice. At sunrise, the midpoint of the Hebrew day Nisan 14 1446 BC, the signs and celestial bodies stood as depicted in the chart. (On the modern reckoning this was at 06.00 hrs. at the Cairo dateline, March 26 Julian, 1446 BC, but taking into account Joshua’s “long day”, the retrogression of the sun by 10 degrees under Hezekiah, and the shortened 23 hr. day at the Crucifixion of Jesus, this configuration actually applies to a point in time 33 hrs. earlier, viz. 21.00 hrs. at the Cairo dateline, March 24 Julian 1446 BC. Adjusting the clock also as necessary, this was sunrise Nisan 14 [see following chart].) The Spring Equinox was in Aries, the Winter Solstice in Capricorn and the Summer Solstice in Cancer. The solar, lunar, and planetary positions are configured in the chart by reference to the seasonal markers and the beginning and end of the Zodiac (which are subject to precession), rather than by reference to the Zodiac signs, and thus do not overlap Zodiac sign letters. The Sun, Venus and Mercury, in that order, were, at the time of the Exodus, between RA 23h 28m and 23h 12m (in Aries), that is, between the Spring Equinox, at 0h, and the beginning of the Zodiac in Aries, around 22h 48m (and so placed in the chart between the Moderate Season marker in Aries and the commencement of the Zodiac in Aries). The Moon was within one average Zodiac sign’s span (2h RA) precisely midway along the Zodiacal circle which ran away from, and back to, the beginning and terminating point of the Zodiac around 22h 48m (that is, between Virgo and Libra, RA 11h 45m), and so placed in the chart. Saturn was in Taurus, RA 1h 20m, within one average Zodiac sign’s span (2h RA) midway between the Winter Solstice in Capricorn, RA 18h, and the Summer Solstice in Cancer, RA 6h (and so placed in the chart midway between the Cold and Hot Season markers). Jupiter was in Scorpio, RA 13h 26m, within one average Zodiac sign’s span (2h RA) midway between the termination of the Zodiac in Pisces, around RA 22h 48m, and the Summer Solstice in Cancer, RA 6h (and so placed in the chart between Pisces and the Hot Season marker). Mars was in Leo, RA 6h 3m, adjacent to the Summer Solstice in Cancer, RA 6h (and so placed in the chart adjacent to the Hot Season marker)





Detailed Timeline of the Exodus


(Click on the image to see a higher quality version)




Sefer Ha-Yetzirah

“III.

4. The Three Mothers Aleph, Mem and Shin, Fire, Water and Air are shown in the Year; from the fire was made heat, from the waters was made cold, and from the air was produced the temperate state, again a mediator between them …

5. … He {viz. God} caused the letter Aleph to reign in Air … He caused the letter Mem to reign in Water … He caused Shin to reign in Fire ….

“IV.

1. The Seven Double Letters {viz. those which change their sound, hard or soft, depending on their position in a word or phrase}, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, Kaph, Pe, Resh, and Tau …

3. These Seven Double Letters He {viz. God} designed, produced, and combined, and formed with them the Planets (stars) of this Universe …

4. So now, behold the Stars of the Universe (Planets) are Seven; the Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars.

“V.

1. The Twelve Simple Letters are Heh, Vau, Zain, Cheth, Teth, Yod, Lamed, Nun, Samech, Oin, Tzaddi and Qoph …

2. These Twelve Simple Letters He {viz. God} designed, and combined, and formed with them the Twelve celestial constellations of the Zodiac, whose signs are Teth, Shin, Tau, Samech, Aleph, Beth, Mem, Oin, Qoph, Gimel, Daleth and Daleth. {That is, Teth = Taleh, Aries, Shin = Shor, Taurus, Tau = Teomim, Gemini, Samech = Sartan, Cancer, Aleph = Aryeh, Leo, Beth = Bethulah, Virgo, Mem = Moznayim, Libra, Oin [Ayin] = Akrav, Scorpio, Qoph = Kesheth, Sagittarius, Gimel = Gedi, Capricorn, Daleth = Deli, Aquarius, Daleth = Dagim, Pisces.} The Twelve are also the Months of the Year: Nisan Yiar, Sivan, Tamuz, Ab, Elul, Tishri, Hesvan, Kislev, Tebet, Sabat and Adar …

3. Behold now these are the Twenty and Two Letters from which Jah, Jehovah Tzabaoth, the Elohim of the living, the God of Israel, exalted and sublime, the Dweller in eternity, formed and established all things; High and Holy is His Name.”



The Hebrew alphabet did not “evolve” from a more primitive set of characters, it was given directly from God to Moses at the Exodus. God’s earliest writing was in the stars. God refers in his discourses with Moses to the “Book” which He Himself wrote (Exodus 32. 32, 33). It was from this Heavenly Book that God took the letter forms and inscribed them on the Tablets of Stone on Mount Sinai. The prophet Enoch had earlier been given the knowledge of the Zodiac signs as pictorial symbols and their prophetic significance. Moses was given the alphabetic significance of the same signs, and of the sun, moon and five visible planets which move through the Zodiac. As the sun, moon, stars and planets revolve around us each day, they are constantly spelling out a message which God alone knows. The message is written in the heavenly alphabet, that is, in the prototype of the Sinaitic Hebrew.

The following diagrams show how the Zodiac and cardinal signs, and seven signs representing the sun, moon and five visible planets, formed the Sinaitic, i.e. the original Hebrew, alphabet.

There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. They were formed from: 1) the star-patterns in the 12 signs of the Zodiac; 2) the star-patterns in the 3 cardinal signs for summer (hot), spring (moderate), and winter (cold), which are also 3 of the Zodiac signs, Leo (summer), Taurus (spring) and Aquarius (winter); 3) 7 symbols representing the sun, moon and five visible planets, which move along the ecliptic through the signs of the Zodiac. As demonstrated in the chart supra, the order of the Hebrew letters duplicates the unique position of the sun, moon, stars and planets on Nisan (Abib) 14, 1446 BC, the day of the first Passover, which freed Israel from slavery in Egypt. This proves the alphabet was designed by God himself, being given to mankind at the Exodus, and did not simply “evolve”. As further demonstrated in the chart, three of the letters represent the “cardinal” signs of the Zodiac, that is, those in which the sun is, or was at one time, found at certain key (“cardinal”) points of the year. The earth wobbles on its axis, and this results in the phenomenon called “precession” by which the sun gradually shifts its position in relation to the signs of the Zodiac over the centuries. Thus the sun is now just within the sign Aquarius at the beginning of spring, whereas for the last thousand years and more it has been in the neighboring sign Pisces at that time of year, and in the time of Jesus and ancient Israel it was in Aries. In the antediluvian times it was in the sign adjoining Aries, that is, in Taurus, at the beginning of spring. The wobble of the earth’s axis which caused this phenomenon began in the time before the Flood: the earth suffered a pole-shift and the ice sheets melted, thus producing the flood waters. Since there is no “fixed” sign nowadays for the spring, summer and winter positions of the sun, the alphabetic order of the signs reflects the original, pre-Flood, spring, summer and winter positions. In fact it was in this pre-Flood era that, according to the ancient tradition, the Zodiac and other star-signs and their spiritual significance were first revealed to Adam and his faithful descendants, particularly the prophet Enoch, by the ministration of angelic beings. At the beginning of spring, the time of “mild, moderate” weather, the sun was in Taurus in the days before the Flood, hence the letter Aleph, the Ox, Taurus, is the cardinal sign of the “mild, moderate” season. In fact, the word “aleph” in Hebrew, which means “ox”, comes from a root meaning to “to be, or to make, mild, moderate, calm, etc.” and hence “to domesticate, or train”. The ox, “aleph”, was the “domesticated” or “mild” animal par excellence. The sun at the beginning of summer was in Leo in the antediluvian era, hence in the alphabet the letter Shin, representing the jaws and mane of the lion, Leo, is the “hot” or summer sign. “Shin” means “shining”, as well as “tooth”, and this is an appropriate summery name. The sun was in Aquarius at the beginning of winter in the days before the Flood, hence Aquarius, the “Water-pourer”, and the corresponding letter “Mem”, is the “cold” or winter sign. “Mem” means “water”.

Not only did the Alphabet as given by God mark the position of the planets and Zodiac signs at the time of the Exodus, it also spelled out the following motto of freedom:



tvrq cp [s Nmlk yjx zwh dg b]

אב גד הוז חטי כלמן סע פץ קרשת



Which means: “Possessor of a destiny filled with rejoicing, the cords of the captives, by the aid of a Hammerer, you have burst asunder!” The word “possessor” is literally “father”, and the phrase “possessor of a destiny” also means “Father of Gad”, viz. Jacob-Israel, father of Gad, the latter being one of the tribal ancestors of the Israelites. In other words, it is Israel here who is being addressed as having been freed from Egypt by the aid of a “Hammerer”, that is, by the aid of God Himself.

Though these words mean nothing in Arabic, the popular (and original) order of the Arabic alphabet is identical, but six extra letters have been added at the end:



ابﺟﺪ ھﻭﺯ ﺣﻄﻰ ﮐﻠﻤﻦ ﺴﻌﻔﺺ ﻗﺮﺷﺖ ﺛﺨﺬ ﺿﻆﻎ



which is equivalent to the Hebrew



אב גד הוז חטי כלמן סע פץ קרשת תגד צטע



The base forms of the extra letters in the Arabic alphabet are equivalent to the Hebrew or Aramaic תגד צטע. A dot or a combination of dots is placed over each extra letter in the Arabic scheme to show they are pronounced in a different manner to the base forms, and these pronunciations are not found in Hebrew. However, the base forms in Hebrew/Aramaic would mean “you cut them off, doing the job of the metalsmith”, the last word being an Ithpaal or Ithpeel of the verb צוע, “do the work of a smith”, with exchange of teth for taw and its transposition, plus omission of the initial aleph. (On these phenomena in Aramaized Hebrew see Jastrow, Talmudic Dictionary, 1903, p. VIII-IX.) The full sentence now reads “Possessor of a destiny filled with rejoicing, the cords of the captives, by the aid of a Hammerer, you have burst asunder, you cut them off, doing the job of the metalsmith!” The first twenty-two Arabic letters (and the extra six by extension) were developed from the Sinaitic Hebrew via Nabataean, the main differences being (1) the gimel sign came to serve in Arabic both for the gimel and the heth sounds (the former being distinguished in Arabic by a dot beneath it), (2) the shin sign came to serve for the samekh sound as well as for the shin sound itself (the latter in Arabic being distinguished by three dots above it), and (3) the daleth sign came to serve for the taw sound, as well as for the daleth sound itself (the former being distinguished by two dots above it and by its tendency to form a curved flourish). The qoph and peh signs came to look much alike in cursive Arabic script (a loop above the line of writing) and were therefore distinguished by two dots and a single dot respectively above the letter.

The reason for the change in order of the letters of the Arabic alphabet from the original Hebrew order as given here to the nonsensical order found in the standard authorities is explained in the Heidelberg Arabic Grammar as follows (in a review of Robertson’s Clavis Pentateuchi, in the Quarterly Theological Review and Ecclesiastical Record, Volume 1, London, 1825, p. 152):

“The natural order of the letters is found among the Hebrews. The Turks changed the natural order in despite to the Jews and their faith, and placed the tetragrammaton, the letters of the Divine Name יהוה, at the end, which are naturally located otherwise right at the beginning, or at least in the middle of the Alphabet, according to the true Hebrew original.”



TAURUS

(YELLOW)

AS CARDINAL SIGN

> ALEPH



From the eyes and face of Taurus, the bull, and the ridge of the back (yellow) is formed the Sinaitic Hebrew aleph. “Aleph” means “Ox, bull”.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE SIGN “ALEPH” AS COPIED IN SINAI BY EUTING

Note: the later Nabataean aleph used the full star-sign (orange, yellow, red) and likewise Ezra’s Ashurit (current Hebrew)

Nabataean:

]

THE SIGN IN THE CURRENT FONT (USED TO REPRESENT THE SINAITIC OF THE INSCRIPTIONS)

Current Hebrew:

א








PLANETARY SIGNS



SINAITIC FONT

PLANETARY MEANING

EXPLANATION

b

THE SUN

The letter BETH, a sign representing a “house” from the Hebrew root bwt, meaning “to go in for the night, stay overnight” hence of the night sun, which “goes in for the night” when the stars come out.

g

VENUS

The letter GIMEL, representing a “yoke”, from the Hebrew root gml, meaning to “yoke a young draught-animal to an older one in order to train it”; hence of the planet Venus which is “yoked” or always in proximity to, the sun, and is also “horned” (i.e. can have a crescent shape) like the horns of a young cow or similar draught-animal.

d

MERCURY

The letter DALETH representing a “door” from the Hebrew root dlt, “to hang, be dependent” etc.; hence of the planet Mercury which is always “hanging on”, or in close proximity to, the sun, that is, at the “door” of the sun, and is “dependent” on that larger celestial body. Also DALETH in Hebrew means “hinged tablet” of the kind used for writing, hence Mercury was the planet presiding over writing, learning and the craft of the scribe, who regularly sat at the “door” of his master.





ARIES

AS ZODIAC SIGN

> HE



The Hebrew word “HE” means “Look out!” It is used here of the sheep (“Aries” means “sheep”) looking back in fear as a triangular plow stone (the sign Triangulum) is about to fall on its head. This two-legged sheep, with its hair (wool) tumbling down, represents the Biblical shepherd Abel slain by his brother the farmer Cain. Abel’s hands are not visible as he was bound and offered on his own altar as a sacrifice.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE SIGN “HE” FROM SINAI COPIED BY EUTING


Note: the sheep’s head is represented by the three stars alpha, beta and gamma, or a dot (the head alpha) surmounted by two dots (the two horns, beta and gamma), looking backwards.

h

THE SIGN IN THE CURRENT FONT






TAURUS

(RED)

AS ZODIAC SIGN

> VAV



Vav means “nail, pointed object, hook, etc.” in Hebrew. Here it is the pointed horn of the bull (Taurus).

AN EXAMPLE OF THE SIGN “VAV” FROM SINAI COPIED BY EUTING



w



THE SIGN IN THE CURRENT FONT




GEMINI

PORTION OF THE SIGN ON THE ECLIPTIC

> ZAYIN





Zayin means weapon. The Gemini twins hold weapons, one of them the spear-like line of stars at their shoulders and the other at their waist. The latter, nearest where the ecliptic passes through the sign, is the sign from which the letter is formed.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE SIGN “ZAYIN” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI.



z


THE SIGN “ZAYIN” IN THE CURRENT FONT.






CANCER

ZODIAC SIGN

> HETH




Heth comes from the Hebrew root “hayah”, “live” and the root meaning is “living creature” or a “living community, habitation” etc. The sign cancer is of a creature (a crab, Latin cancer = crab, or similar) gathering a group of offspring together in a cluster (the cluster, Praesepe M44 in the center of the sign).

AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “HETH” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI.




x


THE LETTER “HETH” IN THE CURRENT FONT.


LEO

(RED)

MAIN BODY OF ZODIAC SIGN

> TETH




Teth in Hebrew comes from the root “tavah” which means “to twist, curl up, turn round”, here referring to the curled body of the crouching lion, Leo (in red). Separate from this is the jaw and mane of the lion (in yellow) for which see the sign Shin. (The line connecting the stars delta and zeta was optional, hence the letter sometimes had an elongated “s” shape.)


(v)[See the letter SHIN]


AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “TETH” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI.

THE LETTER “TETH” IN THE CURRENT FONT.


j





VIRGO

SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THE ZODIAC SIGN

> YOD



Yod in Hebrew means “hand”. Here it refers to the hands of Virgo, the Virgin, which hold plants (represented by the stars Spica and Vindemiatrix); the stars connecting the two represent the veil over the virgin’s arms and head.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “YOD” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI



y


THE LETTER “YOD” IN THE CURRENT FONT





PLANETARY SIGN



SINAITIC FONT

PLANETARY MEANING

EXPLANATION


k


THE MOON

Kaph” in Hebrew means a “cupped hand”, which is what the sign depicts. The “cupped hand” is the crescent moon.





LIBRA

SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THE ZODIAC SIGN

> LAMED



The Sinaitic Hebrew “Lamed” is usually a single straight line. The root meaning of the letter name in Hebrew is “to discipline, train, instruct, by use of the rod”. Here in the Zodiac it is the “rod” of the balance between its two main stars, alpha and beta, the balance being a symbol of judgment and hence also of learning and instruction.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “LAMED” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI.




l


THE LETTER “LAMED” IN THE CURRENT FONT.




AQUARIUS (YELLOW)

AS CARDINAL SIGN (LOWER PORTION OF ZODIAC SIGN)

> MEM




[See the letter SADE] (c)


Mem means “water” in Hebrew. Here it is the water-skin hanging from the end of the arm of the “shaduf” or water-leaver (the latter being the section in red, see under the letter “Sade”). Together, these two parts make up the sign Aquarius, “the water-pourer”, or “Deli” as the Hebrews call it, that is, “the water-bucket”.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “MEM” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI.



m


THE LETTER “MEM” IN THE CURRENT FONT.





SCORPIO

ZODIAC SIGN

> NUN



Nun means “fish, sea-creature” in Hebrew, the root meaning of the word being “to be fragile, ailing, to tremble” etc. Here the alphabetic sign shows the zodiac sign is a sea-creature, viz. a water-scorpion. The star Antares, the “heart of the Scorpion” also functions as the end of the foot of the “Serpent-wrestler”, viz. Ophiuchus, the sign above Scorpio. Ophiuchus is crushing Scorpio with his foot, thus “ailing” him, and separating off the scorpion’s “claws” from his body (the body = the letter “nun”). The claws form the rest of the sign, in conjunction with, in earlier times, the neighboring sign Libra, which was actually known also as “The Claws”.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “NUN” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI.



n


THE LETTER “NUN” IN THE CURRENT FONT.



SAGITTARIUS

SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THE ZODIACAL SIGN

> SAMEKH



This portion of the sign Sagittarius, “The Archer”, is the bow itself. In Hebrew, accordingly, the sign is known simply as “The Bow”. The bow forms the Hebrew letter “Samekh” which means “helper, support, aid, remedy”, the bow serving that function to the Archer, Sagittarius, who is coming to the aid of the forces in battle with Scorpio.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “SAMEKH” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI



s


THE LETTER “SAMEKH” IN THE CURRENT FONT



CAPRICORN

SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THE ZODIACAL SIGN

> AYIN




Ayin means “eye, eye of a fountain, water-source, spring” in Hebrew. Fountains were symbolized in the ancient East by fishes, for obvious reasons, and by goats, because of their fertility. “Ayin” also means a “round halter” put upon the neck of a domestic animal. Thus the goat-fish of Capricorn represents a fertile fountain, or the head of a spring (goat’s head) emerging through the eye of a fountain (halter). The head of the goat is formed by the triangle of stars, beta (head), alpha and nu (two horns). The convoluted fish-tail of Capricorn forms the letter “ayin”, i.e. the “eye of the fountain” or the “halter”.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “AYIN” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI.


[


THE LETTER “AYIN” IN THE CURRENT FONT





PLANETARY SIGN



SINAITIC FONT

PLANETARY MEANING

EXPLANATION

p

SATURN

The Hebrew name of this letter “Peh” means “mouth” or “edge”. The letter is the glyph of a human mouth. It is used to denote the “edge” of a geographical or spatial feature or of an object. Saturn is the planet at the outermost “edge” of the solar system of visible planets. It is for that reason Saturn was believed in ancient times to carry a sickle (representing the curved path of the planet’s orbit) with a sharp “edge”.





AQUARIUS (RED)

SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF ZODIACAL SIGN

> SADE




[See the letter MEM] (m)


Hebrew “Sade” means “to catch, pick up, by lying sideways”, and in the Zodiac the top (red) part of Aquarius is a “shaduf” (see picture below), a long pole laid sideways on a fulcrum used to pick up a water skin full of water. Hence the sign is called “Aquarius”, the “Water-pourer”. The fulcrum in Aquarius is upside-down because it is a heavenly shaduf, pouring water (rain) from above onto the earth.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “SADE” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI.

THE LETTER “SADE” IN THE CURRENT FONT

c






PISCES

ZODIAC SIGN

> QOPH



The name of the Hebrew letter “Qoph” comes from a root meaning “to fasten, clasp, together, to surround, catch”. It is formed from the sign Pisces, the “Bound Fishes”, which are fastened together by the asterism Risha, “The Band”, at their tails, and so “caught”.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “QOPH” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI.



q


THE LETTER “QOPH” IN THE CURRENT FONT





PLANETARY SIGN



SINAITIC FONT

PLANETARY MEANING

EXPLANATION

r

JUPITER

The Hebrew letter name “Resh” means “head, chief”. Jupiter is the chief (brightest) of the dominant or outer planets (those whose orbit is beyond the earth, not between the sun and the earth). Jupiter represents the supreme godhead.




LEO (YELLOW)

AS CARDINAL SIGN

> SHIN



The Hebrew letter-name “Shin” means “tooth” and also “shining”. It is formed of the toothy jaw and frontal shining mane of the starry lion, Leo.


[See the letter “Teth”] (j)



AN EXAMPLE OF THE LETTER “SHIN” COPIED BY EUTING IN SINAI.



THE LETTER “SHIN” IN THE CURRENT FONT.


v






PLANETARY SIGN




SINAITIC FONT

PLANETARY MEANING

EXPLANATION

t

MARS

The Hebrew letter-name “Tav” means a post or mark, and the glyph depicts something hanging on a stake. Hanging on a stake was a common form of execution, hence “Tav” represents Mars, the blood-red planet.







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