Eli.... lama sabacthani



THIS article states that Jesus’ cry from the cross wasn’t in Hebrew, but Aramaic, meaning that He genuinely felt abandoned. Wouldn’t that disprove His divinity?


He was, in part, quoting Psalm 22, which starts with the same lament of abandonment and builds up to trust in God his redeemer who will vindicate him. When you read of Jesus crying out these words, He’s not intending us to stop there, but is pointing us beyond that to the rest of Psalm 22. It is a response to those who mocked Him, who taunted Him by asking why God would not save Him if we was a holy man, to those who cast lots for his garments, to those who pierced his hands and feet.

We must recognize this, even if at the same time Jesus was taking our sins onto Himself and feeling in Himself the disunion sin makes between God and man for the first time. It can be both, not just one. Jesus was of two natures, and could be joyous, grieve, be anxious be terrified in his human nature. That he can express Himself in His human nature is not a denial of His divinity.

Psalm 22

1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but thou dost not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
3 Yet thou art holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In thee our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5 To thee they cried, and were saved;
in thee they trusted, and were not disappointed.
6 But I am a worm, and no man;
scorned by men, and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock at me,
they make mouths at me, they wag their heads;
8 “He committed his cause to the Lord; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
9 Yet thou art he who took me from the womb;
thou didst keep me safe upon my mother’s breasts.
10 Upon thee was I cast from my birth,
and since my mother bore me thou hast been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is none to help.
12 Many bulls encompass me,
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax,
it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
thou dost lay me in the dust of death.
16 Yea, dogs are round about me;
a company of evildoers encircle me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my raiment they cast lots.
19 But thou, O Lord, be not far off!
O thou my help, hasten to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion,
my afflicted soul from the horns of the wild oxen!
22 I will tell of thy name to my brethren;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
all you sons of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you sons of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted;
and he has not hid his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.
25 From thee comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live for ever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29 Yea, to him shall all the proud of the earth bow down;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
and he who cannot keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him;
men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
that he has wrought it.


Exactly! He wasn’t despairing, he was praying. Not only was he offering his very life for our redemption, he was teaching us how we should live here on Earth.


My first thought was, “Well, it IS Wikipedia…” Even with references (which may or may not be questionable), we can’t simply accept everything there as fact - nor should it be immediately and casually dismissed. We need to investigate further to verify the claims.

That said, let’s not forget that Jesus was fully divine AND fully human. Would we not be denying his humanity a bit if we thought he couldn’t/wouldn’t feel some despair at this time? I’m not suggesting that he ‘lost faith’ or anything of that nature. Simply an expression of human pain, turning his prayer into something heartfelt rather than simply a rote teaching moment or whatever you would call our tendency to believe he calmly and peacefully accepted this entire torturous act as if an actor reciting lines in a play.


Lest we go on cruise control and answer the OP without reading the link:

The only words of Jesus on the cross in the Mark and Matthew accounts, this is a quotation of Psalm 22. Since other verses of the same Psalm are cited in the crucifixion accounts, it is often considered a literary and theological creation. Geza Vermes, however, points out that the verse is cited in Aramaic rather than the Hebrew in which it usually would have been recited, and suggests that by the time of Jesus, this phrase had become a proverbial saying in common usage. Compared to the accounts in the other Gospels, which he describes as ‘theologically correct and reassuring’, he considers this phrase ‘unexpected, disquieting and in consequence more probable’. He describes it as bearing ‘all the appearances of a genuine cry’. Raymond Brown likewise comments that he finds ‘no persuasive argument against attributing to the Jesus of Mark/Matt the literal sentiment of feeling forsaken expressed in the Psalm quote’.

So the question is not “why was Jesus saying this?” to which we can respond with the boilerplate “he was quoting Psalm 22…”, but rather “why was Jesus saying it in Aramaic rather than in Hebrew?”

The two scholars quoted in the Wikipedia article use the fact that it was Aramaic (rather than “liturgical” Hebrew) to argue against the “quoting Psalm 22” interpretation.


I’m no expert, but Aramaic is what most Palestinian Jews spoke. I don’t see any reason why he would need to speak in “liturgical” Hebrew to pray.


As Milestone alluded to, Aramaic was the native language of Jesus; Since he was not reciting a ‘set’ Jewish prayer, no need for it to be in Hebrew.


I don’t think he was despairing either.

It reminds me of when Jesus stood up in the Synagogue to read and he read from Isaiah
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind…" and then he told them: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’’

When he quoted Isaiah from the cross I think he was telling the people that He Himself was the fulfillment of that prophecy …Today this scripture is fulfilled in your very sight…


On the contrary, this is a good example of His humanity, and His share in our sufferings.
Lots to learn here besides for what the others have already stated.

Wikipedia…:whistle: not such a great source for Catholic Theology.

God bless you!


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