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Facets of God Displayed in the Hebrew Aleph-Bet: Mem, Nun, and Samech

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Tamarajo is an avid Bible Studier who loves nothing more than to seek out the treasures in God's Word and share them with others.

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Introduction

My favorite Biblical studies center around the ancient Hebraic roots of our Christian faith. Hebrew word studies, and the pictographs they contain, can sometimes give us a more detailed and in-depth view of Biblical concepts.

There are a total of 22 letters in the Hebrew Aleph-Bet. This article will study the fifth set of three letters of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet in their pictograph form. These are "mem", "noon", and "samech". These also will present a unified lesson as it concerns the character of God.

Before we continue, please note that the words with Hebrew fonts should read from right to left. Knowing Hebrew won't be necessary, but it is helpful to know the directional aspect when describing the letter's position within the word. When I mention the first letter, it will be the letter beginning on the right, and the last letter will be on the left.

It is also important to note that the fonts I am using in this article are modern Hebrew ones developed during the Babylonian captivity and are used in Israel today. In their most ancient form, these letters were actual images of the pictographs we will be studying.

Additionally, at the end of each section, a video will further the lesson about each letter. The videos are produced by Jewish Jewels Ministries and hosted by Dr. Danny Ben-Gigi, a former Hebrew professor at Arizona State University.

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"Mem"—Mighty Immeasurable Waters

'Mem (מ), the thirteenth letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet," is a picture of water in various forms. It is predominantly depicted as ocean waves indicating something in forceful motion. Ocean waves are one of the most powerful forces on Earth.

"Mem" portrays the Lord as a mighty powerful force.

The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, Than the mighty waves of the sea.

— Psalm 93:4

God and His power cannot be measured. This immeasurability is discussed in Paul's letter to Ephesus, where he prays the following.

. . . that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places . . .

— Ephesians 1:17-21

Isaiah gives us another immeasurable description of God regarding His omniscience in the following verse.

His understanding is unsearchable.

— Isaiah 40:28

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God is Unquantifiable

God's mightiness not only speaks of force but also of mass and immensity. God is unqualifiable in any category. A.W. Tozer echoes this idea in the following statement.

"God is Himself, without qualifying thought or Word. He is simply God."2

Using the ocean once again as our metaphor, according to Seethesea.org, the ocean's mass is 1,400,000,000,000,000,000 metric tons.1 This unimaginable measure illustrates God's immeasurable substance and weight.

Relating to the connection with weight and God's glory—His glory is sometimes described in terms of heaviness in the Bible. The Hebrew words "glory" and "heavy" are the same.

The heavens declare the glory (weightiness) of God . . .

— Psalm 19:1

Weight in the ancient world was synonymous with value. Monetary measures were expressed in terms of heaviness. God's riches and value is indescribable.

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—
This great and wide sea,
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.

— Psalm 104:24

He is the owner of all, according to Melchizedek and Abraham.

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said:

“Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;

— Genesis 14:18-19

Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’—

— Genesis 14:22-23

The ocean's expanse expresses God's unfathomable immensity in covering approximately 71 percent of the earth's surface.

. . . for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him?

— II Chronicles 2:5-6

An ocean is noted for its depth—the deepest point being 36,198 feet. If Mount Everest were placed into this trench, it would be covered with seawater more than a mile deep.

They see the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep.

— Psalm 107:24

God, Himself is very deep and willing to share His deep plans and prized purposes with us.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

— I Corinthians 2:9-10

The Book of Job asks some great questions about trying to quantify God. These questions link with the above-studied observations of the letter "mem."

“Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?

— Job 11:7

"Mem" can also represent kings and kingdoms, mighty forces in heaven and earth. "Mem" is, therefore, fittingly, the first letter of the Hebrew words for kings, kingdoms, and angels.

The New Testament begins with presenting Jesus as our King in the book of Matthew. The phrases "The Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of heaven" appear 94 times in the New Testament.

. . . He who is the blessed and only Potentate (one possessing great power and dominion), the King of kings and Lord of lords . . .

— I Timothy 6:15

His Kingdom is a vast, superior, powerful force in heaven and the earth.

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"Nun"—Seed or Fish

"Nun," (נ) the fourteenth letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet, is a picture of a seed or a fish imaging perpetuation and propagation, as in from one generation to another, symbolizing things that are prolific, eternal, and everlasting.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

— Psalm 90:2

Photo by Tamarajo

Photo by Tamarajo

God the Giver of Life

Rivers are included in this connection with life, fish, and propagation in a portion of Scripture from the book of Ezekiel titled "The Healing Waters and Trees" in the NKJV.

And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.

— Ezekiel 47:9

In the Garden in Eden, the river symbolizes eternal life flowing through it.

And a river (נָהָר) went out of Eden to water the garden.

— Genesis 2:10

Moving water in the Bible was called "living waters."

The Hebrew word for river is "nahar" (נָהָר) and begins with the Hebrew letter "nun" (נָ). This river in Eden was at the beginning of all things. We see this river again at the end of all things in the book of Revelation.

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

— Revelation 22:1

God Gives Fruitfulness and Multiplies

He is the God who makes fruitful and makes multiply. The very first mention of God's mandate to be fruitful and multiply occurs in the context of things that live in the water.

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

— Genesis 1:21-22

"Nun" is also the first letter of the word faithful.

Your (God's) faithfulness endures to all generations

— Psalm 119:9

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"Samech"—A Stick of Support

"Samech," (ס) the fifteenth letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet, is an image of a walking stick or crutch meant to communicate the idea of "support," "being upheld," and "helped." The Hebrew word sometimes translated "uphold" is "samech."

Uphold (סָמַךְ-samech) me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.

— Psalm 119:16

The world criticizes and claims that our religion is nothing but a crutch to which we may reply, "why, yes it is!"

We are entirely dependent upon God for all we are, have, and do.

. . . without Me you can do nothing.

— John 15:5

In the following familiar portion of Scripture, the Hebrew word translated "stay" is "samech" and gives us a better idea of what staying on the Lord means with these things in mind.

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed (supported, sustained, upheld and dependent) on You.

Isaiah 26

We lean on God for our strength, not ourselves or the world around us, for support, as Hezekiah well presents when Sennacherib, king of Assyria, comes to take the people captive and destroy their reform efforts. Hezekiah encourages them with the following statement.

“With him (Sennacherib) is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened (סָמַךְ-samech) by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

II Chronicles 32:8

Conclusion

In Conclusion, our God is mighty (mem), eternal (nun), and upholding (samech) all things by His power as the writer of Hebrews records and pulls all of these themes together. In might, the eternal Son of God secured an eternal inheritance (in Hebrew begins with the letter "nun") for us and upholds all of these things.

God, who in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Hebrews 1:1-4

Sources

1https://seethesea.org/

2Quote from The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. Published by Moody Publishers (April 1, 2015).

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Tamarajo

Comments

Tamarajo (author) on June 09, 2020:

Hi Dineo, Your welcome. I'm glad that the study was useful.

I appreciate your visit and comment.

God bless!

Dineo on June 09, 2020:

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Tamarajo

Tamarajo (author) on March 16, 2017:

Hello John Paul, yes you are correct as it concerns numerical values. It is so incredibly amazing that the numbers are consistent with the themes of truth as well. No matter how we view the Word of God, linguistically, numerically, and even geometrically, the message is the same and the Gospel is always preached.

The Greek and numerics is a new discovery for me. Up until now my focus has been predominantly Hebrew but your mention of it peaks my interest. I just know it will continue the revelation.

Thank you much for your comment and additional information.

God bless

john paul on March 15, 2017:

The letters are also numerical values with them as well along with koine greek.

Tamarajo (author) on February 23, 2015:

Christiane, so pleased to know that these revelations were clear to you. I sincerely seek to know and understand our great God and King as well as share it with others, and I believe it's His great pleasure to show us.

Thank you much for visiting, and commenting. God bless!

Cristiane on February 23, 2015:

It's a relief to find sonmoee who can explain things so well

Tamarajo (author) on January 20, 2013:

DeBorrah God truly is amazingly incomprehensible in terms of His largeness and depth. In studying His truth it we can really see how infinite and unquantifiable He truly is.

Discovering Him in His word over and over again is a joy

Thank you so much for following the series and sharing your enthusiasm for our incredible God! He is worthy!

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on January 19, 2013:

Tamarjo, This series continues to be captivating and spiritually enlightening! You give us much to ponder and digest!

Marvelous illustration using the unsearchable depth of the ocean! As you so wonderfully stated:"An ocean is noted for its depth. the deepest point of 36,198 feet...If Mount Everest were to be placed into the this trench it would be covered with sea water more than a mile deep.

They see the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. Psalm 107:24" WOW! God's Omnipotence mammothly supersedes the depth of our shallow finite minds in comparsion! The more you think about the fact that GOD is also Omnisicent: knowing everything about everyone and everything everywhere is beyond etraordinary... Great song as well by Chris Tomlin it speaks volumes! Yes the Lord is "Amazing!"

Thank You for sharing the fruits of your labor here! This is wonderful! GOD TRULY IS AWESOME! I will continue on... Voted up of course!

shelpeare on August 17, 2012:

You're welcome.

Tamarajo (author) on August 17, 2012:

Just took a quick glance at the website...wow can't wait to dig into that one!! Thanks

Tamarajo (author) on August 17, 2012:

I have to laugh a bit because I collect books and I have one volume of the "New Book of Knowledge" the "A" I would imagine that it would be in the "H" for Hebrew. I will have to keep my eyes open at garage sales for that one.

Funny thing too. It had not occurred to me to look at the "Strong's" "Gesenius'" has some of the letters names and symbols but not all of them. I will definitely be checking that out as well

Thank you as well for the website. My computer time will be limited for the next week but will get back to you on these.

shelpeare on August 16, 2012:

The teachinghearts link suddenly stopped working. Leave out the dot at the end and it will work. That is a bit strange though.

shelpeare on August 16, 2012:

You can insert the index numbers into the Hebrew search box in http://www.eliyah.com/lexicon.html which has Strong's Concordance, but without the initial "zero." If you download "Online Bible" which is free if you have not already but that software uses the initial "zero" in the numbers for the Hebrew.

shelpeare on August 16, 2012:

When I first started studying the Hebrew Alphabet I used The New Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia. I'm not sure if they are still around but the interpretations there fit with most of the others elsewhere. I don't believe in the Kabbala either. That is out for sure! However, Strong's Concordance has most of the meanings for the Hebrew alphabet with additional meanings too. I will give you the index numbers as far as possible. (Note that some Bible sites or software leave out the initil "zero" : aleph (0505), Beth (01004, 01005), Gimel (01580, 01581), Daleth (01817), He (01887), Vau (02053), Zain (no exact match), Cheth (02844, 02845), Teth (no exact match), Jod (03027, 03028), kaph (03709), Lamed (03925), Mem (04325), Nun (05126), Samech (05564), Ain (05869), Pe (06310), Tzaddi (no exact match in "Strong's), Koph (06971), Resh (08127-08129), Tau (08420). The following link has many of the same meanings too: http://teachinghearts.org/dre17hpropivri.html.

Tamarajo (author) on August 16, 2012:

Hi Shelpeare, The prop concept is consistent with crutch in its idea of upholding. I know there are a few of the letters where the pictograph is either unclear or debated according to various sources. I went with several sources including the alphabetic Psalms to arrive at the concepts meaning. I will definitely add this insight in my studies and prayerfully ponder it further.

I also have noticed as you pointed out in your comment that many of the letters have contrasting meanings as with the letter gimel where the concept can lend to the image of kneeling in humility or the idea of lifting up and can sometimes image pride or exaltation. Thank you for pointing that out. It is a very relevant point for those wishing to understand how pictographs work.

May I ask what your sources for study are? Wouldn't mind some more material on the subject. Just a note I don't and won't use any Kabbalisitic or mystical sources. I would be willing to share mine if your interested as well and will be saving in my notes the points you share.

Thank you for reading and your additional insight.

Tamarajo (author) on August 16, 2012:

Glad your enjoying the series lifegate. You are welcome to use whatever you wish from any article. Would love for others to be as thrilled as myself by Him and His wonders.

shelpeare on August 16, 2012:

I forgot to mention that in the Samech section in Psa. 119:116 the word "Uphold" is Samak in Hebrew, very close to Samech which means prop.

shelpeare on August 16, 2012:

Samech means "prop" or "mountain". That is why in the Samech section in Psa. 119 it says "Uphold me according to Thy Word." (verse 116). Verse 117 in that same Samech section says "Hold Thou me up." The next verse, verse 118, tells of the opposite of that saying "Thou hast trodden down ...." referring to the unrighteous. Contrast is used there. Since Samech is the 15th Hebrew letter and it can also mean "mountain" apart from "prop" Psa. 15 in its first verse says "Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?"

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on August 14, 2012:

TJ,

I'm loving this series. Truly God is amazing and more than deserving of our worship. Would you mind if I were to break down this series and teach it to my people? Thanks for all you do for the glory of God.

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