Members‘By His Stripes’?

The presence of a single letter, vowel point or diacritic (known in Hebrew as a dagesh—the point in a letter giving it a hard sound) can make a crucial difference in truly understanding Scripture.

By Dov Chaikin |
Photo: Pixabay

The Masoretic Text is the earliest extant complete text of the Tanakh (the so-called “Old Testament”) in the original languages (Hebrew and Aramaic) that contains two unique features introduced by a group of men known as the Sages of Tiberias (members of the general body of Masoretes), who lived in the late first millennium AD. These features, which were introduced without tampering with the text itself, provide a system of vocalization and of cantillation, making it easier to correctly read the ancient passages.


The passage under consideration here is Isaiah 53:5, which (in most translations) ends with “and by His stripes we are healed.” Often when there is prayer for healing, this passage is invoked—almost as if it were a formula.


The Hebrew original (sans vocalization) of “and by His stripes” is ובחברתו. Considering the other six times that the root of this word, in its various inflections, appears in the Tanakh with the...

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