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Ephesians 6 wordplays
Shlama all!

I've been very busy working on RUACH QADIM and would like everyone's opinion on something I noticed in Ephesians. One of the most interesting things I have found recently is a phenomenon I call an "implied wordplay". Put simply, this means that word A is used to remind the listener of word B that is NOT mentioned directly, but has its synonym standing in its place. Hopefully my meaning will become clear as we go along.

Here is an abridgged version of the proof I have in my upoming book, and this one of several I caught in Ephesians:

Arise therefore, gird up your loins with truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness. And have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Ephesians 6:14-15

The Aramaic word for "truth" (qoshta--e.g. John 17:19) has a common synonym, shrara. Now look at this:

shrara = truth
shrina = breastplate

"shrara" is not in the text (quoshta is), but it is the synonym that is being implied.

Next though we have tzedekaya (righteousness) to consider. This word has a very interesting synonym in the form of qadishta (holy), in this manner:

qoshta = truth
qadishta = holy

In the end then the image could no be more powerful as Paul is clearly making word choices that speak to a deeper message well established in Hebrew tradition:

He will cover thee with His pinions, and under His wings shalt thou take refuge; His truth is a shield and buckler.

Psalm 91:4 (1955 Jewish Publication Society translation of the Holy Scriptures)

And, most remarkably of them all, we have this:

And he put on righteousness (tzedekah) like a coat of mail (or "breastplate"-- shiryone) . And a helmet of salvation (kova d'yeshoowa) upon his head. And he put on the garments of vengeance for his clothing, and he was clad in zeal as a cloak.

Isaiah 59:17 (1955 Jewish Publication Society translation of the Holy Scriptures)

Now let's see how the Hebrew Tanakh and the Aramaic New Testament match up in word choices and terminology:

Shiryone/Breastplate (Isaiah)
Shrina/Breastplate (Paul)
Tzedekah/Righteousness (Isaiah)
Tzedekaya/Righteousness (Paul)

These are, with very minor dialectical differences aside, the exact same words! An interesting departure though is with this term:

Kova d'yeshoowa/Helmet of Salvation (Isaiah)
Sonorta d'porqana/Helmet of Salvation (Paul)

Why does Paul do this? The answer is for two very special reasons. First, kova (helmet) is an exclusively Hebrew word that has no direct cognate in Aramaic. Paul therefore substitutes in the only two places that the word helmet appears in the New Testament (1 Thessalonians 5:8 is the other) with the more familiar sonorta. It is the second reason though that is the true mindblower:

Yeshoowa (Isaiah) = Y'shua Ha Moshiakh (New Testament)
Porqana (Isaiah) = Paroqa (Aramaic for "The Savior"--New Testament)

Therefore, in the final analysis, Paul is well aware that the Tanakh verse he is alluding to contains his Master's name, and the Aramaic equivalents he uses in Ephesians contain his title! Now honestly, given all this evidence, is a reasonable person expected to believe that all these deep Aramaic and Hebrew patterns arrived wholly by accident, only through Greek translation, and even then at least half a millennia after the fact? As I hope I have demonstrated well by now, poetry, especially of the Semitic variety, simply does not translate well into a western language like Greek. However, I leave it to the reader's best judgment to decide for themselves which scenario is more likely given the fact that Paul was a native Aramaic speaker.

What does everyone think?

Shlama w'burkate
Andrew Gabriel Roth

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