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A New View of Glue

Written by Noreen Jacks. Posted in

May is traditionally the month devoted to mothers, the time of year for elegant mother-daughter teas, fragrant floral bouquets, sentimental cards, special family meals, mom’s favorite indulgences, and extra hugs and kisses. I believe God also has special ways of honoring mothers.

You might be surprised to learn that the nature of a godly mother is proclaimed in the Hebrew Aleph-Beis (alphabet), particularly in its ancient pictographic form. Reading from right to left, the term for “mother” is ~am ('em), pronounced ame in both the ancient and modern Hebrew scripts.

The first letter of the word “mother” in the Hebrew 'Aleph-Beis' is 'Aleph', the English letter A. The second letter is 'Mem', which is translated as M in English. The 'Aleph' is pictured as an ox head, and the 'Mem' is pictured as water. When we “read” the pictographic symbols of the ancient form of the Hebrew letters together, the definitions of the letters tell a story:

Aleph = ox head, strength, power, leadership
Mem = water, blood, flowing, childbirth

The imagery of the ox head speaks of the strength and stability of the mother’s leadership, as exemplified by the virtuous woman of whom the book of Proverbs proudly boasts: “She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.” – Prov 31:17

The waves portray the imagery of water, blood, or childbirth, reminding us of the travail of childbirth, the penalty for the sin of Eve:“I will great multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children.” – Gen 3:16

Together the letters 'Alpeh' and 'Mem' mean “strong water” or “glue,” a substance derived from boiling animal skins in water. Animal skins symbolize sacrifice, which is the essence of a godly mother’s life as she selflessly cares for the needs of her household. Strong water symbolizes the one who binds the family together (like super-glue!) through prayer, sacrifice, discipline, and nurturing. This is the essence of the godly mother.

“She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her...” – Prov 31:27-28

May your husband and children rise up this Mother’s Day and call you blessed!

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