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Yet More Hebrew Tattoos You Do Not Want!

10th July 2008

People never learn. Think before you ink! I came across a couple more examples of incorrect Hebrew tattoos. I can’t believe people don’t double and triple check foreign tattoos with someone they know understands the language before they get their skin scarred for life.

For more of my blog posts on incorrect Hebrew tattoos, click here.

The first example comes via The Aramaic Blog (the original tattoo is posted here). This nice looking tattoo is supposed to read “Yahweh/the LORD is my banner” and is more than likely taken from Exodus 17:15.

yahweh-is-my-banner1.jpg

The first error with this Hebrew tattoo is all too common: the Hebrew is written backwards. For those who do not know, Hebrew is written from right to left, not left to right as English. Thus, this tattoo is essentially gibberish. It means nothing. To add insult to injury, there are also a couple spelling errors in the tattoo: there is an extra vav in the divine name Yahweh (יהוה) and the noun “banner” (נס) has an extra yod.

yahweh-is-my-banner2.jpg

The second example comes from a google search. This poor fellow went through a couple tattoo sessions to get a nice picture of a lion head tattooed and then topped it off with what he thought was the Hebrew name “Judah” (get it? “Lion of Judah”; see Genesis 49:9 and Revelation 5:5). The problem is that he should of double-checked his Hebrew since it is written backwards and misspelled.

wrong-judah.jpg

I’m not quite sure how he got the spelling wrong. It should be yod-heh-vav-dalet-heh (יהודה) and he has (backwards) yod-heh-dalet-vav-heh (יהדוה); he has the dalet and vav mixed up.

wrong-judah2.jpg

All this goes to show that if you decide to get a Hebrew tattoo, you really need to get the spelling double-checked before you get it inked. While there are a number of web sites that will do translations, I would be careful with which one you use.

Since I first posted on incorrect Hebrew tattoos, I have got at least half a dozen requests every week asking to double-check this or that spelling. While I am not opposed to do this, I just don’t have the time, so most of the emails have gone unanswered. My wife had a brilliant idea, however. While I am not willing to take the time to check out a spelling or provide the Hebrew for a tattoo for free, I may be persuaded to do it for a very nominal fee. If you are interested, just send me an email to “tattoos AT biblical-studies.ca” and we can talk.


2 Responses to “Yet More Hebrew Tattoos You Do Not Want!”

  1. Adam Couturier Says:

    Wow, you must be in mind. Earlier in the evening I was discussing tattoos with my grandmother and little brother, and this very topic came up. I was actually going to post something similar in the morning, but not with pictures, great touch!

    I hate when an acquaintance comes up to me wanting to show off their new nifty (misspelled) Hebrew tattoo; because I am faced with a moral dilemma. Do I tell this person that the resh was supposed to be a dalet? Do I tell them that they meant to have a hey instead of the het? Or do I smile and say, “nice tat”! Sadly, I usually say, “nice tat”, and laugh when I get home!

    Thanks for the laugh
    Adam

  2. Elvee Kaye Says:

    Any time I see a tattoo with Chinese or other Asian characters, I often wonder if they really mean what the person thinks they mean (prosperity, strength, peace, long life, etc.), or if the tattoo artist just copied the symbols from some website. Now I will wonder the same thing about Hebrew tattoos. XD