The Jewish morning begins with the “Modeh Ani” (“I thank”) prayer, which expresses the worshiper’s gratitude for another day of life.

מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּם, שֶׁהֶחֱזַרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְּחֶמְלָה. רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ

(Modeh anee lefanecha melech chai vekayam, she-he-chezarta bee nishmatee b’chemla, raba emunatecha).

Translation: “I thank Thee, living and eternal King, for Thou hast mercifully restored my soul within me; Great is Thy faithfulness.”

The presumption here is that the worshiper entrusted the spirit to the Almighty for safe-keeping the previous evening. Many observant Jews use the phrase, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5) at the end of their evening prayers.

It is interesting that this ritual includes the same verse that Jesus cried out while dying on the cross (Luke 23:46).  It is highly likely that Jesus, in his agony, was reciting this psalm from memory as he faced the greatest challenge of his incarnate life.

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We read these fitting words in Psalm 31:1-5

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue;
Be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit; (בְּיָדְךָ, אַפְקִיד רוּחִי)
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

I would like to focus on the text which was quoted in the Gospels (vs. 5). How does this beautiful verse sound in Hebrew original? Is it possible that something essential about it has been lost in translation?

The Hebrew word translated, “I commit,” is “אַפְקִיד” (pronounced afkid). This word has a meaning that is much closer to “I deposit” – which necessarily signifies a future “reclaiming” of the thing deposited. A vivid image might be that of checking in a coat at theater or restaurant, or even money into the bank, with the definite intention of getting it back. While the English word “commit” can also be used to describe giving something with the purpose of claiming it back at some point in the future, it might just as well mean the giving of something without stating any clear intentions for the future. In Hebrew, on the other hand, the unequivocal meaning of this verse is the temporary submission of one’s spirit into the hands of God – giving it into “His custody,” with the definite intention of receiving it back. 

It makes perfect sense that Jesus would quote this particular psalm while hanging on a Roman cross.

This shows that if we take the time to compare the original verse Jesus was reciting from Hebrew, a simple, but significant insight into the words of Jesus on the cross will emerge. The words Jesus uttered were nothing less than a declaration of his great Israelite faith.  He was confident that as he deposited his soul into the hands of his Heavenly Father, he will surely get it back at his resurrection. What happened three days later proved that Jesus did not hope in vain.

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222 COMMENTS

  1. Thank God for His faithfulness! Jesus implicit trust in God is a strong example and inspiration. In times of trial when I feel lost and alone He can seem remote. Just as Jesus felt deserted. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and the sending of Holy Spirit gives me hope. With His support I can carry on. The Psalms remind me that everybody has hard times. Lamentations can change to rejoicing. Amen. Thank you for this insight.

  2. I always get more inspired each time I open your mails.Those believe in the Lord will surely get their lives back.What a previlage we have in the Lord

  3. Thank you for this. I am seeking clarity of things in the Bible that I don’t understand and God has sent this to me. Praise the Lord.

  4. Interesting light on what Jesus said. But what would you say about the use of “אַפְקִיד” by, say, Stephen in Acts when he is being martyred? How could he have meant “I deposit my spirit to you but I want it back”? 🙂 …or for that matter by Jews since the writing of that Psalm? I don’t imagine that they are all thinking of post-resurrection experience. Todah

  5. I am an advocate of Hebrew Primacy; I believe the so called “New Testament” was written in Hebrew. However the many and varied Greek translations are what we have, so I looked it up. Even in the Greek a better translation would have been “I deposit.” Thanks for an interesting d’rash.

  6. It just occur to me that when Jesus utter the words into your hands I commit my soul, it was repentant of my and all the sins of the world but we have to repent our self to complete it for salvation to happen.

  7. Jesus also cried out “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” which many Churches teach is a sign of his despair from being abandoned by God. I don’t believe this. It is also the first line of Psalm 22. In Jesus’ time Psalms weren’t numbered, the leader of a prayer group would call out the first line and the faithful would take up the remainder of the Psalm (the common prayers of the time). I believe Jesus was calling the faithful around him to a very specific, prophetic prayer. What is your take on this?

  8. I so enjoy receiving these they are wonderful they give me so much food and encouragement. I only wish I could take the course but I am to old. What a thing to have to say but I am blind in one eye and can not hear oh if only this was here years ago how much pain could have been avoided. I bless you for those who are able to take the course what a great blessing.

  9. The faith that Jesus showed on the cross is a very good example for us as we face the coming abject violence that current events around the globe suggest. His words entrusting his spirit to God as he descends into death for safekeeping are riveting! Then his resurgence after three days is reassuring that, yes in fact, if our trust is in God of Jesus we also will not remain in the grave. Praise God! As Jesus raised we also will raise so the fear, and the bite of death, have lost their power over us!

  10. Today there is big fallacy around the word of God because of translation, we don’t see churches teaching its members Hebrew or Greek. Because of the westernization (taking the Bible into a culture and not teaching the roots of the original culture) modern Christianity tend to own the stories as if they have happened in their country. Churches are not making disciples, what they have today is a big audience that come together to hear motivational speech, so they feel compelled to become a philanthropist. I wish that someday, somehow teaching like this could be part of a curriculum.

  11. Interesting light on what Jesus said. But what would you say about the use of “אַפְקִיד” by, say, Stephen in Acts when he is being martyred? How could he have meant “I deposit my spirit to you but I want it back”? …or for that matter by Jews since the writing of that Psalm? I don’t imagine that they are all thinking of post-resurrection experience. Todah. I would really appreciate your thoughts on this.

    • The Aramaic in Acts 7:59 (Peshitta version) uses the word ܩܒܿܠ QE-BAL which means (1) take, take in, accept, receive ; (2) accuse, oppose, complain ; (3) be present, meet, welcome. Interestingly, this is the same root for the word kabbalah (to receive). The context is presenting your spirit to the God who gave it (Gen. 2:7 and Eccl. 12:7).

  12. Wow, Dr. Eli. The idea of temporary subtraction (sacrifice) for the purpose of a later addition (gain) is such a powerful concept! A believer “deposits” their soul and life with G-d for eternal safekeeping. Although believers may suffer temporary loss, they will never permanently lose, but will retrieve and reclaim what once had been lost through the sufferings and trials of their faith.

  13. There are many who associate reclaiming the soul as something heavenly (after death), not earthly (in this lifetime). Interesting that this Psalm seems to link reclaiming with earth (lead and guide me). When Jesus said, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” was He talking about the 40 days He walked on earth after the resurrection? The Hebrew language is full of beautiful surprises!

  14. Todah Dr. Eli for your inspired insights. Unfortunately, my finances are so tight they could go ouch. I have many expenses with my house and car. I wish for you and your family a blessed and kosher Passover.

    • Thank you, dear Shira. I do hope and pray that God’s resources will be released into your life so that you can reinvest part of them in your continual growth. Hag Sameach.

  15. To all listeners , thanks Dr Eli for showing the world , who YEHUSHUA IS , HE IS THE LIVING GOD THE LIFE SOURCE OF all people but not THE TRUE SPIRIT DRIVING them all , if you read Isaiah 53 Hosea 6 1-3 Malachi 3:1 and you read what paul wrote in 1Timothy 3:16 plus you compare al this to what YEHUSHUA SAID HIMSELF , plus you check out the meaning of HIS NAME , you will rejoice that HE GOD OUR ABBA FATHER has SAVED us along with so many other verses

  16. “We have a hope that is steadfast and certain, gone through the curtain and touching the throne….” Praise our awesome God that we have that hope because our Messiah died and has been raised from the dead.

  17. It is always wonderful to read your commentary, particularly on Good Friday. I feel that you bring to me Jesus in His place in the community and remind me that He was sent for the Jews and only by faith are the Gentiles included. I am a Greek, originally, Greek Orthodox, but I always felt envious of the Jews. And somehow I think that a leap of faith and love for God, here as Jesus Christ, will save me since I have as you say, none of the insights.

    • Maria, shalom. Thank you for your kind words. I was not sure to what you were referring when you wrote that I said you have none of the insights). I hope I did not come across as offensive as this sounds. It was certainly not my intention.

  18. The word Yahusha screamed would have broken the hearts of everyone around Him. Was it really a Greek word, TELEO, as we have been told? Christian teachers say Yahusha’s last word was the Greek word, TELEO. He no more spoke a Greek word as His last word than He had a Greek name. The only name He has is Hebrew, and the last word He spoke was Hebrew. The Hebrew word Yahusha spoke can signify the fulfillment of a contract, a promise, or the completion of a goal.

  19. I’m not sure but after listening to the study of a pastor/teacher: Referring to the phrase Jesus spoke upon the cross “why have you forsaken” me was that the sins of the whole world past, present and future was put upon Him. Since God cannot look upon sin He had left Jesus at the moment. I stand corrected if there are disagreements

    • Corinthians tells us that Jesus was the sin offering. Read Leviticus chapter 6 and see how the sin offering was to be offered and note especially how the sin offering was most holy, and where these offerings were presented, before the Lord, therefore not too sinful for God to look upon. If sin in its entirety is too great for God to look upon how does when sin increases grace abounds even more come into play. See Romans 5:20 God doesn’t turn his back on sin, He confronts it. Study Gen 22. So much more

  20. If Jesus deposited his spirit for a later reclaiming, does that mean the doctrine of “soul sleep”is correct? I believe when we die, our spirit immediately goes to be with God in Heaven.

    • Good question, not sure though that one follows from another. Let’s keep thinking about this together.

  21. I understand the last words of Jeshua as quotations chosen verses from Psalms to support himself, to fight till the end for truth. It is good to remember few Psalm verses for such difficult situation when everybody around say you are wrong and even your Bible is stolen. I do the same. When I was at Jerusalem prison, feared, pressed by today’s Jewish Police guards to sign false statement , in chains, I started to sing simple Hebrew song: Kol ha olam kulo gesher tzar meod. Ve ha ikar – lo lefached klal. And they run away. Power of Hebrew.

  22. Amen D.R. Eli What an amazing insight – & God Himself really did receive His only begotten Son YESHUA from The Halacha & the violence of the Romans — to rule the earth FOREVER and FOREVER Amen as an answer to the prayers Of YESHUA HA MOSHIACH Le OLAM – Amen !

  23. It is God’s mercy and grace that we are even born physically into this world. And also the there is the possibility that we could be born spiritually too. Mat 8:21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Mat 8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. Since we are born sinners, and sin is not something God promotes nor will tolerate forever, It is mercy that anyone is born, with the one exception of Jesus the Christ. Most people exist in

  24. I like to think that “into your hands I commend/commit my spirit” would be Jesus’ human way of saying to his Father: “I’m letting go…I trust you….You take over”.

  25. Is it true that immortality of the soul is purely a Greek idea and cannot be found in Hebrew sacred documents? Body and soul perish and it’s entirely in the hands of God to raise them up. And Jesus bearing our sins and dying for us – atonement clearly depicts a tyrannical, punitive God who is pleased with blood sacrifices. What’s your take on these?

  26. The Norwegian theologian Øivind Andersen (d. 1994) opined that Yeshua quoted the full Psalm 22 on the tree.

  27. Remembering that the Psalms were hymns, I think of Him _singing_ Psalm 22 while suffering on the cross. The latter part is appropriately triumphant.

  28. Zechariah speaks about the Messiah—The Branch will come—At the Second Coming, iniquity will be removed in one day. While doing research within Zechariah teaching everyone must know the twenty-two Hebrew letters or we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Now how does that make the Christians feel in America not to be given the Hebrew language within their congregation? Israel Bible Center is a blessing to some of the Christians. I am very thankful and grateful Dr. Eli for giving us a chance to know the Hebrew language.

  29. Given that the concept of discipleship is so fundamental, and the Greek words (190. akoloutheó and 3101. mathétés) found so prominently in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts, why are these words never found in Paul’s writings (except with a different connotation in 1 Cor.10:4)? Paul does, of course, encourage the believers to ‘imitate” him, which would be a rabbi-disciple dynamic.

  30. Thank you Dr Eli for you great insight. this is what I understand as per the Gospels. “The Seven Last Words of Christ” Eli, eli, lema sabbachthani? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34) Abba, selach ‘ethon la nakhru mah h’mon pelalin. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34) Amen, ‘amar ‘ana lekhon, yo ma dena tihyu immi befardes. Amen, I say to you, this day you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:42) Abba, beyadkha natan ‘ana ruchi. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

    • Shalom Pastor Dayo. Thanks for the encouragement. I hope you’ll enroll soon as well! Please keep me posted and let me know if I can be of any help.

  31. Dear Dr. Eli you are doing great work and I believe many many more will be benefited from your efforts. May God bless you.

  32. I see it this way : David the sweet psalmist of Israel saw prophetically and was expressing and appropriating by faith the confidence the Messiah expressed on the cross . Every true Israelite like Nathaniel of old can appropriate the same by placing their faith in the Lord Jesus .

  33. John 1 (NIV) The Word Became Flesh 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jesus is the Word, and the words in Psalm 31 were His words long before He hung on the cross.

  34. After reading this article, I gained more insight as well as more curiosity about Jesus’s words at that moment on the cross. I read & compared Luke 23:46 with Psalm 31:5, & used a lexical interlinear Greek/Hebrew text with accompanying KJV scripture. In Luke 23:46, “commit” was linked to Strong’s dictionary index g3908 [translated from the Greek “paratithemi”] and in Pslam 31:5, “commit” was linked to Strong’s dictionary index h6485 [translated from the Hebrew “paqad”]. Given the mention of “afkid”, can you provide more background information on how “afkid” came to connect here?

  35. Ps. 22 comment on Jesus’ saying on the cross cont’d. schwachtan has multiple meanings including 1) leave, forsake, leave alone; (2) forgive, allow, overlook, leave out, let, rescue; (3) put away, dismiss, desert, divorce. Ishodad (c: 850 CE) said in his commentary “in no way was Jesus forsaken on the cross”, Lamsa translates it “for this was I spared” (this was my destiny), Roth translates it “Why have you spared me?” Keep in mind what Paul said in II Cor. 5:19 “that God was IN CHRIST, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…

  36. The New Testament was written in Greek, not in Hebrew. According to this false idea that the New Testament was written in Hebrew, men like Strong and other theologians deceived people.

    • While I agree that NT was written in Judeo-GREEK and not Hebrew, what makes you think that Stong deceived people in any way?

  37. I am so new in this but growing each day. I’m still very unsure about my prayers. Who do I pray to? God or Jesus? I know to ask and thank in Jesus Name. Thank you.

  38. Hello, I posted this question recently in the general ‘contact us, as us anything’ section and was told to repost it here. Thanks in advance…. Message: I have had some online conversations with Jews who vehemently deny that Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 among other Old Testament (Tanakh) passages regarding the Messiah are speaking about Jesus. I am taking a weekly biblical Hebrew course now through eteacher and the subject hasn’t come up. Those who argue insist the original Hebrew has been tampered with to suit the wishes of Christians. I have considered asking local rabbis (or rebbes) to show

  39. can any one give me further explanation on jesus stopped being the son of GOD thought.my second question is if a man is body,soul and spirit ; on the day of the person’s death the soul goes to GOD,but what about his spirit?

    • Fiker, I am not sure about your question 1. For 2. I have always understood, the Spirit lives in the Soul of the Body. When we die, the Spirit goes to GOD because GOD is Spirit. There will be no ‘soulish’ stuff in Heaven…we will be changed in an instant and be with the LORD as HE is…which is SPIRIT! I am not sure I have it correct or where to find the scripture for it…but I have tried to help Fiker. Hopefully someone else may attempt to make it clearer for you and for me. Shalom!

  40. That was so beautifully explained! Committing ourselves to the LORD each morning and night is vital! If JESUS did it so must we! Anything can happen within the next moment! I can certainly testify to that! Shalom!

  41. Is this is what is called a remez (sp?). It is my understanding that OT Jews were expected to memorize OT scripture. Thus citing the first line of some book, or chapter, was done with the expectation that others hearing it would know the intent was to recite and reference all of it. It was in some manner relevant to the current situation. e.g. – On the Cross Christ gave the first line of Ps 22, all of which applied then.

  42. My first comment on the Hebrew word of Christ on the cross must be somewhere in the virtual lost bin. Mybasic comment was I have not been able to find any remnants of 1st century writings inspired by Yahweh, just secular. From my search I had concluded the New Testament as we know it, was originally written in Aramic and Koine (common) Greek. From reading comments above, am I correct in understanding the Hebrew words of Yeshua were a later literal translation from either Aramic or Koine Greek?? Enjoying the information from the Israel Bible Center immensely and developing a new mindset of the bible.

  43. My wife and I are enjoying the Israel Bible Center programs more than we ever thought possible when we enrolled. Our mindset is now multitasking as we meld our Christian teachings with a Jewish understanding.
    Quite mind expanding! Yahweh led as us here in answer to our prayers for an in-depth study source. If I understand my research into the language of the original New Testament writings, the languages used to record the New Testament were Koine (common) Greek and Aramaic. If my deductions is correct, the Hebrew words from the cross are an interpretation from either/or Koime Greek or Aramiac INTO Hebrew – is this a correct understanding or have I not found 1st century CE Hebrew New Testament texts? Thanks.

    • Shalom, William! Thank you so much for your kind words, we are truly touched and honored. About the last part (question), would be willing to rephrase?

  44. Shalom. Thanks Dr. Eli. I printed this one to keep by my bed. David B., I don’t think “Jewish Christians” is the correct terminology. Messianic Jews are the Jews who have accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as the promised Jewish Messiah. They are not Christians, they are Jews. They have much to teach us.

  45. The prayer of Jess was very interesting and highly thought provoking.please do pray for me and my family .We would very much like to accqhinted with Iseral Bible center and Jewish methodology renjit

  46. WHAT IS CEREMONIAL SHABBATS? WHAT IS SHAUL ADDRESSING IN COLOSSIANS 2? I have not met any shabbat being called a ceremonial shabbat in Scripture. and the way i am hearing Colossians two it does not sound like it is undoing the Festivals but rather Shaul is commending the Festivals, new month convocations and the weekly shabbat. Scripture is saying these are a shadow of things to come. this is because the whole plan of salvation is encapsulated in the festivals. the spring festivals pointed to the first coming of YAHUSHA and the autumnal types points to the second coming.

  47. THESE were not Jesus’ last words. His last words were , “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt.28:20) Just in case you need reminding, Jesus rose from the dead!

  48. Please tell me which day I should obey as the Sabbath~I am so confused ~ I want to do what GOD commanded. I have read that the Catholic Church changed the day from Saturday to Sunday & say that is proof that their church is higher than GOD ~ I am not catholic ~ Please Help me- Thank You

    • From sundown on the sixth day (Friday evening) until the end of the seventh day (Saturday evening) is the Bible’s and Jewish people’s definition of the Sabbath. The Jewish people has faithfully kept Shabbat since long before Yeshua’s time, and Yeshua and his disciples as faithful Jews did the same.

  49. Dr . Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg; I’m glad & grateful to be part of this study as I’ve being yearning for a better understanding of the scriptures from the the Hebrew or Aramaic perspective.
    Thanks much & shalom.

  50. I’m particularly intrigued that you said nailed to the Roman cross… For all the ill-informed people out there who often say the Jews killed Christ… as Simon Schama points out in his books/documentaries… the Jews tend not to kill one of their own…”They may get others to do the dirty deed…” Even David could not bring himself to kill Uriah… a Jewish convert…he sent to war…so he could have Bathsheba

  51. I am a gentile Christian. I believe the Bible is for me but not necessarily about me. I try to be careful of how I handle the precious Word of G-d. I think our Lord did deposit His spirit with His belief in resurrection. That comforts me. As a gentile Christian I worship our Lord every day. Love these articles. Thank you Dr Eli.

  52. “Gav: …The weekly Sabbath always was and always will be immutable.”

    Amen!!! Weekly Sabbath applies as long as man exists on this earth. The purpose of the Sabbath is to sustain life. This is what God is after from the time he produced life in the beginning.

  53. Maybe you have other informations than I?
    But I have difficulties to understand why Luke is the only one who mentioned the phrase in Luk 23:46.
    The first Gospel was the Gospel of Mark, estimated written around AD 70 – and is believed to be written by a Disciple of Peter, by the name John Mark.
    Luke who probably also wrote Acts, is possibly the friend of Paul, the Doctor (Col 4:14), and had, as the other writers, probably never seen or heard Christ.
    Of course except for Paul who saw Christ in a vision.

  54. Good morning Dr Eli,

    We thank you for always edifying our spirit with the Word of God. Thank you in this last days I became to know you. we need such people like you to teach the truth of God’s Word not the politics we hear day to day.
    I thank you Sir. God bless you!

  55. James, Santa is Saint. Clause is Nicholas from Dutch. There was a human history of it & He travelled from Spain to the Netherland for the people according to the story before it turned mythical. 😇

  56. I had the privilege of visiting Israel over the Pesach last year (2018) It was my first visit. Friday afternoon I was standing on a balcony overlooking the busiest squares in Jerusalem. Suddenly people started disappearing and within a few minutes the streets were empty. For the first time in my life I experienced the Shabbat. It was awesome. It was as if G-d tapped me on the shoulder and asked me, “What do you have to say now?” My wife and I stood there, speechless. We immediately started honoring the Sabbath. Changed Lives!

    • Wow, thank you for sharing your experience. I get to see and experience this every week, and it is a blessing for everyone that chooses to take part!

  57. Powerful and extremely encouraging to know that Our heavenly Father is more than able to accomplish what concerns me today! Thank you!
    “Modeh ani”

  58. I thought sabbath came about in Genesis when GOD rested on the 7th day…JESUS said the sabbath was made for man not man for the sabbath, we should worship GOD everyday…and set a day to rest from our work like the scriptures says, and to assemble together and break bread(communion).

  59. Dr. Eli, regarding your comment of November 30 above the lexicons I have indicate that the primary meaning of shabbat is cease – not rest

    • Cease in sense of resting I think, no? (Isn’t ceasing here connected with resting). Thanks, Bill.

  60. Thank you again for your very wonderful way of teaching, I truly understand the Bible better through your teachings.
    Shalom

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