Gematria a word borrowed from the Greek, either corresponding to γεωμετρία or γραμματεία, denotes, among the Cabalists, a rule according to which the Scripture was explained. The idea of this rule was. since every letter is a numeral, to reduce the word to the number it contains, and to explain the word by another of the same quantity. Thus, from the words, "Lo! three men stood by him" (Ge 18:2), it is deduced that these three angels were Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, because והנה שלשה; and lo! three men, and אלו מיכאל גבריאל ורפאל, these are Michael, Gabrie, and Raphael, are of the same numerical value, as will be seen from the following reduction to their numerical value of both these phrases: ו ה נ ה ש ל ש ה 5+300+30+300+5+50+5+6=701 ל ו מ י כ א ל ג ב ר י א ל30+1+10+200+2+3+30+ 1 +20 +10+40 +6+30 ו ר פ א ל א +1 +30 +1 +80+200+6=701. From the passage, "And all the inhabitants of the earth were of one language" (Ge 11:1), is deduced that all spoke Hebrew; שפה being changed for its synonym לשון, and הקדש=5+100+4+300=409, is substituted for its equivalent אחת =l+8+400=409. Or the word צמת in the passage, "For behold, I will bring forth my servant, the Branch" (Zec 3:8), must mean the Messiah; for it amounts numerically to the same as מנחם "Comforter" (La 1:16)=138. So יבא שילה in the passage, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come," amounts numerically to the same as משיח=358; hence Shiloh must be the Messiah. SEE CABALA. (B.P.)

Bible concordance for GEMARIAH.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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