Jot or, rather, IOTA (Ι᾿ῶτα), the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet (ι), derived from the Hebrew yod (י), and answering to the i (j) or y of European languages. Its name was employed metaphorically to express the minutest trifle. It is in fact, one of several metaphors derived from the alphabet, as when alpha, the first letter, and omega, the last, are employed to express the beginning and the end. We are not to suppose, however, that this proverb was exclusively apposite in the Greek language. The same practical allusion equally existed in Hebrew, some curious examples of which may be seen in Wetstein and Lightfoot. One of these may here suffice: In the Talmud (Sanhed. 20, 2) it is fabled that the book of Deuteronomy came and prostrated itself before God, and said, "O Lord of the universe, thou hast written in me thy law, but now a testament defective in some parts is defective in all. Behold, Solomon endeavors to root the letter jod out of me" (i.e. in the text,לאֹ ירבֶּה נָשׁי, "he shall not multiply wives," De 17:17). "The holy, blessed God answered Solomon, and a thousand such as he, shall perish, but the least word shall not perish out of thee." This is, in fact, a parallel not only to the usage, but the sentiment, as conveyed in Mt 5:18, "One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law." — Kitto. The propriety of the use of this letter for such a proverb is especially evident from the fact that it is the smallest letter of the Heb. alphabet likewise, being, in fact, often dispensed with as a mater lectionis, and very liable to be omitted in writing or mistaken for a part of some other letter. SEE TITTLE.

Bible concordance for JOT.

Definition of jot

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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