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8 Igbo Words/Phrases Used In The Ancient Bible (No. 8 Will Shock You)



Igbo Language was one of the original languages used in writing the Bible before it was translated to different other languages. Igbo Language which is the language of today Ibos in south eastern part of Nigeria was one of the ancient languages spoken in the biblical times. 

"Hebrew" is a transliteration of "Ibo". That is why some scholars believe that Igbos are the lost tribe of Israel. If you know Ibo language very well and watch the movie titled "The Passion of Christ" directed by Mel Gibson and released in 2004, you will understand some parts of the film without the subtitles when you listen attentively to the Hebrew/Aramaic words spoken in the movie. Aramaic was the language of Hebrews until 132 AD to 135 AD and was believed to be the language Jesus and ancient prophets used.

I know you will be thinking in your mind "what is this guy saying". Okay, let me just mention few words or phrases you are very familiar with in the bible and their Ibo origin.

1. Genesis
This is the 1st chapter in the Hebrew and Christian Bible. It originated from The Igbo phrase "jee na isi isi" which when translated in English means "go to the very first"

2. Deuteronomy
This is the 5th book of the Torah(a section of the Hebrew Bible) and the Christian Old Testament from Latin Deuteronomium, from Greek Deuteronomion and originally from Igbo phrase "detere nu umu". The Igbo phrase, "Detere nu umu" means "written down for the children". And actually, the book of Deuteronomy were words written down to serve as laws for the children of God i.e Hebrews or Ibos. The book is a repetition, with comments, of the Decalogue and most of the laws of Exodus. Are you surprised? You have not seen anything yet. Just keep on reading.

3. Sabbath
You must have heard that after creation God rested on the 7th day. Sabbath is a day set aside for rest and worship. According to Exodus 20:8, the Sabbath was commanded by God to be kept as a holy day of rest, as God Himself rested from creation. The word was from the Igbo phrase "asaa bu taa" which means "today is seventh"

4. Cherubim 
Cherubim is a winged angelic being described in Biblical tradition as attending on God, represented in ancient Middle Eastern art as a lion or bull with eagles' wings and a human face. Cherubim is regarded in traditional Christian angelology as an angel of the second highest order of the  nine-fold celestial hierarchy. The name is from Igbo phrase "chere ubim" which means "guard my home". We all know that Angels are guards.

See also 25 English words borrowed from Igbo language

5. Jacob
Jacob, later called Israel, is one of the two sons of Isaac and Rebecca and the father of the twelve founders of the 12 tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau's heel which thus gave him the name Jacob. The origin of the name is from the Igbo phrase "jiko obi" which means "holding together" in English Language.

6. Israel
In the bible when Jacob was in his nineties as a token of blessing God changed his name to Israel. Israel was coined from "i zere le" meaning you have escaped troubles" or "you have conquered or prevailed". 

7. Egypt
Most Egyptologists and lay people know that Egypt was derived from Greek word "Aegyptos". But few have ever traced the origin of the word. Aegyptos is a contraction of the Greek term "Hi-Gi-Ptos". The main origin is the Igbo term "ije puta" which means a place where travelers from different regions get to.

In Torah and the Christian old testament bible, Jacob and his children in search of food came to stay in Egypt. Also, in the Christian new testament Bible, Joseph and Mary ran to Egypt when Herod wanted to kill baby Jesus.


8. Talitha cumi
You remember the popular bible story of the dead little daughter of Jairus who Jesus brought back to life? See Mark 5:41. 

Jairus, a patron or ruler of a Galilee synagogue, had asked Jesus to heal his little daughter, who in gospels according to Mark and Luck was dying, and in Matthew's simplified account, had already died. 

As they were travelling to Jairus's house, a sick woman in the crowd touched Jesus' cloak and was healed of her sickness. Jesus turned round to the woman and said you have been healed of your sins have faith in the Lord. 

Moments later, a messenger arrived with the news that Jairus' daughter had died, and was advised not to bother Jesus any further. But Jesus told them to have faith as he continued to the house and informed them that the girl was not dead but asleep. "He took her by hand and said to her, "Talitha cumi" and the little girl woke up.

"Talitha cumi" or "Talitha kum" or "Talitha koum" is an Aramaic phrase and originally from Igbo phrase "nta lite kuo ume" which means "little child wake up and start breating".






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