What is the Otiot?
(Please note that my answer is from a personal point of view – not an academic one. But my desire is that what is written will be used in some way by the Holy Spirit to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to find themselves closer to the Father).
The word “Otiot” is Hebrew for “sacred signs”.
It has been argued that they originated from the two stone tablets that Elohim gave to Moses.
Interestingly, according to the book of Exodus 31:18 “When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God”. And Exodus 32:15,16 “Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.”
I detect a parallel here with, according to Wikipedia, what is called the Proto-Sinaitic script. This was a script existing around the 12th century BC. It has also been suggested that it was the earliest form of writing, inspiring Phoenician and Canaanite written forms, and was considered a parallel form to Egyptian hieroglyphics.
These “Sacred Signs” were also precursors to the Hebrew and Aramaic scripts, yet direct comparisons have been made to the descriptions of each character – both in Hebrew, and the earlier Otiot.
The Otiot is considered, by a growing number of people, not only symbols written by God’s own hand – but also to have a direct relationship with Him. Therefore, there is a tendency to present a supernatural element to the character.
And, because Semitic thought tends towards function ie, what the object does (whereas, Western thought tends towards what the object is), these pictographs could be seen as “calls to action” (to use a modern phrase) … the ten commandments are a perfect example – the Israelites were told exactly what not to do, implying what, precisely, they SHOULD do.
So, to the Otiot themselves.
There are a number of elements to each of the 22 characters:
– the name of the character;
– what the name of the character means;
– the visual of the character;
– the function of the character;
It is helpful to remember that my work-studies will mostly concentrate upon what are called the tri-literal root words (words made up of three consonants), which is peculiar to Semitic langauge. There may be times when I will look at bi-literal words as well, but we will cover those as we come across them.
The Semitic language employs the root system, ie the “parent” root (usually tri-literal or bi-literal) will have a generic meaning. Then, when one or more characters are added, the word becomes a “child” root – a word that contains the generic meaning, plus a specific additional meaning.
Some of the otiot are used as grammatical devices – gender, plurals, and tenses. Where it is necessary, these will be pointed out. That goes for prefixes and suffixes when a single ot is used as a word such as “In”, “he”, “from”, etc. These are added onto the root word.
One other “oddity” worth pointing out … vowels. As I have mentioned above with the tri-literal words … they are all consonants. Well, that is not strictly true – Waw can be W or O or U, Hey can be H or Ah, aleph can be either silent or Eh or Ah, and Yod can be Y or Ee, or Ai (as in Aisle).
In 500BC Hebrew square-script with vowel marks were introduced but that will not be part of these studies.
Here is a video giving detailed information about each of the 22 otiot.
I am posting each call to action (that is each Ot) with what I consider to be of vital importance to anyone who is seeking to progress in their relationship with Yeshua. You will find descriptions of individual Ot by pressing on the name of the character in the column to the right entitled “OTIOT CHARACTERS”