As you walk through the streets in Israel, you constantly hear the greeting “Shalom,” followed by the reply “Shalom.”

It means “hello” and “good-bye,” but not in the same way as we express our greetings in English. There is much more to the word “Shalom” than a casual greeting; it is a blessing given to a person.

As we do Hebrew word studies, we find that the words are layered with deeper meaning and interpretations. Each letter represents a symbol, a picture, and a numerical value. With such richness, a single word paints a thousand pictures.

What does Shalom – שלךם mean?

The literal meaning of Shalom means peace. It refers to the absence of war, violence, strife between people, lack of loss and wellbeing. It includes circumstances externally as well as personally, which affects our welfare. In the absence of all that is unsettling, there is tranquility and peace.

One might tend to wonder how it is possible to experience peace in this unsettling world of ours? The deeper meaning behind Shalom leads us towards an answer.

The root word from which Shalom derived is Shalem, which means complete and whole. Shalem expresses well-being in health, provision, safety, security, care, freedom and tranquility. It refers to both the world we live in as well as being complete and whole as a person.

To greet someone with “Shalom ” is therefor a two-fold blessing. You bless them with the absence of all that could be unsettling to them, and you bless them with well-being as expressed in Shalem.

We gain more insight from the Hebrew letters.

As I mentioned, each letter also paints a picture which provides us with further insight. There is much more depth that one can glean from each letter, but for this discussion, we will keep our focus on the meaning as reflected in Shalom.

In Hebrew, “Shalom” consists of four letters of the Hebrew alphabet, reading it from left to right: שלךם 

ש – Shin,  represents the picture of a crown, flames or teeth, depicting reign: being consumed or to destroy.

ל –  Lamed, represents the picture of a Shepherd’s staff: depicting a leader and authority.

ך – Vav, represents the picture of a nail or wooden hook: depicting securing or connecting things.

ם – Mem, represents waters or a flood: depicting life when it is a stream of fresh flowing water or a flood which causes chaos, destruction, and confusion.

Insight gained.

Looking at the meaning of “Shalom” from the perspective, that peace exists in the absence of turmoil; these letters reveal to us;

that when the authority connected with chaos, confusion, and destruction is destroyed, peace comes. 

Spiritual insight gained from the four Hebrew letters.

We find another fascinating picture in the spelling of the two words;

Shalom – שלךם and Shalem – שלם

The difference lies in the ך – Vav, which represents the nail.

We know that Messiah Yeshua – Jesus Christ our Savior, has come to destroy the works of the enemy. He died for our sins, and through Him, we receive victory over the enemy. He is Sar Shalom – Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9: [5]6.

Yesha’yahu – Isaiah 9:5  For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name Pele-Yo`etz El Gibbor Avi-`Ad Sar-Shalom [Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace], CBJ-Complete Jewish Bible

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. NKJV-New Kings James Version

From this perspective, hidden within the word Shalom lies the truth about Messiah Yeshua – Jesus Christ our Savior.

 

Insight we gain from the Hebrew greeting, Shalom.

Revisiting the Hebrew letters of Shalom, we discover another truth contained within them.

ש – Shin,  represents the picture of a crown, flames or teeth: depicting reign, being consumed, or to destroy.

ל –  Lamed, represents the picture of a Shepherd’s staff: depicting a leader and authority.

ך – Vav, represents the picture of a nail or wooden hook: depicting securing or connecting things.

ם – Mem, represents waters or a flood: depicting life when it is a stream of fresh flowing water or a flood which causes chaos, destruction, and confusion.

Shalom – Peace, is given to us, as we serve the King of Kings, Who reigns for evermore. He is our Shepherd, Who gives us living waters, secured us through Him for eternity and by Who’s authority we overcome. (Rev. 19:16; 1Pet. 5:11; Rev. 11:15; Ps.23; Joh. 7:38; Joh. 1:12)

Scriptures understood in a new light

The fuller context of the word Shalomשלךם provides a better understanding when we read about it in Scripture. Here are a few verses as an example:

Isaiah 26:3 “A person whose desire rests on you, you preserve in perfect peace, because he trusts in you.

John 14:27 “What I am leaving with you is shalom—I am giving you my shalom. I don’t give the way the world gives. Don’t let yourselves be upset or frightened.

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you so that, united with me, you may have shalom. In the world, you have tsuris (tribulation). But be brave! I have conquered the world!”

Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; on the contrary, make your requests known to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:7 Then God’s shalom, passing all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with the Messiah Yeshua.

CBJ-Complete Jewish Bible

Shalom – שלךם, a double blessing from a new perspective.

May your coming in and going out be blessed with Shalom!

 

 

6 Comments. Leave new

Awesome teaching in its depth and yet simplicity. Keep them rolling.

Reply

How comforting during the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Beautiful!

Reply
    Wilhelmien van Nieuwenhuizen
    December 12, 2017 8:49 am

    Hi Brenda, thank you, and I wish you a very blessed Christmas as you and your family celebrate the greatest Gift of all!

    Reply
Lowell Ballew
March 2, 2019 1:30 pm

So so rich and deep and meaningful! I have had Shalom in Hebrew script on my left forearm and it is so much more rich now than what I had already known it to be. Thank you for unpacking the rich depth of this powerful word that became flesh in Yeshua! Now I want to give away the words “Shalom Shalem” to many I meet and greet from now on.

Reply
    Wilhelmien van Nieuwenhuizen
    May 1, 2019 7:58 am

    Lowell, you have a wonderful testimony and blessing to share. Shalom, Shalom to you as well.

    Reply

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