Learn the Commandments with the Hebrew Aleph-Bet

In Hebrew, each letter has a numerical value as well as a word picture based on its shape.    After learning the word pictures through the book Hebrew Word Pictures by Frank T. Seekins, I replaced the ‘roman numerals’ of the 10 Commandments with the numerical word pictures.  In this way, I saw the commands in a new and unique way.    This is how I taught my children the 10 Commandments after teaching them the Hebrew alphabet.  Remembering a concept with a letter was easier than remembering the order and phrases of the commands.    This is only MY interpretation of things  – it’s not ‘set in stone.’  I also included a reNewed Covenant verse with each command as there are some people who say that one of the commands (specifically Sabbath) was not reiterated by Yeshua or in the “new testament.”

א Aleph

This is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  The word picture is an Ox.  The Ox is symbolic of strength leader, first.

Exodus 20:2-3 “I am YHVH your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, You shall have no other gods before me.”

Luke 4:8 “Yeshua answered, ‘It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

YHVH is the One and only God, the first.  He is our Strength and our Guide.  There is no other God like Him; no other God who offers freedom from sin and hope of eternal life.

ב Bet

The word picture for Bet is a Tent or House.  This symbolizes a household, in, into and a family.

Exodus 20:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for YHVH your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

1 John 5:21 “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”

Remember in Egypt, the gods were called ‘household gods’.  Rachel was guilty of sitting on hers when Laban came to Jacob.

ג Gimel

The word picture for Gimel  is a Camel (gimel means camel).  The symbolic meaning is to lift up, pride, animal.

Exodus 20:7 “You shall not misuse the name of YHVH your God, for YHVH will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

Some of the traveling Jewish men who adjure evil spirits also undertook to call the name of the Lord Yeshua over those who had evil spirits, saying, I solemnly implore and charge you by the Yeshua whom Paul preaches!  Seven sons of a certain Jewish chief priest named Sceva were doing this.  But one evil spirit retorted, Yeshua I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?  Then the man in whom the evil spirit dwelt leaped upon them, master two of them, and was so violent against them that they dashed out of that house in fear, stripped and naked and wounded” (Acts 19:13-16).

We, as believers in YHVH are not to pridefully use His name, but to respect it.  When we live lawlessly, against the commands,  and call ourselves by His name, then we are misusing His name and profaning it among the world in which we live.

ד Dalet

The word picture for Dalet is a door and Dalet is the Hebrew word for ‘door.’   The symbolic meaning is a pathway, or a place to enter.

Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it ‘set apart’.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to YHVH your God.”

“Then Yeshua said to them, ‘The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5).

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work (of creation), just as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:9,10).

Yeshua stands at the ‘dalet’ and knocks and to anyone who opens the door, he enters in and feasts with them (Revelation 3:20).  Sabbath is the first feast listed in Leviticus 23.  The Sabbath is a ‘door’ we enter so we can have a more intimate relationship/fellowship with the Father.


The first three commandments are about how to love YHVH and the last 6 about how to love our neighbor.  The door is the pathway that takes us from one love (our first love) to another great commandment to love our neighbor.

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).

ה Hey

The word picture for Hey is a Window and means to reveal or ‘Behold’.  It is symbolic of revelation and is ‘the’ like in  ‘Ha Shem’ (The Name).

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land YHVH your God is giving you.”

Yeshua, on the cross, looks at John and tells him, “John, BEHOLD your mother. Mother, BEHOLD your son” (John 19:26).

ו Vav

The word picture for Vav is a Nail or Peg.   It is symbolic of securing, binding, and is the word ‘and’ like ‘chesed v’ahava’ (mercy and love).  Yeshua was nailed, secured to the cross.

Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder/kill.”

“Do not murder,  and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with is brother will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:22).

ז Zayin

The word picture for Zayin is a Weapon like an Axe.  It is symbolic of cutting, or cutting off.

Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.” 

“Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate (cut apart)” (Mark 10:9).

ח Chet

The word picture for Chet is a Fence or Inner Room.  The symbolic meaning is to keep private or to separate.

Exodus 20:15 “You shall not steal.”

He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need” (Epheisans 4:28).

Fences keep one neighbor’s things from another.   A fence protects – keeps certain things in and keeps certain things out.  In Hebrew thought, the Torah is considered a ‘fence’ because it guards those who walk in its ways.  The Torah protects those who walk in it from the deceptions that can come in from the outside world and guards the inner chamber of the believer’s heart.

ט Tet

The word picture for Tet is a Snake.  It is symbolic of surrounding.

Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness (lie) against your neighbor.

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning,  not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

We are not to surround our neighbors with lies, false testimony.  When we do, we are of our former father, the devil.

י Yod

The word picture for Yod is a  Closed Hand.  This is symbolic not only of a work or a deed, but a closed hand suggests a finished work or deed.

Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbors house; you shall not covet your neigbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrew 13:5).

Be content with what your hands have done and don’t desire what the work of others has brought to them.

©2000 Tentstake Ministries (a chapter from the book Journey with Jeremiah found in the Book Nosh)

Leave a Reply