Appointed Times

Hyssop/ Ezob/אזוב

Hyssop - Hebrew EzobShalom friends! With the Festival of Matzah drawing to a close, as a final thought I wanted to share about the significance of the hyssop plant (אזוב / Ezob). Hyssop leaves were used as the instrument to smear the blood of the Pesach lamb on the door frames of the Hebrews in Egypt .  In Exodus 12:20-22 (CJB) “Moshe called for all the leaders of Isra’el and said, “Select and take lambs for your families, and slaughter the Pesach lamb.  Take a bunch of hyssop leaves and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame. Then, none of you is to go out the door of his house until morning.” This is one of the first references to the use of hyssop leaves for some sort of activity in the Tanakh. What is interesting is that hyssop is also used as a cleansing tool later in the Torah. For example, in Bemidbar / Numbers 19:17-20 (CJB), hyssop leaves are used for purification purposes to sprinkle water on “the tent, on all the containers, on the people who were there, and on the person who touched the bone or the person killed or the one who died naturally or the grave”. Also in Vayikra / Leviticus 14 (CJB), the cohen was commanded to use hyssop leaves along with cedar-wood and scarlet yarn to purify a person afflicted with skin diseases.

King David also referred to hyssop as an instrument to be spiritually cleansed in Tehillim / Psalm 51 (CJB) after confessing his sins and asking for forgiveness from the God of Israel (the God of his salvation). In Tehillim / Psalm 51:7 David asked: “Sprinkle me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”

In the Brit Hadasha, during the final moments of Yeshua on the cross, a Roman soldier offered a drink of wine (vinegar), soaked in a sponge and held this up to Yeshua using a hyssop branch (John 19: 28-30 (KJV/NIV). These acts were done to fulfill messianic prophecies in Psalm 22:16(15) and Psalm 69:22(21) whereby He was offered vinegar to quench his thirst.

To conclude, one could argue that just as hyssop leaves were used as an instrument that guaranteed protection in Egypt and for purification purposes to those defiled and diseased; in the Brit Hadasha hyssop is the form of a branch is again used as an instrument to allow for messianic prophesies to be fulfilled, to symbolize that Yeshua’s blood cleanses us from sin as well as (almost) resemble an act to fulfill a mitzvot in the Torah.

May Yeshua bless you and your family!

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Marc Chargall’s The White Crucifixion 1938