Does ‘Sabachthani’ Really Mean Forsaken?


I heard that the word “sabachthani” does not mean “forsaken.” Is this true?


If you know more than one language you will realize how tricky translations can be. So, for the word above it depends on the context.

Sabachthani is usually used to mean abandoned or left behind, it is abandoned for a purpose.

The Aramaic word for the “forsaken” we are accustomed to is taani, which is forsaking for the sake of a lack of care. The Aramaic word for being abandoned for the sake of being forgotten is nashatani.

In the context of Jesus’ cry on the cross, it is referring to being abandoned but not in the context of being forsaken carelessly by the Father.

Jesus had to go through all he did in order to earn salvation for us so that in the end we will be members of the Divine community of heaven. His abandonment was for the purpose of our salvation not based on carelessness.

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