The Mystery in Tsabat: The Rarest of Hebrew Words

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The Hebrew word Tsabat which is reach or hold out is only used one time in all of Scripture. Why is that? What is it about the use of this word that makes it so special that it appears nowhere else? Can we discover the meaning in the pictographic letters that will help us find more understanding? Will something in Tsabat lead us to Messiah? Let’s look and see. 

There are perhaps three or four hundred Hebrew words in our Ancient Scriptures that are only found one time and even fewer that do not share even a root with other words. Tsabat is one of those words. It is found in the Book of Ruth in Chapter 2 verse 14 where we read this: 

And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.  

The word reached is Tsabat. Two good questions to ask here are how can we be sure of the meaning of any word that is only used once, and why is a word reserved for only one use? 

First, we look at the context of the passage as we would with any other word; we just hope that there is enough context to solidify its meaning. Since the verb is singular it is clear that Boaz by his own hand extended Ruth bread made from the first grain harvest which would have been barley. 

In the Book of Ruth, Boaz is a Goel who is the kinsman-redeemer who can buy back property of a relative, avenge a murder in the family, buy a relative back out of slavery, and marry a widow to raise up children in her husband’s name. Boaz is about to perform the last task on the list, marry the related widow so that through her children and her family name will not disappear from history. 

Before we answer the question regarding why the word Tsabat is used nowhere else, let’s investigate the pictographs and see what mystery might be hidden in the letters. Tsabat is spelled Tsade Beyt Tet


Tsade is the picture of the fishhook and means to catch, to have a strong desire, to need, to be unable to escape, and can mean just or righteous.


Beyt is the picture of the tent and means the house, the dwelling place, or the physical tent or body, and is the first letter in the Torah that identifies the Son of God. 


Tet is the picture of the coiled snake and means to surround, encircle, ensnare or entrap, or to entwine and can be in a good way or a bad way. 

The first mystery in the pictographs is that when Boaz reaches out to Ruth, he is with his own hand demonstrating his strong desire to bring her into his house and encircle and entwine her with his protection. He is offering to make her his bride. 

There is another mystery here as well. Tsade can also mean just or righteous and Beyt identifies the Son of God. So we can see that the just and righteous Son of God wants to reach out and encircle someone again in a good way. 

The prophet Isaiah describes the need of his people for a redeemer, someone worthy and able to account for their sins. In Chapter 59 verse 16 he writes that Yehovah looked:

And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, and it sustained him. ​ 

Rabbi Paul describes this intercessor for us in his letter to the Galatians in Chapter 4 verses 4 and 5:

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.​ 

These verses describe the first coming of Messiah, our Goel. We know He is a Goel just as Boaz was because Isaiah tells us that a few verses later in the same passage. In Chapter 59 verse 20 he describes the second coming of Messiah for His people Jacob:

And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.

The word  redeemer here is Goel. He is Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Jesus the Christ, who is again the Goel of which Boaz was a type. 

But why was Tsabat only used in this one instance with Boaz and Ruth? 

Remember, just as Boaz as the redeemer was a type of Yeshua, our Messiah, Ruth as a Moabite was outside the family of Yehovah and is a picture of the Gentiles who by grace may be extended the privilege of becoming a bride of Yeshua. 

What was it that Boaz Tsabat or reached in his hand for Ruth to accept? It was the bread. Why is that noteworthy? John, the beloved disciple of Yeshua wrote in his Gospel in Chapter 6 verse 35:

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger.

Luke recorded the words of Yeshua at the Last Supper in Chapter 22 verse 19 as He extended the bread to them and said:

This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

And finally, where was Yeshua born? In Bethlehem, which is literally the house of bread

When Boaz Tsabat the bread to Ruth, he was painting a picture for us of our redeemer offering Himself for us. 

There are many voices in our culture clamoring for our attention saying they have found another way to Yehovah.  But just as Yeshua stated for us in the Gospel of John Chapter 14 verse 6: 

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. ​ 

This is why Tsabat is so special and why it only occurs one time. It demonstrates something that is absolutely unique in all creation. It has never happened before and it will never happen again.  The Messiah Tsabat, or reached out, to those separated from Him those outside His family and offered Himself as the redemption price for us to become His bride. As the pictographs showed us, His strong desire all along has been to encircle you and entwine you into His family. As the perfect Lamb of God He is both willing and able to do so.   

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Patricia Edward says:

    I love this! It touches my heart & spirit to rejoice in the love & grace of God out Savior. Thank you.

  2. Louetta Tyler says:

    I am enjoying this study so much. It’s truly a great treasure.

  3. Rick Hurst says:

    Powerful!!! YHVH demostrates again, through HIS WORD, the LOVE HE has for us all. YESHUA provided for all a LOVING act of ultimate sacrifice that all humankind may no longer be orphans and be counted worthy to eternally live with our ABBA FATHER enveloped in HIS LOVING ARMS. I would that all would come to experience this treasure laid out for all with the simple act of belief that YESHUA is the LIVING SON of the MOST HIGH, giving HIS life as an unblemished lamb, upon an execution stake shedding HIS BLOOD, rising the third day and now sitting on the right hand of YHVH, taking HIS rightful place as our HIGH PRIEST before the THRONE of YHVH. Thank you all for your deep commitment of bring to life the WORD .

  4. Donna says:

    What a wonderful study. I enjoy it so much and look forward to each lesson. Thanks for providing a great learning experience.

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