What does Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani mean?
Question: What is the word for word literal definition of the words found in Matthew 27 that Jesus cried out while he was dying on the cross?
Answer: The scripture in question is in Matthew 27.
The English words ELI ELI (Strong's Concordance Number #G2241) in their literal meaning in the Greek language are "God, God." The meaning of the word LAMA (Strong's Concordance Number #G2982) is "Why." Lastly, the exact meaning of the word SABACHTHANI (Strong's Concordance Number #G4518) is "You have left (forsaken, abandoned) me."
Strong's says that these Greek words are transliterations of Hebrew and Aramaic words. Transliteration is the attempt to make a word sound the same in another language. For the verse in question, the New International Version (NIV) has "Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani." The King James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJV), New American Standard (NASB) and the Holy Bible a Faithful Version render the phrase as "Eli Eli lama sabachthani." The NIV is the only popular Bible translation that says the first two words Jesus cried out are "Eloi Eloi."
This phrase by Jesus is a quote taken from the book of Psalms, chapter 22.
Some in the crowd who heard Jesus cry out "Eli Eli . . ." from the cross thought he was calling on Elijah. Sadly, even those Jews who thought Jesus was crying out for Elijah, had NO compassion for him, but used what they thought they heard to taunt him.