Messiah - Melech haMashiach in
Hebrew. Melech (MEL ekh) means
king, and Mashiach (mah SHEE ahkh) means
'anointed'. The syllable ha means 'the'.
In Hebrew, however, it appears as a prefix to the second word
of an expression. Together in Hebrew, these words mean
'the king who has been anointed'. In the same vein, King
David is called 'David the king' in Hebrew. Neither
expression can be used literally in English.
I prefer to translate Melech
haMashiach as 'King Messiah'. Sometimes I will
write 'the Messianic King', but here this expression does not
ring true enough to the Hebrew idea. Other Jewish kings
were also anointed in the times of the Bible, but the laws
from Maimonides teach us about the anticipated and greatest
Not all Jewish kings have been
anointed, though. Only monarchs who are descended from
the patriarch Jacob's son Judah through his descendants Kings
David and Solomon. In case of point, the Hasmonean
kings – the Maccabees – were not anointed.
They were Priests – descendants of the patriarch Jacob's
son Levi. Since they were not anointed, G-d
did not promise them that future kings would descend from
them. Anointing reinforces the covenant that the
descendants would continue the dynasty.
Greek speakers borrowed the Hebrew word
Mashiach as 'Messiah', and this word was borrowed by Latin
speakers until it came into the English language. Greek
speakers are unable to pronounce /sh/.