Jehovah Nissi - Mistaken Hebrew Tattoo

The specimen:

As always, this portion of the image is used under Fair Use Doctrine for the purpose of education and criticism.

I came across the image above over on, and was stricken with sorrow. The owner claims "it is Hebrew and it says "Jehovah Nissi" which translates as God my banner or God my victory."

It is not exactly what he thinks.

We have here yet another case of two common problems:
  1. The text is spelled backwards. This usually happens when a computer system is not properly set up to display languages written from right-to-left. I've talked about this elsewhere on this blog.

  2. The text is misspelled. There's an extra wau (ו) in "Jehovah" and an extra yod (י) in "Nissi." It's more like this text was spelled out phonetically, rather than relying upon traditional Hebrew spelling.
Please, I cannot urge anyone who wants to get a tattoo in a foreign language enough to double-check their sources and rely upon professionals for their translations (be they translators, religious officials and/or native speakers). Otherwise mistakes happen, and tattoos are (generally) not temporary endeavors.

Be safe!

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