What is the true meaning of SHALOM ?
For a long time you and I have understood that Shalom simply meant peace but in Hebrew it has a whole other much deeper meaning. In English when we say Peace we are referring to the absence of conflict or war but in The ancient Hebrew concept of peace, rooted in the word “shalom,” means wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety and prosperity. The root word of Shalom is “shalam”. One of the first uses of the word shalam in The Bible is in Exodus 21 and 22. In these 2 chapters, it is used 14 times. In the Book of Exodus in the chapter 22 to 24 we read that Moses is giving instructions to the people about what to do when someone causes material loss or in the case of theft of property. When that loss or injury occurs, the owner is considered lacking or not complete.
The one responsible was to make things right. Shalam is translated as “make it good”, “shall surely pay”, “make full restitution” or to “restore”. The ancient Hebrew meaning of shalam was “to make something whole”. Not just regarding practical restoration of things that were lost or stolen. But with an overall sense of fulness and completeness in mind, body and spirit. This meaning of wholeness carries over into the word Shalom. In Israel when someone greets you or says goodbye, they will typically say, Shalom. In saying this they are actually saying more than just hello or goodbye, and more than just a simple ‘peace be with you’. They are actually saying something more along the lines of, “may you be filled with a complete and perfect peace and be full of well-being” or, “may health, prosperity, and peace of mind and spirit be upon you.” The word SHALOM suggests a state of fullness and perfection; overflowing inner and outer joy and peaceful serenity. The word “shalom” appears over 200 times in the Bible, a strong indicator of its importance. One of the names of God is Yahweh-Shalom ( The Lord Our Peace) Just as it’s written in Judges 6:24 “ So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace.” and Jesus is called Sar Shalom (Prince of Peace) ‘’ For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. “ - Isaiah 9:6 True biblical shalom means an inward sense of completeness or wholeness. Although it can describe the absence of war, but a majority of biblical references refer to an inner completeness and tranquility. In Israel today, when you greet someone or say goodbye, you say, Shalom. You are literally saying, “may you be full of well-being” or, “may health and prosperity be upon you.” In a way, it is a blessing for coming and going, in any time frame, in any situation. Wishing someone shalom is exactly how Paul ended his 2 Letter to the Thessalonians: “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:16). Did Jesus use the word Shalom? YES !! Notice what Jesus said when He first met the disciples after the resurrection: While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” (Luke 24:36). And the Bible says in John 14:27 " Shalom I leave with you. My shalom I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don't let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. " You will keep [him] in perfect shalom, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on you]; because he trusts in you. - Isaiah 26:3 So, in conclusion, the next time you greet a friend, greet them in Hebrew by saying SHALOM knowing that it’s more than a casual greeting.
You are speaking a blessing, serenity, inner tranquility and well-being on them. Shalom Aleichem ! (Peace be upon you)