We understand more about God’s gift to us at Christmas from a Hebrew word used in Psalm 22:20. There the Psalmist asks God to deliver “yachidati” from the power of the dog (the enemy). The Hebrew word “yachid” means “only one”, “solitary” — as in “only son” (as it is translated several times in the Old Testament). The “i” ending indicates 1st person possession in Hebrew: “MY” only/solitary one. It is often translated in Psalm 22 as referring to one’s only “self” or “soul.” “Yachidati” is an unusual word which expresses a special love. One might imagine one calling an only child, a beloved grandchild, or special love, “Yachidati”, “my only special beloved”. What is even more enlightening is another place this same word is used in scripture:
“Yachid” is used in one of the most poignant passages in the Old Testament, where God commands Abraham in Genesis 22:2, “Take now your son, your ONLY son, Isaac, whom you love … and offer him there …”. The word “only” in this verse is that same Hebrew word, “Yachid”, which is used in Psalm 22.
Of course, it is significant that both of these passages foreshadow the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The story of Abraham’s willing sacrifice of Isaac prefigures God’s willing sacrifice of Jesus for us, and Psalm 22 is Messianic, speaking of Christ’s abandonment and suffering, and was quoted by Jesus Himself on the cross.
The fact that this word “Yachid” is used to refer to Jesus tells us much about the sacrifice God made for us when He gave Him to save us. He didn’t just give “something” to save us: some angel, or being, or son, but His “Yachidati” — His dear one; His beloved; “His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). It is yet another reminder to us of the indescribable depth of the sacrificial love God had for us when He sent Jesus.