"Jot" (Revised Version, later editions of the King James Version) is a corruption of iote (early editions of the King James Version, Geneva, Rheims, Bishops'--pronounced i-o'te), an English transliteration of iota, the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet (Matthew 5:18 parallel). "Iota," in turn, is the nearest Greek equivalent for the Hebrew yodh ("y"), the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in New Testament times being little larger than an English accent ('). The tittle (which see) is the smallest part of a letter (not part of a y, however). Consequently, thinking of the law as written out, the sense of Matthew 5:17, is: "From this code, so written, not the smallest letter nor part of a letter--not an `i' nor the crossing of a `t'--shall be erased until all things come to pass." (For the meaning, see LAW.) The reference is to the synagogue rolls, which were written in Hebrew, so that the passage has no bearing on the language used by Christ. For the form of the "jot," compare the tables in HDB, article "Alphabet," more fully in Chwolson,. Corp. Inscr. Hebrew. (1882).
Burton Scott Easton