Justin Bieber has a 4 letter Hebrew tattoo on the right side of his ribcage.
It does not include nikkud (unlike Victoria and David Beckham’s tattoo), and indeed nikkud, which is definitely not a requirement for the vast majority of Hebrew tattoos, is really not needed here. There is no ambiguity and no other way to read and understand Bieber’s tattoo.
The design is classic and minimalistic, which is today’s dominant style.
Other, less popular choices include creative designs and the hand-written style, such as the one shown in the image. While the meaning of the writing is exactly the same, there is little visual resemblance between the two designs.
In addition, upon closer inspection, you can tell that the position and alignment of the letters is different. The designs on this page are horizontal, while Bieber’s tattoo is vertical.
Vertical designs are popular, but since Hebrew is not like Chinese or Japanese and isn’t normally written that way, some vertical designs, specifically ones including nikkud, can be confusing and difficult to read.
And now, to the final question: what is the meaning of Justin Bieber’s Hebrew tattoo?
The tattoo reads “Jesus”.
There are several ways to write the name “Jesus” in Hebrew. It is possible to write the name phonetically as pronounced in English or in another language (such as Spanish), although this method is used mainly to write the names of modern persons called Jesus. Another way is to use the Biblical Hebrew name which is thought to be the origin of the name “Jesus” – “Yehoshua” (or “Joshua”).
But the most common way to write the name “Jesus” in Hebrew is to use the original Judeo-Aramaic spelling of the name, which is pronounced as “Yeshua”. This is the way that was chosen by Justin Bieber for his tattoo.