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Language Studies

Hebrew Thoughts Archives


  • The notoriously difficult to decipher עשׂשזשׂשאזשׂשל ‘azâ’zêl (Strong's #5799, x4) occurs just 4 times in the Hebrew Bible all within the same passage of Leviticus 16:8. Each use is translated by a variation in the Greek Septuagint LXX version. In the Hebrew…
    October 11, 2014
  • The word כִּפֻּר kippûr (Strong's #3725, x8) occurs just 8 times and is consistently translated as "atonement" in most Bible versions. Interestingly, it always occurs in the plural#133;
    October 4, 2014
  • The word ראשׁ rô’sh "head, chief, top, beginning" (Strong's #7218, x598) occurs nearly 600 times and is common to most semitic languages including Akkadian, Arabic, Canaanite, Ethiopic, Moabite etc. It is translated predominantly by "head" in about half of its near 750 uses (including derivatives), both literally and figuratively, as in its first use of the four sources or river-heads in the biblical#133;
    September 27, 2014
  • Occurring frequently hâlak (Strong's #1980) means simply "to walk" as in Genesis 3:8 where the sound of the Lord God is "walking" in Eden is heard by Adam and Eve. After their sin they had become afraid of God's footsteps and no longer "walked with God". In contrast, Enoch is positively described as "walking with God" (Genesis 5:22,24) before…
    April 19, 2014
  • The term "sinner" chattâ' (Strong's #2400) derives from a verb châtâ' (Strong's #2398) meaning to "miss the mark" as an archer or slinger (e.g., who "could sling a stone at a hair and not miss", Judges 20:16), or to "miss the way" as a traveller, or of a goal not reached. This particular word for sinner, highlighting the person occurs just 18 times…
    April 12, 2014
  • derekh (Strong's #1870) is the Hebrew word for a "way, road, path", a "journey", or "manner, custom" of life. In this it is similar to hâlak (Strong's #1980) "to go" or "go along with". It is often used with hâlak as in 2 Chronicles 17:3-4, "the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek…
    April 5, 2014
  • tsedhâqâh (Strong's #6666) ranges in meaning from 'right', 'justice', 'straightness', 'righteousness', even 'liberation' and 'welfare'. In the verse above God is both described as righteous himself and desiring it in others. The "upright" yâshâr (Strong's #3477) are literally the "straight, right" ones, and are virtually synonymous with the…
    March 29, 2014
  • The verb nâcham (Strong's #5162, x108) is first used in the supposed verbal origin of the name Noah nôach (Strong's #5146), "This one will comfort us from our work and the pain/toil of our hands" (Genesis 5:29). However nôach derives from nûach (Strong's #5117) "to rest, respire, draw breath" (cf. rWxA rûach "spirit, breath", Strong's #7307)…
    March 22, 2014
  • 'esher (Strong's #835) should perhaps be distinguished from "blessed" bârakh (Strong's #1288) and its derivative berâkhâh "blessing, invocation" (Strong's #1293) [see Hebrew Thoughts column on 'blessed'] and be translated as happy or fortunate. It is found only in the plural construct form 'ash'rêy... "happy is..." or "[O the] happiness of…
    March 15, 2014
  • The verb bârakh (Strong's #1288) and its derivatives such as berâkhâh "blessing, invocation" (Strong's #1293) occur 415 times and range in meaning from "to kneel, bless, praise, salute" to its opposite, used euphemistically, 'to curse'. bârakh is possibly a denominative verb from berekh 'knee' (Strong's #1290) because of the idea of kneeling…
    March 8, 2014
  • The Hebrew verb nâqam (Strong's #5358, x35) "avenge" first occurs in the Genesis 4:15 story of Cain's murder of Abel and subsequent fear that he would be sought out and killed himself. Instead, God says to him, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold". So the first record of a murder and its punishment in the…
    March 1, 2014
  • These two variant words are first used respectively in Genesis 2:25 ‘ârôwm (Strong's #6174, x16) and Genesis 3:7 ‘êyrôm (Strong's #5903, x10) in the description of man and his fall. They both derive from the root verb ‘âram (Strong's #6191) which significantly also shares a primary syllable with ‘ârah (Strong's #6168), "to make naked"
    February 22, 2014
  • The word nâsagh (Strong's #5381, x50) only occurs in what is known as the Hiphil or causative stem of the Hebrew verb. It seems to mean, therefore, "to cause to reach, attain". However, Job 24:2 is translated "Some remove landmarks" which is closer in meaning to the similar sounding verbs nâçagh (Strong's #5253) "to remove, displace, takeaway"…
    February 15, 2014
  • shâma' (Strong's #8085, x1160) is best translated by a combination of four English words, "hear, heed, understand and obey". In all it occurs over a thousand times in Scripture, often in key verses and is translated variously in the KJV, for example, by hear x785, hearken x196, obey x81, understand x9, obedient x8. We find it in biblical names…
    February 8, 2014
  • 'îysh (Strong's #376), occurs 2180 times with nearly another 500 in the Qumran Dead Sea Scroll texts, many times more frequently than the next most common word for 'man', 'âdhâm (Strong's #120, approx 550 times - see Word Study). 'enôwsh (Strong's #582, man in his weakness, just 42 uses) and gebher (Strong's #1397, man in his…
    February 1, 2014

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 28th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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