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Language Studies

Hebrew Thoughts Archives

November 8, 2014
The root verb דָּבַר dâbhar "to speak" (Strong's #1696, x1143) gives rise to דָּבָר dâbhâr "word" (Strong's #1697, x1441) which means both the 'word' itself and its accompanying creative 'act' and takes some 85 different English words…
November 1, 2014
בִּין bîyn s a root verb meaning "to distinguish" (Strong's #995, x170) in the sense of gaining understanding by being able to discern, separate, or decide between. A derivative construct noun is בַּין bayn that translate…
October 25, 2014
The monosyllabic כַּף kaph (Strong's #3709, x191) meaning "palm of the hand" is actually from כָּפַף kâphaph (Strong's #3721, x5) "to bow/bend", hence to create a "hollow". It is also the name of the Hebrew letter פ which resembles a cupped hand or wings. A similar verb…
October 18, 2014
כָּפַר kâphar is a root verb meaning "to cover" (Strong's #3722, x102) in a practical sense with either pitch or hair, in an ethical sense by extension, "to atone". It occurs most frequently in this latter regard in the books of Leviticus (x44) and Numbers (x15). It is arguable, that if anything, the verb may have come from the noun כּפֶר kôpher (Strong's #3724, x17) "pitch" and by application "ransom" or "appeasement", covering for something via a bribe…
October 11, 2014
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 4, 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;
September 27, 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;
April 19, 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 12, 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 5, 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…
March 29, 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 22, 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 15, 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 8, 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 1, 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…