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Language Studies

Hebrew Thoughts Archives

 

  • The word kôpher (Strong's #3724,x17) is related to kâphar "to cover" (Strong's #3722, x102). It is first used in Genesis 6:14 of the waterproofing of the ark, using similar cognate language to the Babylonian flood story. The NKJV translation obscures the relationship between noun and verb with "cover it inside and outside with pitch" whilst…
    January 25, 2014
  • The Hebrew verb râcham (Strong's #7355, x47) "to have mercy" and its corresponding noun racham (Strong's #7356, x44) "mercy, compassion, womb, bowels" are probably best known from the prophetic drama of the naming of Hosea's daughters in Hosea 1:6 and later reversed in Hosea 2:1: "And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then God said to…
    January 18, 2014
  • The Hebrew word pesach (Strong's #6453) is the noun behind the word for 'Passover' and comes from the verb Psx pâsach 'to pass over, spring/leap over' (Strong's #6452). From a numerological point of view and that of biblical neatness it is rather amazing that the word for probably the most important Jewish festival…
    January 11, 2014
  • The word gâ’al (Strong's #1351, x11) in its few uses is translated by "pollute" x7, "defile" x3 and once "stain" in the KJV. It is actually spelled identically to gâ’al (Strong's #1350, x104) which is rendered by some idea of redemption or ransom or even revenge in 80% of its uses and again, in a debatable use, by "stain" once (Job 3:5). There…
    January 4, 2014
  • The verb bârâ’ (Strong's #1254) means literally 'to create by cutting out or carving' (especially in a particular form of the Hebrew verb known as piel, cf. Joshua 17:15,18; Ezekiel 23:47) and the ideas of 'creating' and 'begetting' and 'filling' flow from this. Its close Arabic cousin can mean to carve or cut or whittle wood for an…
    December 28, 2013
  • The word lâham / lâhêm (Strong's #3859, x2) only occurs in one context, the book of Proverbs, but is repeated in Proverbs 18:8 and 26:22: "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, And they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." (Proverbs 18:8, KJV) "The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost…
    December 21, 2013
  • The word tâbhal (Strong's #2881, x16) is first used in Genesis 37:31 of Joseph's brothers taking his multicoloured tunic and dipping it in goat's blood to fake his death. Usually rendered by baptô (Strong's #911) "to dip, dye" in the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament it is unexpectedly translated here by molunô (Strong's #3435), a verb…
    December 14, 2013
  • The root verb bâsar (Strong's #1319, x26) is used of bringing or carrying fresh news generally from the battlefront. The messenger was usually "fresh-faced" or "flushed" from his arrival and the news was usually "good", though its first use in 1 Samuel 4:17, using the participle of the verb mebhassêr, is of a "messenger" bringing the bad news…
    December 7, 2013
  • The word אִשַָּׁה 'ishshâh (Strong's #802, x780) appears to be a feminine form of אִישׁ 'îysh "man, husband, male" (Strong's #376, x1638), in turn probably contracted from אֱנוֹשׁ 'enôwsh "man" (Strong's #582, x564). Many modern Hebraists prefer to see the two words as unrelated despite the similar sound…
    November 30, 2013
  • The word, tâmîym (Strong's #8549, x91) means "complete perfection" and in the Greek Septuagint Old Testament is translated by such words as teleios "mature, complete, finished, perfect". It derives from the verb tâmam (Strong's #8552, x64) "to be complete, finished, whole" first used during the famine in Egypt of both the money being…
    November 23, 2013
  • The word תּוֹעֵבַָה tô‘êbhâh "abomination" (Strong's #8441, x117) comes from תָּעַב tâ‘abh "to abhor, shame, detest" (Strong's #8581, x22). Abhor is perhaps too strong a word and the Tongan word tabu and…
    November 16, 2013
  • The word tôrâh (Strong's #08451) means more than just 'law', its usual simplistic translation (always 'law' in the KJV 219x). It derives from yrh yârâh (Strong's #03384) meaning 'to shoot out the hand as pointing, to show, indicate', 'to teach, instruct', 'to lay foundations', 'to sprinkle, to water', 'to shoot…
    November 9, 2013
  • The phrase בְּרֵאשִׁית opens the Hebrew Bible. It is not one word but composed of the preposition בְּ be "in" and the word רֵאשִׁית rê’yshîyth "beginning" (Strong's #7225) from ר·אשׁ rô’sh "head, chief, foremost" (Strong's #7218). The word רִאשׁוּן ri’shôwn "first, primary, former" (Strong's #7223, x185) is similarly derived from…
    November 2, 2013
  • This week's column is brought to you by the letter 'Aleph and the number 1 (with apologies to Sesame Street!). Hebrew 'aleph is the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet and and originally this letter represented an ox head and was similarly portrayed in Phoenician and Ancient Greek as well as Ancient Hebrew. The name for the first letter…
    October 26, 2013
  • The Hebrew verb lâmadh (Strong's #3925, x86) begins with the picture letter l, pronounced lâmedh, of an ox-goad, used for disciplining and training an animal or soldiers. The shape of the Phoenician letter, like the Hebrew, also resembles an ox-goad. Hence, we get the once-used mal'mâdh an "ox-goad" (Strong's #4451), in Judges 3:31, of Shamgar…
    October 19, 2013

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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KJ Went has taught biblical Hebrew, hermeneutics and Jewish background to early Christianity. The "Biblical Hebrew made easy" course can be found at www.biblicalhebrew.com.

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