Language Studies

Hebrew Thoughts Archives

April 13, 2013
yâsha' (Strong's #3467) is the Hebrew verb 'to save', occuring some 205 times, from which we get the name Jesus (Yeshu'a) and the word 'hosanna'. Yeshû'âh is the noun, 'salvation' derived from it. But neither of these words has the sense of being whisked away to heaven. Rather, they are salvation in the here and…
April 6, 2013
Hebrew has upwards of 80 named parts of the body but no true word for "body". This demonstrates the underlying unity of the human person, in that although distinguished by 80+ terms and descriptions many are interchangeable in poetry and man is never thought of as a post-mortem anatomy experiment nor a compartmentalised being, but a whole…
March 30, 2013
nephesh (Strong's #5315) in its 755 occurrences is translated by 40+ words (e.g., soul, person, being, self, mind [15x], heart [15x], body [8x], appetite, desire) in the KJV which are freely swapped for alternate words in newer translations. Even a dead person can be described as a nephesh (13x in the OT, e.g., Numbers 5:2; 6:6; 9:6-7). The Greek…
March 23, 2013
Rûach 'spirit' (Strong's #7307, x378), is used of both the so-called highest element in man and of the wind and breath, as invisible, powerful and indicative of life. Some 60% (x232) of its uses are rendered "spirit", another 25% or so "wind" (x92), whilst "breath" accounts for another 27 occurrences. The violent exhalation of "breath" is used for…
March 16, 2013
Hebrew bêyth is the second letter in the Hebrew alphabet and meant a 'house or tent'. It is pronounced as a soft 'bh' or 'v' in the middle of words but at the beginning or when it has a dot (dagesh) in its centre it is hardened to a normal 'b'. The original letter-picture was of a tent and in Ethiopic the letter 'b' still looks…
March 9, 2013
The word shâv'’ (Strong's #7723, x53) is translated by "vain" or "vanity" 44 of its 53 uses in the KJV but just 21 times in the NAS which chooses to use "false" or "deceitful" 25 times instead to the KJV's 9 uses of "false" or "lies/lying". Which emphasis is more accurate? The root verb is presumed to be shôv’ with possibly two separate…
March 2, 2013
The word râdhaph (Strong's #7291, x143) "pursuing" is generally negative meaning also to "persecute, put to flight". More than 10% of its occurences are in the book of Joshua (seven times in the story of the spies in Jericho, 2:5,7,16,22; five times in the capture of Ai, 8:16,17,20,24) and nearly 15% in the Psalms. It is less common in…
February 23, 2013
The word n’âtsâh / ne’âtsâh (Strong's #5007, x5) is twice rendered "provocation" and three times "blasphemy". It derives from nâ’âts (Strong's #5006, x27) "to despise, reject, treat with contempt", whose first use is in Numbers 14:11, "How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me", where it is paralleled with…
February 16, 2013
Genesis 1:1 may begin with the creation of "the earth" hâ-'ârets, Strong's #776) but it is "of the ground" hâ'âdhâm ... min-hâ'adhâmâh (Genesis 2:7) that man is made, not the earth. You can hear the wordplay on the word for man, Adam, and the ground itself. The word 'ground' 'adhâmâh (Strong's #127) is just the feminine…
February 9, 2013
The Jewish new year is known as Rosh Ha-Shanah, literally "head of the year". The word for "year", shânâh (Strong's #8141, x875), comes from the similarly spelt root verb shânâh (Strong's #8138, x22) "to repeat or change" clearly from the idea of that which changes or repeats itself (although there may be two distinct Hebrew roots…
February 2, 2013
Certainly the Jewish Greek Septuagint, written several centuries before Christ and not a few after Isaiah wrote, thought it meant "virgin" for it rendered it by the Greek parthenos which explicitly means "virgin". But in all ‘al'mâh's other instances the Greek version uses a form of neaniv neanis "young woman" or neotês "youth", emphasizing…
January 26, 2013
The phrase "in our image" in Genesis 1:26 is one compound word in Hebrew betsal'mênû, made up of be, the prefix 'in', tselem 'image' (Strong's #6754), and the '-nû' suffix indicating 'our'. But is this "image of God" in man physical or ethical? Is 'image' a positive portrayal or a negative nuance given its use for describing…
January 19, 2013
The word kâbhêdh (Strong's #3516) is mainly used in describing the sacrificial practice of the Levitical priesthood including the sin offering (Leviticus 9:10), 9 of its 14 occurrences are found in Leviticus 3-9. Outside of this we have similar uses in the crude but practical language of Exodus 29:13, "And you shall take all the fat that…
January 12, 2013
Man, 'âdhâm (Strong's #120), occurs 552 times in the Hebrew bible and derives from the root verb 'adhâm (Strong's #119). It means 'man', 'mankind: male and female', 'red', 'ruddy', 'earthy' from the idea of 'redness' and 'earthiness'. The verb in its various forms can be used of something dyed red as in Nahum 2:4 where it is paralleled with…
January 5, 2013
There are 39 or 40 Old Testament references to the word mâshîyach Messiah (Strong's #4899), though 30 or more of these don't refer to THE Messiah! Gesenius in his Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon went so far as to say that it was "never" used "of the future Messiah", to which the evangelical editor in the Baker Book House edition…