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The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible. Jeff A. I would first like to thank my wife Denise for her patience and encouragement. I am extremely blessed to have been privileged with her as a gift from above and the one who has been my continual companion and confidant.
She has always supported me in this endeavor and allowed me the space and time for research and writing. Without her devotion and inspiration this work would never have come to fruition. I am also grateful to Dr. Larry S. Without his initial introduction into Hebrew thought and language and his instruction in Biblical studies. I would never have started this journey into the Ancient Hebrew thought, culture and language. Also my friend Michael Calpino who continually supported my studies in the Hebrew language, listened to my discoveries and assisted me by working out many word and root origins and meanings.
I would also like to thank the hundreds of people who have supported my work at the Ancient Hebrew Research Center Website with their suggestions, corrections and encouragement. There are also many great Hebrew scholars who, with their research and work, have laid the foundations for me and others interested in the Hebrew culture and language who are much deserving of our thanks.
Purpose of the Lexicon. In order to demonstrate the need for an Ancient Hebrew lexicon let us examine the word halel , how it is written and what it means. The written word. The Hebrew word , as it appears here, in Hebrew dictionaries and in Hebrew Bibles, is written with the Modern Hebrew script. But where did the Modern Hebrew script come from?
Hebrew was originally wr itten with a pictographic script similar to Egyptian Hieroglyphs but, when Israel was taken into captivity in Babylon they adopted the Aramaic script of the region and used it to write Hebrew. The Modern Hebrew script used today is in fact Aramaic in origin, not Hebrew. The word meaning. According to Hebrew dictiona ries and lexicons the word is translated as "praise". The Ancient Hebrew language is a concrete oriented language meaning that the meaning of Hebrew words are rooted in something that can be sensed by the five senses such as a tree which can be seen, sweet which can be tasted and noise which can be heard.
Abstract concepts such as "praise" have no foundation in the concrete and are a product of ancient Greek philosophy. Where is the Hebrew? If the word is written with the Aramaic script and the definition "praise" is from the Greek, where is the Hebrew in this word?
The original Hebrew. The word would have been written as in the Early Hebrew script over years ago or as in the Middle Hebrew script b etween and years ago. The original pictographic letters of the parent root is a man with his arms raised "looking" at something spectacul ar and a shepherd staff that is used to move the flock.
When these are combined the idea of "looking toward" something is represented. The original meaning of is the North Star, a bright light in the night sky that is "looked toward" to guide one on the journey. If we are going to read the Bible correctly it must be through the perspective of the Ancient Hebrews who wrote it, not from a Modern Aramaic or Greek perspective.
The word in its original concrete meaning is a bright light that guides the journey and we "praise" Yah by looking at him to guide us on our journey through life. Perspective of the Lexicon. The first and foremost concept that a reader of the Biblical text must learn is that the ancient Hebrews were products of an eastern culture while you as the reader are the product of a western culture. These two cultures are as different as oil and vinegar, they do not mix very well.
What may seem rational in our western minds would be considered irrational to an easterner of an ancient Near East culture.
The same is true in the reverse, what may be rational to an anci ent Easterner would be completely irrational in our western mind. The authors of the Biblical text are writing from within th eir culture to those of the same culture. In order to fully understand the text one ne eds to understand the culture and thought processes of the Hebrew people.
All existing Hebrew Lexicons of the Bible convert the vocabulary of the ancient Hebrews into a vocabulary compatible to our modern western language. The greatest problem with this is that it promotes west ern thought when readin g the Biblical text. In this Lexicon the mind of the reader is tran sformed into an eastern one in order to understand the text thro ugh the eyes of the ancient Hebrews who penned the words of the Bible. One of the greatest differences between this lexicon and others is the use of the ancient pictographic script which Hebrew was originally written in.
Because the Ancient Hebrew language is based on these pictographs, they are used rather than the Modern Hebrew script. The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible has its own website with additional material and information such as verb charts, listin g of Biblical Hebrew words in order of their frequency, common Hebrew roots and updates to the lexicon and much more. The author is also available for questions, comments and requests.
Ancient Hebrew Thought. The definition of a word is going to be direct ly related to the culture in which that word is being used. One word may have different meanings depending on the culture that is using it. In order to place the correct context to a Hebrew word from the Ancient Hebrew language one must first understand Ancient Hebrew thought.
Abstract and Concrete. Greek thought views the world through the mind abstract thought. Ancient Hebrew thought views the world through the senses concrete thought. Concrete thought is the expression of con cepts and ideas in ways that can be seen, touched, smelled, tasted or heard. All five of the senses are used when speaking, hearing, writing and reading the Hebrew langua ge. In this passage the author expresses his thoughts in concrete terms such as; tr ee, streams of water, fruit and leaf.
Abstract thought is the expression of concepts and ideas in ways that cannot be seen, touched, smelled, tasted or heard. The words compassion, grace, anger and love are all abstract words, ideas that cannot be experienced by the senses.
Why do we find these abstract words in a passage of concrete thinking Hebrews? Actually, these ar e abstract English words used to translate the original Hebrew concrete words. The translators often translate this way because the original Hebrew makes no sense when literally translated into English. Let us take one of the above abstract words to demonstrate the translation from a concrete Hebrew word to an ab stract English word.
When one is very angry, he begins to breathe hard an d the nostrils begin to flare. Appearance and Functional Descriptions. Greek thought describes objects in relation to its appearance. Hebrew thought describes objects in relation to its function. A Greek description of a common pencil would be; "it is yellow and about eight inches. A Hebrew description of the pencil would be related to its function such as "I.
Notice th at the Hebrew description us es the verb "write" while the Greek description uses the adjectives "yellow" and "long". Because of Hebrew's form. To our Greek way of thinking a deer and an oak are two very different objects and we would never describe them in the same way. The Hebrew word for both of these objects.
The Hebraic definition of is "a strong leader". A deer stag is one of the most. The wood of the oak tree is very hard compared to other trees and is seen. Notice the two different tran slations of the Hebrew word in Psalms The literal translation.
When translating the Hebrew in to English, the Greek thinki ng translator will give a Greek description to this word for the Greek thinking reader, which is why we have two different ways of translating this verse. Ancient Hebrew will use different Hebrew wo rds for the same thing depending upon its function at the time.
For example an ox may be identified as an aluph when referring to a lead ox, a shor when referring to a plow ox, baqar when referring to an ox of the field or par when referring to an ox of the threshing floor. Static and Dynamic. In our Modern western langua ge verbs express action dynamic while nouns express inanimate static objects.
In Hebrew all thi ngs are in motion dynamic including verbs and nouns. In Hebrew sentences the verbs identify the action of an object while nouns identify an object of action. The verb malak is "the reign of the king" while the noun melek is the "the king who reigns". A mountain top is not a static object but the "head lifting up out of the hill". A good example of action in what appears to be a static passage is the command to "have no other gods before me" Exodus In Hebrew thought this passage is saying "not to bring another one of power in front of my face".
The Ancient Hebrew Alphabet. Evolution of the Hebrew Alphabet. The Hebrew alphabet was written with a script belonging to the Semitic family of languages. The Semitic script followed th ree basic stages of development, Early, Middle and Late.
The Early Semitic script was pictographic fig. The Middle Semitic script fig. The Aramaic script of the Arameans in Baby lon evolved into the Late Semitic script independently from other Semitic scripts f ig.
When the Hebrew people were taken into Babylonian captivity, they adopted the Aramaic script fig. It was still used on occasion such as on many of the Jewish coins as well as some religious scrolls such as those found in the Dead Sea caves fig.
The Samaritans lived in the land of Samaria, a region of Israel, at the time of Israel's captivity; they were not taken into Babylon with Israel.
Aprendiendo Hebreo: El Alfabeto (The Hebrew Alphabet)