The Origin of the Hebrew Alphabet
By Jeff A. Benner

Egyptian Pictographs
(Fig. 2)
Sumerian Pictographs
(Fig. 3)
Semitic Pictographs
(Fig. 4)

The Egyptian (Figure 2), Sumerians (Figure 3), and Semites (Figure 4) originally wrote with a pictographic (meaning picture writing) form of writing. Some believe that the Sumerians were the originator of writing, while others attribute it to the Egyptians. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians came into existence after the flood of Noah.

Pre-flood Pictograph
(Fig. 5)

Did writing originate after the flood? Pre-flood pictographic writings (figure 5) have been found in Mesopotamia7 proving a pre-Sumerian and pre-Egyptian origin of writing.

If Hebrew was the language of the pre-flood man, and writing of pictographic letters existed at the same time, then Hebrew had a written script prior to the Sumerians and Egyptians.

The first record of writing in the Bible is found in Genesis 4.15;

"Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him."

The Hebrew word for "mark" is אות (ote) and is also the Hebrew word for a "letter" and God may have written a "letter" on Cain.

Some linguists attribute the development of the first true alphabet to the Phonecians. But some scholars believe that the phonecians actually adopted the alphabet from a prior Semitic culture8. The actual origin of the alphabet can not be proven, but if the origin of the Hebrew language is from God, then the Hebrew alphabet must have also come from God. The phonecians, like many other semitic cultures, adopted the Hebrew alphabet for their own language.


7. Henry H. Halley, Halley's Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids, Mi: Zondervan, 24th) 44-5. Back

8. John Philip Cohane, The Key (New York: Crown, 1969) 38. Back