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Introduction to the Ancient Hebrew Vocabulary
By Jeff A. Benner


The most basic Hebrew root words are formed by linking two Hebrew letters together and can be used as nouns or verbs. Because each letter has a meaning, the meaning of these letters will assist in providing the Hebraic meaning of a word. Below are a few examples of nouns and verbs whose meanings can be closely connected to the meanings of the letters contained within these words.



~~ Nouns ~~

The first letter is the (aleph - A), a picture of an ox. As the ox is strong, the letter also has the meaning of strong. The second letter, (bet - B), is the picture of the tent or house where the family resides. When combined these letters form the word AB meaning "the strength of the house" and represents the "father."



The first letter is the (aleph - A), a picture of an ox. As the ox is strong, the letter also has the meaning of strong. The second letter, (mem - M) representing water. The two letters give us the meaning of "strong water." The Hebrews made glue by boiling animal skins in water. As the skin broke down, a sticky thick liquid formed at the surface of the water. This thick liquid was removed and used as a binding agent - "strong water". This is the Hebrew word AM meaning "mother", the one who "binds" the family together.



The first letter is the (bet - B), a picture of a tent or house. The second letter, (nun - N) is the picture of a seed. The seed is a new generation of life that will grow and produce a new generation therefore, this letter can mean "to continue." When combined these two letters form the word BeN meaning "to continue the house" and is the Hebrew word for a "son."



The first letter is the (aleph - A), a picture of an ox. As the ox is strong, the letter also has the meaning of strong. The second letter, (hhet - Hh), is the picture of a tent wall. The wall is a wall of protection which protects what is inside from what is outside. When combined these letters form the word AHh meaning "the strong wall" and represents the "brother" as the protector of the family.



~~ Verbs ~~

The first letter is the (lamed - L), a picture of a staff. The second letter, (kaph - K), is the picture of the palm of the hand. When the staff is placed in the palm one is going to go walk. The verb LaK means to walk or to go.



The first letter is the (resh - R), a picture of the head of a man. The second letter, (dalet - D), is the picture of the tent door. The roof of the nomad's tent was low and one needed to stoop down to enter or exit through the dooway and the verb RaD means to go down.



The first letter is the (ayin - A), a picture of an eye representing the idea of experience. The second letter, (lamed - L), is the picture of a staff but also represents a yoke as the staff on the shoulders. When combined, these two letters form the word AL meaning to experience the yoke and as the yoke is lifted up onto the shoulders this verb means to go up. When used as a noun this same two letter root means a yoke.



The first letter is the (quph - Q) and is a picture of the rising or setting sun at the horizon meaning to come together, or gather, from the gathering of the light at the horizon. The second letter, (hhet - Hh), is the picture of a wall which separates. Combined, these two letters form the word QaHh meaning to gather what is separated, to take.



The first letter is the (shin - Sh), a picture of the teeth meaning to press. The second letter, (beyt - B), is the picture of the tent or home. Combined, these two letters form the word ShaB representing a pressing to the tent and means to return.



The first letter is the (quph - Q) and is a picture of the rising or setting sun at the horizon meaning to come together, or gather, from the gathering of the light at the horizon. The second letter, (resh- R), is the picture of the head of a man. Combined, these two letters form the word QaR, a gathering of men, and means to meet or call out.



The first letter is the (dalet - D) and is a picture of the tent door, used for going back and forth. The second letter, (ayin - A), is the picture of the eye. Combined, these two letters form the word DA, the going back and forth movement of the eye in the sense of taking it all in and means to know.