Hebrew Research Center
August, 2004 Issue #006
Word of the Month – Bar (cont.)
Name of the
Month – Elijah
of the Month – 1st C. Hebrew?
Biblical Word of the Month – Bar (cont.)
By: Jeff A. Benner
In this issue we are continuing the study of the Parent Root
בר and the roots and words which are derived from it.
The Hebrew word “BaR” literally means “grain” as previously mentioned but its
meaning can also be extended to mean “soap” or “clean”. As will be shown in
more detail later, grains are fed to livestock to make them fat. The fat of
animals is used to make soap. The soap is of course used to make one clean. It
is this word BaR that is also translated as “pure” – “He that hath clean hands,
and a pure (BaR) heart (Ps 24:4).
The Hebrews understood a “pure heart” as a “clean heart”. You must also
understand that “guilt” was seen as dirt. In order to remove the dirt from the
heart you must clean it. Hopefully this will cause you to begin viewing the
Bible from a different perspective, the perspective of its original authors.
Next week we will look at a few other words that are derived from this parent
A common means of forming an additional noun out of a two letter word is to
double the word. The word ברבר (pronounced
"barbur") is a fowl as seen in the following verse; Ten fat oxen,
and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and
roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl (1Ki 4:23). Again we can easily
see the connection between the word "BaR" and the idea of being
This word is also used in the Aramaic language to mean "field" as a
place for growing grains as well as "son" probably through the idea
of offspring in connection with the seeds of the grain.
of the Month - Elijah
By: Jeff A. Benner
This name is written two different ways - אליה,
pronounced as "eliy-yah" or אליהו, pronounced as
"eliy-yahu". There are three components to this name. The first is אל
(el) the Hebrew word for "power" and "authority" and is
commonly translated as God or god. The י is a letter added to
the end of a noun to mean "my" hence אלי
means "my God". The י also doubles as the
first letter of the next part of the name - יה
(Yah) or יהו (yahu). Both
"yah" and "yahu" are two different forms of the
tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH), the name of God.
The root of YHWH as well as Yah and Yahu is היה
literally meaning "to breath".
To the ancient Hebrews, only that which can be perceived through the senses
(sight, feeling, hearing, smell or taste) is believed to exist. This is why the
ancients usually erected statues of a god. When Moses asked God "who
should I tell them has sent me?" God said, tell them "ehyeh asher
ehyeh" has sent you. While this phrase is commonly translated as "I
am who I am" it is better understood as "I breathe and I have
breath". In the Hebrew mind that which "exists" has breath, this
can be a god, man, animal or even a mountain. The breath (often translated as
spirit) is the character of an individual or object. God may not be seen but he
is breath and does exist.
When each of these components are combined the name means "my God is
Yah". But as the word אל (el)
means power and authority יהוה
means "to have breath", we can see the meaning "My
authority is the one who has breath".
By: Jeff A. Benner
Q: Was Hebrew a common language
in Israel in the first century CE?
A: One of the best arguments for
proving that Hebrew was a commonly used language in Israel during the first century CE
(AD) is through the evidence discovered in the archeological record. Above is a
picture of a letter written by Shimon Ben Kosba (Simon Bar Kockba). His name
appears in the red box at the beginning of the letter. This letter was written
during the second Jewish revolt of 130-135 CE and is written in Hebrew, not
Aramaic or Greek. What is also interesting about this letter is that it uses
contractions, which can only come from a spoken language. We consistently use
contractions such as "I'm" for "I am" or
"wouldn't" for "would not". The word in the yellow box is
"tashmayim" a contraction for "et hashamayim" (the
Copyright © 2004
Jeff A. Benner
Ancient Hebrew Research
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