Ancient Hebrew Research Center

Biblical Hebrew E-Magazine

May, 2009                                                    Issue #050

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E-Zine Home Page

 

Issue Index

Biblical Word of the Month – Buck

Modern Word of the Month – Miqra

Name of the Month – Mahalaleel

Question of the Month – Compass points?

Verse of the Month – Genesis 2:9

MT Excerpt – Genesis 6:17-22

AHRC Excerpt – Adjectives

What's New

Editorials

Corrections

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Copyright

 

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Biblical Word of the Month - Buck

By: Jeff A. Benner

 

The Hebrew word איל (ayil, Strong's #352) means a “buck,” the male of the flocks.

 

And he said to him, Take for me an heifer of three years, and a she goat of three year, and a buck of three years, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. (Genesis 15:9)

 

However, this very same Hebrew word is used for a post and a chief.

 

And he made posts of thirty cubits and to the post of the court all around the gate (Ezekiel 40:14)

 

Then the captains of Edom were amazed, the chiefs of Moab were trembling… (Exodus 15:15)

 

Hebrew nouns are descriptive of character rather than appearance. Therefore, a Hebrew noun is oftentimes used for different things that are related in character. To understand the character of the word איל (ayil) we need to look at its root which is the word אל (el, Strong's #410). While this word is frequently translated as God or god, it literally means might, mighty or mighty one as can be seen in the following passage.

 

Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand. (KJV, Deuteronomy 28:32)

 

From this we can gather that איל (ayil) literally means “one that stands tall in might,” like a buck, a post or a chief.

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Modern Word of the Month - Miqra

By: Jeff A. Benner

 

The Hebrew name for what Christians call the “Old Testament” is תנ'ך (T.N.K / Tanakh). The apostrophe in a Hebrew word, as we see in this word, means that it is an acronym. In this case, the acronym stands for Torah (the law), Nevi’iym (the prophets) and Ketuviym (the writings). However, there is another Hebrew word for “Bible” and that is מקרא (miqra). Miqra comes from the root קרא (qara, Strong's #7121). Qara literally means to call out to meet (and is sometimes translated as to “call” or to “meet”), but by extension to read as in ancient times readings were done in assemblies as we can see in Joshua 8:35.

 

There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them. (KJV)

 

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Name of the Month - Mahalaleel

By: Jeff A. Benner

 

Continuing with our series on the names of the descendents of Adam (Genesis 5), we will continue with the name Mahalaleel.

 

In Hebrew, this name is written as מהללאל (ma-ha-la-ley-eyl, Strong's #4111) and is a combination of two words, מהלל and אל. The root of מהלל is הלל (ha-lal, Strong's #1984) and means “to shine.” This can be the shining of a light such as from a flame or the moon, but figuratively the shining of a person’s character such as his fame or pride. From this root comes the word מהלל (ma-ha-lal, Strong's #4110) meaning “shining” or “one who shines.”

 

The second word is אל (eyl, Strong's #410), which literally means “mighty one,” but is often transliterated as “El.” The meaning of the name מהללאל can be “The shining of El or “The shining one of El.”

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Question of the Month – Compass points?

By: Jeff A. Benner

 

Q: What are the four compass points in Biblical Hebrew?

 

A: The Ancient Hebrews related the four compass points to their geography in relation to the land of Israel. The word for East is קדם (qedem), which is the place of the rising sun. The word for South is נגב (negev), which is the desert region to the south. The word for West is ים (yam), which is a word meaning “sea” and refers to the Mediterranean Sea. Finally, the word for North is צפון (tsaphon), which comes from a Hebrew root literally meaning “hidden,” probably alluding to the idea that the northern regions were unknown to them.

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Verse of the Month – Genesis 2:9

By: Jeff A. Benner

 

 וַיַּצְמַח יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים מִן הָאֲדָמָה כָּל עֵץ נֶחְמָד לְמַרְאֶה וְטוֹב לְמַאֲכָל וְעֵץ הַחַיִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַגָּן וְעֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע

 

And out of the ground made Jehovah God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (ASV)

 

 

וַיַּצְמַח (vai-yats-mahh)

The base word is the verb צמח (Ts.M.Hh) meaning “to spring up.” The prefix י (yud) identifies the verb tense as imperfect will spring up, and also identifies the subject of the verb as third person, masculine, singular he will spring up. The prefix ו (vav) means “and” but also reverses the tense of the verb from imperfect to perfect – and he sprang up. In addition, the verb is written in the hiphil (causative) form so would be translated as “and he caused to spring up.”

 

יְהוָה (YHWH)

This is the Tetragramaton, the four letter name of God.

 

אֱלֹהִים (eh-lo-heem)

The base word is אלוה (e-lo-ah), which is commonly translated as "God" or "god," but more literally means "one of power and authority." The suffix ים (iym) is the masculine plural so this word means “gods” or “ones of power and authority.” However, this plural noun is often used as a name for YHWH. Because this is being used as a name, it should be transliterated as “Elohiym” rather than translating it with the English word “God.” This name/word, as well as the name YHWH, is the subject of the previous verb – and YHWH the Elohiym caused to spring up.

 

מִן (meen)

This word means “from.”

 

הָאֲדָמָה (ha-a-da-mah)

The base word is אדמה (adamah) meaning “ground.” The prefix ה means “the” – the ground.

 

כָּל (kol)

This word means “all” or “every.”

 

עֵץ (eyts)

This word is a noun meaning “tree.”

 

נֶחְמָד (nehh-mad)

The base word is the verb חמד (Hh.M.D) meaning “to crave.” This verb is written in the participle form and would be a translated as “craving.” The prefix נ also identifies this verb as passive – “be a craving.”

 

לְמַרְאֶה (le-mar-eh)

The base word is מראה (mar’eh) meaning “appearance.” The prefix ל means “to” or “for” – for appearance.

 

וְטוֹב (ve-tov)

The base word is טוב (tov) meaning “good.” The prefix ו means “and” – and good.

 

לְמַאֲכָל (le-ma-a-khol)

The base word is מאכל (ma’a’khol) meaning “food.” The prefix ל means “to” or “for” – for food.

 

וְעֵץ (ve-eyts)

The base word is עץ (eyts) meaning “tree.” The prefix ו means “and” – and a tree.

 

הַחַיִּים (ha-hhai-yeem)

The base word is חי (hhai) meaning “living,” but the ים is the masculine plural suffix, which changes the meaning to “life.” The prefix ה means “the.” This word, with the previous one, is a compound phrase and would be translated as “the tree of life.”

 

בְּתוֹךְ (be-tokh)

The base word is תוך (tokh) meaning “middle.” The prefix ב means “in” – in the middle.

 

הַגָּן (ha-gan)

The base word is גן (gan) meaning “garden.” The prefix ה means “the” – the garden.

 

וְעֵץ (ve-eyts)

The base word is עץ (eyts) meaning “tree.” The prefix ו means “and” – and a tree.

 

הַדַּעַת (ha-da-at)

The base word is דעת (da’at) meaning “experience.” The prefix ה means “the.” This word, with the previous one, is a compound phrase and would be translated as “the tree of experience.”

 

טוֹב (tov)

This word means “good.”

 

וָרָע (va-ra)

The base word is רע (ra) meaning “bad.” The prefix ו means “and” – and bad.

 

The following is a literal rendering of this verse from its Hebraic meaning.

 

And YHWH the Elohiym caused to spring up from the ground every tree being a craving for appearance and good for food, and the tree of life was in the middle of the garden and the tree of experience of good and bad.

 

In following issues we will continue with this chapter.

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Mechanical Translation Excerpt - Genesis 6:17-22

17 and here am I, I am making the flood of water come upon the land to do much damage to all of the flesh which has in him the wind of life from under the sky, all of the ones which are in the land will expire, 18 and I will make my covenant rise with you and you will come to the vessel, you and your sons and your woman and the women of your sons with you, 19 and from all of the living ones, from all of the flesh, two from all of the ones you will bring to the vessel to live with you, male and female will exist, 20 from the flyer to his kind and from the beast to her kind, from all of the treaders of the ground to his kind, two from all will come to you to live, 21 and you take for you from all of the nourishment which will be eaten and you will gather for you and he will exist for you and for them for food, 22 and “No'ahh [Rest]” did just as “Elohiym [Powers]” directed him, so he did,

 

For details on this new translation see the web site at

http://www.mechanical-translation.org

 

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AHRC Website Excerpt – Adjectives

An adjective is a word that provides description to a noun. For instance, the Hebrew word טוֹב  is a common adjective such as in the phrase יוֹם טוֹב  (a good day, 1 Samuel 25:8). Notice that in Hebrew the adjective follows the noun it is describing. If the noun is preceded by the article ה  (as a prefix) then, the adjective will as well, such as in הָהָר הַטוֹב  (the good mountain, Deuteronomy 3:25).

The adjective will also match the gender of the noun. In the last two examples, the word
יוֹם  and הַר  are masculine nouns therefore, the masculine form טוֹב  is used. The word אֶרֶץ  (land) is a feminine word so the feminine טוֹבָה  is used in the phrase אֶרֶץ טוֹבָה  (a good land, Exodus 3:8). The adjective will also match the number (masculine or singular) of the noun. In each of our previous examples the singular form of the word טוֹב  is being used because the noun it is describing is also singular. In the phrase בָּתִּים טוֹבִים  (good houses, Deuteronomy 8:12) the word בֵית  (house) is used in the plural form therefore, the adjective is as well.

In the phrase הַמֶּלֶךְ טוֹב  the word מֶלֶךְ  (king) is prefixed by the article ה  (the) but, the word טוֹב  is not. In this case the word טוֹב  is not being used as an adjective but as a noun and should therefore be translated as “the king is good” or “the king is pleased” (Nehemiah 2:5).

It should be kept in mind that Biblical Hebrew does not really like adjectives but instead prefers to provide description by using verbs since the Ancient Hebrew mind describes things by their function and purpose rather than their appearance.

Some common Biblical adjectives are as follows.

Fem.

Masc.

Meaning

טוֹבה

טוֹב

good

רָעָה

רָע

bad, evil

גְּדוֹלָה

גָּדוֹל

great, large

קְטַנָּה

קָטַן

small, little

זֹאת

זֶה

This

הַהִיא

הַהוּא

That

אֶל / אֵלֶּא

אֶל / אֵלֶּא

These, Those

 

This article is located on the web site at

http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/43_lesson01.html

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What's New

We have added many new videos to the website. Below are links to these videos.

An Introduction to Ancient Hebrew

Videos related to the Ancient Hebrew Alphabet

Videos related to the Ancient Hebrew Vocabulary

Videos related to the Ancient Hebrew Language

Videos related to the Ancient Hebrew Culture

Videos related to the Hebrew Bible

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Editorials

Do you have a comment or personal insight into the articles in this issue of the E-Zine? If so, let us know.

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Corrections

Did you find any errors needing correction in the articles in this issue of the E-Zine? If so, let us know.

In the “Verse of the Month” in issue #049, under the word “Elohiym,” the sentence “This name/word is the subject of the verb ויטע (hayah) – and Elohiym planted” should have read “This name/word is the subject of the verb ויטע (vai’yi’ta) – and Elohiym planted.”

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Ancient Hebrew Dictionary by Jeff A. Benner

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Whether you know Hebrew or not, this book will provide you with a quick reference resource for learning the meaning of many Hebrew words that lie beneath the English translations, which will open new doors for you into Biblical interpretation.

 

Additional information and ordering details are available through the bookstore.

(http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/bookstore)

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Copyright © 2009

Jeff A. Benner

Ancient Hebrew Research Center

 

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