Biblical Hebrew eMagazine
June 2016, Issue #073
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Biblical Word of the Month – Work (2)
Modern Word of the Month – Restaurant
Name of the Month – Jeremiah
Question of the Month – Lamed-Nun?
Verse of the Month – Genesis 3:8
MT Excerpt – Genesis 16:7-16
AHRC Excerpt – Greek and Aramaic Manuscripts of the NT
By: Jeff A. Benner
The King James Version of the Bible translates thirteen different Hebrew words (listed below) with the word "work," but each one of these Hebrew words have a specific meaning that means more than just "work."
מלאכה (m'la'khah, Strong's #4399)
עבד (Ah.B.D, Strong's #5647)
עבודה (avodah, Strong's #5656)
עשה (Ah.S.H, Strong's #6213)
מעשה (ma'a'seh, Strong's #4639)
פעל (P.Ah.L, Strong's #6466)
פועל (po'al, Strong's #6467)
פעולה (p'ul'lah, Strong's #6468)
דבר (davar, Strong's #1697)
יגיע (y'gi'a, Strong's #3018)
יד (yad, Strong's #3027)
עליליה (a'li'li'yah, Strong's #5950)
In this issue we will look at the second and third words in the list above, the Hebrew verb עבד (Ah.B.D, Strong's #5647) and the noun עבודה (avodah, Strong's #5656).
The verb עבד (Ah.B.D, Strong's #5647) is used about 290 times in the Hebrew bible and is translated in the King James Version of the Bible with the following English words; serve (227), do (15), till (10), servant (5), work (5), worshipper (5), service (4), dress (2), labour (2), ear (2), bondage (1), bondmen (1), bondservice (1), wrought (1) and several other ways when in combination with other Hebrew words.
The word עבד is a verb meaning "to serve." This may be the service from one person (a slave, servant or steward) to another (the master), but it may also be a service to the land, which is the first use of the word in the Hebrew Bible.
and all the shrubs of the field before existing in the land, and all the herbs of the field before springing up, given that Yhwh the Elohiym did not make it precipitate upon the land and it was without a human to serve the ground, (Revised Mechanical Translation, Genesis 2:5)
The word עבודה (avodah, Strong's #5656) is used about 141 times in the Hebrew bible and is translated in the King James Version of the Bible with the following English words; service (96), servile (12), work (10), bondage (8), act (2), serve (2), servitude (2), tillage (2), effect (1), labour (1) and several other ways when in combination with other Hebrew words.
The word עבודה is a feminine noun derived from עבד (Ah.B.D, Strong's #5647) and means "service," the work of a slave, servant or steward. Both עבודה and עבד are found in the following passage.
and their lives were very bitter with the hard service (עבודה), with mortar and with bricks and with all the service (עבודה) in the field, all their service (עבודה) which they served (עבד) in them with the whip, (Revised Mechanical Translation, Exodus 1:14)
By: Jeff A. Benner
The Hebrew word for a restaurant is מסעדה (mis-a-dah). This feminine noun is derived from the Biblical Hebrew verb סעד (S.Ah.D, Strong's #5582), which means to "to hold up," "to be a support or aid for strength or rest." This verb is sometimes used in the sense of providing strength (support) from food.
And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts (KJV, Genesis 18:5)
A noun מסעדה is formed out of the verb סעד by adding the letter ה to the end of the root, which is a common means of creating a feminine noun, and the letter מ to the beginning of the root, which is a common means of creating a noun meaning "the place of [the meaning of the root-support]."
By: Jeff A. Benner
The name Jeremiah is written in Hebrew as ירמיה / ירמיהו (yir-me-yah / yir-me-yahu, Strong's #3414) and is composed of two words; ירמ and יה.
ירמ is the verb רום (R.W.M, Strong's #7311), meaning to "lift up," with the letter י (yud) as a prefix, which identifies the subject of this verb as masculine singular and the tense of the verb as "imperfect" – "he lifts up." It should also be noted that the letter ו (vav) is dropped from the verb when it is conjugated.
יה (Yah, Strong's #3050) is one of the names of God and is the subject of the verb – Yah lifts up.
Question of the Month – Lamed-Nun?
By: Jeff A. Benner
I get a lot of questions through email, Facebook, etc. from people who are learning to read Hebrew concerning various prefixes and suffixes. I received the following question this week, which is typical of many others that I get, and I am sharing it here as it provides me a chance to help people out with some advice on prefixes and suffixes.
Q: Shalom. Thank you for your website and documents. I have been using and sharing with others http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/ and have purchased a hardcopy of the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon which I use to help me understand Torah in the context in which it is written. Of course I have many questions, but the most pressing presently is the prefix lamed-nun. For example in Isaiah 61:6 and Psalms 34:18, in trying to understand brokenhearted, I keep seeing the lamed-nun prefix in front of the word. (highlighted in yellow)
Where can I go to find and use resources that will help me with prefixes such as this one? I have found that lamed means to or from, but cannot find anything for nun, or lamed and nun together.
A: One of the best resources for breaking down the morphology of Hebrew words is Benjamin Davidson's Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon , which is available as a free download in our bookstore. In this lexicon each Hebrew word in the Hebrew Bible is listed alphabetically. Below is the entry for the word in question above.
At the far right is the root word שׁבר, which can be looked up in the lexicon for the definition "to break, break in pieces."
At the far left the lexicon identifies the letter ל (l) as a prefix, which as the person asking the question pointed out means "to." Then it identifies the verb as a niphil participle plural construct masculine. Verbs can be a little tricky, but after doing a number of these types of word studies you will soon learn the rules. Niphil verbs add a נ (n) prefix to the verb. Participles turn verbs into a noun (breaking). Masculine plural participles (breakings) add the suffix ים (iym), but because it is a construct (breakings of), the letter מ (m) is dropped. When this word is translated in combination with the prefix ל (l) and the word לב (lev, meaning heart), you have the translation "to the breakings of the heart."
Verse of the Month – Genesis 3:8
By: Jeff A. Benner
וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶת־קֹול יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּגָּן לְרוּחַ הַיֹּום וַיִּתְחַבֵּא הָאָדָם וְאִשְׁתֹּו מִפְּנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים בְּתֹוךְ עֵץ הַגָּן׃
And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden. (ASV)
The base word is שמע (Sh.M.Ah), a verb meaning "to hear." The prefix י (y) and the suffix ו (u) identify the subject of the verb as third person, masculine, plural, imperfect tense (they will hear). The prefix ו (v) means "and" and will also reverse the tense of the verb from imperfect to perfect (and they heard).
This word precedes the definite object of a verb telling us that the next word is what is receiving the action of the previous verb. This word is a grammatical tool used in Biblical Hebrew and has no equivalent in English and is therefore never translated.
This noun means "voice" or "sound."
This is the Tetragrammaton, the four letter name of the God of the Hebrews, usually pronounced Yahweh. There are many theories as to the origin and meaning of this name but most likely comes from the verb הוה (hawah) meaning to exist. The letter yud added to the beginning identifies the object of the verb as first person, masculine, singular, imperfect tense or "he exists".
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.” When this and the previous name are combined, they are translated in the English translations as "LORD God," but grammatically should be translated as "YHWH of Elohiym" as two nouns put together should be translated in the construct form.
The base word is the verb הלך (H.L.K) meaning "walk." This is a hitpa'el verb, identified with the prefix הת (hit), which is the reflexive form, which means that the action of the verb is directed toward the subject of the verb, which in this case is YHWH of Elohiym. The prefix מ (m) turns the verb into a participle (walking), but the letter ה (h) of the hitp'el prefix is dropped when the letter מ (m) is added.
The noun גן (gan) is a garden, and the prefix ב (ba) means “in the” – in the garden.
This is the noun רוה (ru'ahh) meaning "wind," with the prefix ל (l) meaning "to" or "for."
This is the noun יום (yom) meaning "day," with the prefix ה (ha) meaning "the."
The base word is the verb חבא (Hh.B.A) meaning "hide." This is a hitpa'el verb, identified with the prefix הת (hit), which is the reflexive form, which means that the action of the verb is directed toward the subject of the verb, which is the next word. The prefix י (y) identifies the verb tense as imperfect - will hide - and the subject of the verb as third person, masculine, singular - he will hide, but the letter ה (h) of the hitp'el prefix is dropped when the letter י (y) is added. The prefix ו (u) means “and,” but also reverses the tense of the verb – and he hid.
The base word is אדם (adam) meaning “man.” The prefix ה means “the” – the man.
The base word is אשה (ishah) meaning "woman.” The suffix ו (o) means "of him," but because this is a construct (woman of him) the letter ה (h) is turned into a ת (t). The prefix ו (v) means "and" – "and the woman of him" or "and his woman."
This base word is the noun פנה (paneh) meaning a "face," but is always written in the plural form-פנים (paniym), but note that they letter ה (h) is dropped when the plural suffix is added. Also, because this is a construct (faces of), the מ (m) is also dropped from the plural noun. The prefix מ (m) means "from" – from the faces of. In Hebrew, the "face" is always written in the plural, but should be translated as a singular – from the face of.
This is again the tetragrammaton, the name of God.
This is again the name Elohiym.
This is the noun תוך (tokh) meaning "middle" or "center." The prefix ב (b) means "in."
This noun means "tree," but can also mean "trees." While most Hebrew nouns have a singular and plural form, this word is unique in that the singular form, such as is written here, can stand for the singular and the plural form. The plural form of this word is עצים (etsiym) and means "wood." Usually the context of a passage will determine if this noun is to be understood as a singular or plural, and in this case it is plural.
The noun גן (gan) is a garden, and the prefix ה (ha) means “the” – the garden.
The following is a literal rendering of this verse from its Hebraic meaning.
And they heard the voice/sound of YHWH of Elohiym walking in the garden for the wind of the day, and the man hid, and his woman, from the face of YHWH of Elohiym in the middle of the trees in the garden.
In following issues we will continue with this chapter.
Mechanical Translation Excerpt - Genesis 16:7-16
16:07&and the messenger of “YHWH [He exists]” found her upon the eye of the water in the wilderness upon the eye in the road of “Shur [Caravan]”, 16:08&and he said, “Hagar [Stranger]”, the maid of “Sarai [Princess]”, from where did you come and wherever are you walking and she said, from the face of “Sarai [Princess]” my female owner I am fleeing away, 16:09&and the messenger of “YHWH [He exists]” said to her, turn back to your female owner and afflict yourself under her hands, 16:10&and the messenger of “YHWH [He exists]” said to her, I will make your seed an increase of an increase and he will not be counted from an abundance, 16:11&and the messenger of “YHWH [He exists]” said to her, look, you are pregnant and you will bring forth a son and you will call out his title “Yishma'el [El will listen]” given that “YHWH [He exists]” will hear your affliction, 16:12&and he will exist as a wild ass of a human, his hand with all and a hand of all of the ones with him and upon the face of all of his brothers he will dwell, 16:13&and she called out the title of “YHWH [He exists]”, the one speaking to her, you are “El-Ra'iy [El seeing me]” given that she said also, at this point will I see after seeing me, 16:14&therefore he called out to the well “Be'er-Lahhiy-Ro'iy [Well for the living seeing me]”, look, it is between “Kadesh [Set apart]” and “Bered [Hail]”, 16:15&and “Hagar [Stranger]” brought forth for “Avram [Father raised]” a son and “Avram [Father raised]” called out the title of his son which “Hagar [Stranger]” brought forth “Yishma'el [El will listen]”, 16:16&and “Avram [Father raised]” was a son of eighty six years in the giving birth of “Hagar [Stranger]” to “Yishma'el [El will listen]” for “Avram [Father raised]”,
For details on this new translation see the web site at
There are two different ancient texts of the New Testament; the Greek version and the Aramaic version (called the Peshitta). While most people are familiar with the Greek New Testament, very few are even aware that an Aramaic New Testament even exists.
The oldest and most
complete Greek manuscripts are the Codex Sinaiticaus and the Codex Vaticanus.
Both of these date to the 4th Century AD. The oldest and most complete Aramaic
manuscript is British Library, Add. 14470, which dates to the 5th Century AD.
While each of these texts were scribed 300 to 400 years after the events of the
New Testament, they are each undoubtedly copies of previous manuscripts.
Beside these two questions, there is another possibility to the origins of the New Testament. Hebrew, a sister language to Aramaic, was predominately used by Jews in the 1st century AD for both religious and secular writings, as attested to in the Dead Sea Scrolls. While no ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the New Testament exist today, it is possible that they did exist at one time, which poses two other questions.
If the New Testament
was originally written in Greek, then the Greek New Testament, and the
translations from the Greek, will be the more reliable text. However, if the
New Testament was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, then the Aramaic New
Testament, and the translations from the Aramaic, will be the more reliable
This article is located on the web site at
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Thank you Mary Lou for pointing out that the scripture in the "Modern Word of the Month" should be Genesis 42:27 and not 43:27.
Copyright © 2016
Jeff A. Benner
Ancient Hebrew Research Center
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