Biblical Hebrew eMagazine
Ancient Hebrew Research Center

March 2017        Issue #076

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    In This Issue of the BH eZine
Biblical Hebrew Word - Work (5)
Modern Hebrew Word - Shekel
Featured AHRC Book or DVD
Name Study - Nun
Verse Study - Genesis 3:11
Q & A - Sons or Children
In the News
MT Excerpt
AHRC Excerpt
AHRC Updates
Comments & Editorial

    Biblical Hebrew Word - Work (5)

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 word דבר (davar, Strong's #1697). In the King James Version this Hebrew word is usually translated as "word," which is the literal meaning of the word. But only once is it translated as work.

So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day's work required. (KJV, 1 Chronicles 16:37)

The literal translation of the phrase "every day's work required" from the Hebrew is "to the word of the day in his day," which is similar to the Young's Literal Translation that has "according to the matter of a day in its day." The word דבר (davar, Strong's #1697) is also frequently translated as "matter," such as in the following passage.

When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. (KJV, Exodus 18:16)

    Modern Hebrew Word - Shekel

In Biblical Hebrew the word שקל (sheqel, Strong's #8255) was used as unit of measure for measuring the weight of gold, silver or copper. The root of this word is שקל (Sh.Q.L, Strong's #8254) and means "to weigh."

When Israel became an independent nation in 1947 they inherited the "Palestinian Pound" as their form of currency, but in 1952 they replaced the "Palestinian Pound" with a new form of currency, the "Shekel." While the word "shekel" was used as a unit of weight in ancient times, in Modern Hebrew it is strictly used as a unit of currency. In 1985 the "Shekel," which suffered from hyperinflation, was replaced with the "New Shekel."

The Hebrew text in the lower left corner reads, Bank of Israel (top line); One new Shekel (bottom line).

    Featured AHRC Book or DVD
A History of Hebrew: Its Language and Philosophy
Available through the Ancient Hebrew Bookstore

This video explores the history of the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament by Christians and the Tanakh by Jews and its language and philosophy. The Hebrew Bible is an Ancient Near Eastern text, which was written millennia ago within a time and culture that is vastly different from our own. The author's perspectives on life and the world around them are steeped with their own traditions, lifestyles, manners and thoughts. When reading and studying this text we cannot interject our own cultural perspectives into the text, to do so would bring about interpretations and conclusions that are far removed from the authors intended meaning.

We will be examining the Hebrew alphabet, language, philosophy and culture to uncover the evidence that supports a perspective of these ancient Near Eastern texts that is very different from the way they are normally perceived and we will dig into the deeper meanings of these texts from an ancient perspective.

    Name Study - Nun

In the last issue we looked at the name Joshua. In this issue we will look at the name of Joshua's father, Nun (pronounced noon).

And Joshua the son of Nun... (KJV, Numbers 11:28)

The name נון (nun, Strong's #5126) is derived from the Hebrew verb נון (N.W.N, Strong's #5125), meaning "to continue." Also derived from this verb is the noun מנון (manon, Strong's #5126), meaning "heir," in the sense of the heir being the "The continuation of a lineage."

The word נון (nun) is also the name of the fourteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the letter נ (nun). In the ancient pictographic script of Hebrew this letter is a picture of a sprouting seed (see below), which "continues" the plant for the next generation.

    Verse Study - Genesis 3:11
וַיֹּאמֶר מִי הִגִּיד לְךָ כִּי עֵירֹם אָתָּה הֲמִן הָעֵץ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִיךָ לְבִלְתִּי אֲכָל מִמֶּנּוּ אָכָלְתָּ
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? (ASV)

וַיֹּאמֶר (vai-yo-mer) The base word is אמר (A.M.R) meaning "to say". The prefix י (y) identifies the verb as third person, masculine, singular and the tense of the verb as imperfect tense and would be translated as "he will say" or "he says". The prefix ו (v) means "and" and when prefixed to a verb will usually reverse the tense, in this case from imperfect to perfect tense and would be translated as "and he said".

מִי (miy) This word means "who."

הִגִּיד (hi-giyd) The base word is נגד (N.G.D) meaning "to be face to face." The prefix ה (hi) and the infix י (iy) identify the form of this verb as a "hiphil" (causative) verb and literally means "to cause to be face to face," but always used in the context of "to tell." The lack of any other prefixes or suffixes identify the subject of the verb as masculine, singular (he) and the tense of the verb as perfect tense – "he told." (Note that when this verb is conjugated, the letter נ (nun) is dropped, hence this letter is often called the "disappearing nun" when used in a verb.)

לְךָ (l-kha) The first letter is the prefix meaning "to" or "for." The second letter is the suffix meaning "you." Combined this word means "to you."

כִּי (kiy) This word means "for" or "because" and is used to explain what came previously.

עֵירֹם (ey-rom) This noun means "naked."

אָתָּה (a-tah) This Hebrew word is the pronoun meaning "you" (masculine,singular).

הֲמִן (ha-miyn) The base word is the preposition מן (miyn) meaning "from." The letter ה (ha) is the "interrogative" prefix, which makes the following sentence a question.

הָעֵץ (ha-eyts) The noun עץ (eyts) means "tree" or "trees." The prefix ה (ha) means "the" - "the tree(s)."

אֲשֶׁר (a-sher) This is a common Hebrew word meaning "which" or "who".

צִוִּיתִיךָ (tsi-viy-tiy-kha) The base word is the verb צוה (Ts.W.H) meaning "to direct." The suffix תי (tiy) identifies the subject of the verb as first person singular (I) and the tense of the verb as perfect tense "I directed." The suffix ך (kha) identifies the object of the verb as second person, masculine, singular (you) – "I directed you." (Note that when this verb is conjugated the letter ה (h) is dropped.)

לְבִלְתִּי (l-vil-tiy) The word בלתי (bil'tiy) is a preposition that can mean; except, but, inasmuch, not etc. In the context of this passage it can be translated as "not." The prefix ל (l) means "to" – "to not."

אֲכָל (a-khal) This is the verb אכל (A.K.L) meaning "to eat." The form of this verb is in the infinitive and simply means "eat."

מִמֶּנּוּ (mi-me-nu) The base word is מן (miyn) and is a preposition meaning "from." The suffix ו (u) means "him" – from him. But this word is never written as מנו (minu), but as ממנו (mi-me-nu). Why the extra מ (m) is added I do not know, it is probably an artifact from an ancient form of this word.

אָכָלְתָּ (a-khal-ta) The base word is the verb אכל (A.K.L) meaning "to eat." The suffix ת (ta) identifies the subject of the verb as second person, masculine, singular (you) and the tense of the verb as perfect tense "you ate."

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

And he said, "Who told to you that you are naked? Did you eat from the tree which I directed you to not eat from?

    Q & A - Sons or Children

Q: In your article "The Culture of the Hebrew Language" you quote Numbers 15:38 as saying "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, make tsiytsiyt on the corners of your garment." The site says this command is only addressed to the sons, which is a shocker because the English translations say "children," as well as some other concordances. I am wondering how you came to conclude this and where can I further research this?

A: This is a very good question and one I should probably address on my website, so thank you for bringing it up. The Hebrew word for "son" is בן (ben) and "sons" is בנים (benim). The Hebrew word for "daughter" is בת (bat) and "daughters" is בנות (banot). However, if there is a group of mixed genders, in this case "sons" and "daughters," the Hebrew will use the masculine plural, in this case בנים (benim). When I am translating the Hebrew I will always translate it literally, so I will always translate בנים (benim) as "sons." Usually the context of the passage will dictate if this masculine plural is referring to only male children or male and female children. However, in the case of the tzitziyt there is no context to help with this interpretation. Traditional Judaism has decided that this is only referring to sons and not daughters, which is why Jewish women do not wear tzitziyt. Outside of Judaism, some believe that it is referring to only sons and others believe it is referring to sons and daughters. This is a decision each person or group must make.

    In the News

1,800 Year-Old Column Engraved With Paleo-Hebrew Inscriptions Discovered
Article from BreakingIsraelNews

An 1,800-year-old limestone column capital engraved with two Hebrew inscriptions was discovered by the Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites during restoration and conservation work at an ancient synagogue in Israel's northern Galilee village of Peqi'in.

The stone was found in the synagogue courtyard, and archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority arrived at the site to examine the special find. The Authority said in a statement, "A preliminary analysis of the engravings suggests that these are dedicatory inscriptions honoring donors to the synagogue."

"The ancient Hebrew letters on this stone look very different from modern Hebrew text," explained Roni Segal, academic adviser for The Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, an online language academy, to Breaking Israel News. "The ancient alphabet is referred to as Paleo-Hebrew and was the common alphabet of the Levant and Sinai areas. These letters have been found on various stone engravings all over Israel and shed light on the Jewish presence in the land and their way of life since the time of the Second Holy Jerusalem Temple."

The ancient synagogue under excavation is adjacent to a newer one that served the Jewish community in Peki'in long before the establishment of the State of Israel. The older building dates back to the Talmudic era (2nd century), and is considered the place where renowned scholars Rabbi Joshua Ben Hananiah and Rabbi Akiva taught. That building was destroyed in a major earthquake in 1837 and a new synagogue was constructed in 1873 by a wealthy Lebanese Jew, Rabbi Raphael Halevy.

    MT Excerpt

Genesis 18:1-15

18:1&and "YHWH [He exists]" appeared to him in the great trees of "Mamre [Bitter place]" and he was settling in the opening of the tent in the heat of the day, 18:02&and he lifted up his eyes and he saw and look, three men were standing erect upon him and he saw and he ran from the opening of the tent to meet them, he bent himself down unto the land, 18:3&and he said, "Adonai [My lords]", please, if I find beauty in your eyes please do not cross over from upon your servant, 18:04&Please, a small amount of water will be taken and wash your feet and lean under the tree, 18:05&and I will take a fragment of bread and hold up your heart after you cross over since you crossed over upon your servant and they said, you will do so just as you said, 18:06&and "Avraham [Father lifted]" much hurried unto the tent to "Sarah [Noblewoman]" and he said hurry, knead three se'ahs of grain flour and make bread cakes, 18:07&and "Avraham [Father lifted]" ran to the cattle and he took a son of the cattle, tender and functional and he gave it to the young man and he much hurried to make him, 18:08&and he took cheese and fat and a son of the cattle which he made and he gave it to their face and he was standing upon them under the tree and they ate, 18:09&and they said to him, where is "Sarah [Noblewoman]" your woman, and he said, look, in the tent, 18:10&and he said, I will surely turn back to you at the appointed time of life and look, a son for "Sarah [Noblewoman]" your woman and "Sarah [Noblewoman]" was hearing in the opening of the tent and he was behind him, 18:11&and "Avraham [Father lifted]" and "Sarah [Noblewoman]" were bearded ones coming in the days, the path like the women terminated to exist for "Sarah [Noblewoman]", 18:12&and "Sarah [Noblewoman]" laughed within her saying, after I am worn out, pleasure exists for me and my lord is a bearded one, 18:13&and "YHWH [He exists]" said to "Avraham [Father lifted]", why is this, "Sarah [Noblewoman]" laughed saying, moreover indeed, will I bring forth and I am old, 18:14&can the word from "YHWH [He exists]" perform at the appointed time, I will turn back to you at the appointed time of life and to "Sarah [Noblewoman]" will be a son, 18:15&and "Sarah [Noblewoman]" denied saying, I did not laugh, given that she feared and he said, no, given that you laughed,

For additional details on this new translation, check out the MT Website.

    AHRC Excerpt

The process of translating and defining words in the Mechanical Translation of the Torah

While working on the Mechanical Translation, I was working on Leviticus 14:21 and the Hebrew word דל (dal), which means one who is poor, sick or weak. The investigation into this word provides an example of the process that I go through when translating and defining Hebrew words for this translation.

Years ago, when working on the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible I identified the Hebrew word דל (dal) as a parent (two-letter) root word. I found that all of the words derived from this parent root had the common theme of something "dangling." The word דלת (delet) is a "door" that dangles down from the tent roof. The verb דלל (D.L.L) means "to hang down" and the verb דלה (D.L.H) means "to draw water" as with a bucket that dangles on a rope. Derived from the verb דלה (D.L.H) are the words דליה (dal-yah), meaning a branch, which hangs in the tree, and דלי (deliy), a bucket, which hangs down in the well. From this I concluded that the word דל (dal) meant one who is poor, sick or weak in the sense of one who "dangles" his head down in weakness or shame.

Another word closely related to דל (dal) is דלה (dal-lah), a feminine noun with the same meaning as דל (dal). In the Masoretic Hebrew text and Hebrew dictionaries this feminine noun is written as דַּלָּה (dal-lah). The dots and dashes, called the nikkudot, represent vowels and other characteristics of Hebrew pronunciation. The dot in the center of the lamed (ל) is a dagesh which doubles the Hebrew letter, so this word could be written as דללה (d-l-l-h). If this were true, then this noun would have been derived out of the verb דלל (D.L.L), meaning "to hang down." However, the original Hebrew text did not include the dagesh or the other nikkudot, as they were created about 1000 years ago. So I surmised that the word דַּלָּה (dal-lah) was in fact the word דלה (da-lah) without the dagesh, and was simply the feminine form of דל (dal). I should note that feminine nouns are commonly formed by adding the letter ה (h) to a masculine noun.

In the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible I assigned the number 1081-A (Nm) to the masculine word דל (dal) and translated this word as "weak" and defined it as "one who dangles the head in poverty or hunger." I then assigned the number 1081-A (Nf1) to the feminine word דלה (dal-lah) and translated it as "poor" and defined it as "one who hangs the head low in weakness."

However, there was one problem. The Hebrew word דלה (dal-lah) was used in Song of Solomon 7:5 for "hair," which has no relationship with being sick, poor or weak. So I included two different translations for the word דלה (dal-lah), the first being "poor" and the second being "hair," which I defined as "what hangs from the head and is easily blown by the wind."

Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible entry for
דל and דלה

Nm) (דל DL) — Weak: One who dangles the head in poverty or hunger. [freq. 48] |kjv: poor, needy, weak, lean| {str: 1800}

Nf1) (דלה D-LH) — I. Poor: One who hangs head low in weakness. II. Hair: What hangs from the head and is easily blown by the wind. [freq. 8] |kjv: poor, pinning, sickness, hair| {str: 1803}

The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible was completed and published in 2005. A few years later I began working on the Mechanical Translation, using the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible as the foundation for the translation. As I work on this translation I am working to better define Hebrew words. I took another look at the Hebrew word דל (dal), which appears in Leviticus 14:21. I determined that since the words דל (dal) and דלה (da-lah) have the same meaning, but one being a masculine word and the other feminine, I chose to combine these two words into one entry. I also decided to change the translation of this word, from "weak" and "poor," to "helpless," which is a better descriptive translation of this word.

Mechanical Translation of the Torah entry for
דל and דלה

דל dal (m.) דלה da-lah (f.) Trans: HELPLESS Def: Unable to care or provide for one's self; one who is weak, sick or poor. Rel to root: The helpless dangle their head down in illness or poverty. Occurences: 6 Strong's: 1800

But I was still left with the problem of Song of Solomon 7:5 where this word is translated as "hair." It then occurred to me that while I had previously determined that the word דַּלָּה (dal-lah, with the dagesh) was actually the word דלה (da-lah, without the dagesh), it was quite possible that the word in Song of Solomon 7:5 was in fact the word דללה (dal-lah, with the dagesh) and was derived from the verb דלל (D.L.L), meaning "to hang down." This worked well as "hair" is what "hangs down" from the head.

Strong's Dictionary has assigned the number 1803 to the word דַּלָּה (dal-lah), which I have determined to be the words דלה (da-lah) and דללה (dal-lah), and identifies it as being derived from the verb דלה (D.L.H) meaning "to draw water with a dangling bucket." But the Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon identifies the root of דַּלָּה (dal-lah) as being derived from the verb דלל (D.L.L), meaning "to hang down." Strong's and Brown-Driver-Briggs agree that the word in question is דַּלָּה (dal-lah), but they disagree on the root of the word. While I do not claim to be smarter than any of these Hebraists, I do believe their work can be improved upon, such as I have done with the word דַּלָּה (dal-lah).

    AHRC Updates

New web content, articles, books, videos and DVDs produced by AHRC as well as any new events.

The Leningrad Codex (Images of the Torah) - 2/7/2017

    Comments & Editorial

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

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