Ancient Hebrew Research Center
Biblical Hebrew eMagazine
January, 2018
Issue #082
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In This Issue

Biblical Hebrew Word - Friend
Modern Hebrew Word - Church
Featured AHRC Product - Alphabet Wall Chart
Name Study - Philistine
Verse Study - Genesis 3:16
Q & A - Nikkudot
In the News - Clay Bulla
MT Excerpt - Genesis 19:29-38
AHRC Excerpt - Tent Dwellings
AHRC Updates
Comments & Editorial

Biblical Hebrew Word - Friend

The Hebrew word for a friend is רע (ra, Strong's #7453). This word can also mean a "companion," and is related to many words that have to do with shepherding and the shepherd, the companion and friend of the flock. The verb רעה (R.Ah.H, Strong's #7462) means "to feed," but the participle form of this verb, רעי (ro'iy) is a shepherd. The words מרעה (mir'eh, Strong's #4829), מרעית (mar'iyt, Strong's #4830) and רעי (r'iy, Strong's #7471) mean "pasture."

Interestingly, the word רע (ra, Strong's #7451) can also mean "bad" or "evil." How can this one word mean both "friend" and "evil?" While the Modern Hebrew alphabet consists of twenty-two letters, evidence suggests that there were additional letters in the original Semitic and Hebrew alphabets. One of the ancient Semitic languages of Canaan was Ugarit. This ancient language is almost identical to the Hebrew language of the Bible but, instead of consisting of twenty-two letters it has twenty-eight letters. One of the major differences between Ugarit and Hebrew is the additional letter ghayin, which does not exist in Hebrew, but evidence suggests that the letter ghayin did originally exist in the Ancient Hebrew alphabet, but at some point in the past, prior to the writing of the Bible, the letter ghayin began to be written with the letter ayin.

Therefore, The Hebrew word רע (ra, Strong's #7451), meaning "evil," was originally spelled resh-ghayin, whereas, the Hebrew word רע (ra, Strong's #7453), meaning "friend," was originally spelled resh-ayin.

Modern Hebrew Word - Church

ChurchThe Modern Hebrew word for a "church" is כנסייה (k'ney'si'yah), written as כְּנֵסִיָה with the nikkudot (vowel pointings), and can refer to the building or the organization. This word is derived from the Biblical Hebrew root word כנס (K.N.S, Strong's #3664) and means to "gather together."

In the Greek New Testament the word for "church" is ἐκκλησία (ekklesia, Strong's #1577) and literally means a "gathering of people." In the Aramaic New Testament, the Peshitta, the Aramaic word עדה (ey'dah) is used and is equivalent to the Hebrew word עדה (ey'dah, Strong's #5712). This word is used throughout the Old Testament and is translated in various ways including; congregation, company, assembly, multitude, people and swarm.

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel… (Exodus 12:3, KJV) Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together… (Numbers 20:8, KJV)

…there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. (Judges 14:8, KJV)

There are two other Hebrew words that can mean an "assembly," and could therefore be translated as "church."

The Hebrew word מועד (mo'eyd, Strong's #4150) also means "assembly" or "congregation" and is closely related to the word עדה (ey'dah). Both מועד and עדה come from the two-letter parent root עד (eyd, Strong's #5707), which means a "witness" or "testimony."

And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation (מועד – mo'eyd): and thou shalt gather the whole assembly (עדה – ey'dah) of the children of Israel. (Numbers 8:9, KJV)

And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly (עדה – ey'dah) was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation (מועד – mo'eyd). (Leviticus 8:4, KJV)

The other Hebrew word that could be translated as "church" is the word קהל (qahal, Strong's #6951), which also means an "assembly."

When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation (קהל – qahal) shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation (מועד – mo'eyd). (Leviticus 4:14, KJV)

Featured AHRC Product - Hebrew Alphabet Wall Chart

Ancient Hebrew Alphabet Wall ChartThis poster (16" x 20") is a chart of the history of the Hebrew Alphabet from its original pictographic script to the Modern Hebrew alphabet and its relationship to the Greek and Latin alphabets. Also included in the chart are the meanings of the pictographs and the various meanings of each letter, as well as the names and sounds for each letter. A handy reference chart for when studying the Ancient Hebrew letters.

Name Study - Philistine

The Anglicized word “Philistine” means “a native or inhabitant of ancient Philistia,” and comes from the Hebrew word פלישתי (p’liysh’tiy, Strong’s #6430). To define this word we need to examine the root of this word.

The root word פלש (P.L.Sh, Strong’s #6428) is a verb meaning “to wallow” or “to roll.” Derived from this verb is the noun לשת (peleshet, Strong’s #6429). This noun is not used in the Biblical text, except as the name of a place (Philistia), and it’s meaning is uncertain, but probably means a “wallower” (one who wallows) or something to that effect.

The word פלישתי (p’liysh’tiy, Strong’s #6430) literally means “one of peleshet/Philistia.” The plural form is פלישתים (peliyshtim) and literally means “ones of peleshet/Philistia.”

Verse Study - Genesis 3:16

אֶל־הָאִשָּׁה אָמַר הַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה עִצְּבֹונֵךְ וְהֵרֹנֵךְ בְּעֶצֶב תֵּלְדִי בָנִים וְאֶל־אִישֵׁךְ תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ וְהוּא יִמְשָׁל־בָּךְ׃
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (ASV)

אֶל (el) This word is a preposition meaning "to" or "toward."

הָאִשָּׁה (ha'iy'shah) The prefix ה means "the." The word אשה (iyshah) means "woman" and is derived from the word איש (iysh) meaning "man."

אָמַר (a'mar) The word אמר (A.M.R) is a verb meaning "to say." The absence of any prefix or suffix identifies the subject of the verb as third person, masculine, singular and the tense of the verb as perfect - "he said."

הַרְבָּה (har'bah) This is the verb רבה (R.B.H) meaning to be multiplied. The prefix ה (ha) identifies the verb as a hiphil (causative) verb and means "cause to be multiplied."

אַרְבֶּה (ar'beh) This is again the verb רבה (R.B.H) meaning to be multiplied. The prefix א (a) identifies the verb as a hiphil (causative) verb and the subject of the verb as first person, singular and means "I cause to be multiplied," but because this verb is written twice, it means "I cause to be greatly multiplied."

עִצְּבֹונֵךְ (its'vo'neykh) This is the noun עצבון (i'tsa'von) meaning "pain." The suffix ך (eykh) is the possessive pronoun meaning "your" (feminine) – "your pain."

וְהֵרֹנֵךְ (v'hey'ro'neykh) This is the noun הרון (hey'ron) meaning "pregnancy." The suffix ך (eykh) is the possessive pronoun meaning "your" (feminine) and the prefix ו (v) means "and" – "and your pregnancy."

בְּעֶצֶב (b'e'tsev) This is the noun עצב (e'tsev) meaning "pain" and is related to the word עצבון (i'tsa'von) above. The prefix ב (b) means "in" – "in your pain."

תֵּלְדִי (teyl'diy) This is the verb ילד (Y.L.D) meaning "to bring forth" and is often used in the context of "childbirth." The prefix ת (tey) and the suffix י (iy) identify the subject of the verb as second person, feminine, singular and the verb tense as imperfect – "you will bring forth."

בָנִים (va'niym) This is the noun בן (ben) meaning "son," with the masculine plural suffix ים (iym) – "sons." It should be noted that this word can also mean "children" as the Hebrew language will use the masculine plural form when speaking of a group of mixed genders.

וְאֶל (v'el) The word אל (el) means "to" or "toward" with the prefix ו (v) meaning "and."

אִישֵׁךְ (iy'sheykh) This is the noun איש (iysh) meaning "man" with the suffix ך (eykh) meaning "your (feminine)" – "your man."

תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ (t'shu'qa'teykh) This is the noun תשוקה (teshuqah) meaning "desire" with the suffix ך (eykh) meaning "your (feminine)" – "your desire." Note that when the suffix is added, the letter ה (hey) in the word תשוקה (teshuqah) is changed to the letter ת (tav).

וְהוּא (v'hu) This is the pronoun הוא (hu) meaning "he" with the prefix ו (v) meaning "and."

יִמְשָׁל (yim'shal) This is the verb משל (M.Sh.L) meaning "rule." The prefix י (yi) identifies the subject of the verb as third person, masculine, singular and the tense of the verb as imperfect – "he will rule."

בָּךְ (bakh) This is the prefix ב (b) meaning "in" and the suffix ך (kh) meaning "you (feminine)" – "in you."

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

To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your pain and your pregnancy, in pain you will bring forth sons, and to your man is your desire, and he will rule in you.

Q & A - Nikkudot?

Q: Can the vowel pointings (the nikkudot) change the meaning of a word?

A: In Genesis 7:7 is the word וַיָּבֹא (vai'ya'vo), which means "and he came." The verb is the verb בוא (B.W.A) meaning "to come." This verb form is the Qal (simple) form.

In Genesis 2:19 is the word וַיָּבֵא (vai'ya'vey). Notice that this verb is spelled exactly the same except for the different final vowel. This is again the verb בוא (B.W.A) meaning "to come," but this is the hiphil (caustaive) form and means "and he caused to come" or "and he brought."

As I am sure you are aware of, the vowel pointings were invented about 1000 years ago by the Masorites and prior to this invention, Hebrew was only written with consonants. There are many times in the Dead Sea Scrolls where the letters Vav and Yud are used, but in the Masortic text they are removed and replaced with vowel pointings. A good example of this is the word Elohiym, which in the Masoretic text is written as אֱלֹהִים (note the hholam, the dot after the lamed), but in the Dead Sea Scrolls as אלוהים (Note the letter vav after lamed). I cannot prove this, but I believe the ancient spelling of the two verb forms I discussed above, were ויבוא (vai'ya'vo) and ויביא (vai'ya'vey).

In the News - Clay Bulla

Why Israelis Are Excited About this 2,700-Year-Old Piece of Clay

2,700 year old Clay BullaArchaeologists have discovered a 2,700-year-old clay stamp near Jerusalem's Western Wall that seems to shed some light on the political structure of the ancient society that inhabited the city.

The researchers who announced the discovery worked on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which funds archaeology and typically focuses on discoveries that the agency interprets to legitimize Israeli claims on the city of Jerusalem, as has been pointed out by Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post in past news reports.

The 0.5 by 0.6-inch (13 by 15 millimeters) clay stamp depicts two figures facing one another above archaic Hebrew script that reads "לשרער" (roughly: l'sar'ir). The researchers said that the word is a condensed version of the phrase "לשר העיר," (l'sar ha-ir) which means "belonging to the governor of the city."

MT Excerpt - Genesis Genesis 19:29-38

19:29&and it came to pass "Elohiym [Powers]" greatly damaged the cities of the roundness and "Elohiym [Powers]" remembered "Avraham [Father lifted]" and he sent "Loth [Covering]" from the midst of the overturning, in overturning the cities which "Loth [Covering]" settled in, 19:30&and "Loth [Covering]" and his two daughters with him, went up from "Tso'ar [Tiny]" and settled in the hill given that he feared to settle in "Tso'ar [Tiny]" and he and his two daughters settled in the cave, 19:31&and the firstborn woman said to the little one, our father is old and not a man in the land to come upon us like the road of all of the land, 19:32&walk, we will make our father drink wine and we will lay down with him and we will live from our father a seed, 19:33&and they made their father drink wine in that night and the firstborn woman came and she laid down with her father and he did not know in her laying down and in her rising, 19:34&and it came to pass the next day and the firstborn woman said to the little one, though I laid down last night with my father we will make him drink wine also tonight and come and lay down with him and we will live from our father a seed, 19:35&and they made their father drink wine also in that night and the little one rose and she laid down with him and he did not know in her laying down and in her rising, 19:36&and the two daughters of "Loth [Covering]" conceived from their father, 19:37&and the firstborn woman brought forth a son and she called out his title "Mo'av [From father]", he is the father of the "Mo'av [From father]" until today, 19:38&and the little one, she also brought forth a son and she called out his title "Ben-Amiy [Son of my people]", he is the father of the sons of "Amon [Tribe]" until today,

AHRC Excerpt - Tent Dwellings

In the Bible, living in tents is of ancient origin. It goes back before the days of Abraham. The first reference in the Scriptures to tent life is concerning the man Jabal, of whom it is said, "he was the father of such as dwell in tents" (Gen. 4:20). Following the Flood the Sacred Record says, "God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem" (Gen. 9:27).

The patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived most of their lives in tents, in and around the land of Canaan. It was said of Abraham that he "pitched his tent" in the vicinity of Bethel (Gen. 12:8), that Isaac "pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar" (Gen. 26:17), and Jacob "Pitched his tent before the city of Shechem" (Gen. 33:18).

The Children of Israel lived in tents during their forty years in the wilderness. Moses said of them, "The children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp" (Num. 1:52). And Balaam "lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes" (Num. 24:2).

For many years after the entering of the Promised Land, Israel still lived in tents. In the days of David it was said to the King, "The ark and Israel and Judah, abide in tents" (2Sam. 11:11), indicating that many of the people at that time were tent- dwellers. Even at the time of the revolt of the ten tribes under Jeroboam and their separation from Judah, the cry went forth, "To your tents, O Israel" (1Kings 12:16). When the tribes gathered together at such small places as Gilgal, and Shiloh, they undoubtedly brought their tents with them. And after the temple was built at Jerusalem the people would make their pilgrimages there to celebrate the feasts of the Lord, and many thousands of them would sleep in tents on the mountains surrounding the city.

Like the Jews of old, the Nomad or Bedouin Arabs of Palestine, and especially those of Trans-Jordan, have been living in tents for centuries, and their manner of life is strikingly like unto that of the early Bible characters. A study, therefore, of these tent structures of Bible lands of today will throw much light on how the men of early Bible times actually lived. By such a study one can build the proper background for understanding the life and contributions of these men of the long ago.

AHRC Updates

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Comments & Editorial

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