Facebook YouTube
Home | Topics | Contact | | | Bookstore | Library | MT | AHLB
Topics Ancient Hebrew Alphabet

The Ancient Hebrew Alphabet

By Jeff A. Benner


Ancient Name: Thet?
Pictograph: Basket
Meanings: Surround, Contain, Mud
Sound: Th

History & Reconstruction

The original pictograph for this letter is , a container made of wicker or clay. Containers were a very important item among the nomadic Hebrews. They were used for storing grains, tools, foods, housewares and other items. Wicker baskets were used as nets for catching fish. The meanings of this letter are basket, contain, store and clay.

The twenty-second letter of the Hebrew alphabet is a tav, with a "t" sound. It is unlikely that the original Hebrew had two letters with the same sound. When the Greeks adopted the Hebrew alphabet this letter became the Greek theta. It is likely that the original sound for this letter was a "th," as adopted by the Greeks.

The Modern Hebrew name for this letter is tet, but probably originally pronounced thet, which means "mud" or "clay," materials used to make baskets.

The Early Semitic letter remained unchanged into the Middle Semitic script, but became in the Late Semitic script. The Late Semitic letter became the Θ (Theta) in the Greek alphabet, the Modern Hebrew ט and our number 6.

Semitic Script Charts

Ancient Hebrew Alphabet and Language

Related Pages by Jeff A. Benner

TheThe Ancient Pictographic Alphabet (Article)
The original Hebrew alphabet was written with pictures that reveal insights into Hebrew words.

TheThe Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet (Article)
The relationship between the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet and the Samaritan alphabet.

SabbathSabbath in Ancient Hebrew (Video)
Each letter in the Hebrew alphabet was originally a picture with meaning. In this video we will examine the letters in the Hebrew word shabbat.