The California Institute for Ancient Studies
Dictionary Lexicon of the Hebrew Language
Helping to read ancient texts
NEW - under periodic additions
Short account of Hebrew grammar
The Hebrew Alphabet:
EA Letters
Seal Impressions
The 10 Devarim
The classical Hebrew letter Aleph Aleph
Hebrew letter Aleph from seal impressions Aleph, from seal impressions
The classical Hebrew letter Bet Bet
Bet Bet, from seal impressions
Gimmel Gimmel
Siloam Inscription letter `Gimmel'.  BAR, March 1997. Gimmel, from Siloam Inscription
Daled Daled
Daled Daled, from ivory pomegranate
Shebnah daled, 700 BCShebnah daled of ca. 700 BC.
He or Hay He, Hay
Heor He, from seal impressions
Waw, or Vav Waw, Vav
Waw, or Vav Waw from seal impressions
Vav from seal of Shebna`Vav' from the seal of Shebna , ca. 700 BC.
Zayin Zayin
Zayin?Zayin?, from seal impression ZayinZayin, from Siloam inscription
Chet Chet
Paleo letter chet Paleo chet
Tet Tet
Paleo letter `tet'
Yod or Yod Yod, Yod
Yod Yod, from seal impressions
Kaf or Chaf Chaf, Kat Final Kaf Final Kaf
Kat, variant of `Kaf' or `Kat'? Kat, from seal impressions
Lamed Lamed
Lamed Lamed, from seal impressions
Mem Mem Final Mem Final Mem
orMem Mem, from seal impressions
Nun Nun Final Nun Final Nun
Nun Nun, from seal impressions
Samech Samech
Samech Samech, from seal impressions
Ayin?Ayin?, from seal impression
AyinAyin, from Shebna lintel
Pe, Pay or Fay Pe, Pay, Fay Final Pe Final Pe
Pe Pe, from seal impressions
Tsade or Tsadee Tsade, Tsadee Final Tsade Final Tsade
Siloam Inscription letter `tsade' Tsade, Siloam Inscription
Qof or Qaf Qof, Qaf
Qof or Qaf Qof, from ivory pomegranate
Resh Resh
Resh Resh, from seal impressions
Sin or Shin Sin, Shin
Sin or Shin Sin, from ivory pomegranate
Taw Taw
Siloam letter tawLetter `taw' from Siloam inscription

Compare the above alphabet also with an ancient looking student's `abcdeary' scratched on a potsherd and found at Izbet Sartah. Interestingly enough this writing is to be read from left to right. A portion of a student's ABCEDary from Izbet Sartah, Israel. BAR, Vol. 28, May/Jun 2002, p. 44.
Hebrew tomb inscription of individual, handwritten Hebrew letters not in sequence of the original text.
aleph=Aleph bet=Bet daled?=Resh he=He or Hay waw=Waw or Vav zayin?=Zayin? yod=Yod or Yod kaf=Kaf of Chaf lamed=Lamed mem=Mem samech=Samech Ayin=Ayin, according to M. Kallos; But see BAR seal of Jezebel.  Sign should be either Ayin or Zayin pe=Pe or Pay resh=Resh sin=Sin or Shin tet/taw=tet ? TsadePaleo letter `tsade'
This is [the sepulchre of ...]yahu who is over the house. There is no silver and no gold here / but [his bones] and the bones of his slave wife with him. Cursed be the man who will open this.

Letters from the Tel Dan Inscription, BAR, 1994
aleph=aleph dan_1 bet=bet dan_4 daled=daled dan_7 he=he dan_11 waw=waw dan_13 yod=yod dan_2 lamed=lamed dan_lamed mem=mem dan_6 samech?=samech dan_15 pe=pe dan_15 qof=qof dan_8 resh?=resh dan_10 sin=sin dan_14 ? ? ?

Letters from seal impressions, BAR, 1994
Hay=From the seal of Peqah, the armor bearer and later king of Israel.  Biblical Archaeologist, March 1986. yod= kaf= lamed= mem= nun= samech= ayin=Ayin pe= resh=

Paleo letters from about 100 BC, BAR, 1997
Alep=Paleo-Hebrew letter Alep.  BAR, March 1997. he=paleo letter `He' kap=Paleo letter `kap' or `kaf' lamed=Paleo letter `lamed' mem=Paleo letter `mem' sade=Paleo letter `sade' qop=Paleo letter `qop/qof'

Hebrew letters from the Siloam Inscription, about 650 BC, BAR, 1997
Gimmel=Siloam Inscription letter `Gimmel'.  BAR, March 1997. zayin=Siloam Inscription letter `Zayin' chet=Siloam Inscription letter `chet' tsade=Siloam Inscription letter `tsade' Right: Seal ring of Hanan: 1. lhnn b, 2. n, hlqyhw, 3. hkhn; `(Belonging) to Hanan, son (of) Hilqiyahu, the priest'. Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `bet' as part of `bn' (ben=son) Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `nun' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `nun' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `hay' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `lamed' (means `belonging')
Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `waw' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `hay' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `yod' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `qof' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `lamed' Seal Ring of Hanan, variant letter `hay' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `nun', the `n' of `ben' (son)
Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `nun' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `hay' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `kaf' Seal Ring of Hanan, letter `hay'
From the Siloam Inscription only letters appear which are not already documented elsewhere.

Hebrew letters from an unusual seal impression containing only the title `Governor of the city' in paleo-Hebrew script. The seal has two Assyrian style figures representing the king holding a bow and arrows in front of him and the governor with his hand raised, indicating submission. [BAR, Sep/Oct, 1987, p. 62] Assyrian seal `resh?' letter `ayin' letter `hay' letter `resh' letter `shin' Reading right to left: The word for governor is `sar' (officer, controler), made up of `shin' and `resh'. The Hebrew word for city here is `ha-ir' represented by the letters `hay', `ayin' (the circle) and `resh'. [For this title see: Judges 9:30; 1.Kings 22:26; 2.Chronicles 34:8; 2.Kings 23:8] Professor Avigad believed this seal belonged to the governor of Jerusalem during Assyrian times.

For more examples of ancient Hebrew alphabetic writing samples see Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 48, June 1985, p. 84f.; Includes letters traced from Lachish Ostraca, Arad Ostracon VI, Leviticus and Hasmonian coins. Also BAR, Vol. 19, Jul/Aug 1993, p. 49.
Hebrew to English
abiyr, mighty (G-d);
echad, one, [`echad/one' is always used by associating more than one object, `the evening and the morning were one day', `gathering together of the waters into one sea', `man and wife shall be one flesh'. None of these examples use the other Hebrew word for `one', `yachid'.
adamah, land, earth, ground;
adown, sovereign, lord, master (human or divine);
agmown, marshy pool, caldron, (bull) rushes;
Ahimaaz, Hebrew name for `Ahmose', 1.Sam. 14:50;
Ehyeh asher Ehyeh, `I Am who I Am', Ex. 3:14;
oklah, food, diet; [Genesis 1:29]
eleph, thousand, family, clan; [Judges 6:15 RV, Zechariah 9:7; 12:5,6 RSV] or perhaps `a military unit'.
Elohim, [Exodus 22:8; "... he shall be brought unto the `elohim'", `elohim' is gods in the ordinary sense, but specifically used of the supreme G-d; occasionally applied by way of deference to `magistrates'; and sometimes as a superlative to angels, judges, mighty, great, exceeding. In the above vers `elohim' is translated as judges.
aluwph, chieftain, dukes; [Genesis 36:15]
em, mother;
amin, to be; [Genesis 10:8]
amwan, loyal;
aru, lion;
esh, fire.
'asham, guilt, guilt offering;
'atsar, to store up, (lay up in) store, (make) treasure(r);
awb, chief, father;
'owr, to be luminous, light of day;
badaq, As a noun: fissure, as in to go into the fissure, to treat the fissure; Root meaning is: break off, divide; 2.Ki. 12:1, 6; 2.Chr. 34:10;
balah, to fail, wear out, decay, consume, waste;
bara, created, Gen. 1:1.[100]
betach careless, in confidence, Judges 18:7; Isa. 47:8; Eze. 30:9.
bazaz, plunder, catch, gather;
belulim, spiral (winding) staircase, 1.Kings 6:8; [BAR, May 2003, p. 30. `b' is part of the root.]
In-beginning, b're-sith, In the beginning [Genesis 1:1];
Bit Abadim (or Bet Avadim), house of bondage;
bore, cistern;
buwe, to trample (under foot);
ga'ah, to mount up, to rise, be majestic, grow up, triumph;
gaavah, arrogance, majesty, excellency, proudly, swelling;
gullah, redemption, by impl. relationship: kindred, redeem, right;
d'bach, sacrifice;
dabah, fear, sorrow;
dabar, a word; the form `devarim' means '10 lines of writing, commandments' [Exodus 34:28];
darash, inquire, pay attention to, seek; [Isaiah 55:6; 1.Sam. 28:7]
d'hab, gold;
diysh, to trample, break, tear, thresh, tread down;
habhab, gift, offering;
haddabar, a vizier, counselor;
alas, used as a rare interjection on gravestones
hadar, magnificence, splendor, beauty, glorious, glory, majesty, goodly;
Hoshea, king of Israel;
hizzeq, repair, fortify fissures in stone walls; 2.Kings 12:5.;
chamad, covet; Exodus 20:17;
vazar, to bear guilt, crime;
valad, a boy, child;
zabach, slaughter an animal, to sacrifice;
zebed, gift, dowry;
zakar/zakhor, remember; Genesis 8:1; Exodus 20:8;
z'bul, a residence, dwell in, dwelling, habitation;
chabab, to hide (as in the bossom), cherish (with affection), love;
chabal, to ruin, destroy, hurt;
challamish, flint (Dt. 8:15; Ps. 114:8; Isa. 50:7).
chattaah, sins, sin; Gen.4:3-8;18:16-20; 19:20; 36:6-9;42:21-22; By the grace of YHVH, `chata'ahs' are sins we ought to never commit.
chattawth, sins, sin offerings;
cheshed, love, steadfast love, loving kindness, mercy; Exodus 15:13; Psalm 5:7; Hosea 6:6;
choq, masculine: decreed, statute, portion; Exodus 15:25,26; Dt. 4:5,6,8; Josh. 24:25; Eze. 20:18,25; Refers most often to sacrificial system.
chaggah, feminine: decreed, statute, portion; Genesis 26:5; Ex. 27:21; Lev. 16:29,31,34; Ps. 119:16; Jer. 44:10,23; Refers most often to moral law.
tabach, to slaughter (animals), kill, slay;
towb, good in the widest sense, beautiful, cheerful, loving;
yabab, cry out, bawl;
yachid, one; Yachid/one' is used in the sense differently from `echad/one'. For example: `Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac... (qach na eth binka eth-yechidka)' [Gen. 22], `And they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (wesaphdu alaw kemisped al-hayyachid, wehamer alaw kehamer al-habbekor)' [Zechariah 12:10];
yath, + whom (sign of the object of a verb);
y'buwl, produce, a crop or wealth, fruit, increase;
yhwh, Yahweh;
Israel, Israel;
yom, day;
ka'ab, feel pain, grieve;
kabed, honour; Exodus 20:12;
kapharoth, atonement; Exodus 20:12;
k'eb, suffering, anguish, grief, pain, sorrow;
kohanim, priests;
kaphar, sin;
la, law;
lo, no (as in a denial);
l'bonah, frankincense;
leb, heart, care for, lust, considered, friend, wisdom;
labiybah, or rather;
lbyt, belonging to the house (of);
l'mow, at, to, for, upon (preposition);
maakeleth, knife (for food), Gen. 22:6,10; Judg. 19:29; Prov. 30:14.
me(y)ah, hundred, multiplier, hundredfold.; Gen. 11:10; plus many more.
( ) mashach, meshiyach, the anointed one, root word for `Messiah', Daniel 9:25 (`Messiah son of YHVH ;
Mesh(r)ia, Messiah, Isa. 9:6; [In Daniel 9:26 we learn that the Messiah is cut off before the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. In Zech. 9:9,10 we learn that Messiah comes to Jerusalem as king but humble on a donkey.]
ma'abuwc, (pronounce: `mahabooce') granary, storehouse;
m'ah, hundred;
melek, king;
migdol, tower of salvation (2.Sam. 22:51); migdal, a great tower (Gen. 11:4);
michyahu, shortened form for `Who is like Yahweh?' (BAR, J/F, p. 56);
na'ah, to be at home, house, pasture, pleasant place;
na'am, whisper, utter an oracle, say;
na'ar, by implication it means `servant(s)' Is. 37:6; can also mean `tumble about';
`nacham' Repent
nechtak, it means `to cut quickly', `to decree', `are determined', Daniel 9:24;
saphar, to score a mark, inscribe, scribe;
sus, horse(s);
abad, to work, serve, till, enslave, bond service, labour;
ebed, a servant, bondman; servant(s) of the king 2.Ki. 19:5;
ebedyah, servant of YHWY; Daniel 9:11.
abuwr, passed, kept over, stored grain, old grain;
eduwth' or `edut', covenant, (testimony?);
`am', people, my people, Isaiah 53:8;
asah, made, to be made;
edut, testimony; As in "May this day become a testimony" when referring to the ark of the testimony (Ex. 25:22; 26:33-34; 2.Ki. 11:12; serve, till, enslave, bond service, labour;
Ir, cities, city Gen. 13:12; Judges 10:4;
esryin, two; 1.Kings 16:8.
pachdah, alarm, fear;
paga, come between, intercessor, intreat; Isa. 59:16.
p'duth, distinction, deliverance, redeem, redemption;
palah, separated, Ex. 33:16; Lev. 20:24.
pene, face, before, presence;
parad, separated, Gen. 13:11,14; 25:23.
paroketh, hanging, covering, curtain, veil;
pesha, rebellion, revolt, it is a deliberate, intentional, premeditated sin, it is not a transgression, trespas, it is not loosing one's temper. Daniel 8:12;
Plishtiy, Philistines;
tsaba, to mass (an army), assemble, fight, perform, war, muster;
tse'etsa, produce, children, offspring;
tsani, sheep;
tseriah or seriah, stronghold (Judges 9:46,49; 1 Sam. 13:6) or better according to Lawrence E. Stager, a corridor inside a thick wall, 1 Kings 6-7).[BAR, July 2003, p. 33]
q'burah, sepulchre, burial, burying place, grave;
qabal, opposite, in front of, before;
qds, qodesh, kodashim, holy, holiness; Leviticus 22:2-16; Numbers 6:20; Zecheriah 14:21. To see a `holy bowl' go to BAR, Vol. 18, Nov/Dec 1992, p. 49-50.
qk, stands probably for `Qode Khanm.' "sacred to the priests."; Not in the Bible. See BAR, Vol. XII, Mar/Apr 1987, p. 33. Found on a shallow bowl used to hold offerings at Arad.
qets, `end'; Daniel 8:19 should read, "... this vision is going to go until the time of the end" - when Messiah sets up His kingdom.
qol, to call aloud, a voice or sound, crackling cry, lowing noise, sing, sound, spark, thunder;
ra'ah, to see, appear, behold, consider, discern, gaze, perceive, regard, show, view;
Ramses, `son of the sun'; [Genesis 47:11; Exodus 12:37; Numbers 33:3, 5]
rea, neighbor; Exodus 20:16;
sha'ac, to plunder, spoil;
, `shawar' Exodus 10:19 (remained); 14:28 (remained); Judges 4:16 (left); 1.Samuel 9:24 (left) and Ruth 1:3 (left). Each time the word means someone or something that survived a process of elimination. [Cmp. Matth. 24:22,23.]
shamea, shema, hear, obey, pay attention; Ex. 19:5; Deut. 6:4;
shem, name;
Shenayim. twenty; 1.Kings 16:29.
; shenayim veshtaim twenty and two, 1.Kings 16:29.
shaphat, to judge as a magistrate; [Genesis 16:5; Judges 4:4; Jeremiah 5:28; Like in `Jehoshaphat'. Akkadian equivalent is `Dan' as in `Daniel'.]
BAR, Mar/Apr 1983, p. 37 shnat shtayim, year two;
sh'ol, grave, hell, pit;
ta'ab, to desire, long for;
tamid, always, continually (adverb), continuance (noun), ever; [Exodus 29:42; Daniel 8:11]
ta'owm, or;
t'ow, and;

Some Hebrew Phrases
the sons of the living G-d, 3 words, [Hoshea 2:1];
the sons of my G-d, 2 words;
[C.D. Ginsburg, `The Babylonian Codex of Hosea and Joel' in TSBA, Vol. V, 1877, p. 129-176]
am haratsim, "men of the earth", unlearned rustics, the uneducated; See the book titled, `The Old Paths';
- ad ki-yabo Shiloh welo yiqhath ammim, "till Shiloh comes and to him shall the gathering of the people be"; Genesis 49:10; Shiloh, another name for Messiah, shall come; See also the words of YHVH through Nathan in 2.Samuel 7:12,13: "He shall build an house for may name, and I will establish hid kingdom forever.";
Wekillah mikapper eth-haqqodesh, "And when he has made an end of atoning for the sanctuary." Lev. 16:20. The words "reconcile" and "atonement" are translated from the same word, (kaphar).
Presumed reading: "Qum Yahweh nathan oyeb awsar puts sane nus paneh." - "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee." Num. 10:35.
"Shoob Yahweh rebawbaw eleph e Israel." - "Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel." Num. 10:36.
`lehashib welibnoth', "to restore and to rebuild (Jerusalem)", "fully to restore and to build again", Daniel 9:25.
`qodesh haq-qodashim', "the most holy" as applied to things and not persons; Exodus 26:33.
`maled chedosh', "a new king"; Exodus 1:8.
`?', "papyrus"-(Septu.); `?', "clay and/or asphalt"; The Gemara says the basket was smeared with clay on the inside and asphalt/tar on the outside; Rabbi Salomo said the whole box was smeared with both.; Exodus 2:3.
`pesha', rebellion, revolting; Daniel 8:12 should read, "an host was given against the continuance in rebellion."
`Miqsat Ma'ase Ha-Torah,' Translated: (1) "some precepts of Torah', (2) `some legal rulings of Torah,' (3) `one law and one manner'! - - Compare Jer. 32:11; Psalm 81:4; Numbers 15:16. BAR, 9/94
[] `L'beyt Yahweh qodesh kohanim,' Translated: "Belonging to the Temple of Yahweh, holy to the Priests." Inscription on the ivory pomegranate bud. (BAR, Vol. 31, No. 5, Sep 2005, p. 54.)
A Few Examples of Egyptianisms
Egyptianisms `', "in the face of pharaoh"; or Egyptianisms `', "from the face of pharaoh"; Genesis 47: 2, 7, 41, 46, meaning "before pharaoh". Compare with the Egyptian "only in the face of his Majesty" `m hr hm-f' or `hft hr hm-f'. [Yahuda]
Egyptianisms `', "before Joseph's face = before him"; or Egyptianisms `', "from his face = from him"; Genesis 43:15, 34;
Egyptianisms `', "by the life of pharaoh"; Genesis 42:15; the only occurance of this oath clause.
Egyptianisms `l adowni(h)m', "their lords, the king (`melek') of the `two lands'"; Genesis 40:1, or Egyptianisms `', "... the man, the lords of the land said harsh things unto us", instead of "the lord". Notice how exactly Joseph's brothers distinguish between him, the employee, and his master, the viceroy, in that they speak of him as `my lord' in the singular and `thy lords' in the plural when speaking of the viceroy. In that they are using Egyptian court etiquette. Genesis 42: 30, 33; 44: 7-9 (Hebrew Bible).

Notes & References

[100] A Dutch professor recently (Oct. 2009) claimed that a word in Genesis 1:1 is not correctly translated, that it ought to be not `created' but instead `separated.' That in itself is a completely unfounded conjecture knowing how painstakingly Jewish scribes passed on the Word of God over the ages down to our time. They would never have made such a scribal error in the very first verse of the Thora, a word that occurs 33 times from Gen. 1:1 to Malachi 2:10 as it refers each time to the fact of God `creating', not separating, the world, life and God's holy Sabbath. The professor's claim is understandable knowing that her headquarters in Rome has, not long ago, disavowed faith in the only true God and creationism in favor of evolution. That means that everything evolved out of chaos and that the molecules in our brain are just crazy blips and currents with no rhyme or reason and we can ignore her comments, for our God is a God of love, order and discipline, salvation and consumation.