The Next Twenty Most Common Words in the Hebrew Old Testament
Many of our readers are interested in learning to use Bible code software, but are intimidated by the difficulty of learning Hebrew. The purpose of this series of articles is to introduce our readers to a number of the most common Hebrew vocabulary words in the Old Testament (OT) [excluding proper nouns].1
We will be demonstrating the vocabulary using OT Scripture. We will not be making any effort to teach grammar, per se, but will give an introduction to the vocabulary words that are the most common. Some notes on grammar may appear as necessary, but grammar will not be our focus. Again, we will not be teaching conversational Hebrew, or the ability to write Hebrew. There are many other courses that are terrific at teaching those skills. We do hope that this series of articles will facilitate learning Hebrew in conjunction with other methods. For additional Hebrew language resources, visit our Hebrew Links and Resources page.
The Lesson Format
As we introduce the vocabulary words, we will do so in the following format. First, we will have a verse or verses of Scripture with arrows designating the new words. The words will also be noted in color to aid in seeing them in the text. This will be followed by the Scripture in English and in Hebrew (written in English phonetically). Then, the words will be presented in a table to aid in practicing them. At the end of this article, there will be a table listing all 20 words for easy reference.
The Hebrew/English text for the Scriptures listed below is from Keys to the Bible.
Throughout the lesson, we have left the color coding in place for the words learned in Lesson One.
Genesis 1:1 Earth
In Genesis 1:1, we introduce the word earth, while reviewing the words in, God, eht—a definite, direct object marker that does not translate into English, and, and the.
Note: There is a slight change in pronunciation of eh-rehts when proceeded by a heh. The first eh sound changes to ah. This would be noted in the vowel markings, which we are not utilizing here.
Genesis 6:9 Man, Walk
In Genesis 6:9, we introduce the words man and walk, while reviewing the words was, eht—a definite, direct object marker, the, and God.
Note: There is a slight change in pronunciation of hah-lahkh when proceeded by the heh and tav. Here the second ah sound changes to eh. This would be noted in the vowel markings, which we are not utilizing here.
Genesis 15:4 Word, This, Come Forth, He
In Genesis 15:4, we introduce the words word, this, come forth, and he, while reviewing the words and, to, say, not, but, and who.
Jeremiah 7:25 Until, Day
In Jeremiah 7:25, we introduce the words until and day, while we review such words as the, that, came forth, land, this, eht—a definite, direct object marker, and all.
Genesis 31:5 See, Face, Father
In Genesis 31:5, we introduce the words see, face, father, while we review such words as and, to, eht—a definite, direct object marker, that, toward, but, and been.
Note: The mem sofit is not present in the text at the end of the word for face. Here it is pronounced pah-nee. This is a grammatical variation.
Genesis 39:4 House, Give, Hand
In Genesis 39:4, we introduce the words house, give, and hand, while we review such words as and, in, over (ahl also means on or upon), and all.
Numbers 13:19 Live in, City
In Numbers 13:19, we introduce the words live in, and city, while reviewing the words and, the, land, that, and in.
- The plural form of city is used in this text. The yod is dropped in forming the plural.
- One form of the word yah-shav in this verse adds a vav to the word.
Psalm 50:7 Hear, People, Speak
In Psalm 50:7, we introduce the words hear, people, and speak, while reviewing the words and, and God.
Note: Dah-vahr is used here as a verb, to speak. Previously, we learned the word dah-vahr as a noun meaning word, matter, or thing.
In addition, we'd like to introduce the name Israel, which is not on the list of top 40 words, but is a very important name to know in Hebrew.
The Twenty Most Common Words
The Next Twenty Most Common Words
Note: Number 30 notes the word dah-vahr as a noun meaning word, matter, or thing. Number 37 notes the word dah-vahr as a verb meaning to speak.
Congratulations! You have now learned the forty most common words in the Hebrew Old Testament.
1 Van Pelt and Pratico. 2003. The Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew Grand Rapids, Mi.: Zondervan.
2 Van Pelt and Pratico. 2003. The Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew Grand Rapids, Mi.: Zondervan.
Ben-Yehuda and Ben-Yehuda. 1964. Ben-Yehuda's Pocket English-Hebrew/Hebrew-English Dictionary New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Mechon-Mamre.org The Mechon-Mamre.org site has a Hebrew-English Bible (Tanakh only) according to the Masoretic text and the JPS 1917 Edition. This site has MP3 recordings of the text.
Green, 1986. The Interlinear Bible: One Volume Edition London: Trinitarian Bible Society.
[The Interlinear Bible is available through our society in limited quantities and is an excellent resource. For more information, see the bottom of the Hebrew Links and Resources page.]
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