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"God" in Biblical Hebrew
Hebrew for God is אלהים (El-o-him). While this word is in the plural, it is not regarded as a "true" plural (cf. Gen.1:2,26), but a "plural of majesty," which is understood to point to the Triune nature of God.

The title of Elohim is often coupled with the personal Divine Name of God,Yahwheh.

Elohim occurs over 270 times in the Old Testament text.

Noteworthy Usage In Old Testament
Some interesting usages of this word and its derivatives:
  • First Occurrence: Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
  • The word Elohim is used of Jesus Christ in Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
  • Elohim is often joined with Yahweh. The first occurrence of this is in Genesis 2:4 "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens..."
  • God is a God who is near His creation. Jeremiah 23:23 "Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?"
  • Last Occurrence:  Malachi 3:18 "Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him."

Mnemonics to Remember "Brother" in Hebrew
Find a "sound-alike" for the word אלהימ(El-o-him). For myself, an English "sound-alike" is "L Hymn"  So in my imagination I see an "L" singing a hymn to God.  Find your own unique "sound-alike" for this word and then associate the English "sound-alike" to the Hebrew definition.

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn more Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

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"Sister" in Biblical Hebrew
Hebrew for sister, אחות (a-coat)may be used of a full or half-sister. Derived from the same root as brother (אח), "sister" only occurs 114 in the Old Testament text. It is also used as "beloved" in the Song of Solomon (cf. Song 5:1-2).

Noteworthy Usage In Old Testament
Some interesting usages of this word and its derivatives:
  • First Occurrence: Genesis 4:22 "And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah."
  • Abram requests that his wife, Sarai, tell the Egyptians that she is his sister for fear of them, "Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you." Genesis 12:13
  • Wisdom is personified as a "sister" in Proverbs 7:4 ,"Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," And call understanding your nearest kin.."
  • Israel and Judah are called sisters by Jeremiah in 3:7, "And I said, after she had done all these things, 'Return to Me.' But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it."
  • Last Occurrence: Hosea 2:1 "Say to your brethren, 'My people,' And to your sisters, 'Mercy is shown.'"

Mnemonics to Remember "Brother" in Hebrew
Find a "sound-alike" for the word אחות (a-coat). For myself, an English "sound-alike" is "a coat"  So I picture in my imagination my sister putting on a bizarre and very ugly coat which makes me laugh.  Find your own unique "sound-alike" for this word and then associate the English "sound-alike" to the Hebrew definition.

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn more Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!



Buy Your Hebrew Vocabulary Guide Today and Master over 700 Hebrew Words Quickly and Easily!

 
 
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"Mother" in Biblical Hebrew
Referring to the female parent, the Hebrew word אם (aim) is first used of Eve. Eve is recognized as the mother (aim) of all the living (Gen. 3.20). In a broader context אם can be used figuratively of  a city to its inhabitants (cf. Isa 50:1; Ezek 16:44; Hos 2:2)

Noteworthy Usage In Old Testament

Some interesting usages of this word and its derivatives:
  • First Occurrence: Genesis 2:24 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
  • Honor was given to both parents. It is the only commandment in the Decalogue with an explicit promise: Exodus 20:12 " Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you." 
  • Striking Father or Mother was punishable by death by the Hebrews, Exodus 21:15 " And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death."
  • God promises to comfort Israel in her distress as a mother, Isaiah 66:13 "As one whom his mother comforts, So I will comfort you; And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem."
  • Last Occurrence: Micah 7:6  "For son dishonors father, Daughter rises against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man's enemies are the men of his own household."

Mnemonics to Remember "Brother" in Hebrew
Find a "sound-alike" for the word אם (aim). For myself, an English "sound-alike" is "aim"  So I picture in my imagination my mother aiming and shooting an assault rifle.  Find your own unique "sound-alike" for this word and then associate the English "sound-alike" to the Hebrew definition.

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn more Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

Buy Your Hebrew Vocabulary Guide Today and Master over 700 Hebrew Words Quickly and Easily!

 
 
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Brother in Hebrew
"Brother" in Hebrew is אח which is used over 600 times in the Old Testament. In its narrow sense, the word is used to denote common male offspring from a common father (אב) and mother (אם). 

In a wider sense the word "brother" in Hebrew includes more remote relations from a common father (cf. Gen. 13:18, 29:15, etc.); all the children of Israel (Det. 3:18; Ex. 2:11, etc.) and even other nation relationships with Israel (cf. Num.20:14, Amos 1:1, etc.).

Noteworthy Usage In Old Testament
Some interesting usages of this word and its derivatives:
  • First Occurrence: Genesis 4:2 "And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground."
  • The first murder recorded in the Bible is brother against brother: Genesis 4:8 "Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him."
  • Hated towards one's brother is prohibited: Leviticus 19:17 "You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him."
  • Care of one's brother is commanded, including not charging interest to a brother: Deuteronomy 23:19 "You shall not charge interest to your brother -- interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest."
  • Last Occurrence: Malachi 2:10 "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?"

Mnemonics to Remember "Brother" in Hebrew
Find a "sound-alike" for the word אח. For me an English "sound-alike" is "ack!"  So I picture in my imagination my brother holding Bill the Cat saying, "Ack!"  Find your own unique "sound-alike" for this word and then associate the English "sound-alike" to the Hebrew definition.

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn more Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

Buy Your Hebrew Vocabulary Guide Today and Master over 700 Hebrew Words Quickly and Easily!

 
 
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Covet / Desire in Hebrew
The verbal form for "covet" or "desire" in Hebrew is חָמַד (cha-mad).  The word can be use in a positive or negative sense. 

Positively, the word
חָמַד means to take great delight in, or strongly desire. Negatively, the word carries the meaning of "covet" or "
inordinate, ungoverned, selfish desire." (BDB)


Noteworthy Usage In Old Testament
Some interesting usages of this word and its derivatives:
  • First Occurrence (positive): Genesis 2:9a, "And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food."
  •  First Occurrence of Coveting (negative), Genesis 3:6 "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. 
  • Used in The 10 Commandments, "You shall not covet. " Exodus 20:17.
  • Positively used, the Torah is desired more than gold. (Psalm 19:11)
  • This word is used to describe the Messiah Jesus in Isaiah 53:2, "And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him."
  • Last Occurrence: Micah 2:2, "They covet fields and take them by violence, Also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, A man and his inheritance."

Mnemonics to Remember Covet in Hebrew
Find a "sound-alike" for the word חָמַד. For me an English "sound-alike" is "come-on."  So I picture in my imagination a beautiful woman that is "coming on" to me; my reaction is to covet her.  Find your own unique "sound-alike" for this word and then associate the English "sound-alike" to the Hebrew definition.

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn more Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

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Deception in Hebrew
The noun in Hebrew for  "lie, falsehood,deception" is שֶׁקֶר (sheqer). The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament states that this word is, "Used of words or activities which are false in the sense that they are groundless, without basis in fact or reality."

The verbal form, שָׁקַר (shaqar) is often used in relationship to breaking God's covenant.

Noteworthy Usages in the Old Testament
  • First use: oddly, from the mouth of a pagan to Abraham asking Abraham to swear kindness to him, "Now therefore, swear to me by God that you will not deal falsely (shaqar) with me..." (Ex. 20:3)
  • In the Decalogue, "You shall not bear false (sheqer) witness" 
  • Both Jeremiah and Isaiah consider false prophets and their utterances to be "sheqer." 
  • Again ,both Jeremiah and Isaiah consider idols to be "sheqer."
  • Last use in the Old Testament: Malachi 3:5: In a sobering warning the LORD says, "And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers (sheqer)..."

Mnemonics to Remember "Deception, Falsehood" in Hebrew
To remember שֶׁקֶר, find a "sound-alike" English word for the Hebrew. For myself, I use the substitute English word "checker."  After finding your substitute or "sound-alike" English word, associate the meaning (deception) to the sound-alike (e.g. "checker") in your imagination.

For myself, I associate the game pieces of checkers moving themselves against me in a game deceiving me.

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn more Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

Buy Your Hebrew Vocabulary Guide Today and Master over 700 Hebrew Words Quickly and Easily!

 
 
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"Steal" in Hebrew
In Hebrew steal is גָּנָּב (ga-nab).  The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) states, "...the verb means 'to take that which belongs to another without his consent or knowledge.'"  

This verb and its derivatives occur over sixty times in the Old Testament.

Occurrences of Note in the Old Testament:
  • First used in Genesis 30:33; Jacob discusses his wages of "spotted" and "speckled" goats and lambs with Laban.
  • In the Decalogue, "You shall not steal."
  • This "stealing" including stealing other human beings - kidnapping. This was punishable by death (Ex. 21:16) whereas other thefts were punished more leniently.
  • ""To steal the heart" is an idiom which means "to deceive." (TWOT)

Mnemonics to Remember גָּנַּב!
To remember this word, find a "sound-alike" for גָּנָּב (ga-nab) and associate the "sound-alike" to the meaning of "He stole." For example, I find the Hebrew word for "steal" sounds like, "gone after" so I vividly picture myself going after a thief who has stolen.



Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn more Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

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You Shall Not Commit Adultery
First appearing in the Decalogue, adultery, or  נָאַף (na'ap) in Hebrew, is contained in the prohibition to not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14 reads,  "You shall not commit adultery (na'ap)."


This word for "adultery" occurs only 34 times in the Old Testament as compared to זָנָה (za'na), a word that denotes fornication or other illicit sexual activity (both physically and metaphorically as spiritual fornication; variously translated) occurring in the Old Testament text. Na'ap denotes "sexual intercourse with the wife or betrothed of another man." (Koehler and W. Baumgartner)

Israelite Sexual Purity
In contrast to other surrounding pagan religions of the ancient near east, Israelites were to be sexually pure.  The practice of adultery was detestable in God's eyes and warrants double mention in the Decalogue ("You shall not commit adultery"; "You shall not covet your neighbors wife...").


Biblical references to adultery include:
  • Genesis 2:24; The institution of marriage renders two flesh into one. Adultery violates the First Commandment by placing man's will in opposition and above God's will. 
  • Proverbs 6:32-33; The destruction of ones own soul and reputation.
  • Lev. 19:20; 20:10; Adultery was punishable by death. Fornication did not merit the death penalty.
  • Mal. 2:14-16; Divorce is explicittly condmened as hateful to God.
  • Numbers 5:11-31; Women suspect of adultery are given to undertake this trial.

Spiritual Adultery 
Hosea is the embodiment of the LORD's teaching on spiritual adultery. Not only is the LORD King of all Israel, but He is also the husband of Israel. "Israel is condmened for disavowing God's claims as the marriage lord.  They have served other gods by practicing cultic and spiritual prostitution (4:11-12)." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)


Hebrew Mnemonic for "Adultery" 
To recall "na'ap" is " he committed adultery" find a "sound-alike" word for "na'ap." For myself, it sounds like "nap."  Associate your "sound-alike" to the definition of " he committed adultery."  I vividly picture a man taking a "nap" with a woman that is not his wife.

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn more Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

Buy Your Hebrew Vocabulary Guide Today and Master over 700 Hebrew Words Quickly and Easily!

 
 
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Occurrences &The Decalogue
One of the words translated as "kill" or "murder" in Hebrew is רצח (rasah). This word is often used in conjunction with two other Hebrew words associated with killing --  מות and הרג.

The root of רצח occurs 38 times with nearly half the occurrences taking place in Numbers 35, which deals with the cities of refuge for accidental manslaughter.  The first occurrence of rasah is in the Decalogue in Exodus 20, "You shall not Murder."

Kill or Murder?
While translated by the KJV as "kill" in the Decalogue a more accurate rendering of רצח in context and employed by modern translations, is "murder."  The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament notes this word is used of,  "...culpable killing by use of force."

Other noteworthy examples of the usage of רצח include:
  • This word is never used for killing in warfare or self-defense (cf. Numbers 35:27,30).
  • This word is not used for suicide.
  • This word is used for execution of criminals by civil authority.
  • This word does not carry specificity as to the means of death.

Noting the usage of this word, we gain further insight into the commandment, "You shall not murder" in the Decalogue.

Hebrew Mnemonic for "Murder" 
To recall "rasah" is " he murdered" find a "sound-alike" word for "rasah." For myself, it sounds like "red sock."  Associate your "sound-alike" to the definition of " he murdered."  I vividly picture myself  murdering a "red sock."

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

Buy Your Hebrew Vocabulary Guide Today and Master over 700 Hebrew Words Quickly and Easily!

 
 
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Father in Hebrew
 אב (ab) or "father" is most often used in the Old Testament of a paternal father. Thought to be an "onomatopoetic" word for infants addressing their father ('abba' in Aramaic).

"Father" is also used of relationships which mirror the father-child relationship, such as the protector of the poor, "a father to the poor" (Job 29.16); those in secular government authority, "a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem" (Isa.22:21); priests, prophets and kings (2 Kgs 6:21; Jud 18:19; 1 Sam. 24:11).


Keeping this usage in mind, we see a fuller understanding of the commandment to "honor father and mother" as extending to those in authority brought to fuller exposition in the New Testament (Cf. Rom.13:2; 1 Pe 2:18; Rom. 13:1; Heb.13:17)

God as Father of Israel
Israel is God's "firstborn son" (Ex.4:22; Jer.31.9-10) and as such, the LORD is the father of Israel, the true Church. 

While other nations have appealed and named their god(s) as the "father" of all people and nations,  only those in a covenential relationship with the Divine Father and LORD of Israel could claim such a relationship with the heavenly father (Cf. Ps.103:13).

King David and the Royal Line
King David, through whom would come the promised Messiah, made appeal to the LORD as "father" in the voice of Christ: "He shall cry to Me, 'You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.'  Also I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth." (Ps.89.26-27)

The unique relationship of Father - Son the Lord shares with Jesus Christ is now shared with the Christian.

Our Father who art in Heaven...
While it has been said the "Lord's Prayer" could be prayed by any religious person, only a Christian may properly address God as "Father." As we have seen, only those in a covenential relationship with the LORD may call him "father." 

Through the merits of Christ, each baptized believer can confidently call the LORD "father."  Paul writes in Romans 8:15,  "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."" and again in  Galatians 4:6,  "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"" 

Hebrew Mnemonic for "Father" 
To recall "ab" is " father" find a "sound-alike" word for "ab." For myself, it sounds like "ave," as in "Ave Maria."  Associate your "sound-alike" to the definition of  "father."  I vividly picture my father  singing "Ave Maria"

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

Buy Your Hebrew Vocabulary Guide Today and Master over 700 Hebrew Words Quickly and Easily!