Biblical Hebrew Language

I am so often asked how different is the Biblical Hebrew language different to the modern Hebrew language? In some ways it is completely different, but in other ways, it is very similar. I guess that does not really answer the question. Let’s explore how the ancient and modern styles are similar in vocabulary.

Similarities of the Biblical Hebrew language to modern Hebrew

It is so interesting, when visiting Israel, it is clear that the Biblical Hebrew language has had an influence on modern Israeli society. A very simple example, when a person exclaims in Hebrew “Thank God”, the language is that of Biblical Hebrew language. The direct translation is “Todah l’Elohim”. Elohim being the name of God referred to in the Bible.

When I heard people use this word, it struck me how much the this ancient language has been revived in modern-day Israel. Another example is the word “lekh”, which means “go”. In the book of Genesis (the first book of the Torah), God tells Abraham to “lekh”, to go, the land of Israel. The word is “lekh” is used on a daily basis in Israel!

Differences between the ancient and modern language

Whilst so many words from the the ancient language are used in Israel today,  there are many that are not. Take for example the brand Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. In the supermarket in Israel, the box of corn flakes is written in Hebrew text. I can guarantee you that these words would not be found in the ancient language.

Another difference would be day-to-day words, such as stretcher “alunka”.  The stretcher was only invented in the fourteenth century, and the Biblical Hebrew language is much older than that. There are many other words and expressions that are only evident in the modern Hebrew language. If you are curious, perhaps investigate this further.

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