Cuneiform – One of the earliest known forms of written expression. It emerged in Sumer around the 30th century B.C. Cuneiform documents were written on clay tablets using a blunt reed which left a wedge shaped impression.
Esoteric – An understanding shared by those who have a special interest in the nature of a certain subject. The Esoteric structure of the Hebrew Alphabet involves understanding the meaning behind the Hebrew letters and their numerical value and using this understanding to expand on the definition of a certain word.
Gematria – A system of assigning a numerical value to a Hebrew word or phrase to gain a deeper spiritual insight into that word or phrase.
Hebrew Letters – The twenty two Hebrew letters are found in form of the ancient Hebrew script and the Assyrian or square script. It is the Assyrian script that was introduced at the time of Ezra and is in use today. It is believed by certain rabbis that this script dates to the time of creation and each letter contains a special spiritual meaning showing our relationship to God and God’s relationship to us.
Hiphal – A Hebrew verbal form which expresses a causative action. It is found in the active voice. Example – He caused destruction.
Hithpael – A Hebrew verbal form which expresses a reflexive action. Example – He destroyed himself.
Holem – A Hebrew vowel formed by a Vav with a dot over the top. It expresses a long “o.”
Imperative – A verbal form expressing a command
Imperfect – Hebrew has no tenses. However it does have a perfect and imperfect form. The imperfect form shows an incomplete action and often expresses a future tense in English.
Infinitive Construct – This is a verbal noun. Example – To sing is praise.
Jewish Literature – Writings of Jewish sages and rabbis which includes the Talmud, Mishnah and works of literature.
Masoretes – A Jewish religious order consisting of scribes and scholars working between the 7th and 11th century A.D. Prior to the work of the Masoretes the Hebrew script had no vowels and used only the twenty two Hebrew letters which were all consonants. As the Hebrew letters were considered sacred, the Masoretes added vowels by using a series of dots and dashes rather than create new letters. They added the vowel pointings to the sacred text of the Old Testament so that the correct pronunciation of Hebrew words would not be lost. This text became known as the Masoretic text and is used by Christians today in translation work and grammatical studies. The Masoretic text is not considered to be the inspired Word of God but it is regarded as authoritative.
Metaphor – A figure of speech which makes a comparison of two things which are unlike but have something in common. Example – The man is a fox. This is commonly used in Hebrew poetry.
Midrash – Taking a Biblical text which is unclear and attempting to clarify what it means.
Niphal – A verbal form which expresses a simple passive voice. Example – He was destroyed. Recent understanding of Hebrew grammar suggest that the Niphal is also reflexive.
Paragogic – Usually associated with the letter Hei and known as a paragogic Hei. Such a form will intensify a word in Hebrew.
Perfect – Hebrew has no tenses, however a verb may be found in either an imperfect or perfect form. A perfect form of a verb will mean that it has a completed action and is often rendered in a past tense.
Piel – A verbal form which expresses intensity. Example – He utterly destroyed.
Pronominal Ending – A suffix added to the end of a verb which indicates a pronoun.
Qal – A simple verbal form. Example – He destroyed.
Remez – Literally means a hint. An indication in a passage of Scripture that would lead one to believe that there is a deeper richer meaning behind the passage.
Root Word – All words in Hebrew stem from a verb. All verbs originally have only three letters to which suffixes and prefixes are added. To determine the definition of a particular Hebrew word one must first understand what the root word or the basic three letters of the word are. This is known as a trilateral root.
Sages – Jewish scholars and commentators of the Mishnah and Talmud from the end of the second temple until the sixth century A.D.
Septuagint – A translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Koine Greek about 300 years before the birth of Christ.
Syntax – Rules that govern the way words are combined to form phrases, clauses and sentences.