About Ancient Biblical Hebrew

Hebrew is the language used throughout most of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. It was written from right to left and includes 22 letters.

The oldest written form of Hebrew did not include any vowels, only 22 consonants. Eventually, a written vowel system was developed that could be incorporated into the Hebrew Bible without interfering with the order or appearance of the consonants. To an everyday English reader, this vowel system looks like dots and dashes usually written below, but sometimes above, the consonants.

Fun Facts about Biblical Hebrew

  • The verse numbers found in English translations of the Old Testament are not always the same as the corresponding verses in the Hebrew Bible.
  • Although they have some common words, biblical Hebrew and modern Hebrew aren’t the same. They are, after all, thousands of years apart.
  • To this day, Hebrew is still often written or read without vowels. Check out www.haaretz.com.il, an Israeli newspaper.

If you have any questions about this process, feel free to email W.G.: wg@hebrewtats.com


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