Hebrew Vocabulary

Lesson One:

The 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 Hebrew/English text for the Scriptures listed below is from Keys to the Bible.

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(s) 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.

Introducing Five Words

In Hebrew, words such as and, the, and in are attached to the word that they are associated with. So as to highlight them for ease in reading, we have made them different colors.

Five of the most common words appear in Genesis 1:1 [and, the, in, ehta direct object marker that does not translate into English, and God (Eloheem)].

Introducing Three More Words

In Genesis 1:4, we find one more of the most common words (that).

And in Genesis 1:9, we find two of the most common words (say and to)

Introducing Five More Words

Dropping down to Genesis 1:29, we find five more of the most common words (every, that, upon, to be, for).

Introducing Four More Words

In Genesis 2:18-19, we find four more of the most common words (not, make, from, and a form of the word to be brought).

Introducing the Last Three Words

For the last three words, we will turn to the Book of Proverbs. In Proverbs 19:12-13, we find three more of the most common words (son, like and king).

The Complete List of the Twenty Most Common Words

Congratulations! You have now learned the twenty 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.

Additional references:

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.]

Continue to Hebrew Vocabulary: Lesson Two

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