Hebrew Word Pictures

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Moses and King David wrote and used Hebrew letters that are vastly different than the ones used to write Hebrew with today. When Hebrew was first written, each letter represented both a sound and a picture. God is revealing truths about Himself through the Ancient Hebrew Alphabet. Even if you don't understand the sounds in the Hebrew language, the pictures behind the Hebrew words will still be clear. It is easy to see these pictures in the Hebrew words. Even though the shape of the letters have changes somewhat the Ancient Word Pictures and their meanings, which have never changed. Some scholars believe that Moses may have used these pictographic concepts when he penned the words of the Torah as he was educated in Egypt.

According to Eupolemus (ca. 150 B. C. E.), it was Moses who first wrote the alphabet in the Sinai, and taught the people of Israel, the Phoenicians got it from the Jews, and the Greeks from the Phoenicians. In the opinion of Hubert Grimme, late professor of Semitic languages at the University of Munster, Germany, the Mosaical Tablets of the Law were one of the first, if not the first document in alphabetical script.

Before the invention of the alphabet, Egypt had already a highly complicated phonetic script of consonants, consisting of almost 3000 uniliteral, biliteral, and triliteral hieroglyphs. The simplification of script was a political issue. Anybody who had gotten a good education in Egypt, as Moses probably did, knew that the 24 one-consonant hieroglyphs were sufficient to write the language, so why not abolish all the rest? Of course, this was against the interest of an aristocracy of scribes.

The Exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt in 1441 B. C. E. or 480 years before 961 B. C. E, when King Solomon began to build the First Temple in Jerusalem (1. Kings 6, 1), was the time for the introduction of the alphabet. A simplified script of some twenty odd letters made literacy and learning available to everybody. This was as desirable in the ancient Republic of Israel founded by Moses in the Sinai, as a high degree of alphabetization is in new democracies even today.


The Hebrew word to Redeem comes from the word - Gaal
In Hebrew letters it looks like -גאל
The Hebrew letters for Hanak are: Gimmel, Aleph, Lammed
The word - Gaal גאל primarily means to to redeem, act as kinsman-redeemer, avenge, revenge, ransom, do the part of a kinsman, to redeem Israel from Egyptian bondage

Look up the Strong's Concordance Article on: Gaal גאל

Some verses which use this word:

"Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, 'I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem גאל you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments (Ex 6:6)

In Thy lovingkindness Thou hast led the people whom Thou hast redeemed גאל ; In Thy strength Thou hast guided them to Thy holy habitation (Ex. 15:13)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer גאל. (Ps. 19:4)

"For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer גאל is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth (Is. 54:5)

This is how גאל (Gaal) breaks down as a word picture:
ג The pictographic concepts conveyed by Gimmel - To raise up, pride
א The pictographic concepts conveyed by Aleph - first,strong, primary
ל The pictographic concepts conveyed by Lamed - Controller,control,guide
So - the Hebrew word picture for the word redeem or redemption means to Raise-up or Lift-up the Primary or First Controller. In other words the purpose of Redemption is to Raise-up or Lift-up God. To bring Him honor and glory

During the Passover Seder we drink four cups of the fruit of the vine. THE THIRD CUP is called the cup of--REDEMPTION. This reminds us of the passage of Scripture which says: "I will redeem you with an outstreached arm" (Exodus 6:7)

We are reminded by Moses that it was the Lord Himself who redeemed the children of Israel from slavery.

"So the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a powerful hand, and with a stretched-out arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders." (Deuteromy 26:8)
The Passover Hagaddah further goes on to say:
"On that same night I will pass through Egypt..
I, and not an Angel.
"and strike down every firstborn - both men and animals
I, and not an seraph.
"and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt;
I, and not an messenger.
"I am the Lord" (Exodus 12:12)
I, Myself and none other.
We who have trusted Yeshua the Messiah, believe the Heis the Lamb of God, our Passover. Like the ancient Israelites, we know that it was God Himself, and not an angel, God Himself, and not a seraph, God Himself, and not a messenger,who achieved final redemption from sin and death. God Himself, through Yeshua, who takes away the sin of the world.
So the Lord brought us out of Eygpt, with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with miraculous sings and wonders


Hebrew word for the holiday of Hanukkah comes from the word - Hanak
In Hebrew letters it looks like -חנך
The Hebrew letters for Hanak are: Chet, Noon, Kaph
The word - Hanak חנך primarily means - to train, or dedicate.

Look up the Strong's Concordance Article on: Hanak חנך

Some verses which use this word:

The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated (Hanak) חנך it? Let him depart and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate (Hanak) חנך it. (Deut 20:5)

And Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to Yehovah , oxen and, sheep. So the king and all the sons of Israel dedicated (Hanak) חנך the house of Yehovah. (I Kings 8:63)

And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of, oxen, and, sheep. Thus the king and all the people dedicated (Hanak) חנך the house of Elohim. (II Chron 7:5)

Train (Hanak) חנך up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov 22:6)

This is how חנך (Hanak) breaks down as a word picture:
ח The pictographic concepts conveyed by Chet - to protect, a fence, inner room
נ The pictographic concepts conveyed by Noon - life or actions
ך The pictographic concepts conveyed by Kaph - To Allow, To Open
So - the Hebrew word picture tells us that the purpose of - training - or dedication is to "Allow our Lives to be Protected" - when our lives are dedicated to Elohim to walk in His ways we enter into His protection.

Michael Detwiler in an article on the internet entitled: The Story of the First Hanukkah comments:

Hanukkah reminds us that Yahewh is an Elohim of miracles, not just of concept and religious ideals. He has broken through into human history and continues to do so today. All of us who know Yeshua can speak of Elohim's working in our lives. As we light the Hanukkah lights this year, may they proclaim to all who see that the Light of the World has come and is at work in our lives--not just in times long ago, but today as well.

For Believers today, the story is one of assimilation. The religious systems that have evolved since the earliest Church have effectively incorporated the Greek mindset within the redeemed community. Today, as in the times of the Maccabees, the Torah has been removed, virtue stolen, the Shabbat desecrated, and the ordinances of the God of our Fathers removed. We who have been redeemed by our Messiah Yeshua must return to the Faith of our Fathers. The practice of Hanukkah may begin the abandonment of the Greek mind and a return to the Hebrew mind of our Faith. It is a visible statement that we will not compromise further.

From a historical perspective - if Antiochus had succeeded in his campaign of anti-Semitism and destruction, there would have been no Jews by the time of Yeshua. The miracle of the "Christmas" event (ie. The Incarnation) could only take place because of the miracle of Hanukkah!


The Hebrew word for Judgement is - Diyn
In Hebrew letters it looks like -דין
The Hebrew letters for Judgement are: Dalet, Yood, Noon

Look up the Strong's Concordance Article on: Judgemnt דין

Some verses which use this word:

I know that Yehovah will maintain the cause of the afflicted, And justice (diyn) דין for the poor. (Ps. 140:12)

A king who sits on the throne of justice (diyn) דין disperses all evil with his eyes. (Pr. 20:8)

Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights (diyn) דין of the afflicted and needy. (Pr. 31:9)

He pled the cause (diyn) דין of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?" Declares Yehovah. (Jer. 22:16)

This is how דין Diyn (Judgement) breaks down as a word picture:
ד The pictographic concepts conveyed by Dalet - Door, Pathway
י The pictographic concepts conveyed by Yood - Work, Deed, Activity
ך The pictographic concepts conveyed by Noon - Life

Yom Ha Din - Day of Judgment

In Judaism the New Year is sometimes called Yom Ha Din - or The Day of Judgment. It is that day when Elohim opens His three books:

Book of Life - recording the names of all the righteous
Book 0f the Wicked
Third Book - names those who are neither totally righteous or totally wicked, to the Jews most people are in this third book This is where the concept of the Lamb's book of Life comes from.

Yom Ha Din is seen as a day if new beginnings, of realizing that you are in that third book - and don't want to end up in the second book. So it is seen as a time of getting right with both Elohim and one's fellow man.

Many Jews observe with this the custom of "Tashlich" ,meaning - "Thou hast cast", taken from (Micah 7:19). Jews go to the ocean or some other body of water with stones in their pockets and toss them into the water, pockets are also turned inside out and shaken out - to symbolize how sin is stikey and needs to be shaken - all a symbol of new beginnings.

We need from time to time to practice "Tashlich", - to stop where we are and get right with Elohim and our fellow man - to make new starts and fresh beginnings.

So - the Hebrew word picture tells us that the purpose Elohim has in mind with the Feast of Yom Teruah - or the Day of Judgment is not negative as we often think of Judgment. But rather it is to show us or point us to the way or path of life. To cause us to move from the way of death to the way of life. It is a day to take stock of our lives and to start afresh doing things Elohim's way and not our own way.


The Hebrew word for Tabernacle is - Sukkah
In Hebrew letters it looks like -סכח
The Hebrew letters for Sukkah are: Samach, Kaph, Chet

Look up the Strong's Concordance Article on: Sukkah סכח

Some verses which use this word:

You shall celebrate the Feast of Booths (Sukkot) סכח seven days after you have gathered in from your threshing floor and your wine vat (Deut 16:13)

Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the Yehovah your Elohim in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths (Sukkot) סכח, and they shall not appear before the Yehovah empty-handed (Deut 16:16)

So that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in Booths (Sukkot) סכח when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am Yehovah your Elohim (Lev 23:42)

Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yehovah of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths (Sukkot) סכח(Zech 14:16)

This is how סכח (Sukkah) breaks down as a word picture:
ס The pictographic concepts conveyed by Samach - to support, to assist, to enable
כ The pictographic concepts conveyed by Kaph - To Cover, To Open
ח The pictographic concepts conveyed by Chet - to protect, a fence, inner room

So the meaning of the word picture says to us that the Sukkah סכח was to assist or to enable us to enter the inner room. The whole teaching in Scripture regarding the tabernacle was how one could properly enter into the Holy Place to have fellowship with the Holy One. If we look at the gospel of John in 1:14 we are told our Messiah came and dwelt (tabernacled) among us - He became our Sukkah סכח. But in what way? He is the One who enables us to be allowed to enter into the Holy Place - Mat 27:51

The prophet Zechariah writes of a celebration of Sukkot in the future. Yehovah deems this feast as so important that the Gentile nations are commanded to observe it as well - (Zech 14:16) He spoke of the end of days, when Israel and the nations would together celebrate the feast of Tabernacles. This day of restoration will take place after the time of Jacob's distress (Jer 30:7), or in the New Covenant, the Great Tribulation (Mat 24:21). Israel will be restored, both spiritually and nationally. Her enemies will be crushed, and the Messiah will reign, not over Israel alone but over all the nations of the earth (Zech 14:9). Elohim will command the faithful among the Gentiles to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech14:16).

Why did Elohim choose the Feast of Tabernacles, and not one of the other major festivals, as a test of obedience for the Gentiles? Some scholars believe that Sukkot, as the feast of ingathering, is the most appropriate time for Elohim to gather the human fruit for His kingdom. Ultimately, the whole earth will become the sukkah booth of Elohim, and He will reign for all eternity (Rev 21:3-4).


The Hebrew word for priest is - Cohen
In Hebrew letters it looks like -כהן
The Hebrew letters for Cohen are: Kaph,Hey, Noon

Look up the Strong's Concordance Article on: COHEN כהן

Some verses which use this word:

For the lips of a priest (cohen) כהן should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of Yehovah of hosts (Malachi 2:7)

Her prophets are reckless, treacherous men; Her priest's (cohen) כהן have profaned the sanctuary. They have done violence to the Torah. (Zeph 3:4)

But you will be called the priest's (cohen) כהן of Yehovah; You will be spoken of as ministers of our Elohim. You will eat the wealth of nations, And in their riches you will boast. (Is 61:6)

Let Thy priest's (cohen) כהן be clothed with righteousness; And let Thy godly ones sing for joy. (Ps 132:9)

This is how כהן Cohen (Priest) breaks down as a word picture:
כ The pictographic concepts conveyed by Kaph - To Cover, To Open
ה The pictographic concepts conveyed by Hey - To Reveal
נ The pictographic concepts conveyed by Noon - Life

So -The Hebrew word picture for priest "Cohen" כהן tells us that the duty or role of the priest is to Open and Reveal Lifeor the way of life to others. Likewise - if the priest is not doing his job, he Covers or Hides the Revelation of Life to others.

We can see from the verses quoted above that the "priest" כהן, had a great and awesome responsiblity. In (Is 61:6) the prophet mentions the fact that the priest was to serve as Elohim's "minister" to His people. This role is further defined by the prophet Malachi, who said that it was the duty of the priest כהן to " preserve knowledge (ie the knowledge of Elohim and His ways). This is clearly the idea behind the word picture for priest כהן - to open and reveal life or the way of life to others. As a result the prophet Malachi says;" and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of Yehovah ."

Thomas Delaughter comments on this verse saying;

"This is the only time the word 'knowledge' is found in Malachi. The emphasis here continues the thought that is found in verse 6. It is concerned with the importance of the godly life, the high calling, and the awe-inspiring responsibility which should characterize all who follow ... as Elohim's true ministers." 1
He further says;
To be able to impart instrucion for Elohim is man's greatest responsibility and blessing. The teaching function of the priest is emphasized and the importance of what he teachesis made prominent, because he is the messenger of Yehovah of hosts. He gives instruction regarding redemption, godliness, and Elohim's will. Failure to hear and obey the instruction which he gives will meet with severe judgement from Elohim (Deut. 17:10-13)."2
Consider also Peter's teachings;
But you are a chosen race, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a holy nation, a people for Elohim's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (I Pet 2:9)

According to the teaching's of Yeshua's Talmudim (disciples) - all believers have this awesome responsibility - not just those from the tribe of Levi. Pause a moment and consider your calling, is the way you live and what you teach to others - opening and revealing to the the way of life - or are you by action and word - closing the revelation of the way of life to others?


1. (page 82) Malachi: Messenger of Divine Love by Thomas Delaugher, Copyright 1976, Insight Press, Inc.

2. ibid (page 83)


The Hebrew word to Fire comes from the word - Aysh
In Hebrew letters it looks like -אשׁ
The Hebrew letters for Aysh are: Aleph, Shin
The word - Aysh אשׁ means: Fire, Flames, Burning

Look up the Strong's Concordance Article on: Aysh אשׁ

Some verses which use this word:

"And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire אשׁ and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Gen 22:6

May our Elohim come and not keep silence; Fire אשׁ devours before Him, And it is very tempestuous around Him.(Psalm 50:3)

This is how אשׁ Aish (Fire) breaks down as a word picture:
א The pictographic concepts conveyed by Aleph: Ox, Strength, Strong
The pictographic concepts conveyed by Shin: To Consume, To Devour

Fire is seen as the strong devourer. Fire can devour a house, a village, a forest. One day according to II Peter fire will destroy this world.

The impact of fire on our lives varies. It can warm, cook, refine even add light and beauty to our lives, or it can destroy all that we hold dear and precious.


The Hebrew word for trust is - BATACH
In Hebrew letters it looks like - בטח
The Hebrew letters for Batach are: Beth,Tet,Chet
The word - Batach בטח means: Trust, Confidence, To be secure

Look up the Strong's Concordance Article on: Batach בטח

This is how בטח Batach (Trust) breaks down as a word picture:
ב The pictographic concepts conveyed by Beth: House, Household, To be inside something
ט The pictographic concepts conveyed by Tet:To surround, To go around
חThe pictographic concepts conveyed by Chet:Fence, Wall, To protect

So - The Hebrew word tells us that TRUST - Batach בטח is to Be Inside the Surrounding Wall or Fence. The Psalmist spoke of Elohim as:

"My refuge and my fortress..."

This is the picture conveyed by the word itself, that we trust in Elohim because He is our Fortress (surrounding wall).

In ancient times many people lived in walled cities - they looked at those walls and had confidence in their safety. This is the lesson that the Psalmist had in mind - he looked not to city walls - but to Elohim, his fortress - and felt safe, he was confident of his protection, for Elohim was his surrounding wall of safety in times of trouble!

TRUST - Batach בטח - played a major role in the Passover story. We read in Exodus 12:7-13:

Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it (the Passover Lamb) on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 ‘And they shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 ‘Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10 ‘And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 11 ‘Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is Yehovah’s Passover. 12 ‘For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am Yehovah. 13 ‘And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt."

It was their TRUST - Batach בטח - which became the surrounding wall or fence - which kept them safe inside their homes while the angel of death went through all the land of Eygpt. The act of putting the blood of the Passover Lamb on the posts and lintels of the house showed their TRUST - Batach בטח - or faith in Elohim, so that the angel Passed Over their houses. TRUST - Batach בטח - then became THE WALL THAT SURROUNDED them against the angel of death.

We trust and pray that you can say with the same confidence as Isaiah:

"Behold, Elohim is my salvation (Yeshua), I will trust (Batach) and not be afraid; For Yehovah Elohim is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation(Yeshua)." (Isa. 12:2)

And with David you too can say that Elohim is:

"My refuge and my fortress, My Elohim, in whom I trust (Batach) !" (Psalm 91:2)


To learn more about Hebrew word Pictures check out Frank Sekins' book:

Hebrew Word Pictures.

The book can be ordered from:
Living Word Pictures
PO BOX 54700
Phx, AZ 85078-4700

All Scripture quotations: The New American Standard Bible, (La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation) 1977
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart) 1990.

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