Abarim Publications' Free online Dictionary of Biblical Old Testament Hebrew

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Dictionary/index.html

Free online Biblical Old Testament Hebrew Dictionary

Abarim Publications' ever expanding online Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament comprises 542 articles that discuss the meaning and relationships of thousands of Hebrew words.

Our dictionary is not organized according to alphabet but rather according to similarity of form. For instance: we list the word דם (dam) meaning blood in the same general article as the word אדם ('adom) meaning red, even though these words are generally considered to stem for separate roots.

What our dictionary has in common with most other ones, however, is that for a specific noun or adjective, the user will have to look under its root. The index per letter below will lead to the alphabetical listing of roots we've treated so far, irrespective of in which article they appear.

Sometimes the scope of a word is so wide that its dictionary article took on the form of a thematic encyclopedia article. We list the titles of those thematic articles from our Hebrew dictionary here for convenient perusing. Please see the Greek index for more of these thematic articles.

Abarim Publications' Theological Dictionary

The Hebrew index:

Go to the Greek index

Abarim Publications' Free online Dictionary of Biblical Old Testament Hebrew

Special topics

Physics & cosmology

• Relativity Theory and ancient Hebrew: the liquidity of light

Several non-related Hebrew terms make it obvious that the ancients associated light (and thus illumination and insight) with water. This is a huge deal because not until Einstein's two Relativity Theories did humanity at large share this understanding.
... continue reading →


• The hydrological cycle in the Bible is self-similar to cognition

The familiar metaphor equates knowledge with light but to the ancients, the hydrological cycle (rain, rivers, sea and evaporation) held a similar and equally valid meaning, namely that of the conveyance of instructions, or the joint act of someone teaching and someone else learning from an instructor.
... continue reading →

• Altars and sacrifice in the Bible discuss human cognitive psychology

The daily preparation of people's food was a continual reminder of how people's minds worked, and was intended in the same way as the Last Supper rite, to literally 'bring to mind' the greater things they represented. When these rites are executed merely out of religious piety, they are wholly worthless and rather ridiculous. But when executed with the doors of the mind wide open, they are the mind's most nutritious sustenance.
... continue reading →

• Masculinity in the Bible: to be male is to remember

The noun זכור (zakur) means male, and comes from the verb זכר (zakar), meaning to remember. This says quite a bit about how the ancients saw masculinity.
... continue reading →

• Dreams in the Bible: the secret language of God

Whether our subconsciousnesses are isolated reservoirs of perfect knowledge, or we are logged onto a kind of Akashic library via bent and fraying cables, or getting fed info crumb by crumb by aliens, angels or the Divine, there's something deeply groovy about dreaming. We all dream, but only very few of us have the skills it takes to interpret dreams into wakeland experiences.
... continue reading →

• Wine in the Bible: wine and the mind

Wine in the Bible appears to be mostly a medium via which something that ought to have happened can be brought about, mostly by placating whoever is in the way. Wine" can cause joy but also fill one's mind with false convictions, and Jeremiah even speaks of the wine of God's wrath.
... continue reading →

• The Hebrew heart: the seat of intelligence and determination

To the Hebrews, a creature with a heart was a creature who was able to assess the kaleidoscope of impulses around him, sieve out the things that were most important and more or less disregard the rest. Heart-forming lies at the base of both intelligence and determination, and the opposite of having a heart is being either ignorant, indifferent or cowardly.
... continue reading →


• Soap and hyssop in the Bible

We moderns are so used to soap that we forget that to the ancients it must have seemed like a miracle elixir, so potent and so effective that even the deity heeded it. Soap was a shield that could stave off plagues; a divine potion that meant the difference between life and death.
... continue reading →

• Motherhood in the Bible: Society as one's maternal parent

In our modern worlds, our personal identity is dominant, and our mother is merely someone who brought us into life and hopefully cared for us during the first few years of it. In the Hebrew mindset, however, the collective identity was dominant, and a mother was that within what one was conceived (in stead of born out of). A person's mother was literally the social group this person was part of, and he remained 'a son of his mother' until he married and 'became one' with his wife
... continue reading →

• Towers in the Bible: the nuclei of societies

In the Biblical narrative, a society's 'tower' is its total accumulated wealth in both material sense and in a science and technological sense; its total library of wisdom and skills, its centralization and infrastructure.
... continue reading →

• Camels in the Bible serve as units of trade

In Biblical times, camels went through the eye of a needle because they were the unit of international trade. The very word גמל (gamal), meaning camel, comes from a verb that means to invest.
... continue reading →

• The olive tree in the Bible is the tree of the anointing

In Israel the king, high priest and a prophet were anointed, and anointing was done with olive oil. A failure of the olive harvest was a disaster because that would mean that Israel's social structure couldn't be maintained. And it also caused the olive tree to be one of the most symbolical entities in the Bible.
... continue reading →

• Unleavened bread: bread without remnant

The Hebrew word for leaven literally means remnant, and anything unleavened was either made in such haste that the residual starter batch of leaven had had no time to spread through the rest of the dough, or otherwise, the baker had had no access to a properly cultivated culture. In the Bible there is quite a symbolic load attached to this unleavened bread.
... continue reading →

• Myrrh, the oil of joy and weddings nights

Myrrh-oil became the "oil of joy" with which God anointed the righteous (Psalm 45:7), but mostly it became associated with the consummation of marriage. Esther bathed in myrrh for six months before she was presented to the king (Esther 1:2). Solomon sprinkled his bed with myrrh and invited his bride to drink their fill of love until the morning (Proverbs 7:17-18)
... continue reading →

• Snakes in the Bible: how a symbol of wisdom got its bad rep

Together with the bull and the eagle, the snake provided one of the most dominant animalistic symbols of the ancient world. But the snake also became the most anti-intuitive (at least to our modern intuition) and subsequently one of the least understood better-known symbols of antiquity.
... continue reading →

• A brief history of theology: worship before lords

Formal mastery and complex government were invented a few millennia ago but theology has been around for as long as mankind has left traces. Theology can therefore not stem from reverence of higher ranks and originated in utterly other considerations than those of modern religions.
... continue reading →

• The blind and the lame: a proverbial mystery

Why are the blind and the lame grouped into a proverbial unity, and not, say, the blind and the deaf, or the lame and the one-armed? It turns out that the term 'blind and lame' reflects much more than simply random infirmities, and presents a subtle but profound juxtaposition.
... continue reading →

• How laughter shaped our world

The study of natural synchronicity indicates that human singing and laughing originated not in entertainment but in demonstrations of force, and are similar to an animal's standing upright, showing teeth or flapping brightly colored feathers.
... continue reading →

• Feet and erotica in the Bible: do feet euphemize male genitalia?

It's been overly reported that the Hebrew word for "feet" may actually be a euphemism for the male genitals. A closer look suggests that this may actually jump the gun a bit.
... continue reading →

• The pomegranate in the Bible: a godly fruit

Long before Abraham left Babylon, the pomegranate had gone before him and was cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region. It was quickly recognized as an unusually potent fruit; even modern scientists appear to be quite flabbergasted by the many propitious "physiological effects of pomegranate juice constituents" and produce colossal studies to show it.
... continue reading →

• Leaven in the Bible: of remnants and going viral

Leaven is a fungus that freely flows through the air and settles on everything, like living dust. It feeds on sugars and produces carbon dioxide, which explains bubbles in bread and beer. Archeology shows that leaven was domesticated thousands of years ago, when people managed to isolate and cultivate strands of leaven that resulted in the best beer and bread. The key to the process was to not use all the leavened dough for bread, but to leave some behind. That remnant or residue was then injected into the next batch of dough, and in time this next batch would have become fully permeated by the original leaven.
... continue reading →

• Peace comes from learning, not from feeling

In Hebrew, peace-making means whole-making. Hebrew peace-making requires the effortful acquisition of intimate knowledge of the opponent, and since in Hebrew love-making is pretty much the same as knowing someone, the command to "love your enemy" has everything to do with studying your enemy.
... continue reading →


• Blood and the color red in the Bible

Red is the color of dawn and is also the first color a human baby learns to see. It seems plausible that to the Hebrews the color red signified the rudiments or principal beginnings of civilization, which of course is a mere manifestation of the beginning of a wisdom tradition, or as we would call it today, the preservation of information (in a cultural expression).
... continue reading →

• The word 'Lord' in the Bible is a huge misnomer

Classical translations render both the word 'adonai' and the name 'YHWH' with 'Lord' but this is an unfortunate mistake, as neither is an authoritative term.
... continue reading →

• From the Biblical meta-concept of the day derives the specific solar day

Our noun יום (yom), meaning day, is mostly used to indicate the light-part of a solar day, or rather, the part during which one can work, travel and trade. It's opposite of ליל (layil), meaning night.
... continue reading →

• Christ's many crowns: How one word forms several titles of Christ

The Hebrew noun ראש (ro'sh) means top or head and many of its nuances have been ascribed to Christ in some form or other. Still, there is an important difference between the Hebrew sense of primality or chiefdom and that of us moderns.
... continue reading →

• Does a man have a penis because God made him in His image?

God has hands (Exodus 16:3), arms (Deuteronomy 33:27), feet (Isaiah 66:1) and even wings (Psalm 91:4) and much to the chagrin of all the right people, when He made man in His image (Genesis 1:26), He didn't stop with hands and feet: God has a penis.
... continue reading →

• Salt in the Bible

Entire wars ((milhama)) have been fought over salt (melah), and the word 'milhama' comes from 'laham', meaning to wage war or to eat. It's also part of the name Beth-lehem, and when Jesus says: 'You are the salt of the earth,' He doesn't just mean to say what a fine condiment we are.
... continue reading →

• In Hebrew the word for soul describes not a thing but an act

The modern concept of 'soul' is presently so much divorced from the Hebrew noun נפש (nepesh) that translators should steer clear from it as much as possible. The Hebrew 'nepesh' is really not the same as the Greek 'psuche' or the modern "soul".
... continue reading →

• What to think of the 'face' of God?

In Hebrew a face is not simply something that looks like two eyes and a nose, but rather the whole of a person's attentions and inclinations. God has no parts but He does have a face, since He does have attentions and inclinations.
... continue reading →