[b-hebrew] Lexicon Recommendations

Herman Meester crazymulgogi at gmail.com
Sat Dec 10 14:07:29 EST 2005

Hello Jimmy,

I think some people mentioned Köhler/Baumgartner, "A Hebr/Aram.
Lexicon to the Old Testament", or in its H/A - German/English
original, "Lexicon in veteris testamenti libros", Brill, Leiden, 1953.
I don't think this is superior in any other way than that it's a
little more up-to-date. It refers to more other Semitic languages,
Ugaritic, Ge`ez, and the like.

What I like using a lot instead of a dictionary, because it gives you
all words in its context and biblical verse directly, is a concordance
to the MT. All I know is (and it's good) Solomon Mandelkern's Sefer
hekhal haqqodesh (qonqordantzya `ivrit wa'aramit), = Veteris
testamenti concordantiae hebraicae atque chaldaicae. You do need a
Latin dictionary occasionally, but the great advantage is that you see
straightaway where and how a given word is found (always with a little

Köhler, for example, doesn't mention that the word niftal נפתל is
actually often combined with (iqqe$ עקש so we could miss that we may
be dealing with an expression, or something poetic, at least a word
that might not mean anything on its own, but does in context. This is
very easily found in a concordance.

Good thing about Köhler/Baumgartner (that's how we call it in Holland,
I guess Americans call it HALOT) is that it gives, unlike BDB, words
"alefbet"ically (unless they are clear verbs).
That's preferable, because sometimes the root is not clear, so how
would BDB know what the root is? BDB has taken over that practice from
Arabic lexicons, usually strictly ordered by root. BDB is based on
Gesenius' work (17th edition), which is, unlike BDB, alefbetic for
non-verbs. Europeans still use Gesenius a lot, but it's in German,
like the original of Köhler. And if they have Gesenius, they don't use
BDB because that's the same thing.

Then there is another interesting book, by Hoftijzer and Jongeling,
Dictionary of the North-West Semitic Inscriptions. Some people on this
list know that Jongeling is a teacher of mine, so I'll inform you of
the fact here, and this is no ad. It's just that there are a lot of
extra-biblical inscriptions in Hebrew or something that may not be
called Hebrew but "Moabitic" or "Phoenician", whereas we can't always
really tell the difference between these languages, of course; it's
all Canaanite/NWSemitic. For example, in Job we find hapax words of
which we can wonder: are they Hebrew? Aramaic? "Deir Alla-ic"? Or is
the language in the book of Job all just "Job-ic?"
IOW, to take a look at a dictionary like that can be very refreshing.
But I have no idea if it is affordable, I don't have it.

best regards,

2005/12/10, Jimmy Doyle <jimmy at liquidthinking.org>:
> I've always used the BDB.  I remember someone on this list mentioning
> another lexicon that they considered to be superior to BDB.  What lexicons
> and resources are being used by members of this list?
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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