Similarity Between English and Hebrew:
Examples from a Biblical Passage Chosen
We wished to illustrate the similarity between English and Hebrew.
We believe that the ancestors of a central core amongst the ancestors of the
English were Hebrew. This is reflected in their language. Languages change,
people change. Apart from our beliefs concerning the ancestry of the English
people there exists the independent phenomenon that English in many ways is
similar to Hebrew. This is worth noting in its own right.
For the purpose of our illustration we chose the New King James Version of
Genesis chapter one, verses one to ten.
This was chosen simply because we wanted something from the Bible and these
verses open the Bible.
We do not know whether these verses contain more parallels to Hebrew or less. We
suspect that they are merely typical. A biblical extract makes a good choice for
this type of exercise since Greek and Latin words will be find to be relatively
few. Greek and Latin statistically may have contributed much to the English
language but it will be noticed that the "man-in-the street" in everyday speech
often goes out of his way to avoid using them. They are considered extraneous
excretions that must be learned and that do not really belong.
Genesis 1: 1 In the beginning God
created the heavens and the earth.
In Hebrew this gives us:
Breishit [In the beginning] bara [created] Elohim [God] et ha[the]-shamim
[heavens] ve [and]-et ha[the]-aretz [earth]".
The English expression "In the beginning" is the Hebrew word "breishit"
understood as connoting "be-reishit" i.e. at (or in) the beginning. "Be" in
Hebrew means "in" which gives us the English "be" as in "being".
It also gives us the English "by".
The English word "beginning" may derive from the Aramaic-Hebrew "begin" meaning
"due to, cause of".
M. Jastrow ("Dictionary of the Talmud") says that the Aramaic "begin" is in fact
"be-(in)-gin" where he gives "gin" as meaning "on account of, because of".
The etymology of the English "begin" is compared to the germanic "ginnan" as in
Gothic "du-ginnan" meaning "to commence".
The conventional etymology deriving the English word from a Germanic precedent
is logical, sound similar, and makes sense. The only problem is that
entering Hebrew into the equation makes a Hebraic original for the English word
even more logical, the sounds are even more similar, and it makes even more
sense. This happens frequently.
"created" in Hebrew is "bara" which gives us the English "bring, brought".
God from Hebrew Semitic god, gad, conn ting "luck, destiny, divine power".
"Et" is a Hebrew word without exact parallel in English which appears before the
expression "the heavens and the earth". It comes to divide subject from
predicate. In this case it makes it clear that God created the heavens and the
earth and they did not create HIM.
"Et" was probably pronounced as "eth". It gave rise to the English words "the"
"The" in Hebrew is "ha" which also recalls the English "the".
The English word "and" in Hebrew derived from "od (ad)" pronounceable as "a-n-d"
and meaning "until, including". This also gives us the English words "add" and
Genesis 1: 2 The earth was without form,
and void; and darkness was[a]
on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the
"Earth" in Hebrew is erets with the final "ts" sound easily devolving to "th"
i.e. erth or "earth".
The English word "was" comes from the Hebrew "az" translated as "then" and
The English word "with-out" is a composite of with-out. "With" comes from the
Hebrew "ve-et" (pronounceable as "we-eth") which means "as well as" or simply
The English word "hovering" from the Hebrew "aver" or "over" meaning "over" and
in Hebrew verbal form "ha-over" being over or making something be over.
The English word "over" again comes from the Hebrew "aver, over" which means
about the same thing. This gives us the word "Hebrew" or "Ibri" since the letter
"bet" may be pronounced as either a "b" or a "v". "Hebrew" means "someone from
"over" i.e. from over the River Euphrates or someone who passes over i.e. a
wanderer. Later Hebrew became the ethnic designation of the Israelite nation.
The so-called "Celitc" inhabitants of Ireland, Britain, and parts of Western
Europe were known to themselves and others as "Iberi" and "Hiberi". These names
are western pronunciations of the Hebrew "Ibri" i.e. Hebrew. The appellation
"Scot" (as in Scotland) is also said to mean "wanderer".
"on" in the KJ is rendered as "upon" which could come from the Hebrew "pnei" or
"pen". These words literally mean "on the face of".
In the expression "hovering over the face of the waters" the Hebrew has "al pnei"
for "on the face of".
Genesis 1: 3 Then God said, 'Let there
be light'; and there was light.
The English word "light" comes from the Hebrew "lahat" (heightened, shine).
Genesis 1: 4 And God saw the light, that
it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
Saw, see Hebrew "ashur" or "shur" also meaning "see".
good -H gad, good
Genesis 1: 5 God called the light Day,
and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the
day H. di "unit of time".
evening H. erev
called H. kol meaning "voice", use voice.
were H. v-(w) era "happened".
the H. ha
Genesis 1: 6 Then God said, 'Let there
be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the
"it" from "et"
Genesis 1: 7 Thus God made the
firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters
which were above the firmament; and it was so.
Thus Hebrew "az, asi" meaning then, therefore, so. Similar to the English word
made H. "madad" meaning measure, and the Hebrew "mad" meaning might.
Genesis 1: 8 And God called the
firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
Genesis 1: 9 Then God said, 'Let the
waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry
land appear'; and it was so.
gathered Hebrew "Yeter" "yether" to remain, cf. other
together also from the Hebrew "yether" to remain.
Genesis 1: 10 And God called the dry
land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw
that it was good.
"of" compare the Hebrew "ap" or "af" meaning "against" but also connoting
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