The Hebrew Institute of Semitic Studies
THE ANCIENT HEBREW ALPHABET
Video's provided by Jeff Benner of Ancient Hebrew Research Center
The first letter in the ancient Hebrew alphabet is Aleph. The Aleph is a picture of an ox because the very meaning of Aleph is ox. The ox represents strength like the phrase "strong as an ox". In the Hebrew Bible the Aleph is also translated as chiefs or governors because the ox represents leadership or a leader and what is first. The Aleph also has the numerical value of 1.
"That our oxen may be well laden…" Psalm 144:14 "Then the chiefs of Edom…" Exodus 15:15
"And the governors of Judah…" Zechariah 12:5
The second letter in the ancient Hebrew alphabet is Bet. The Bet is a picture of a tent because the very meaning of Bet is a tent or house in modern terms. The Bet represents a dwelling or within a house. In the Hebrew Bible the Bet is translated as house and household. Bet also means inside, in and into. The Bet also has the numerical value of 2.
"You he shall take other mortar and plaster the house…" Leviticus 14:41
"You and all your household…" Genesis 7:1 "In the beginning…" Genesis 1:1
The third letter in the ancient Hebrew alphabet is Gimel. The Gimel is a picture of a camel because the very meaning of Gimel is camel. The ancient hebrew picture shows a camel like foot or back. The Gimel also symbolizes something benefited or lifted up like a camel rising from its knees. It also symbolizes self will or pride like an obstinate camel. The Gimel also has the numerical value of 3.
"Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink…" Genesis 24:14 "and yielded ripe almonds…" Numbers 17:8
The fourth letter in the ancient Hebrew alphabet is Dalet. The Dalet is a picture of a door because the very meaning of Dalet is door. The Dalet is also translated in the Hebrew Bible as a gate and a page. The ancient picture symbolizes a path or a way of life and movement of into or out of. The Dalet also has a numerical value of 4.
"And opened the doors of heaven…" Psalm 78:23 "…until all of the scroll was consumed…" Jeremiah 36:23
"All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates and bars…" Deuteronomy 3:5
The fifth letter in the ancient Hebrew alphabet is the Hey. The Hey is a picture of a man with his hands lifted up. The Hey can also be seen as an open window in some ancient symbols used for this character. The Hebrew Bible translates the Hey as behold, to show and to reveal. The ancient pictograph of a window symbolized to show or to reveal. The Hey also has a numerical value of 5 and when added to the beginning of a word it represents the article "the".
"…behold therefore I also will recompense…" Ezekiel 16:43 "…the skies and the land…" Genesis 1:1
The sixth letter in the ancient Hebrew alphabet is the Vav. In modern Hebrew this letter is also called the Vav. The Vav is a picture of a nail or a wooden peg used in ancient times. The ancient pictograph of a hook or nail symbolizes a joining together, making secure and becoming bound or nailed to. The Vav also has a numerical value of 6 and as a prefix this letter is used to mean "and".
"…and their nails shall be…" Exodus 26:37 "…and the land…" Genesis 1:1