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What’s the Difference Between Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew?

Oct 5, 2021

כִּֽי־אָ֛ז אֶהְפֹּ֥ךְ אֶל־עַמִּ֖ים שָׂפָ֣ה בְרוּרָ֑ה לִקְרֹ֤א כֻלָּם֙ בְּשֵׁ֣ם יְהֹוָ֔ה לְעׇבְד֖וֹ שְׁכֶ֥ם אֶחָֽד׃

For then I will make the peoples pure of speech, So that they all invoke Hashem by name And serve Him with one accord.

kee AZ eh-POKH el a-MEEM sa-FAH v'-ru-RAH lik-RO khu-LAM b-SHAYM a-do-NAI l'-ov-DO sh'-KHEM e-KHAD

Zephaniah 3:9

In Zephaniah 3:9 the prophet describes how all the nations of the world will have “purity of speech” in the end of days: “For then I will change the nations [to speak] a language of purity so that they all will proclaim the Name of God, to worship Him with a united resolve.” Jewish tradition has always maintained that the “pure language” (sa-FA beru-RA) that Zephaniah promises is the language of Hebrew.

According to the Bible, in the End of Days, the whole world will want to study Hebrew! Over the last century, the Jewish people have miraculously revived Hebrew, long considered to be a dead language. The famous pedestrian mall in the center of Jerusalem, Ben-Yehuda street is named for the father of modern Hebrew, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda.

What is the difference between Biblical and Modern Hebrew?

Many non-Jews are seeking to learn Biblical Hebrew, drawn to the original language of the Bible we both share, hoping to gain new insights into their faith. Perhaps the growing interest of Christian Zionists in the Hebrew language is the next step towards our time of redemption described by Zephaniah, nations are coming together to serve God through the “language of purity.”

Related Names and Places:

Relate Bible Verses: Zephaniah - Chapter 3

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