Ancient Hebrew Facts For Kids: Origin, History, And More | Kidadl


Ancient Hebrew Facts For Kids: Origin, History, And More

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Hebrew is a Semitic language, belongs to the Canaanite group of languages from the Northwest Semitic family of languages.

Hebrew society was the forefather of the Jewish people. According to the Hebrew Bible, Hebrews emerged in the early 2nd-millennium BC.

Hebrew origin was Canaan, later known as Palestine. As per the Bible, God told Abraham to leave his home (Mesopotamia) and start a journey around the world to find a new home to which God would direct him, and he would be the founder of this new nation. Abraham traveled to Canaan, where he and his successors established the nation of ancient Israel (Hebrew country) and Jerusalem.

Hebrew was regarded as a spoken language in the 19th & 20th centuries and was the official language of Israel. The history of Hebrew is classified into four distinct periods: Biblical Hebrew or Classical Hebrew, Mishnaic or Rabbinic Hebrew, Medieval Hebrew. This era had borrowed many words from other languages like Arabic, Greek, etc. Modern Hebrew is the language spoken by modern Israelis.

If you enjoyed reading about ancient Hebrew facts for kids, check out our fun facts articles on ancient Greek clothing facts and ancient Greek culture facts.

What is ancient Hebrew known for?

Ancient Hebrews were primarily known for their biblical language, the Torah, composed of the first five books of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. The Torah contains the Five Books of Moses: Deuteronomy, Numbers, Genesis, Leviticus, and Exodus.

As per the Torah, Abraham is the ancestral patriarch of the Hebrew society. The native of Hebrews was Canaan, later called Palestine. As per the Bible and history, God commanded Abraham to leave his hometown Mesopotamia and start his journey to find a new land directed by God. Abraham traveled to Canaan, where the new nation, ancient Israel or Jerusalem, was established.

After Abraham, his grandson Jacob split the Hebrews into 12 tribes dividing after his 12 sons. Later during a famine, they were forced to migrate to Egypt. Though they were initially welcomed later, the dense of people turned to be a threat to the pharaoh and decided to enslave them. After a wait of 400 years, in the 13 century, Moses, as their leader, freed them from this slavery. This is similar to the Quran, where the Prophet Musa received his 1o commandments in Mount Sinai. Hebrews was taken back to Canaan.

After the death of Moses, Joshua as a leader of Hebrew conquered Canaan from its inhabitants and distributed it among the twelve tribes of Hebrews. The kingdom was united under the rule of Saul, David, and Solomon. After the death of King Solomon, they were divided into two, the ten tribes from the north began a second kingdom called Israel, and the two tribes of the south framed the kingdom of Judah. The Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom. The Babylonians invaded the southern kingdom. The captivity of Babylonian ended in 538 bc. In the same year, the Persian invader of Babylonia, Cyrus the Great, gave the Israelites permission to return to their homeland. From then, the Israelites were known as Jews.

What is the oldest form of Hebrew?

The origins of modern Hebrew or the Hebrew alphabet can be classified as Biblical Hebrew, Archaic Hebrew, found in the Bible, and inscriptions. Monarchic period this era is also referred to as Old Hebrew or Paleo-Hebrew.

Some interesting facts on Hebrew, most scholars name Hebrew as Jewish script, square script, and block script. The Hebrew alphabet without a case has 22 letters. The Hebrew language is written from right to left, but the numbers are written from left to right like Arabic. Hebrew writing style contains no vowels and has only consonants. This style implies the reader to mark the appropriate vowels, understanding the meaning. Initially, the Hebrew was an abjad composed only of consonants but is now regarded as an 'impure abjad' as now few letters are used to represent vowels. Hebrew was originally a bible language and was considered a holy language used in prayer but not spoken by people in the world. Though it wasn't actively spoken, it was well appreciated as a written language. Jews strongly influenced Hebrew pronunciation.

Modern Hebrew, known as Israeli Hebrew, is a standard form of Hebrew spoken today. There are approximately nine million Hebrew speakers in the world, and most Hebrew speakers are citizens of Israel. At the end of the 19th century, Hebrew took a turn from Judaism's Holy language to spoken language. Eliezer Ben‑Yehuda was a Hebrew lexicographer and also a newspaper editor. Ben Yehuda was the motivating force behind the rebirth of the Hebrew language in the modern era. In the 19thcentury, he created an organization to revive the language.

The first Hebrew words he created were a million for dictionary, and it was just the beginning of a journey to build a Hebrew dictionary, which he published in five volumes. The words are produced in different ways. Some are framed through the combination of the old roots (shoresh) and pattern (mishkal) from a biblical word; others are simply taken straight from other languages; for example, the word muffin is called (mufinim), and academy is (academia).

What did ancient Hebrews invent?

Technology-enhanced Hebrews to economically prosper and establish itself as a powerful region. The most distinct technologies recorded by many scholars in archaeological and literary records are construction, architecture, writing, industrial tools, and weapons of war.

In the Iron age, about 950-900 BC, accommodations were small and unfortified, requiring large public structures. Later, in Iron IIA 900-840/830 BCE, public architecture increased with the palace's construction, residence, royal enclosures, high places, and consolidation with walls and gates. Advancement in architecture reflected growth and structure in their political and social structure. Israel's architectural infrastructure grew enormously in the widening and consolidation of places like Dan, Megiddo, and Hazor, including massive city walls, multi-towered city walls, and multi-gate entryway systems.

Writing plays a vital role in the inventions, enabling political views, widening economic strength, and enhancing the development of a scribal social class. The most prominent evidence for writing in Hebrew was found in 1910. The findings uncovered 102 ostraca dated 865 to 735BCE(potsherds with writing), some stating the receipts of the transmission of luxury goods, one displaying the shipment of wine, providing us the insight into ancient Israel life using the written word as an invention for economic and political purposes.

Another distinct invention is the olive-oil press, dating to the 8th century BCE. This oil press comprises a round, detached crushing mortar with a round-cut press bed with the exact measurement. The oil was collected in the rock. Another type of olive press was also invented and used, and scholars recorded that the stones were most likely used as equilibrium weight for a beam or lever press. Scholars agree that Israel invented and used at least two types of olive-press technology to produce olive oil to use and sell. They also had a wine press, and the winepress had huge, shallow basins. Firstly grapes are placed in the basins, then they would stomp on it to press the juice, and the juice would flow towards a lower basin, where it is collected in jars and stored.

Israel invented horses and chariots and used them for its military technology, which enabled it to become a significant regional power in the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. There were many other inventions of ancient Israel during their iron age which made them a powerful region.

The United States is known to have the second largest Hebrew-speaking population, and the tenth-largest religion in the world is Judaism.

Ancient Hebrew Civilization Inventions 

Hebrew civilization contributed to humankind with its history, culture, religion, language, and literature as holy scriptures. Hebrew civilization contributed to the old testament, and their religion was Monotheistic, which means believing in only one God. This God is fair and expects morality from his people, but humanity will be punished if they commit sins. This God does not have an image or form to be described or represented.

Hebrews were people from Mesopotamia. They were nomads living in tents, shepherding their cattle and flocks of goats, sheep and using donkeys, mules, camels to carry their loads. They enjoyed music and engaged it in their religious ceremonies. The shofar was a Hebrew instrument made from the horn of a ram used to perform ritual ceremonies. Harps, trumpets, tambourines, and flutes were also used made by the animal horn. There are no paintings or sculptures for fear that they will end up in idol worship as their God had no image. The Hebrews were also engaged in agriculture and raising their livestock. Crops they cultivated were olives, grapevines, and lentils. Hebrews worked in ceramics and made various fabrics of wool and linen. Their dress style was a robe that reached the feet, made with fringes. Hebrews have followed both patriarchies from the period of Abraham, Monarchy from the rule of Saul to King Solomon.

Their contribution to literature was compiled in the Hebrew language to The Psalms, Proverbs, nuptial songs of the Song of Songs, the Chronicles, Genesis, Exodus, Judges, the Kings, and many other books denominated the Books of Wisdom, like Ecclesiastes. Their architectural skill was established, flourishing in their noble homes and temple.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for ancient Hebrew facts, why not look at ancient Greek food facts or ancient Greek temples facts?

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

<p>With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.</p>

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