Biblical Hebrew for All


The Hebrew name for the Book of Deuteronomy contains one of the first words in the Masoretic Text (MT) of the book namely "hadebarim" which means, "the words"


The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek deuteros + nomos) is the fifth book of the Jewish Torah


Chapters 1–4

The journey through the wilderness: Horeb (Sinai) to Kadesh and then Moab.

Chapters 4–11

After a second introduction at 4:44–49 the events at Mount Horeb are recalled, with the giving of the Ten Commandments. 

Chapters 12–26

The Deuteronomic code: Laws governing Israel's worship (chapters 12–16a), the appointment and regulation of community and religious leaders (16b–18), social regulation (19–25), and confession of identity and loyalty (26).

Chapters 27–28

Blessings and curses for those who keep and break the law.

Chapters 29–30

Concluding discourse on the covenant in the land of Moab.

Chapters 31–34

Joshua is installed as Moses's successor, Moses delivers the law to the Levites (a priestly caste), and ascends Mount Nebo or Pisgah, where he dies and is buried by God. The narrative of these events is interrupted by two poems, the Song of Moses and the Blessing of Moses.
The rest of this comprehensive Wikipedia article on the book can be read here.
An extract from BHFA Volume 5

Dt. 24:1d

וְכָתַב               לָהּ               סֵפֶר           כְּרִיתֻת

divorcement      a writing of       for her      and he will write

  • KJB       then let him write her a bill of divorcement,
  • NASB     that he writes her a certificate of divorce,
  • ESV       and he writes her a certificate of divorce
  • NLT        he writes a document of divorce,
  • NIV      and he writes her a certificate of divorce,


Noun, f. sg. abs. meaning, "divorcement." The root is   כּרת   which means "to cut off, cut down." It is found only here, in Is 50:1, and Jer 3:8. 

Women in the Hebrew Bible

The Hebrew Bible is predominantly a patriarchal (male dominated) document from a patriarchal age. Therefore there is a great contrast between the women of the present day and those of the Hebrew Bible times. 
Woman in the Old Testament is subject to the Chinese rule of the three obediences:"When young she must obey her father; when married, she must obey her husband; and when her husband is dead, she must obey her son." They were severely restricted in their rights. For example, they were granted only limited freedom of movement and choice of relationships. To pursue an education or fully participate in society was unthinkable.

Roles and functions

In ancient times, women's roles and functions were limited to the home. The most important role of woman in early society was that of being a wife and a tool for reproduction. In ancient Israel the influence of a man was measured by the numbers in his family rather than by riches in lifestock, slaves, or land. 
Not only does the law permit polygamy (Dt 21), the Song of Songs celebrates it (6:8). A number of wives was a sign of wealth and social distinction, especially that of royalty. Monogamy, on the other hand, was the badge of poverty. 
In traditional agrarian (cultivation of land) societies, a woman's role in the economic well-being of the household was an essential one. Ancient Israel had no developed market economy for most of the Iron Age (c. 1200-300 BCE), so a woman's role in commodity production was essential for survival.


Legally the wife was the property of her husband. He was her master, or owner; she was his chattel (a personal possession). She is listed with his ox and ass (Ex 20:17; Dt 5:21), and ranked after his children. As chattel,  she may be surrendered for the protection of a guest (Jgs 19), be made to serve the commercial advantage of her owner (Gen 12), be disposed of with the ancestral estates (Ru 4), be brutally punished (Gen 38:24; Lv 2I:9), or be expelled at will from home (Dt 24:1). A husband could divorce a wife if he chose to, but a wife could not divorce a husband without his consent. The law said a woman could not make a binding vow without the consent of her male authority, so she could not legally marry without male approval.


The man alone had the right of divorce. This is partly due to the commercial form of marriage, whereby the woman belongs absolutely to the man. Her economic value is his; her love and fidelity are his due.Also see more on "divorce" at Lev 21:7b here.
In spite of all the above, it should also be noted that the Hebrew Bible often portrays women as victors, leaders, and heroines with qualities Israel should emulate. Women such as Hagar, Tamar, Miriam, Rahab, Deborah, Esther, and Yael, are among many female "saviors" of Israel.

Dt. 32:11a

כְּנֶשֶׁר         יָעִיר       קִנּוֹ     עַל־     גּוֹזָלָיו         יְרַחֵף

he will hover    his eaglets     over   his nest    he will stir    as an eagle

  • KJB       As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young,
  • NASB     Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young,
  • ESV       Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young,
  • NLT       Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young,
  • NIV       like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, 

In the BHS version, there are two footnotes in this sentence.

  1. By changing the vowels of the verb  יָעִיר  the meaning will change to "he will protect." This is the case in the Septuagint that has σκεπάσαι meaning, "sheltering."
    Reminder: The original text had no vowels. The vowels we have today were added on to the consonants by the Masoretes 1000 years later. Their vowel selection is highly respected, but in this case could be incorrect. Their very strict rule was to never change the consonantal text.
  2. The second footnote states that we should add "and" before "over" which does not have a major effect on the meaning of the text.
    "The Hebrew wordנֶשֶׁר   is often translated as 'eagle,' but this is as much a generic term as is the English. As many of the references are used figuratively, it does not give many clues as to the specific species, and could include any large raptor. Dictionaries therefore mention that it could without difficulty be translated as 'vulture.' Micah 1:16 is a case in point."(1)
    "Eagle chicks have long post-nestling dependence periods, but it is well known that the chicks exercise their wings extensively while still in the nest, and are quite capable of flying when leaving the nest. This description of bird behavior can therefore not be taken literally."(2)
(1) Hattingh, Tian. (2012). Birds and Bibles in History (p. 104). London. The London Press.
(2) Ibid. p.105.