I have left some things out because you won’t find them in standard grammar books. Some of them come from a doctoral dissertation I found in 2014 (it was approved in 2002). Some of them I discovered after studying the dissertation, once it cleared up decades of misunderstanding. That’s the next part of this course. Take it very slowly because not only is it new, it adds layers of complexity to the Bible that it takes some time to appreciate.
There are two books you should try to get at this point.
501 Hebrew Verbs takes 501 roots which have high-frequency uses in MIH, and gives the full conjugation in every common binyan (as I said, not all verbs are used in all binyanim), as well as examples and idioms that use them. It also refers to Biblical Hebrew by giving the future tense feminine plurals of 2nd and 3rd person. There are great indices in the back. I can’t tell you how many times it has helped me find whether a verb is peh yod or peh nun much faster than a dictionary would.
The other is a dictionary. Do NOT try to read Biblical Hebrew using a computer translator. They are aimed at modern Hebrew, and they are pretty bad. Google translate has wrong meanings for a number of high-frequency verbs. I don’t know where they got their information, but that’s pretty bad. If you’re desperate, go to www.mechon-mamre.org, find the exact same verse, copy the verb, and past in your search engine. If you get a result pointing to “Student’s Gateway”, that is a good one to click on, but it’s not perfect; there are examples of hitpael that it labels as nifal. “Strong’s” and “Biblehub” won’t get you the bang you’ll get from Student’s.
Harkavy’s Student’s Dictionary is available free online from Internet Archive. It’s not 100% complete down to the last possible variation in a word. Harkavy often gives traditional translations that don’t reflect the halakhic (Jewish legal) meaning of a word. It IS organized by verb root, and under those it will show you which binyanim occur in Torah. The best thing about Harkavy’s is that he cites to Bible verses for each of the subentries. He may use the verse you got stuck on; very helpful.
Harkavy’s is also modifiable in Acrobat X and up. As soon as I downloaded it, I set bookmarks for the first page of each Hebrew letter. Cuts way down on the time it takes to look up a word.
If the dictionary doesn’t help, email me. It might mean that I didn’t realize how many problems there were out there, and I should write more entries on this topic.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved