Ancient inkwell from Qumran

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Tor-Ch Hebrew FAQ

Eisenman, Robert. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians: Essays and Translations. Rockport: Element, 1996. Pp. 423-32.

*Terms may feature the transliteration systems used in their sources and can vary. Mistakes are my own as definitions have been supplemented and some transliterations have been altered from the original. Other additions appear in square brackets [thus].





a defective expression in 1QpHab, xi.6 connected with the arrest/ destruction of the Righteous Teacher. while obscure and usually translated "House of his Exile", it most likely has a different meaning altogether relating to the Wicked Priest's judicial conspiracy to destroy the Righteous Teacher, i.e., "he pursued (after) the Righteous Teacher to destroy him in his hot anger in his Beit-Galut "-meaning, "his Beit-din "/"Beit-Mishpat "/"his Guilty Trial". In fact, as we show, it probably relates to "the High Priest's House" where the Sanhedrin was "exiled" from the Temple Mount in the days preceding the Uprising against Rome.

stories, parables, folklore

(lit. chained) a woman who cannot remarry; usually because her husband refuses to give her a get (divorce), because there is no way to verify whether or not he is dead, or because he is incompetent to give a divorce (i.e., mentally ill)

Love. 'Ohev shalom, lover of peace. 'Ahavat Torah, love for the Torah.

'eha. /Y1ha.
echad /yahad. "One, single, alone" /"union, community."

Aharonim/ Dor ha-Aharon
the Last/Last Generation; the opposite of ha-Rishonim, the First. Just as the First Covenant was associated with "the Rishonim", the New Covenant was associated with "the Aharonim" of the Last Times; note how Paul refers to himself as "last" in I Co 15:8, a nuance not lost in New Testament parodies of the expression, cf. also ha-Ketz ha-Aharon (the Last Era or Last End) and Aharit ha-Yamim (the Last Days).

"People"/"Peoples". In the Habakkuk Pesher and Damascus Document referring to people-primarily Gentiles-"led astray" by a guilty Establishment and its "ways" (cf. CD, viii.8, 16, and 47 and 1QpHab, viii.5, 11, and ix.5). Particularly the plural has the sense of "Herodians", i.e., "the Kings of the Peoples" (CD, viii.10); cf. also "Yeter ha-'Amim"- "the Additional Ones of the Gentiles" for Romans below.

"works", 'amalam, "their works"; equivalent to "suffering works" or "works with soteriological force" as per the usage in Is 53:1 If-where it occurs in conjunction with other familiar Qumranisms, such as "Da'at'; "Rabbim'; "nephesh'; "Zaddik", etc.). In 1QpHab, viii.2 and x.12, used in relation to both "Jamesian" works and "Pauline" works, the former (with "amanatam" below) in the context of eschatological exegesis of Hab 2:4; the latter, the "empty works" of "the Liar"/"Empty Man".

"their Faith". A pregnant expression in 1 QpHab, viii.2 found together with "'amatam" in the exegesis of Hab 2:4's "the Righteous shall live by his Faith" and interpreted to mean, their Faith in the Righteous Teacher; in il.2 and ii.4 the usage he'eminu ("believed"/"did not believe") is an ironic reference to the central focus of the teaching of the 'Man of Lying"/"Scoffing".

"stand up"/"standing"; usually translated in Qurnran texts as "come"/"coming", but evoking Ezek 37:10's "they stood up" and carrying something of the connotation of "be resurrected"; cf. precisely this use in Dan 12:13 and its reflection in Lam. R., ii.3.6. Found in the Damascus Document both in the context of eschatological exegesis of the Zadokite Covenant and allusion to the Messianic return; for the latter, see also Lam. R, intro, xxiv, applying this usage to the "return of Moses and the Patriarchs". There is also a direct relationship with "the Standing One" in Jewish Christian/Elkasaite/Ebionite ideology directly related too to the idea of "the Primal Adam" in these traditions.

(pl. 'Aniyyim), also 'Anayyei-Aretz "the Meek" or "Downtrodden"; one of the sect's several interchangeable forms of self-designation. The equivalent of similar New Testament allusions; used synonymously with "Ebionim"/ "the Poor", and "Dallim".

Men of Violence"; a synonym of 'Aritzim /`Aritzei-Go'im below and most likely "the Men of War" in CD, viii.37---"who walked with the Man of Lying". In 1QpHab, viii.11 the allusion is to the guilty "Riches", which the Wicked Priest "collects" through them.

the Men of Piety or Pious Ones equivalent to the "Hassidim"; mistranslated as "Famous Men" in Ecclesiasticus.

Anshei Qodesh-Tamim
"the Men of Perfect Holiness"; equivalent to such other Qumran usages characterizing communal membership as "the Men of Perfect Holiness" or the 'Perfection of Holiness" ('Anshei-Tamim ha-Qodesh), "the Perfect of the Way" (Tamimei-Derek), and "the Poor Ones of Piety" (Ebionei Hesed); cf. Paul on "Perfection of Holiness" in 2 Co 7:1. Probably meant to imply Perfect Naziritism.

"the Violent Ones"; connected in 1QpHab, il.6 and l0f. with "the Man of Lying", and "Covenant-Breakers"; cf. the parallel New Testament expression 'Men of Violence" and the "Anshei-(H)amas" /" 'Amim" above.

"the Violent Ones of the Gentiles"; in 4QpPs 37, li.20 and iv.10 they play an analogous role to Josephus' "Idumacans" and "pay back" the Wicked Priest for his destruction of the Righteous Teacher.

'Aron (Haqqodesh)
The "ark" or chest that served as a repository for the tablets inscribed with the Ten Principles and the Rod of Aharon.

Unrighteousness, Evil or Sinning; sometimes translated as "Lying" as in "the township on Lying" erected by the Liar in 1QpHab, x.6 or the imagery of 1QS, iv.9-17.

work in the sense of "service" or "mission". To be distinguished from the mote soteriological "'amal" above and "ma'aseh"/"ma'asim" below. Often used when discussing the "mission" or "service" of the Liar (cf. 'avodot-shawo---worthless work; lQpHab, x.11 and 'avodot-tum'ah ---work of pollution; 1QS iv.10) and those breaking off association with him in CD, viii.30, 1QS, vili.22, and ix.8; see also le'ovdam, serving them (i.e., serving idols) in 1QpHab, xii.14.

something prohibited

averah (aveira)
sin, transgression of Elohim's will.


ba'al tefillah
prayer leader

ba'al teshuvah
(lit. master of return) a penitent; a Jew who returns to a traditional observant Jewish lifestyle (also known by the acronym BT)

as used in the Temple Scroll, varying the language of Num 4:20 and Job 20:15 and playing on all the "swallowing" language at Qumran from Belial to leval'o/ leval 'am/ teval 'enu; possibly important for linking the notice in 11 QT, xlvi.10 to the Temple Wall Affair directed against Agrippa 11. Cf. "Bela'", an Edomite King in Ge I 42ff. .and 36:32f. and its variations 'Belial" (CD, iv.14f. and 1QH, iv.10) and "Balaam" (Rev 2:l4ff., 2 Pc 2:15, and Jude---the first three all making allusion to "nets" and "snares"; the last, "food sacrificed to idols"). One should also compare this to the claim Acts makes on behalf of Paul and his possible 'Benjaminite" ancestry.

Beit ha-Mishpat
"House of Judgement"; in 1QpHab, viii.2 used in conjunction with "'amalam", "Amanatam", "doing Torah", and "being saved" in the eschatological exegesis of Hab 2:4., x.3 concretizes it as the actual decision or decree of eschatological Judgement of "Fire and brimstone" which God delivers through His Elect "in the midst of many Nations" on all Gentiles and Jewish backsliders; cf. "Mishpatei-Esh" in x.I3, 2 Pc 2:9, Jude 15, Rev 20:4ff., etc., and "Mishpat" "Yom ha-Mishpat" below.

the House of Judah or simply Jews; as used in 1QpHab, viii.2 to be distinguished from the Ephraim usage in 4QpNah, i.e., Jews as opposed to Gentile "Nilvim" misled by a Lying Teacher. Together with "'Osei Torah", it restricts the soteriological efficacy of the exegesis of Hab 2:4 in a twofold manner, that is, only to Jews, and of these, only to Torah-Doers; cf. too its use in the eschatological exegesis of Ezek 44:15 in CD, iv.11.

be' orot
"in skins"; as used in 11QT, xlvii.13ff., always connected to "things" or "food sacrificed to idols", a key element in James' directives to overseas communities as conserved in Acts 15:29 and 21:25 (in Acts 15:20, "the pollutions of the idols") and reflected in I Co 8:1ff., 10:19ff., 2 Co 6:16 (note the specific reference to "Belial" and "Light" and "Dark" imagery), and Rev 2:1 4ff. (note the attribution of the license to consume such "food" to "Balaam" and the allusions accompanying it to "snare" and "fornication" as in CD, iv.13ff. In regard to this last, one should note the possible play on "Be 'or", the father at once of both "Bela'" and "Balaam". This kind of word-play is known in b. San 105a in the Talmud.

profiteered, as in 1QpHab, ix.5 on how "the Last Priests of Jerusalem profiteered from the spoils--or looting--of the Peoples" ("'Amim", i.e., Herodians and "Violent Gentiles" generally); cf. the same usage in CD, vili.7.


after the fact, post facto (Lat.), what the halacha says about handling a less-than-ideal action that has already occurred (as opposed to l'chatchilah, see entry)

begid ish(ah)
prohibition against dressing as the opposite gender

(lit. in the desert) Numbers (4th book of the Torah)

(Yiddish) to recite a brachah; especially Birkat Hamazon.

bet din
court of Jewish law.

The Tanak, "Hebrew Bible," called O.T. by the Anshei Mattif-Kazav.

bikkur holim
visiting the ill or hospitalized.

birkat kohanim
the priestly blessing (Num. 6 verses 22-27).

Bnei-Zadok [<0n4 Xa.7k]
the "Sons of Zadok"; usually considered to imply genealogical descent, however as used at Qumran-particularly in the Damascus Document-incorporating a play on the meaning of the root Z-D-K and carrying thereby a figurative sense; equivalent to many parallel usages like "Sons of Light", "Sons of Truth", "Sons of Righteousness", etc.; when used eschatologically, also equivalent to New Testament expressions like "Sons of Resurrection" (even "Sons of God").

"Traitors", an important expression in the Pesharim and the Damascus Document, denoting those within the Community who "turned aside from the Way" no longer following the Law (CD, i.12f.). In 1QpHab, ii.lff. referred to with "the Man of Lying" as "Covenant-Breakers" and synonymous with "the House of Absalom and those of their persuasion" in v.8ff. These did not "believe" what they heard "in the End of Days" from the Righteous Teacher. That these include "violent Gentiles" is made clear from the "'Aritzei-Go'im" usage and a comparison of CD, viii.4f. with viii.16; cf. New Testament inversions/parodies.

brakha (pl. brakhot)

(lit. in the beginning) Genesis (1st book of the Torah).

b'rit milah (bris)
covenant of circumcision.

b'sha'ah tovah
congratulations to an expectant mother (literarily "in a good hour," means "at an auspicious time," i.e., "may whatever time your child is born be a good time.") Also the correct response to announcement of a marriage engagement. In both cases, it is in anticipation of a "mazel tov" for something hoped for that has not yet occurred.



Knowledge, a basic concept at Qumran very much connected with the terminology of Is 53:11 and the process of Justification generally; in some vocabularies, "Gnosis".

(pl. Dallim), "the Poor" or "the Meek", related to "'Ani" above and "Ebion" below.

"the Way", related to 1QS, viii-ix's exegesis of Is 40:3, the Noachic "Perfection" notation, "Straightening", and New Testament "Way" allusions; often inverted when "the Way of the People(s)", the Way "of the Kings of the Peoples", and "the Ways of the Traitors", "Abominations", "Uncleanness", "fornication", etc. are at issue.

dati/ lo dati
dati = religious, lo dati=not religious, as used in current Hebrew in Israel, but it is a black and white distinction, meaning Orthodox and not Orthodox.

pray (from the Yiddish, with a particular emotional sense).

derek eretz
respectful, menschlich, considerate of others.

law, judgment

a talk or sermon interpreting a Torah passage (often a creative interpretation) (from a root meaning "search")

perform the kohen's blessing before the congregation

d'var torah (pl. divrei torah)
(lit. word of Torah) a Torah discourse, homily or sermon.

D'varim [Ja..0bar9m]
(lit. words, things) 5th book of the Torah (Deuteronomy).


Ebion ['Eby7n(-9m)]
(pl. Ebionim), "the Poor"; in 1QpHab, xii.3ff. related to the predatory activities of the Wicked Priest and his destruction of the Community's Leadership. Another of the sect's interchangeable forms of self-designation, as well as the name applied by the early Church to "Jewish Christians".

Ebionei-Hesed ['Eby7n4-Heve.]
"the Poor Ones of Piety" (1QH, v.23); another of the sect's inter- changeable forms of self-designation combining, like such parallel usages as "Tamimei-Derek" "Nimharei-Zedek" "'Anshei Qodesh-Tamim", etc., two fundamental notations.

"Truth", a basic concept at Qumran; together with Hesed, Zedek, and Da'at perhaps the most basic; often used in conjunction with Derek, Foundation and Cornerstone imagery, and Da'at. An expression like "Sons of Your Truth" parallels formulations like "Sons of Light", "Sons of Zadok", "Sons of Hesed", and corresponding New Testament allusions.


a legal fiction which transforms a "public domain" into a "private domain", by enclosing the area inside fences, power lines, etc., so as to allow carrying objects on Shabbat; the area so enclosed.

`Etzah/'Atzat ha-Yahad
"Council" or "Community Council", with interesting resonances with "the Jerusalem Council"; also having the possible connotation of "their approach" or "their persuasion" as in "'azatam" in 1QpHab, v.10.



observant (often with an ultra-Orthodox implication).


(lit. learning, from the Aramaic) the later part of the Talmud, which expands upon the Mishna

resident alien. An important allusion playing on the sense of "joining" or "being attached to" of "nilweh". Its use in 4QpNah, ii.9 prepares the way for a clearer understanding of the exegesis of "the Zadokite Statement" in CD, iv and elucidation of "the Peta'ei-Ephraim" in 4QpNah, iii.5f.; see nilwul/Nilwim below.

geviyyah/ geviyyat
sometimes translated 'body", but actually "corpse"; a pivotal usage for correctly identifying the Wicked Priest in 1QpHab, ix.1f's "they inflicted the Judgements of Evil by committing on him the outrages of Evil pollutions in taking vengeance on the flesh of his corpse".

get (pl. gittin)
document of divorce

g'milut hasadim
acts of loving kindness.



The selection from the book of prophets read after the Torah reading.

halacha [halakah]
(lit. path) Jewish law [approach to observance of the Written Torah].

halbanat panim
causing someone to blanch by public embarrassment (lit. whitening the face)

ritual supervision, most often used in terms of kashrut/dietary laws, although it can also refer to spiritual or moral supervision, as in a yeshiva or dormitory.

kosher certification.

permission (usually a rabbinic ruling that permits something).

hiddur mitzvah
beautifying physical objects involved in a mitzvah, or otherwise adding to a mitzvah an esthetic sense

"Riches"; one of CD, iv.17ff.'s "Three Nets of Belial"; in CD, vi.14ff. and viii.4ff. (including "fomication" imagery), directed against the Establishment-probably Herodian; in 1QpHab, viii.10ff. and ix4ff. related to the "gathering"/"robbing the Poor"/"profiteering from the Gentiles" activities of "the Last Priests/Wicked Priest".


Iahueh /IaHUeH
A rendering of the Sacred Name, Yahweh, by employing a Latin style transliteration used by some religious groups. This confuses the Hebrew distinction between vowels and consonants. The Sacred Name appeared only as consonants (YHWH) for many centuries, and the correct vowel-points were never shown.


A late rendering of the Sacred Name, misrepresenting a Latin rendering "Iehouah" based on an amateurish mediaevel Christian mistake in combining YHWH with vowel-points meant to signal another reading (adonay or elohim) as not to profane the Name in public by mispronouncing it, or allowing gentiles to hear it. In short, there is no such Sacred Name "Jehovah" in the Bible or biblical faith.

The letter 'J' as it is pronounced in modern English has no equivalent in Hebrew. The Hebrew/semitic letter yod is with little exception transliterated with English 'J' incorrectly. Therefore some of the most familiar Bible and NT names in western understanding are not the names these Hebrew people were known by throughout and many centuries after their lives. The most glaring example is "Jesus" ---a name that never existed especially in its present pronunciation until after the time of the King James Version (1611) translation. In fact the KJV uses I instead of J's thus rendering names a bit more accurately (Iesus; Iohn, Iacob, etc., pronounced with an initial Y sound).

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Last Updated 10/04/99.