Hebrew Helps

A Primer for Biblical Hebrew: Preface

Written by: Sarah Smith

“I am so excited that you decided to begin the adventure of learning biblical Hebrew. One of the highest priorities of our homeschool is for our children to be fluent in the languages of Scripture, and my husband and I wanted a curriculum that would propel them beyond just familiarity with the language to a love-affair with Hebrew. We looked for a curriculum that had lots of writing, lots of reading, and lots of vocabulary—and found nothing to meet those standards that was also designed for children. So I began to make our own worksheets, but it occurred to me that the work I was doing might be helpful to others, and hence…this primer.

Hebrew Scriptures on stand with hand holding the book

I patterned my approach after the phonetic method of teaching English, but included an unusual emphasis on vocabulary to further the end goal of independent reading of the Hebrew Scriptures. The seventy-seven vocabulary words in the primer were chosen because they appear with high frequency in the Scriptures.

Our children usually have about two years of formal study of English phonics and writing before we begin Hebrew, which makes them around six or seven years old. However, by the time we finished the Aleph Bet for the first time, (and reached the end of writing the primer) our eldest was nine years old. The worksheets are therefore designed for children between the ages of 6-10. If your children are old enough to hold a pencil, but have not out-grown a love of coloring pages, this primer will be ideal for them.

I must give all credit to Dr. John H. Sailhamer for the knowledge he recorded in his Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. My husband and I learned under him when he was Professor of Old Testament Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. His teaching is the foundation upon which this primer is built.