Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Ancient Hebrew Alphabet


By Jeff A. Benner


Ancient Name: Hhets
Pictograph: Wall
Meanings: Outside, Divide Half
Sound: Hh

History & Reconstruction

The ancient pictograph is a picture of a tent wall. The meanings of this letter are "outside," as the function of the wall is to protect the occupants from the elements, half, as the wall in the middle of the tent divides the tent into the male and female sections, and secular, as something that is outside.

The Modern Hebrew name for this letter is hhet meaning a string. A very similar Hebrew word is hhets, which means a wall and is most likely the original name for this letter. The sound of the letter, in ancient and modern times, is a guttural "hh" (as in the "ch" in the name Bach).

The early Semitic pictograph evolved into in the Middle Semitic script by being rotated 90 degrees. This letter continued to evolve into in the Late Semitic script. The Middle Semitic script is the origin of the Greek and Roman H. The late Semitic script became the Modern Hebrew ח. The Middle Semitic form of this letter became the number 8.

Semitic Script Charts

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