MASTER'S SEMINARY JOURNAL

BOOK REVIEW

The Hebrew English Concordance of the Old Testament with the New International Version


By John R. Kohlenberger, III, and James A. Swanson
Grand Rapids : Zondervan (1998). 2192 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Grisanti
12.2 (Fall 2001) : 265-266

The Hebrew English Concordance of the Old Testament (HECOT) was prepared for those who are not fluent in OT Hebrew, makes use of the NIV for its contextual readings, and is the first complete Hebrew-English concordance published in more than 150 years. It builds on features of the older concordances by presenting exhaustive indexes, providing generous lines of context, valuable frequency statistics, and various other unique features. The volume has four major sections: the Main Concordance (Hebrew-English and Aramaic-English) (1-1720), the Select Index of Adverbs, Conjunctions, Particles, and Pronouns (1720-33), the NIV English-Hebrew & Aramaic Index to the OT (1734-2069), and Concise Hebrew- English and Aramaic-English Dictionaries to the OT (2070-2192).

A typical entry in the Main Concordance section has the following key features: the Goodrick/Kohlenberger number (NIV Exhaustive Concordance), the word in question in Hebrew and in transliteration, the part of speech, the frequency count (in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and in NIV), cross-reference to related words, and a list of NIV translations for that word (more information is available in the Introduction). The context lines that follow each entry (giving examples of each verse where the word in question appears) provide three kinds of information: the book, chapter, verse reference; the line in which the word occurs (NIV); and the textual variant information (where appropriate). The context lines provide a host of other varied details that space limitations prevent listing here. One important feature of this concordance is the manner in which it draws attention to the Hebrew and Aramaic verb stem for the verbs it indexes. Unlike most of the older concordances, HECOT maintains the English canonical order of all the lines (rather than dividing them into categories in accordance with specific verb forms) and provides an abbreviation at the beginning of the context line that delineates that information. The abbreviation key [xiv] utilizes consecutive letters of the English alphabet to represent the various Hebrew and Aramaic verb forms. There is no clear way of associating the letter of the alphabet with the verb form (e.g., A = Qal, B = Qal passive, C = Niphal, etc.).

While the Main Concordance offers 237,194 contexts, indexing 8,705 Hebrew words and 636 Aramaic words, the Select Index of Adverbs, Conjunctions, Particles, and Pronouns indexes 44,370 references to 38 highly frequent Hebrew words and 4 Aramaic words (without providing any context lines) (also providing the part of speech and frequency count).

The NIV English-Hebrew & Aramaic Index lists every word in the NIV OT in alphabetic order, followed by a complete list of the Hebrew and Aramaic words translated by any NIV phrase that includes the indexed word (providing the Goodrick/Kohlenberger number, transliteration of Hebrew word, and frequency of occurrences).

The final section, a Concise Hebrew-English and Aramaic-English Dictionaries to the Old Testament, offers a concise definition for each word of the Hebrew Bible and indexes each word with reference to four key reference tools: Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, Brown, Driver, and Briggs Lexicon, Koehler and Baumgartner’s Lexicon (1958 ed.), and Holladay’s Concise Lexicon. This reference work, HECOT, at long last provides an up-to-date and thorough English concordance of the Hebrew OT. It provides much more detail than any of the older concordances. Students of Hebrew will find the abbreviation system for the Hebrew and Aramaic verbal system somewhat frustrating, but that fits within the intention of the authors to provide a tool that helps the student of the Scriptures who does not know Hebrew.