We read in Gen. 13:14: “And the LORD said to Abram… ‘Raise your eyes and look out from where you are, to the north (צָפֹנָה) and south (נֶגְבָּה), to the east (קֵדְמָה) and west (יָמָּה).’” The Hebrew words for the four directions where Abram was asked to direct his gaze are: “north” צָפֹנָה (pronounced as tsafonah), “south” נֶגְבָּה (negbah), “east” קֵדְמָה (kedmah) and “west” יָמָּה (yamah).

In English these words are technical navigational terms, but Hebrew is an extremely physical language and the origin of these words is tied to the environment.

The Hebrew phrase translated as “to the north” – צָפֹנָה (tsafonah) – is connected to Mt. Tsaphon in modern Syria (see Isa. 14:13), which lay to the north of Abram when God told him to look in all directions. The Hebrew term נֶגְבָּה (negbah), traditionally translated as “to the south,” literally means “to the Negev” – the name of a wilderness in the south of Canaan/Israel. The phrase יָמָּה (yamah), translated as “to the west” means “to the sea.” Similarly, קֵדְמָה (kedmah), translated as “to the east,” evokes an image of “going back to something from a time long ago”, namely to the Garden of Eden that God planted in the beginning of history (Gen. 2:8).

Someone put it very well: “To read the Bible always and only in translation is like listening to Bach, always and only played on the harmonica. You certainly get the tune, but you will miss pretty much everything else”. We invite take your first steps in learning how to read Hebrew.



  1. Love these mini lessons! If I could afford it I would certainly get the one on Revelations! Being on limited income I hope to still enjoy the daily lessons! I am sharing with my Senior Sunday School class what I learn during the week.

  2. I suggest that ‘to the east’ has the sense of going away from the LORD. E.a. Adam (Gen 3:24), Cain (Gen 4:16), the people (Gen 11:2), Lot (Gen 13:11). To go to the LORD is going to the west, as the gate of the tabernacle and the temple is on the east side.

    • Hi Tony. Interesting observation. Which, by the way, is the reason John Steinbeck’s famous novel, and the movie, are called “East of Eden”!

      • I thank you and your efforts for putting out these small statements public. I have a small parsonage and couldn’t share your direct Word any other way. I have learned much myself. I know as with my Ministeries the Spirit of God has coupled our reception and ability to share with others. May God continue to Bless in his ways.

    • In my opinion, going to the east means going backwards to what we know and feel comfortable with as compared to trusting what the Lord has in store.
      Although it is obvious to me that the Lord is leading Abram to understanding of his destiny as father of us all, there is also a feeling (with the translation) that the compass describes stages that we go through in our lives.
      Anyway, before I get carried away, I also cannot yet afford lessons, but these mini teachings help mine immeasurably to understand so much more. I am so so grateful.

      • perhaps you could get together a few people and share the cost and share the lessons I hope this would be OK if you could find a way to do it I’m in the same situation I live on a very limited income I think most of us would love to study more these years if we could get a group together it would be wonderful

        • I would love to do that. Thanks for the suggestion. I’m in NZ so I would have to organise a group over here. Can’t do it until well into next year.

    • Thanks so much for all the efforts of teaching us.I am greatful for receiving books and remarks of others give us a better understanding of the Word of God. I’m not able to study now lack of funds but I appreciate everything especially the emails. God bless you all.shalom

    • My thoughts on looking to the East was in remembering the Garden of Eden and the forfeiting of their authourity and dominion over the world to Satan, but knowing that the resurrection of Jesus would bring us back to that place of dominion and out of law into Grace.

  3. Like Betty above, I cannot join these classes at this time, but I surely DO appreciate these mini lessons. Thank you so very much. You ARE appreciated!

    • Sharlom Thank you for the chance to study with your team, at the moment I live on a budget, I never honestly thought that I would be given this opportunity and deeply appreciated learning, having the joy and happiness of my adopted mother being Jewish,I am Happy to learn.

  4. Biblical Hebrew is a beautiful visual language, this language the Creator chose for Yehudah to preserve His instructions to mankind in. I have made Hebrew study and courses with you a high priority. On a pension, I find applying my first tithe an appropriate way to pay for my classes, as we are to tithe where we are being spiritually fed … and I have been (and continue to be) spiritually fed here. Thank-you, Dr. Eli.

    • Anita. NT does not require tithing. Jesus said the Pharisees to tithe food not money as The Temple was still standing. The NT says 2Cor.9:7-8 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver from the heart.

      • That passage (2Co.9:7-8) is about giving to the needy, something commanded by Torah (Deu.15:7). But Jesus did not abrogate tithing to the Temple or any part of Torah. Rather, the scribes and Pharisees were tithing herbs, an extremely trivial act, placing it over and above weightier commandments. Read the second half of the verse you alluded to; Jesus corrected them that they should do the latter without neglecting the former (Mat.23:23b). So He confirmed tithing, actually.

        • The tithe was for the needy and Priests. He confirmed it to Pharisees who were under law to tithe to the temple. not a word about NT tithing as no temple after The Romans destroyed it. Lev.27:30 all the tithe of the land, Even Malachi was food.

          • Biblical tithe is edible produce, yes, but there were three tithes after the first-fruits went to the high priests. 1) the first tithe went to the temple for the Levites, then 2) a tithe of what’s left was for saving up for taking to enjoy in Jerusalem during the pilgrimages, except 3) in the third and sixth year, that tithe was to be given to the poor, sojourner, and local Levite. Giving charity beyond this was a separate issue.

          • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Story of Our Hebrew Fathers: Abraham and Isaac or The Jewish Apostle Paul I: His World. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

          • RE NT The only time tithing is mentioned was not to His followers but to Pharisees Jesus set the 70 and told them to stay in one house not go door to door so no tithe, Paul to followers who did not support didn’t ask for tithes or money

          • Alan, I have a counter example for you. In Mat.23:23, when Yeshua was teaching the crowd and His disciples (see v.1), He said “tithing…was right to do” (but that the scribes and Pharisees should also not leave weightier matters undone). And Paul requested that donations be stored up by each person (1Cor.16:2) at their own place so that they wouldn’t scramble to collect everything when he arrived to take and deliver the donations to those in need. It was not at one house only, it was not money, but it also was not a tithe.

    • yes He said the Pharisees should. But wasn’t holding them up as examples For Christians to follow But yes to follow judgement mercy and faith. The food tithe was 2 in years 1-2 4-5. 3 in years 3-6 and 1 in years 7 But there is no Priest/Temple today.

  5. I think Jewish Insights are important to understanding how the Greco-Roman world embraced the Jewish concept of God. I think it is also important to honour how the Greco-Roman world thought about Zeus, Hermes and Apollos. Many Christians insist Jesus is the incarnation of the Trinity, the one and only God. Whereas, it is my understanding some Jews tried to venerate Moses as a god too. So others say that is why God buried Moses in a secret place so that “no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day” to keep Moses from being worshipped as an idol.

      • Not disagreeing, Graham, but what part of the Bible do you have in mind that teaches “Jesus is God”?

      • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Jewish Apostle Paul I: His World or The Jewish Gospel of John I: The Arrival of the King. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

        • The very first verse if Genesis has been translated to Christians as the Word was Jesus and the Word was God.

          • Hi Gale, It sounds like you are quoting John 1, which is great; but the idea of “the Word” has a long and rich history prior to Jesus’ incarnation which John was building on. Not unpacking that background could lead to hasty conclusions.

        • John chapter 1.” In the beginning.. the word was God and was with God….and by him everything was created. ” In this chapter of the Bible we she that Jesus, ‘the word’ is God.

          • Yes, “the Word was God,” but Jesus is “the Word made flesh…and we beheld His glory…as of an only begotten from the Father” (John 1:14). John is differentiating between “an only begotten” and “the Father”. I think you’re missing the larger context of “the Word”/”Mamre” of John’s time. Read these three articles about “the Word”: first, second, third.

          • Are you familiar with the whole “the Word”/”Memra” context that predates Jesus that John was likely alluding to?

          • re OT Jesus said that they had neither seen or heard the Father at any time. yet Abraham had Him as a guest. Then How? Our answer is Jesus came before Abraham thus is the Word in the beginning all the way to the end of the NT.

  6. Have just started Abraham’s journey of faith module. Can anybody tell me who the lovely lecturer is – not Dr Eli aand haven’t identified him from other pictures. Thank you!

  7. Like some of the other comments I too are able to afford the course and as I am nearly 80 yrs old, my memory is not as good as it once was. I very much enjoy the explanations you give are excellent.

  8. Like so many of your respondents I really appreciate these little insights to the Hebrew Bible and have learned a lot. Unfortunately I currently do not have the time to take your courses, but they are high on my bucket list. Thank you for the daily emails.

  9. Learning Hebrew is a deep heart desire of mine. Getting insights from Strongs in my personal study and hearing little essays like the ones you have been sending make the Word burn through me like fire in my bones! I would sign up in a heart-beat if I could truly take the classes at my own pace. I don’t think I could keep up with my other commitments and complete 12 courses in 12 months–so three additional free ones would only add to the pressure.

    • Carolyn, you are building your library of courses (you don’t have to do them all within that period). It is like good books, you buy them for future reading, you don’t necessarily read them right the way 🙂

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Stories of Jewish Christ: First Century Diversity or Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  10. I very much appreciate your Lessons on some of the Hebrew words which give lot of meaning with reference to the events in the Holy Scriptures. However I would like to receive the insights which are being sent. The Scriptures say that the Hebrew language will be the only one for all those who enter into the Millennial period which has been foretold by the prophets. Once again I thank you all for Israel will be the Nerve center of the entire world. May the Lord’s Blessings prevail upon all who stand for the Truth and the Kingdom of God.

  11. Shalom Dr. Eli for this wonderful mini lesson! I have gained so much! HalleluYah🎉Blessings to all who shared insights & love! My share: 2-words from “I AM. I AM your Father”. They go w/your teaching. *The LORD God said, “Go outside. Face North”. I turned, fell on my knees & praised the LORD! He said, “Face East & say, ‘He will come from the East’”. I did. Then He said, “Face South & say ‘the Winds & Winds & Wind(s)”. More recently He repeatedly said, “Oto! Hey Yah nu!” He explained ‘Listen/hear this. Behold, I AM making new something ancient.”

  12. This courses are truly powerful and full of wisdom of God, Anyone that study’s or teach or preach the Bible ( the words of God) will understand that you have a great calling. and Is good to pay deep attention to you Dr Eli.

  13. I am new to this site and loving the insight that the Hebrew language brings to the scriptures. I will continue to check in learn what I can from the mini posts, so enlightening. Thank you

    • This is so good to hear, but you must keep in mind that this is but a tip of an iceberg. I want to strongly encourage you register and become a member of our learning community. Please, click here and register -https://israelbiblecenter.com/membership-account/certificate-in-jewish-studies/?nabe=4796749668155392:1

    • These insights only brush the surface, Doris. You should really commit and take our Introduction to Hebrew course. Dive into the good stuff!

  14. I love these mini series. Come the first of the year I hope to be able to join in. God bless for doing this. I have learned so much just from these little series

  15. I am not sure that QEDMAH “to the east” (Genesis 13:14) means towards the Garden of Eden – though this might seem possible (cf. Genesis 2:8). In any case, I wonder where it was east of? The destruction wrought by the Mabbul (= Deluge, THE Flood) in Noah’s time means that there can be no trace left today of the Garden of Eden: it must be buried under immense thicknesses of rock and debris -as would be the case with all the other features of ante-diluvian geography! It seems more likely that the word meant “to Mesopotamia (and Ur)”.

    • Numbers (2:3), Joshua (19:12), and Zechariah (14:4) indicate that “kedmah” and “mizrach hashemesh” (rising of the sun) are synonyms. I think its definition is secure.

  16. God has answered by prayer because many years back have been praying my heavenly Father to lead me where or how can learn Hebrew and so far I learnt a lot through those daily articles. I belief God that very soon I will be able to register.

  17. Thank you for the mini courses! I enjoy them so much and read all the comments.
    I often wondered how Abraham new we’re to go and admire his courage to uproot his family and settle in a unknown country.
    As I cannot afford the courses, I love to read the mini ones and also ordered some of your books .from Amazon.
    May the Lord Bless you Dr Eli🌺

  18. Now that we are in the spirit of the Holidays the Three Wise Men (Magid) come to mind and how they traveled from the Far East and found their way to Yeshua in his Sukot.

    Be Blessed

    • The bible nowhere says 3. Older account suggest 10 to 12 Came from the East of Jerusalem Probably around Turkey where the lost tribes were. Pagans were not expecting a KING. They followed obviously an angel. As neither a star or comet are seen during daytime to follow

      • The lost tribes were the only people along with the Jews who had the prophesy. Suggest travelling by night would be difficult and possibly dangerous. Plus it was in the fall ( no way was He born in Dec.) as Jesus was 1 year old and living in a house.

      • Better yet, instead of pagans, they were Jews of the Babylonian exiles who did not return to Israel who knew the scriptures and the signs of their time.

      • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Stories of Jewish Christ: First Century Diversity or Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

        • Dr. Eli Is it fair to think that even Israel still knew the prophesies including the exile and supposedly lived in this area as well? The rest of the world had no reason to be concerned whether or not Judah had a new king being born. Stars don’t control lives

          • Well, what do you mean by Israel? The northern kingdom that assimilated to other nations or the Samaritans? The Samaritan woman did expect a prophet to come. But there is no evidence that any exiled northerners maintained their identity or heritage. The Jewish community in Babylon however certainly did. Their thriving community is what would later produce the Babylonian Talmud.

        • Hi again We are in Agreement as I too think ALSO those who stayed behind Rather than Pagans. It never made sense that God would not reveal this to His People First. I too really Thank you For this site and all the work you are doing. God bless.

  19. It’s interesting to me that there are so many of us that are struggling financially. I pray that what we are all calling “mini-teachings “ remain free and that the author/teacher will be blessed with financial support for this ministry.

  20. Unable to join the course.
    Thankful for the mini course,please keep them coming.which is so beautiful, illuminating,and gives such a depth to the
    Scriptures.God has blessed Israel and it’s people and will continue to bless.
    God Bless.

  21. Thank you so much for allowing me to observe all this valued information, I’m receiving. Cannot pay for the class, at this time, but love finding out more about what the Jew’s version, and thought processes according to the scriptures, provide. After all they are the ones for whom the scriptures were written. I’m just a Gentile with a willing heart to learn all I can, regarding this information. I so much appreciate the sharing qualities on behalf of all the other Christians, who participate. I’m learning a lot from you as well. I’m just so thankful to the Lord.

  22. I have heard that Eden itself was a bigger area, the garden was planted eastward in eden. I have heard of Eden being the outer court, the garden the inner court, and the midst of the garden being the holy place where they would meet with God.

    • Maybe, but the face of the earth had a major make-over during the global flood, so it would be hard to know now.

  23. Shalom Dr. Eli I have a question I know part of it is part of this but some will not be. But I have to put it all in to be able to understand what I am saying. I have talked to a Shaman of the Native American. He told me that the Native American will bless the 4 direction and they burie the blood when they kill the animal for food. I was wondering the connection to the Jews that were force out of Babaloyon (sp) a number years ago.

    • That’s not my expertise, but there are some similarities between certain Native American Tribes and Israelites, and a lot of attention is dedicated to the subject. One interesting evidence is the Los Lunas Decalogue stone that was found in New Mexico with the Ten Commandments written in Paleo Hebrew with Greek influences. One person that is quite convinced of the connection is Chief Riverwind. Maybe look him up and see what he says.

  24. Part 2 Dr. Eli: The Native American also do other things like what the wolves do when they go hunting they leave someone behind to take care of the childern. I know the wolves do that the Alpha male and female go hunting leave one the beta behind to take care of the pups left behind. The rest of the pack goes with the Alpha or leader of the pack to go hunting. It just seems to like there could be a connection with the Native Americans and the Jews of long ago when they were disparst to other countries.

  25. …”Tsaphon…modern Syria”—but what, in ancient-Biblical or post-archaic times, the Land of Canaan (who did not belong there by N’Oah-&-sons’ division of lands)… sounds like TFN (Egyptian nickname for Seth, given by Isis-Aset/extrabiblical Awan, related to typhoon)…and the ‘-ah’-suffix means in-the-place/by-the-name-of… and, West, means, 180° pan of west, Etc.

    • Look, Raymond when you live in Hawaii (like you do) you can talk like this. But, I am not sure what you are talking about :-). To be honest.

      • I believe Mr. Petry is positing a connection between the words ‘Tsaphon’ and ‘TFN’ (an Egyptian name for Seth related to the word ‘typhoon’.

        I’m curious as to why people would speak/write unintelligibly in Hawaii?

  26. Please tell who or what spoke to Moses face to face in the tent of meeting in the wilderness. I’ve always understood it to be God the Son in the flesh just as Jesus appeared after the Resurrection.

    • God spoke to Moses, of course. It is doubtful that Moses actually saw a face in the Tabernacle though, since God did not let Moses see His “face” in Exo.33:20. God is Spirit (John 4:24), so “face to face” is likely used here (an anthropomorphism) to indicate intimacy. Even the English translates “face” as “presence” in several places (e.g., Exo.33:14).

  27. Hello, Dr Eli,

    Like Betty above, I cannot join these classes at this time, but I surely DO appreciate these mini lessons. Thank you so very much. You ARE appreciated!

    Greetings from Burma/Myanmar.

    • Well I am very happy that you are blessed by these, and thank you for reading them and interacting on this forum. Share them with your family and friends so they can be blessed by them too.

  28. Thanks for the spiritual guidance you have been offering us through your writings. I enjoy reading and understanding God’s word. Though I hunger and thirst for more and more knowledge I can’t afford the course right away. May you continue to be a blessing to us

  29. Hi Dr Lizorkin-Eyzenberg
    Great article, my geography gets me lost easily, I would like to ask if the directions apart from pointing to well known geographical locations could also generally equate to:the north, mountains. South, desert, west, the sea and east the garden?

    • East comes from the root meaning previous or ancient, qadmah. Garden however is gan. Maybe figuratively is could refer to the garden of Eden, but it could also refer to the homeland of Abram’s forefathers.

  30. How about your thoughts on God’s promise to Jacob (Gen. 28:13-15)? Here God advises Jacob his descendants would spread “abroad” in four directions. In my opinion, that means the Israelites would not be confined to their Promised Land, but would dwell in lands outside of the Middle East.

    • Jacob lived in the middle of what would later become the united Kingdom. His descendants DID spread out in all directions from there. And through Messiah, all of the families of the earth were indeed blessed. I see no need to look outside of the Promised Land for the fulfillment of this promise.

  31. You say “kedmah” (“to the east”) has the suggestion of going back to something a long time ago, perhaps the Garden of Eden. I doubt Eden – we don’t know where it was! Going back to Mesopotamia is more likely. Kadimah political party (a related word?) said to mean “forward”!?

    • In the west, one orients himself and his maps to north. In the ancient near east, maps were oriented to east. This “eastward” (kedem) was thus the primary facing direction, so kadimah was “forward”.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including Exodus and The New Testament and The Jewish Apostle Paul I: His World. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

  32. Bro Dr.Eli thanks for your hints from hidden treasure of my Lord’s book but to know much more and feel satisfied by sharing these all depth of my Lord’s language in my area but I am unable to be a member due lack of money so pls help me .

    • Thank you for following these free insights, brother. As for becoming a student, I have two suggestions for you that you can do. First, find one or even two other people who would like to become students, and go in together on a membership. And secondly, you can also campaign for support.


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