What language did Abraham speak? What I really want to know is, did Abraham speak Hebrew?
I honestly don't know for sure what language Abraham spoke. It would have surely been one of the ancient Semitic languages and thus would have been quite similar to ancient Hebrew in many respects. Easton's Bible Dictionary has this to say about the Hebrew language and the language of Abraham:
"It is one of the class of languages called Semitic, because they were chiefly spoken among the descendants of Shem.
When Abraham entered Canaan it is obvious that he found the language of its inhabitants closely allied to his own. Isaiah (19:18) calls it "the language of Canaan." Whether this language, as seen in the earliest books of the Old Testament, was the very dialect which Abraham brought with him into Canaan, or whether it was the common tongue of the Canaanitish nations which he only adopted, is uncertain; probably the latter opinion is the correct one....
The Hebrew is one of the oldest languages of which we have any knowledge. It is essentially identical with the Phoenician language... The Semitic languages, to which class the Hebrew and Phoenician belonged, were spoken over a very wide area: in Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and Arabia, in all the countries from the Mediterranean to the borders of Assyria, and from the mountains of Armenia to the Indian Ocean. The rounded form of the letters, as seen in the Moabite stone, was probably that in which the ancient Hebrew was written down to the time of the Exile, when the present square or Chaldean form was adopted."
If you've never heard of the Biblical Studies Foundation website, I would strongly encourage you to check it out at www.netbible.com. They have hundreds of articles on biblical and theological issues.
The Lord bless you,
© 2008 Probe Ministries
About the Author
Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.
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