Note: This is taken directly from the intro of the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon.
In order to demonstrate the need for an Ancient Hebrew lexicon let us examine the word הלל (halel), how it is written and what it means.
The written word
The Hebrew word הלל, as it appears here, in Hebrew dictionaries and in Hebrew Bibles, is written with the Modern Hebrew script. But where did the Modern Hebrew script come from? Hebrew was originally written with a pictographic script similar to Egyptian Hieroglyphs but, when Israel was taken into captivity in Babylon they adopted the Aramaic script of the region and used it to write Hebrew. The Modern Hebrew script used today is in fact Aramaic in origin, not Hebrew.
The word meaning
According to Hebrew dictionaries and lexicons the word הלל is translated as "praise". The Ancient Hebrew language is a concrete oriented language meaning that the meaning of Hebrew words are rooted in something that can be sensed by the five senses such as a tree which can be seen, sweet which can be tasted and noise which can be heard. Abstract concepts such as "praise" have no foundation in the concrete and are a product of ancient Greek philosophy.
Where is the Hebrew?
If the word הלל is written with the Aramaic script and the definition "praise" is from the Greek, where is the Hebrew in this word? The purpose of the "Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible" is to restore the original Hebrew to the Hebrew language of the Bible.
The original Hebrew
The word הלל would have been written as
in the Early Hebrew script (over 3200 years ago) or as
in the Middle Hebrew script (between 3200 and 2500 years ago).
The original pictographic letters of the parent root
is a man with his arms raised "looking" at something spectacular and a shepherd staff that is used to move the flock "toward" a place. When these are combined the idea of "looking toward" something is represented. The original meaning is the North Star, a bright light in the night sky that is "looked toward" to guide one on the journey.
If we are going to read the Bible correctly it must be through the perspective of the Ancient Hebrews who wrote it, not from a Modern Aramaic or Greek perspective. The word הלל in its original concrete meaning is a bright light that guides the journey and we "praise" Yah by looking at him to guide us on our journey through life.
As an interesting aside:
I would just like to add that at the time before the Ancient Hebrew Language (roughly 3000 BC) what we today call the North Star which we use for guidance was a different star back then. Right now, the Earth's rotation axis happens to be pointing almost exactly at Polaris. But in the year 3000 B.C., the North Star was a star called Thuban (also known as Alpha Draconis), and in about 13,000 years from now the precession of the rotation axis will mean that the bright star Vega will be the North Star.