JERUSALEM, ISRAEL -- In a sermon at Evangel
World Prayer Center on December 22, 2002, Pastor Bob Rodgers told his
congregation about a great man, of whom many of them had probably never
heard. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda was a language scholar at the turn of the last
century and he would design a new Jewish language for the return of his
people to their homeland after the Second World War. Zephaniah
3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all
call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.
ben-Yehuda was born
in the humble surroundings of Lithuania on January 7, 1858. His birth
symbolized the return of the Jews to Palestine.
The Prophet Zephaniah said that the
time the Jews will return to their own homeland, everyone would begin to
speak in their mother tongue again. Around 1900, ben-Yehuda received a
vision from God instructing him to establish a dictionary of Hebrew words
that would allow modern-day Jewish people to study the ancient Hebrew and
also establish thousands of new words. To do this, he went back to the
Hebrew root words and the ancient
Hebrew language rules and established
modern words such as airplane, fountain pen, automobile, and locomotive.
He formed a dictionary that was
sixteen volumes thick.
The Orthodox Jews, however,
ridiculed and scandalized him so much that the new sixteen-volume
dictionary was not published until 1922. Then when the nation was
established, the people coming in were taught the Hebrew language. The
government established schools and then when the Jews began to come from
Russia and Poland - even though they had thick accents - they all spoke
Hebrew. Today the Israeli people speak their ancient language of Hebrew
— this has never happened in the history of world, but yet God
prophesied it would happen and it has taken place. It was a sign from God.
Eliezer ben-Yehuda started by working
on a newspaper as he moved to Israel. He then created his own newspaper
and published it completely in Hebrew. Ben-Yehuda foresaw a Hebrew paper
that would cover all topics of interest to a people living on its own
land, including international and local topics, weather bulletins, fashion
etc. He would use this paper (Hatzvi - 1884) as a means of establishing
new words that hitherto were missing from the Hebrew language, such as:
newspaper, editor, telegram, subscriber, soldier, and many other words.