A person who compiles a biblical concordance must make certain difficult decisions concerning issues for which there is no single correct answer: Where should nouns be listed? Where should personal names be listed? Should שׁ and שׂ be listed separately, or together? Should the biblical citation only (e.g. Genesis 22:9) be listed, or should the citation plus context (וַיַּעֲקֹד אֶת־יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ) be listed? Should the citation be vocalized or unvocalized? Which very common words or particles (e.g. the conjunctive וָו ) should and should not be included? Should any definitions be included? Should phrases or idioms somehow be noted? The two main concordances, discussed below, differ in their decisions concerning many of these issues; for this reason, in some cases it is wiser to use one concordance rather than another. However, in the the twenty-first century, it typically is easier to use Bible programs instead of a paper concordance. They are easier to use, and more comprehensive, detailed, flexible, and powerful than paper concordances. Online concordances include:
מקראנט: http://kodesh.mikranet.org.il, and מכון ממרא: http://www.mechon-mamre.org/searchfh.htm, as well as the much more comprehensive Bar-Ilan database: www.biu.ac.il/JH/Responsa/Heb/index.html.More powerful and elegant concordance searches my be performed using Accordance, Logos, and Bibleworks, described under electronic resources. Visit the Electronic Resources page to learn more about these programs.
Several English websites such as Biblegateway.com offer the ability to do concordance searches. A grammatically tagged Leningrad B19A(in other words, the raw data for a concordance) is found at http://tanach.us/Tanach.xml ; this site also contains a Hebrew version of the Torah color-coded according to its sources (following the division of Richard Elliott Friedman).
No paper or electronic concordance is definitive--often forms of Hebrew words are ambiguous, and a person needs to decide its grammatical form, and thus where it should be placed in a (paper or electronic) concordance.
Instructions on how to use the two main paper concordances follow:
Veteris Testamenti Concordantiae Hebraicae Atque Chaldaicae (קונקורדנציה לתנ׳׳ך), by Solomon Mandelkern is over one hundred years old, and has appeared in various editions. The following information is important to note before attempting to find anything in Mandelkern:
A list of abbreviations is found on pp. x—xii; some of the abbreviations of biblical books are especially confusing because they are based on the Latin names of biblical books.
Mandelkern is organized by root, so the noun תְּפִלָּה ('prayer') is found under the root פלל (p. 951), as in BDB. שׂ and שׁ are treated separately, with שׂ preceding שׁ. The entry for פלל is available for download at the bottom of this page.
The concordance is divided into the following sections:
- 'Regular' Hebrew roots (this includes propositions);
- personal (e.g. אתה);
- demonstrative (e.g. זה);
- interrogative ( e.g. מי ,מה);
- the relative pronoun אשׁר.
- Aramaic roots
- Proper names (personal and geographic)
- (In most editions of Mandelkern) A key of difficult-to-find roots, compiled by M. H. Goshen-Gottstein.
The numbers of this section refer to pages and columns. For example, if you cannot find מופת in the concordance, check this alphabetic key (p. 1558), and it will direct you to ד no. 493, namely p. 493, column 4, under the root יפה. (Note that all of the tools surveyed in this section categorize ל׳׳י words as ל׳׳ה words, following the medieval tradition.)
Each entry begins with a short lexical discussion in Latin and in modern Hebrew.
A New Concordance of the Bible, by Abraham Even-Shoshan was first published in 1977, and has subsequently appeared in various editions, some of which have an introduction in English. It adheres to the following principles:
This tool is organized alphabetically, thus תְּפִלָּה ('prayer') will be found under ת. This entry is available for download at the bottom of this page. The letters שׂ and שׁ are treated together, thus שׁבע and שׂבע are consecutive. Common nouns, proper nouns, Aramaic words and pronouns are all found in the same section. Each entry contains a short lexical discussion in modern Hebrew. 'Synonyms' and near-synonyms are indicated. The verses are vocalized. The verses are numbered and expressions are often collected using a numerical key. (For example, if you wanted to know how and where the expression of Exodus 14:30, שְׂפַ֥ת הַיָּֽם is used, you could look up שׂפה in Even-Shoshan, and the idiom will be listed with numbers, which refer to the consecutive citations that follow.) These listings are not always accurate. A guide for using Even-Shoshan is available for download at the bottom of this page.With words that are frequently used, only citations are given; the verse-fragment is not given. It is therefore often more useful to look up common words in Mandelkern, even though the print is less clear and the texts are not vocalized. Skim through both of these tools and compare their entries to the word שׂפה.