On Lips and Tongues in Ancient Hebrew

In: Vetus Testamentum
Yael Landman Yeshiva University

Search for other papers by Yael Landman in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


This article traces the semantic development of the words śāp̄ah ‘lip’ and lāšon ‘tongue’ through Biblical, Late Biblical, Qumran, and Mishnaic Hebrew. Two semantic changes occupy the focus of this analysis: First, by the time of Mishnaic Hebrew, śāp̄ah had lost its meanings related to the lip’s association with talking, so that it should not be translated ‘speech’ in ambiguous contexts. Second, the semantic widening of lāšon to include the meaning ‘speech’ began to take place in Biblical Hebrew in the context of words from the realm of deceit.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 332 72 2
Full Text Views 235 3 0
PDF Views & Downloads 65 5 0