What is the Hebrew word translated "basket" in Exodus 2:3 and what else is it used for in the Old Testament?

When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. (Exodus 2:3 - ESV)


2 Answers 2


The Hebrew word translated in this text as "basket" (H8392: tebah / תֵּבָה) is translated in other contexts as "ark" (KJV). Most (26) of its occurrences are associated with Noah's ark in the book of Genesis, chapters 6-9, leaving only two occurrences, once each in Exodus 2:3 and Exodus 2:5, that are used for Moses' deliverance from the river.

You may see more, courtesy of BlueLetterBible, HERE.

  • The word is “teva,” not “teba.” There is no dagesh in the bet/vet. Sep 22, 2021 at 4:46
  • @LoisTverberg The "tebah" is likely just a transliteration. If in fact there had been a dagesh in the bet, wouldn't that have made it "tebbah"? In any case, I just copy/pasted the English spelling of the word from BLB. It was not intended to be the phonetic equivalent--just the spelling/transliteration. They have the pronunciation as: ta·vä'.
    – Polyhat
    Sep 22, 2021 at 5:36

The Hebrew word תֵּבָה (tevah) is defined by BDB as per the appendix below. It simply signifies a box or container. It is only used in two instances in the OT:

  • to describe Noah's "ark" of "gopher" wood
  • to describe Moses' "ark" of papyrus reeds.

APPENDIX - תֵּבָה (tevah)

תֵּבָה noun feminine ark (properly chest, box (compare Late Hebrew תֵּבָה); probably Egyptian loan-word from T-b-t, chest, coffin (Brugsch, ErmanZMG xlvi (1892), 123); > Babylonian word JenZA iv (1889), 272 f. HalJAssyr., 1888 {Nov.-Dec.}, 517); — absolute ׳ת Genesis 7:1 +; construct תֵּבַת Genesis 6:14; Exodus 2:3; — vessel in which infant Moses was laid among reeds Exodus 2:3 (made of papyrus, גֹּמֶא), Exodus 2:5 (both E; ᵐ5 θῖβις, θήβη, compare LewyFremdw. 100); vessel which saved Noah and his family, with animals, during flood (ᵐ5 κιβωτός): Genesis 7:1,7,9,17,23; Genesis 8:6,9 (twice in verse); Genesis 8:10,13; Genesis 9:18 (all J), Genesis 6:14 (made of עֲצֵי נֹפֶר), Genesis 6:14; Genesis 6:15; Genesis 6:16; Genesis 6:16; Genesis 6:18; Genesis 6:19; Genesis 7:13,15,18; Genesis 8:1,4,16,19; Genesis 9:10 (all P).

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