There are various theories about the origins of the text of the Pentateuch, the most important one in scholarly terms being the Documentary Hypothesis. There are a couple of things that have come up in my learning Biblical Hebrew that have interested me about this and I've not been able to find any comments anywhere about them.

The Hebrew for "she" is normally הִיא, but in the Pentateuch alone is הִוא. See www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1931/wlc/wlc/0-1/. Why is it (sometimes?) different in the Pentateuch?

The Hebrew for "these" is normally אֵלֶּה, but in the Pentateuch it is (sometimes!) אֵל (and in 1 Chronicles 20:8). See www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h411/niv/wlc/0-1/. Why is it different in the Pentateuch?

Does this tell us anything about the time these texts were written or their sources in any way or am I barking up the completely wrong tree, e.g. the author(s) wrote differently just because they felt like it?

  • The documentary hypothesis was popular in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Its popularity has now waned, and while still held by some there is much less agreement now.
    – Dottard
    Commented Feb 2 at 20:17
  • @ user 11984586 - The most obvious reason is that the Torah (Pentateuch) was written at a different time zone than the later books. Customs change with time, including verbage usage. There's nothing spectacular about this phenom.
    – ray grant
    Commented Feb 5 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


The simplest explanation for these variations is offered by two effects:

  • the evolution of the language of Hebrew over 1000 years. [Compare the current condition of English with that of 500 years ago and 1000 years ago!!]
  • the difference in authors' styles between the highly educated Moses (General, statesman, prophet, poet) and the likes of Amos who was a "herdsman and a tender of sycamore-fig trees" and everyone in between

The differences in Hebrew style pointed out by the OP are just a few of many hundreds that could be listed over the 1000 years of the OT composition and authors' lives. It would be surprising if such differences did not exist!

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