Compass Confusion (Directions in BH)

For those of you struggling to retain some of your BH vocabulary, let me give you a little hint for how to remember compass directions and physical orientation.

First, remember that the BH words for “east,” “west,” “north,” and “south” are also used for “before” (“in front of”), “behind” (“after”), “left,” and “right.” In other words, you learn two English glosses for each Hebrew word.

directions BH

Can’t remember which direction goes with the other vocab meaning? Just stand facing the way the sun comes up (east). Everything will be oriented to how you are standing. Your left hand is on the north side of your body, your right hand is on the south side of your body. When you face the east, everything you see is in front of you or before you. Everything that is behind you, comes after you as you walk, and is westward of you.

In case you were wondering, when we talk about a west wind or a north wind, the direction named indicates where the wind originates from (not where it is heading). Wind direction is reported in either cardinal directions or in azimuth degrees. Now you know.

Azimuth Chart