Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon
Authors: Francis Brown, S.R. Driver, Charles Briggs
Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers
While the BDB is not the most up-to-date lexicon, and its methodology is somewhat dated, it remains one of the best day-to-day ready reference tools for students of the Hebrew Bible. Furthermore, I find some of the criticisms of the BDB to be overstated. The fact that includes etymological data is not a limitation, even if it is generally, and correctly, acknowledged today that etymology is not necessarily a reliable indicator of a word’s meaning. There are two other well known multi-volume Hebrew lexica used by scholars today: The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament by Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner (HALOT for short) and The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew by David J. A. Clines. HALOT is by far the most complete source for etymological data, while DCH is an attempt at a lexicon project based on more up-to-date linguistic theory (though its total shunning of etymology makes it cripplingly incomplete as a lexicon). While HALOT has a two-volume “study” set, it is still priced too high to be practical for the average Hebrew student. The Concise Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (an abridgment of the DCH) is more reasonably priced, but for technical reasons I am not yet convinced of its value. So when all is said and done, BDB remains the best choice for beginning students, despite (or maybe even because of) its root-based organization.
Christianbooks.com has the BDB for $17.49, which is the best price I’ve found.