This dictionary covers the period from 1000 BC to AD 300. Besides translations, the entries discuss scholarly literature and include full references. 

For the student of the Hebrew Bible, there are few contemporary Hebrew writings to place the Bible in its literary context. This renders difficult the interpretation of thousands of words that occur only once or twice in the Bible. While materials such as the Ugaritic texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls have shed light on many lexical questions, the interpreter must reach out into the field of North-West Semitic languages, of which Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic are a part. Until now, the most important dictionary to fill that gap appeared in French some 30 years ago, the Dictionnaire des inscriptions sémitiques de l’ouest by Jean Hoftijzer. For the English reader nothing comparable existed, nor was there a convenient dictionary for reading the many inscriptions that have been published since the early 1960s.