Sometimes the above phases of spoken Classical Hebrew are simplified into "Biblical Hebrew" (including several dialects from the 10th century BCE to 2nd century BCE and extant in certain Dead Sea Scrolls) and "Mishnaic Hebrew" (including several dialects from the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE and extant in certain other Dead Sea Scrolls).
However, today, most Hebrew linguists classify Dead Sea Scroll Hebrew as a set of dialects evolving out of Late Biblical Hebrew and into Mishnaic Hebrew, thus including elements from both but remaining distinct from either.
One ancient document is the famous Moabite Stone written in the Moabite dialect; the Siloam Inscription, found near Jerusalem, is an early example of Hebrew.
Less ancient samples of Archaic Hebrew include the ostraca found near Lachish which describe events preceding the final capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian captivity of 586 BCE.
For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help: IPA.It became the lingua franca of Palestine's Jews, and subsequently of the State of Israel.According to Ethnologue, in 1998, it was the language of 5 million people worldwide. Modern Hebrew is one of the two official languages of the State of Israel (the other being Modern Standard Arabic), while premodern Hebrew is used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world today.By the start of the Byzantine Period in the 4th century CE, Classical Hebrew ceases as a regularly spoken language, roughly a century after the publication of the Mishnah, apparently declining since the aftermath of the catastrophic Bar Kokhba War around 135 CE.Around the 6th century BCE, the Neo-Babylonian Empire conquered the ancient Kingdom of Judah, destroying much of Jerusalem and exiling its population far to the East in Babylon.The Torah (the first five books), and most of the rest of the Hebrew Bible, is written in Biblical Hebrew, with much of its present form specifically in the dialect that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BCE, around the time of the Babylonian captivity.