Hebrew belongs to the Canaanite group of languages. In turn the Canaanite languages are a branch of the Northwest Semitic family of languages.
Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah during the 10th to 7th centuries BCE. Scholars debate the degree to which Hebrew was a spoken vernacular in ancient times following the Babylonian exile, when the predominant language in the region was Old Aramaic.
Hebrew was nearly extinct as a spoken language by Late Antiquity, but it continued to be used as a literary language and as the liturgical language of Judaism, evolving various dialects of literary Medieval Hebrew, until its revival as a spoken language in the late 19th century.