Shebarim, Descent of (Descent of Shebab ?)
mattfeld at mail.pjsnet.com
Wed Jul 19 01:49:55 EDT 2000
Thankyou for the observation about the meanings of the names, Shebab and
Dibwan. This calls to mind an observation made by Aharoni that sometimes the
ancient site's name has been preserved in an Arabic form that gives it an
Arabic "coloring," in other words, an Arabic meaning:
"The change to an Arabic form. Frequently a Hebrew element is replaced by a
similar Arabic word which may have the same meaning, e.g. Beth-shemesh- `Ain
Shems, Jabesh(-gilead)- Wadi Yabis; or the result of folk etymology, e.g.
Beth-horon- Beit `Ur ("House of the Blind"), Dibon-Dhiban ("Wolf"), etc. The
original form may even be broken down into several words, e.g.
Adullam-khirbet `Id el-Ma ("The Feast of the Waters") or `Id el-Mi`ah ("The
Feast of the Hundred"). In this latter process a consonant may even be
transposed, e.g. Shephar`am (known from later Jewish sources)- Shefa`amr."
(p.121, "The Study of Toponymy," Yohanan Aharoni, The Land of the Bible, A
Historical Geography. Philadelphia, Westminster Press, , 1979, ISBN
Aharoni also noted the ancient site's name sometimes survives in a nearby
"Sheik's Tomb," which of course is not an ancient site at all, being no
earlier than the Islamic period, or a nearby village not dating to Iron Age
"The great majority of sure identifications were made possible by the
presence of the ancient name, either at the site itself, or in A NEARBY RUIN
OR TOMB, OR ATTACHED TO VILLAGE IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY." (p.118, Aharoni)
I have attempted to find the preservation of the root-forms of the names
Shebarim and Beth-awen (Aven) in sites near et-Tell, being fully satisfied
that mainstream humanist scholarship has correctly identified et-Tell with
Ai and Bethel with Beitin.
Thus it may be that the present village of Shebab may not turnout to be of
Iron Age origins (I don't know if excavations have been done or not), but
following Aharoni's above observation, this would not negate the
identification of the track descending from Shebab past et-Tell being
possibly the descent of Shebarim. The same could hold true for my
suggestion of the Hebrew root `wn (as in Aven, awen) being preserved in Deir
Dibwan (said village may not be Iron Age).
It goes without saying, all of this is pure speculation on my part.
All the best,
Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
Walldorf by Heidelberg
More information about the b-hebrew