[b-hebrew] Asher again
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Jul 15 14:34:11 EDT 2010
Based on the beginning and the end of your post, your primary attack on my
view of the personal names at Genesis 14: 2 seems to be based on history,
not linguistics. Unfortunately, you are completely wrong on the history here.
In the Great Syrian War in the Orontes Valley in western Syria in the
mid-14th century BCE, which I see as being what the “four kings against five” is
accurately reporting, the defeated league of five parties were Hurrian
princelings who lived in the Orontes River Valley. They did not live in, or
anywhere close to, Mitanni in eastern Syria. Indeed, one key reason why the
league of five rebellious princelings was effortlessly crushed by the mighty
Hittites in a men-against-boys total mismatch was precisely because Mitanni
never showed up to help out its fellow Hurrian ‘brothers’! So your comments
about the names of kings of Mitanni are almost entirely irrelevant.
Let’s now examine the historical name of one of the historical members of
the league of five rebellious princelings who were crushed by the Hittites in
the Orontes River Valley in the mid-14th century BCE Great Syrian War. We
know from Amarna Letter EA 53 the name Akizzi, the ruler of ill-fated Qatna.
Here is Richard Hess’s analysis of the name Akizzi, at pp. 27-28 of “
Amarna Personal Names”:
“a-ki-iz-zi…The language represented by this PN is Hurrian. A-ki-iz-zi is
composed of the Hurrian verbal form, ag ‘to guide, lead,’ and the bound
As to the first Hurrian word, at p. 80 of F/B we see: “*[ag-ú] [P-x] ‘to
bring, to lead’
EL ag- <a-ku-u>. …UR <ag/j(u)>”
Note that this is a vintage Hurrian word, not a Sanskrit or Indo-Aryan word.
We have discussed the second element in this name, -zzi, in prior posts,
noting that it is Hurrian.
The early Hebrew author of Genesis 14: 1-11 used nicknames for all 17 names
and titles of the nine contending rulers at Genesis 14: 1-2. So we won’t
literally see “Akizzi” at Genesis 14: 2. But an appropriate nickname would
be a Hurrian common word, which is not a Sanskrit word, and which
effectively means “Hurrian princeling”. That’s because the defeated members of the
league of five rebelllious parties were Hurrian princelings, several of whose
names are Hurrian names, and none of whose names are Sanskrit or Indo-Aryan
So BR%(, representing ebri-ssi in Hurrian (not Sanskrit), literally meaning
“your brother”, and effectively meaning “Hurrian princeling”, is a
perfect nickname used by the early Hebrew author for Akizzi of Qatna.
1. You wrote: “A general problem I see here is that during the Mitanni
Period, the Hurrian-Mitanni upper-class bore Indo-Aryan sounding names.”
That’s true but irrelevant. The league of five defeated parties was
composed of Hurrian princelings who were not kings of Mitanni, who did not have
Indo-Aryan names, and who in several cases had vintage Hurrian names like “
Akizzi”. So a Hurrian common word that effectively means “Hurrian princeling”
is a perfect nickname to use for such a person at Genesis 14: 2.
2. You wrote: “[T]hese names should be Indo-Aryan sounding. So the
conclusion is that these names do not refer to persons who have anything to do
with Mitanni and Hurrian people.”
Akizzi is not an “Indo-Aryan sounding” name. It’s a pure Hurrian name
that sounds Hurrian. So a Hurrian common word that effectively means “Hurrian
princeling” is an apt nickname for Akizzi at Genesis 14: 2.
True, the four names/nicknames at Genesis 14: 2 of members of the defeated
league of five rebellious parties “do not refer to persons who have anything
to do with Mitanni”. That’s because that league formed in the Orontes
River Valley in western Syria, far from Mitanni, and indeed was abandoned by
Mitanni at crunch time.
Your further statement that the names/nicknames at Genesis 14: 2 “do not
refer to…Hurrian people” relies almost solely on your assumption that the one
and only Hebrew letter that could possibly be used to represent a Hurrian i
would be a yod. That is simply not true, as my post showed. That choice
would have been very poor for the Hurrian words “which” and “Ea”, which
include both i and y in Hurrian, and for all the many Hurrian words where the
first syllable consists solely of the Hurrian vowel i. The superior choice
was the choice actually made by the early Hebrew author: to use an otherwise
irrelevant Hebrew letter, ayin, to represent Hurrian i. On that basis, all
four names at Genesis 14: 2 are Hurrian common words that effectively mean “
Hurrian princeling”. BR( is ebri. [I understand that to a Hurrian, the e
at the beginning of this Hurrian common word was a vowel in its own right,
not merely a prosthetic. But from an early Hebrew point of view, that e
would have been viewed as being in the nature of a prosthetic aleph, being there
merely to facilitate the pronunciation of the true consonant B. We know
that such e must be implied here, because of the )B -- eb -- discrete syllable
in the related name $M)BR.] BR%( is ebri-ssi. $M)BR is $umi-ebri. And
$N)B is $an-a-b. It’s so straightforward that the early Hebrew contemporary
audience, though only knowing a couple of Hurrian words, could catch it.
They knew that the key consonants in the Hurrian word for “lord” were BR, and
that the key consonants in the Hurrian word for “brother” were $N, and
that both such Hurrian words used by the Hurrian ruling class princelings in
14th century BCE Canaan effectively meant “Hurrian princeling”. That’s all
the early Hebrew contemporary audience needed to know, in order to figure out
that the manifestly non-west Semitic names at Genesis 14: 2 are Hurrian
common words being used as apt nicknames for the five members of the defeated
league of Hurrian princelings, who were crushed by the Hittites under mighty
Hittite King Suppiluliuma I [Biblical “Tidal”] in the Great Syrian War in
the Orontes River Valley in western Syria in the mid-14th century BCE.
Pinpoint historical accuracy, thy name is the “four kings against five” at
Genesis 14: 1-11.
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