Luz and Lud

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Mon Dec 6 23:46:52 EST 1999

According to BDB, the Hebrew verb LUZ = turn aside, depart is cognate 
with an Arabic verb "laadha" meaning "have recourse to, take refuge 
in", using the soft d Dave mentions (i.e. the th sound in "the"). The 
(Canaanite?) place name Luz could well have come from this root, with 
the meaning "place of refuge", and such a place name could have been 
common in the Semitic world. According to the regular sound changes 
which Dave mentions, the original "Ludh" would have changed to "Luz" 
in some Semitic dialects and "Lud" in others. (According to the table 
I have from Patrick R. Bennett's "Comparative Semitic Linguistics" 
pp.68-73, proto-Semitic dh became z in old Babylonian, Hebrew, Ge'ez 
and Tigre, d or dh in Syriac, d in Urmi and Egyptian Arabic, and 
remained dh in Ugaritic, classical Arabic and Jibbali - it has also 
become z in Turkish and Farsi). The place name Lod = Lydda could be a 
variant form of the same name, perhaps of Aramaic rather than Hebrew 
origin because of the d. (The Arabic form of this name is apparently 
"Ludd", which is probably borrowed from the Aramaic or Greek rather 
than reflecting the original root.)

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Luz and Lud
Author:  <dwashbur at> at Internet
Date:    06/12/1999 13:18

> Prompted by some recent threads, I want to ask the list whether anyone thinks 
there is any
> connection between Lud (Lydia in Asia Minor) and the 'Luz' of Jdg 1:26 which i
said to be
> the name of a Hittite city built by a former citizen of Bethel-Luz? Can we pos
any of
> the zayin-daleth development which we see in Aramaic in the two names here?

I can only give a secondary source, but Cyrus Gordon on p. 30 of
the first fascicle of his Ugaritic Textbook gives a chart of various 
consonant-changes (or variations, if one prefers) among several 
semitic languages including Arabic, Ugaritic, Ethiopic, Hebrew, 
Aramaic and Akkadian (which he spells Accadian).  In the second 
column, soft d (d with an underscore in his transliteration pattern) 
is the same sound in Arabic and a couple of Ugaritic texts, hard d in 
Ugaritic and Aramaic but z in Ethiopic, Hebrew and Accadian as well 
as what he calls "Old Aramaic divergences."  See also the discussion 
on p. 26-27.  So there does seem to be some prima
facie phonetic evidence for such a sound variation.  Beyond that, I 
can't say with any certainty.

Dave Washburn
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; 
give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.
                                   Psalm 86:11

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