Jerusalem, neuter plural

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Tue Sep 7 21:35:05 EDT 1999

We might be able to help in answering Jonathan's question ("the 
pronunciation Yerushalayim is a late development. How late?") by 
looking at forms in other Middle Eastern languages. For example, I 
understand that an Arabic form something like YERUSALIM exists 
(although Arabs call the modern city AL-QUDS) - does anyone know how 
ancient this form is? What forms are used in various modern Aramaic 
dialects, Christian and Jewish? What about Coptic, Ge`ez or Amharic, 
etc? Although some of these could be influenced by Greek forms, they 
may well give evidence of the pronunciation of the city name by 
speakers of those languages at the time of writing or translation of 
ancient texts. If the name were indeed pronounced as a dual at those 
times, I would expect that to be reflected in at least some of the 
forms found in other languages.

Some further evidence: the form $FL"M (Shalem) in Gen 14:18 and Psa 
76:3, LXX and NT SALHM (Gen 14:18, 33:18, Jeremiah 48:5, Judith 4:4, 
Hebrews 7:1,2), which was understood in ancient times as an 
abbreviation of the full city name.

Joe Friberg suggested that the upsilon in the Greek form HIEROSOLUMA 
is derived from the Hebrew sequence of letters -AYI-. Well, that is 
not impossible. But it could equally be derived from a long E sound, 
in Hebrew as in Aramaic. The closest to the upsilon would be a long I 
sound, as in the Arabic spelling above. On the other hand, I have read 
that the form HIEROSOLUMA is derived from an assimilation to a Greek 
popular etymology: HIERO = "Holy" and SOLUMA = ??

I have done a quick look at LXX renderings of other Hebrew names which 
appear to be dual in form. I have only included case where the LXX is 
a recognisable transliteration of the Hebrew, in a verse which my 
software recognises as parallel (it became confused in Jeremiah).

Reference       RSV                     LXX

GEN 14:5        Ashterothkarnaim        Astarwq Karnain
GEN 15:20 ++    Rephaim                 Rafain
GEN 38:14 +     Enaim                   Ainan
GEN 41:52 ++    Ephraim                 Efraim
NUM 32:37 ++    Kiriathaim              Kariaqaim
NUM 33:46 +     Almondiblathaim         Gelmwn Deblaqaim
JOS 13:6        Misrephothmaim          Maserefwqmaim
JOS 13:26 +     Mahanaim                Maanain
JOS 13:30 +     Mahanaim                Maanaim
JOS 15:36       Shaaraim                Sakarim
JOS 21:22       Kibzaim                 Kabsaim
JDG 3:8 ++      Cushanrishathaim        Cousarsaqwm
2SA 2:8 ++      Mahanaim                Manaem
2SA 4:3         Gittaim                 Geqqaim
2SA 13:34       Horonaim                Wrwnhn
2SA 17:24 ++    Mahanaim                Manaim
2KI 17:24 ++    Sepharvaim              Sepfarouain
1CH 2:30 +      Appaim                  Affaim
1CH 4:23        Netaim                  Nataim
1CH 8:8         Shaharaim               Saarhm
2CH 3:6         Parvaim                 Farouaim
2CH 11:9        Adoraim                 Adwraim
2CH 16:4        Abelmaim                Abelmain
EZR 2:57        Pocherethhazzebaim      Faceraq-asebwin
NEH 7:59        Pocherethhazzebaim      Facaraq uioi Sabaim
ISA 15:5        Horonaim                Arwniim
ISA 15:8        Eglaim                  Agallim
ISA 36:19 +     Sepharvaim              Sepfarim
EZK 47:10       Eneglaim                Ainagalim
EZK 47:16       Sibraim                 Sebraim
HOS 1:3         Diblaim                 Debhlaim

Summary: The majority of Hebrew dual form names are rendered as -aim 
or -ain in LXX. There is some inconsistency, especially in the 
renderings of "Mahanaim" (which is also often translated as 
"Parembolai") Some have shortened endings such as -an. Only once is 
there an ending -hm (cf. Greek Yerusalhm). There are no cases of an 
upsilon corrseponding to the Hebrew -AYI-, and there are no cases of a 
suffixed -a or any other declinable Greek ending. This suggests that 
it is very unlikely that the Greek form HIEROSOLUMA is derived from a 
Hebrew dual ending.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Jerusalem, neuter plural
Author:  yonsaf at at internet
Date:    06/09/1999 02:06

If, in Akkadian, Jerusalem is Urushalimmu, and in the LXX it is 
Ierusalem, and in the MT the word generally appears without a yod, AND 
moreover, if the GN is theophoric, containing the DN Shalem, we can 
assume that the pronunciation Yerushalayim is a late development. How 
late? Later than the stabilization of the MT consonantal text. 
Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College
44905 Beit Berl Post Office

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