Jerusalem, neuter plural

John Ronning ronning at
Thu Sep 9 00:26:28 EDT 1999

Peter wrote:

> <snipped evidence>
> This suggests that
> it is very unlikely that the Greek form HIEROSOLUMA is derived from a
> Hebrew dual ending.
> Peter Kirk

Thanks for gathering the evidence - it does seem to support your
conclusion. On the
other hand, the evidence you cite is all cases where the Greek is
transliterating, and
it might be that in the case of Jerusalem there is some interpretation
going on, as
well as transliteration - perhaps a desire to have the effect of the
dual by giving a
plural ending (after all, the "correct" spelling of Jerusalem was well
established by
the LXX).  I would agree that the Greek ending by itself is not enough
evidence to
demonstrate a connection with the dual, but it is interesting to note
that in Paul's
letters he uses the "correct" (i.e. LXX) spelling (-salem), except in
Galatians where
he is specifically addressing Jewish Christians and he uses the plural
ending - except
that when he wants to distinguish the present Jerusalem from the
Jerusalem above, he
appropriately switches to the "singular" (4:25-26).  Likewise in Hebrews
Revelation where the heavenly Jerusalem is referred to, the "singular"
is used.

Looks like the Massoretes preserved the older pronunciation of Jerusalem
three times
where the locative is used - YERUSHALEMAH (1 Kings 10:2; Isa 36:2; Ezek
8:3).  In two
other cases they spell it the way it would be if it were a dual form -
(2 Kings 9:28; 2 Chron 32:9).  The fact that the YOD has a silent shewa
under it is
another indication (for those who need one) that the YOD is here a

Gesenius has also been cited in support of the view that the YOD is
always a MATER.
To the contrary, in discussing forms like BEYTH (construct of BAYITH),
Gesenius notes
that in such forms "the previously existing consonants were retained as
vowel letters"




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