Habiru. Was: Meaning of term Hebrew

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at mclink.it
Sat Aug 10 01:14:40 EDT 2002

> Ian,if this Habiru-'Ibri matter is of  real interest to you, may I suggest that we let 
> Th. Meek in Hebrew Origin  speak for himself; he is the translator of the Hammurabi 
> Code in ANET, so he knows a little Akkadian. 

Aarrrr, there be the rub! The library I have access to is closed for 
a month or so. 

But then I come across all sorts of people who and have knowledge 
of languages that seems some how to get heavily manipulated. One so 
often sees what one has decided to see and turns one's expertise 
into means for defending that view.

>Obviously the medial long vowel does not concern him in this case.

Oh, naturally, not. But it is there. It's there in W.P. Akkadian, 
the language used by the Amarna correspondents, so if the Hebrews 
borrowed the Akkadian word, then why no second vowel? If it was a 
cognate then it still should be there. One has to postulate some 
other means for `bry to be derived from Habiru.

>The book is worth reading for the lucidity of the discussion and the elegance of the 
>style, not to mention its view and approach. But thats  another matter.
>  Also ,Ian, we seem to have factual differences: the Akkadian sign stands
>for both h(-) and 'Ayin , thus the possible conncection to'Ibry.   .

Ummm, this doesn't seem to fit the knowledge I have. But to cite 
Liverani in his recent translation of the Amarna Letters, "in 
Akkadian the consonant ` did not exist, and is rendered for lack 
of better by syllabograms with x".

>"We know, however, 
>> that during the reign of Merneptah there was a tribal entity 
>> called Israel which seems geographically already around the 
>> area later to become the realm of Israel, ie the north, which 
>> suggests that this Israel is not even derived from those habiru 
>> mentioned in the Amarna letters, the most famous of whom had 
>> hold of Gezer (also mentioned by Merneptah)." 
> If you check your Amarna letters you'll find quite a few habiru in the north, by that 
> I mean in the area that is now Lebanon and elsewhere.


> Furthermore,one cannot postulate that the sitatution between the Amarna age, and one 
> hundred fifty years later in Merneptah's time remained frozen, especially with non 
> sedentary people.

As the area remained firmly in the hands of the Egyptians from 
the time of Akhenaten to Ramses III, I don't think much had an 
opportunity to change. (Besides, weren't the Hebrews in Egypt 
most of this time... if we are to believe one of the major 
sources which uses the term, even if anachronistically?)

> But all this is outside the range of this list

If we are trying to decide something about the significance of 
the Hebrew term `bry then I'm not sure it is.


Ez 4:17
`br nhrh

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