Trevor & Julie Peterson 06peterson at
Sun Dec 29 18:41:08 EST 2002

Kevin wrote:

> The Hebrew ending given by the
> Masoretes (the -ayim part) is a dual (IE singular
> means one of something, plural means many of
> something, but dual means two of something).  Although
> it is not entirely clear why they did this, it
> apparently has reference to the two parts of the city
> (the old city on the hill, and the newer city down
> below).

Does this strike anyone else as dubious? Yes, the form may look like a dual
ending, but if that's what they meant, then the base form would be yerushal,
which means ??? There is a root r$l in Aramaic that has to do with being
feeble or slack, but if that's what we have here, the form is presumably a
prefixal verb, which wouldn't take a noun ending. It would seem a strange
name for a town, in any event. I don't know of any analysis, ancient or
modern, that looks for a stem without the -m. So if the Masoretes thought it
was a dual ending, what would they have thought of the rest of it?

The Hebrew dual ending comes from -aym-; this diphthong was always lost in
BH, either contracted to long e or extended to ayi, with the stress on a.
Yes, the dual is one common place where this diphthong would have occurred,
but it is by no means the only. If there's any reliability to the notion
that m is part of the stem, then it seems to me that this being a dual
ending is an unacceptable option.

Maybe I'm missing something very obvious?

Trevor Peterson

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