[b-hebrew] Re: Elohiym has a Hireq Yod in the M.T.

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Fri Sep 19 17:33:35 EDT 2003

Dear Ken Penner:

)LHM is used over 100 times in Tenakh meaning “unto them” but not once for “God” or “gods”. It is used almost as often as )LYHM for the same meaning, the two spellings were interchangeable. This papyrus has the correct usage to read it as “unto them”.

As for the final letter on the third word on the document, I saw it as either a sloppily written mem or nun, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

You claim that the three words ending with an alep are names. Those are not Hebrew names, possibly Aramaic. Hebrew names would end with a heh instead.

Your transliteration also gives me some questions. You have two different glyphs standing for a chet. One of those glyphs I thought may be a tsada. The second letter in the fourth word you read as a samekh, I as a gimmel. The hole in the papyrus there makes it difficult for me to be certain.

All in all, I find this a puzzling document. It is NOT good Biblical Hebrew. The shape of the letters makes it look as if it were an early transitional phase between the archaic alphabet from pre-exile Israel and the square Aramaic font. Was it written a generation or two into the Galut Babel by someone who spoke Aramaic and was trying to write in Hebrew, which he barely knew?

As for the picture of the stone I mentioned before, the online site is not responding and the book is in the library to where I would need to drag my carcase to find the title and page. Sorry I can’t give it to you right now.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ken Penner" <pennerkm at mcmaster.ca>
> Dave wrote:
> > I don't see the word "elohim" with or without 
> > a yod in this document.  And actually, the purported word in 
> > the first line looks more like )LHN to me, 
> You're right about the N rather than M; my mistake. Good eye!
> Karl wrote:
> > The first three words I see in it say "KH )MRW )LHM" which, translated,
> say "Thus they said unto them". 
> The word must be interpreted in the context of the entire document. 
> The complete transcription, for the record, is:
> Translation:
> 1. Thus spoke (the) gods to Sara: For you the MARZEAX and the (pair of)
> mill-stones and the
> 2. house; and Yisha be far from them; and Milka is the third (party; i.e.
> garantor).
> The papyrus was rolled and sealed; it is a complete legal document.
> Karl wrote:
> > I notice that the next to last word on the top line 
> > does have the yod mem for the plural.
> The word there RXYN, only occurs in the dual (not the plural), in the Bible.
> The Yod is preserved in dual forms.
> Dave wrote:
> > This seems to reinforce the ideas that 1) the word is "to 
> > them" and not "elohim," and 2) the papyrus may be written in Aramaic.  
> (1) "To them" would be spelled with a yod between the preposition and the
> suffix: )LYHM or )LYHN, if GKC p.304 is correct that )L derives from a
> III-weak ground form. Gogel shows that )L and LPNY both behave this way, as
> if they were plural nouns. Arad 3 MAY be an exception, but there the reading
> is uncertain.
> We have a prepositional phrase indicating the addressee: LSR)
> We have no antecedent for a pronoun, neither subject (they) nor object
> (them).
> (2) The dialect is unlike Hebrew in its plural and dual endings in -N. But
> it is unlike Aramaic in its prefixed article, H-. (It actually looks like
> Mishnaic Hebrew, even its technical usage of $L$). But (correct me if I'm
> wrong) doesn't Moabite also use -N for plural and H- for the article?
> Finally, Karl wrote:
> > On a similar note, does a lamed-he changed to a yod count in this
> question? 
> > In a book in the library, as well as on line, 
> > I found a picture of a stone written in Sinaitic font where a lamed-he
> verb 
> Of course, the He in Lamed-He (III-weak) verbs is not the original root
> letter, so it's not really a "change" from He to Yod. But this is an
> intriguing case you cite. Gogel says there is only one example of a III-weak
> verb in epigraphic Hebrew: HYT. Could you provide a reference?
> Ken Penner, Ph.D. (cand.), McMaster University
> Vocabulary Memorization software:
> http://socserv.socsci.mcmaster.ca/westerholm/flash or
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/flash_pro/join 

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