[b-hebrew] Shield-bearer 1 Samuel 17:41

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Sat Jul 3 20:14:57 EDT 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
> > This is interesting. We know that later after David became king, his
> troops were
> > called "hoplites"
> C'mon, Karl, you know better than that. "Hoplite" is the English form of a
> Greek word, which various translators decided was close enough.
Yigal: we’ve sparred often enough that you should know me  ;-)

Seriously, though, when I studied Classical Greek oh so many years ago, I ran across the Greek term for hoplite, but other than that its consonants were equivelant to English HPLT (incidently, almost exactly the same as Hebrew) I don’t remember its exact form.

As to the history of the term, is it originally Greek, or from another language? Is it attested to in Mycenean Greek? In other words, did the Philistines get the term from the Myceneans, or did the Greeks get the term from the Philistines through the Phoenecians? The lack of evidence leaves us with lots of questions.

I noticed that its use in Hebrew is somewhat irregular, leading me to question if the leading H is not a definite article, but part of the word itself?

In a book called Hellenosemitica from about 1970, the claim was made that much of the Greek civilization was from Semitic roots, a major source was from a country called Dan, conquered in late bronze age, which was in present day southern Turkey. Could refugees from Dan have brought the term to Greece?

> > which I opined is a Philistine loan word into Hebrew.
> If you're thinking of the "Kereyty and Pelety" ("Cheretites and Peletites")
> you may be right: they seem to have something to do with Creteans and
> Pelestu ("Philistines"). But I think we've already had that discussion (or
> was it on a different list?).
> > Apparently the Philistines were not only armed with steel while most of
> their foes still > had bronze, if anything, but that they also developed
> battle tactics that were so good > that the Greeks were still using them
> centuries later. A downside is that those tactics > required an almost
> full-time army, hence a Philistine need for vassel nations giving >tribute
> to maintain their armies.
> All of this is pure conjecture, based neither on textual nor on
> archaeological evidence.
Ah, but it is based on textual evidence. However, the accuracy of the textual evidence is disputed: I think it is almost 100% accurate, you and many others don’t.

The text shows that ancient Israel had a different concept of history than did its neighbors: the past and accuracy in its transmission were important. One of the biggest sources used to dispute its data are those from ancient Egypt, where deliberate rewriting of history was often practiced. Naturally, you can see which one I trust.

I take the text, which I assume is accurate, and ask what it means. One thing that it shows is that in mid to late bronze age, the people of the lowlands, including Philistia, were armed with superior, “iron” weapons. Iron is plentiful, but inferior to bronze in almost all ways, except when it is tempered into steel. Ergo, Philistia was armed with steel while its enemies were armed with bronze. Yes, we’ve had this discussion here before.
> Yigal

Karl W. Randolph.
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