[b-hebrew] Benjamin

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sun Jul 4 03:24:48 EDT 2004

I agree. Of course 18th century NW Semitic tribal (and other) terminology is
useful for understanding biblical Hebrew. That BH is ultimately related to
"Amorite" (that is, the NW Semitic dialects of "Amurru", including Mari) is
obvious. But Dora was making much more concrete connections, basically
claiming that the Bene Yamin of Mari WERE the ancestors of the Israelite

By the way, how would you explain the connection of Amurru to Emori
(Amorite), and, for that matter, Hatti to biblical Hitti (Hittite). That the
term are related is obvious. But semantically, "Amurru" in the ANE describes
a wide range of "western" tribes, including their Mesopotamian descendants,
and we could say that "Canaanite" is as sub-group of "Amorite". In the
Bible, the situation is reversed - the Amorites are a sub-group of the
Canaanites (sometimes replacing them).
The ANE Hatti, of course, are an Indo-European, Anatolian nation, that at
one point took over northern Syria and then left "Neo-Hittite" kingdoms
behind. The Neo-Babylonians used the term as a synonym for "Amurru". But
again, in the Bible, the Hittites are a small and specific sub-set of
Canaanites, living in Hebron, Seir etc.

The same for "Horite" and "Hurrians".

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jonathan D. Safren" <yonsaf at beitberl.ac.il>
To: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>; "b-hebrew"
<b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, July 04, 2004 8:55 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Benjamin

> Yigal Levin wrote:
> >
> > 2. Any direct link between anything in 18th century Mari and in 12th
> century
> > (or later) Israel is extremely conjectural.
> True. But sometimes, one can reasonably term used in the Bible with a
> cognate used in Mari, generally identified as Amorite, when both the
> and the etymology permit.
> This is especially true regarding tribal terminology. Malamat has
> Hebrew goy with Mari gawu{m}, Hebrew xever (ha-keyni} with Mari xibru(m).
> I have identified the Mari tribal official merhu(m) with (Ahuzzath)
> mere'ehu, which I read mar'ehu.
> On the Mari official and his identification with the biblical figure, see:
>  Jonathan D. Safren, "merhum and merhutum in Mari", Orientalia 51 (1982),
> 1-29;
> idem,  "Ahuzzath and the Pact of Beer-Sheba", Zeitschrift fuer die
> alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 101 (1989), 184-198.
> But not only tribal terminology. The Hebrew expression he$ib nepe$/4obeb
> nepe$ has its cognate in the Mari expression napi$a(m) turru(m), probably
> loan translation from the Amorite; on this, see
> idem, "'He Restoreth My Soul' - A Biblical Expression and Its Mari
> Counterpart", Mari in Retrospect;Fifty Years of Mari and Mari Studies ,
> by Gordon D. Young (Winona Lake, IN, Eisenbrauns, 1992), 265-271.
> Sincerely,
> Jonathan D. Safren
> Dept. of Biblical Studies
> Beit Berl College
> 44905 Beit Berl Post Office
> Israel
>  This mail was scanned via Beit Berl PineApp

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