[b-hebrew] Benjamin

Jonathan D. Safren yonsaf at beitberl.ac.il
Sun Jul 4 08:29:46 EDT 2004

Yigal Levin wrote:

> I agree. Of course 18th century NW Semitic tribal (and other) terminology
> useful for understanding biblical Hebrew. That BH is ultimately related to
> "Amorite" (that is, the NW Semitic dialects of "Amurru", including Mari)
> obvious. But Dora was making much more concrete connections, basically
> claiming that the Bene Yamin of Mari WERE the ancestors of the Israelite
> Benjaminites.
That's about as (im)probable as saying that OB Sumu'el is related to the
prophet Samuel.
The DUMU.ME$ Yamina (Southerners) in Mari wre named for their geographical
location there (not South of Mari as someone on this list mistakenly
claimed - they were also to be found to the NW of Mari, as in the provinces
of Sagaratum and NaXur), and probably in relation to the DUMU.ME$ $im(x)al

> By the way, how would you explain the connection of Amurru to Emori
> (Amorite), and, for that matter, Hatti to biblical Hitti (Hittite). That
> term are related is obvious. But semantically, "Amurru" in the ANE
> a wide range of "western" tribes, including their Mesopotamian
> 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).

Don't forget the North Syrian principality of Amurru, a vassal state of the
Hittite Empire.
Amurru not only describes "Westerners" but also speakers of various NWSem
I think the biblical Emorim fit into this somewhere, but I haven't
researched this.
See Ignace J. Gelb's work; also Michael Heltzer, The Suteans.
Kathleen Kenyon has a 1966 book on Amorites and Canaanites, but a lot of
water has flown under the bridge since then..

> 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
> context
> > and the etymology permit.
> > This is especially true regarding tribal terminology. Malamat has
> identified
> > Hebrew goy with Mari gawu{m}, Hebrew xever (ha-keyni} with Mari
> > 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,
> >  Jonathan D. Safren, "merhum and merhutum in Mari", Orientalia 51
> > 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),
> a
> > 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 ,
> Ed.
> > 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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